President-Elect Joe Biden has unveiled plans for what he hopes to accomplish in his first term in office, including details on how he plans to tackle COVID-19, healthcare, raising the minimum wage, education, and child care. Latinos from all over the United States have felt the disastrous impact of Trump’s policies, and while Biden’s plans do not speak specifically to just the Latino community, here is how his proposed policies would impact Latino communities.
COVID-19 Pandemic & The Affordable Care Act
The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately impacted Black and Latino communities at a rate of 55%. However, when the CDC measured using a scale of weighted population distribution, Latinos were dying at a rate of 32.5%. Biden announced a COVID-19 task force that he will put in place the day he enters office that includes making sure marginalized communities have access to free testing, contact tracing, and access to PPE.
Plus, Biden has named Marcella Nunez-Smith, associate dean for health equity research at the Yale School of Medicine, as one of the task force co-chairs. Nunez-Smith is a celebrated addition to the task force as her research has focused on studying the discrimination that patients-of-color endure in the health-care system and often focused on promoting health and health-care equity in marginalized populations.
$15 Minimum Wage
The federal minimum wage has not changed since 2009, when it was raised to a paltry $7.25 an hour. Nearly 63% of all Latino and Black workers earn the minimum wage across the United States. That means that more than half the entire Latino population in the U.S. lives below the federal poverty line. A federal minimum wage of $15 an hour would benefit 9.3 million Latino workers, according to Unidos US, formerly known as National Council of La Raza, a non-profit advocacy agency. It would also give 4.6 million Latinas and 2.2 million married Latinos a much delayed pay-raise.
$50K of Student Loan Forgiven and Free Community College
While more Latino students are heading to college, many, due financial reasons, don’t get to finish. Biden has taken some of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders platforms and made them his own including forgiving $50,000 of student loan debt and securing free community college for two years for all students. With more and more jobs requiring, at a minimum, an Associate’s degree, this could boost Latino graduation rates and allow for economic growth, while also making a path for Latinos to be employed in power making positions such as in government and executive roles.
As proven by the Coronavirus, Latino and Black workers make up a large percentage of “essential workers.” These workers often work hours that are often not served by child care centers, day cares, or schools. Many times the choice is work and struggle to find reliable care, possibly losing your own job in the process. Or, don’t work, care for your kids, and live in poverty. Biden has proposed offering bonuses to child care centers that would offer care during “off” hours, as well as offering tax incentives to companies who build their own child care center for their employees. He also proposed to increase the child tax credit, which directly puts money back in the pockets of hard-working Latinos.