We struggle to understand why America’s most common household problems and national security aren’t receiving more attention this campaign season. Each person in the USA has been cared for by parents or another family member. Most of us have cared for a child, ill family member, aging parent, partner, or spouse. If you haven’t done so already, you will at some point in your life.
If childcare becomes too expensive, then a parent can end up missing on employment opportunities. Then, there is a decrease in discretionary income circulating through local businesses which are sustaining more jobs. Fewer taxes are collected by the public purse.
What is wrong?
Women need to be provided a way to return to work and advance up the leadership ladder after childbirth. Right now, becoming a mother practically ends your career or makes it extremely stressful to pursue it further. As a result, the society as a whole loses out, and our national security suffers.
If a fragile parent requires help with their daily tasks, his/her adult child has to make it all work around their employment. It’s wrong pretending every single household somehow manages to keep itself afloat financially, and that they are able to find a way to successfully meet the demands no matter the situation.
What is national security?
If you believe that national security is all about an aggressive leader and strong military, you have missed something of key importance. National security is when there is a continuous supply of creative problem solvers that have access to the necessary resources to realize themselves.
This type of labor pool is the result of great care over a number of decades. It involves time, academic education, and good health, in addition to life training, which is a huge part of the job as a parent. Of course, most parents are also working full time.
That’s why we no longer can limit men to being just the family breadwinners. Research shows that when men have children, they are happier at home and at work. Today’s fathers are struggling with work/life balance in the same way mothers do. In particular, men expect that they will be combining both earning a living and participating in the child care along with their spouse. But that simply can’t happen unless there are changes in how we live and work in the USA.
Strangely, when a father is able to take paid leave, it makes it better for the mom. When you have both parents involved in work and family, then employment rates and their salaries increase for women. This is an efficient way to reduce the pay gap between genders, expand opportunities for women, and stimulate the economy. This can happen all at once.
National security depends on gender equality
Even voters that do not have children should be worried about what the candidates think about this problem. It may be optional to have children, but it is not optional to have parents. With the population doubling by 2050, there will be over 80 million people in need of assistance, many will have chronic health conditions.
If there is no easy way for people to move back and forth between working and caring for kids, our labor supply will diminish. What if the next Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates is a mother? What if the US were able to produce another 20 Sheryl Sandbergs? If you need to work long hours in order to make top dollar, we land up marginalizing workers with dependents.
We must promote new working methods that have more flexibility. Things like workplace flexibility, paid family leave, predictable schedules, affordable and convenient childcare, and paid sick days. When it comes to these issues, where is the American ingenuity that we are so familiar with?
A strong economy isn’t going to simply appear unless there are changes to how we live now. We must provide for the safe development of our children and ourselves. If we can nurture the many talents of the citizens of the USA, then national security follows as a result.
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