(We know that the 2020 election is vitally important to our readers and we’ve been continually publishing articles about the policy proposals from Democratic presidential hopefuls and President Trump. Here’s a close look at ideas in the draft of the Democratic platform that could keenly affect Americans 50 and older; the Democratic presidential convention starts August 17. Once there is a draft of the 2020 Republican platform, we will publish an article analyzing its proposals, too.— The editors)
What might be the implications for Americans 50 years and older if Democrat Joe Biden wins the race for the White House?
A close look at the Democratic platform draft as well as Biden’s website and interviews with analysts suggests that Biden wants to tackle several major challenges confronting those in the second half of life. It lays out the kind of policy framework President Obama had, but several initiatives take it a step farther — perhaps an additional two to three steps.
Reading through the draft Democratic platform, the cumulative effect is that the federal government would take on a bigger role in everything from retirement security to health care to sustainability. A core idea: animating the greater government activism with policies to improve the general welfare and social connectedness.
The Platform’s Focus and What’s Missing
“It’s a focus on the common good and sharing risk and strengthening the safety net, including the retirement safety net,” says Norm Ornstein, political scientist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
That said, Biden’s platform is big on promises and light on funding details, which isn’t uncommon for party platforms. And, of course, if Biden does become president, the fate of his legislative ambitions will depend on which party controls the Senate and the House of Representatives. We’ll know that on Nov. 3, or fairly soon thereafter.
Highlights and analysis of the draft Democratic party platform:
Caregiving, caregivers and long-term care: The most striking part of Biden’s platform — to me — is its emphasis on supporting the professional long-term care workforce serving older adults in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and in homes, as well as assisting family caregivers.
Biden calls for improving the pay and benefits of the low-wage direct care workforce, such as home care aides and personal care assistants. They often earn minimum wage with no benefits.
The draft platform backs a national minimum wage of $15 an hour for the caregiving workforce. In addition, they’d get up to 12 weeks of federally provided paid family and medical leave.
“They are among the hardest working people, yet the lowest paid workers,” says Eric Kingston, professor of social work at Syracuse University. “The emphasis on caregiving is long overdue.”
The estimated 40 million+ unpaid family caregivers would also get a financial boost. Among the ideas Biden backs is an…