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Working Class Americans & Family Policy

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
The Truth Network Radio
October 11, 2021 10:02 am

Working Class Americans & Family Policy

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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October 11, 2021 10:02 am

This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs welcomes Patrick T. Brown, author of the recent report “Working Class Americans’ Views on Family Policy.” Brown discusses some surprising findings that reveal what working class Americans really value when it comes to family policy.  

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Family policy matters and engaging and informative weekly radio show and podcast produced by the North Carolina family policy Council hi this is John Ralston, presidency, family, and were grateful to have you with us for this week's program is our prayer that you will be informed, encouraged and inspired by what you hear on family policy matters and that you will fold better equipped to be a voice of persuasion for family values in your community, state and nation, and now here's our house to family policy matters Tracy to vet bricks. Thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters feel like the discussion about public policy and what's best for families. How is not about you and your family when there's one group of Americans that apparently feels left out of that discussion and that working class families.

While the Institute for family studies organized focus groups of working-class Americans to talk about what they feel is most important, the results a report entitled working-class Americans views on family policy Patrick T. Brown is a fellow with the ethics and Public policy Center was the author of that report. He joins us today to unpack some of what policymakers may not be hearing from working-class families. Patrick Brown, welcome to family policy matters grabbing me, greetings from Columbia for Carolina will first of all could just start by defining what do you mean by working-class families sure so we set up a series of three focus groups working with partner organizations, one in Southwest Ohio one in Atlanta Georgia and one in San Antonio, Texas, and when we were looking for participants to participate in those focus groups we wanted parents who aren't necessarily gunning for that corner office suite or sort of an upwardly aspirational career track what being a lawyer or a doctor thinks we wanted families were just making ends meet. Working in a variety of professions. Everything from cable installers to estate home mom alighted Internet-based neural business that she was starting to a HVAC installer all sorts of people who work in retail people were working usually hourly wage jobs were just trying to make ends meet them and put food on the table for their families without necessarily seeing their careers as the be-all and end-all of their life and I think one of the distinctions that we find it as we do the work of talking to families and and also working with policymakers and their stout in DC in state capitals is that a lot of the people who were doing policy work in places like DC and to be people who went to elite colleges to be married to people who went really.

Colleges were both hardcharging type A personalities and I have no problem with that my best friends with the model but the their people who really take a lot of meaning and work and so the solutions that they come up with tend to be things that allow for greater flexibility between work and life.

So things like universal childcare and that sort of approach to life that really is an emphasis on on career and that's not what we hear when we talk to families who are asserted in this income band of people making you know $30,000 a year who really wish that the policy would allow them to have more time with her family and make their life more stable and can provide a helping hand to just kind of make things last of the end of the month a little easier in and help give them more choices will be hurt well. A lot of what you sound, but I was interested to see that in addition to the focus groups.

You had a project that recruited working-class Americans and ask them to write essays telling lawmakers what they wish that they knew about their working-class lives. So tell us a little bit about that. That's right, we recruited about 20 writers from across the country. 15 different states and we just given that open-ended prompt. What do you wish politicians knew about the challenges facing your family and community and we got a wide range of responses in on a wide variety of topics. Everything from Social Security to conservation of farming policy. Obviously, COBIT was in there, but the one unifying theme that that kind of popped out a lot of those essays was that the things that make the headlines in DC, in the things that politicians take pay attention to and get in fights over and get on cable news on not what is keeping people up at night. You know that is not climate change is not the border wall and it's not these things that the get you on the front page of the newspaper with a feeling or whatever else it was the complexity of healthcare try to figure out what what is my dockable. What is the network I meant. It's the inability to be able to afford living near their relatives in the cost of housing in and wishing that there were more multigenerational options that you can live with your parents or your extended family to provide more support. It was the lack of support for working moms and in their maternal health and and problem of postpartum depression. It never really gets talked about the national, state, all these issues were stuffed it like a said keep the parents up at night and never really make it on the national agenda and is just another example of how the things that families that we know in our daily lives and community bear discussions aren't the ones that are being held in the course of our in New York and DC. What a wonderful project and I'm so glad that you guys took this on so did you find similar responses in both of these projects were definitely some common theme of feeling heard that the problems that are facing and even register on the on the DC agenda. So in essence it was really a reminder that a lot of people don't think about these questions, and in red or blue or left and right arm.

They just want government to work and they want government to make their lives easier. Without a fairly you know having a giant safety net social welfare state. Number one essay from a woman in Waynesboro, North Carolina, who works at a major retail chain and just said you know it. Sometimes it's frustrating when you're right on that borderline between the amount of money that you're able to take on your paycheck and in your your sort of on the verge of qualifying for some safety net benefits and if you get a raise when you lose those benefits because your you're just now serve over that threshold. And that was interesting to that was something we heard in some of the focus group as well. They felt like government was punishing them for doing well. We also heard from some parents not focus group about marriage penalty in the tax code where if you are cohabitating with someone in and you have maybe children are your thinking about forming a family venture tax rates will go up if you get married because now you're being taxed at the married rate rather than to single people and that something that you sort of think of abstractly is owed is that actually make a difference but but now we we talk to one woman who said frankly that that she wishes she could get married but the financial penalty that her and her partner would would incur by by now being taxed at a higher rate just doesn't make sense to themselves every a lot of these interesting threads that popped up in some of the essays in some of the discussion then we just reminder that what gets translated into the Republican versus Democrat binary in DC is just such a pale representation of the true diversity of opinion that exists in communities across America. Sound like a cynical question, but it least in on the federal level with the way our lobbying is set up and the way that people gain access to our lawmakers.

Is it realistic to think that our lawmakers are gonna really care about this and do something about it. I mean no but also I think there is room to believe that there's room to change. Very good currently. I agree that the dead the conversation and you feel is especially frustrating, and not just in defeat.

But a lot of a lot of state capitals BA.

As I mentioned at the outfit.

We get so caught up in these fights over the asserted either redmeat cultural issues. On the one hand are the big sweeping social changes that that are really out of keeping with the outside of the American tradition of self-government. On the other in and it is it can be frustrating, but I think there's there's a real acknowledgment that a lot of the frustration that we've seen in politics over the last five years, 10 years may be more assertive unrest in tension and frustration that people feel some of it can be addressed by a more responsive government that makes people feel heard and I think that was something that came through in both the essays that we commission but also in the focus groups we didn't hear a lot of people asking for big government solutions, but we also didn't hear people asking government to get out of the way and just leave them alone people that we talk to, all, not everyone, but a lot of people just expressed a desire that they don't like people in DC were listening to them in a new what they were going through and I think that if there's nothing else we can learn from these past years about such polarized politics is that there's a lot of frustration out there and if there's politicians of goodwill who were actually interested in in in figuring out ways to address some of that frustration rather than just play on it for political purposes, then I think these questions are the ones that need to be answering cannot and I think that's a really good point. I mean working class folks have 1 Vote Like Everyone Right Way and what they need. I guess is a champion out there somebody there to step up and and speak for them, and in unit something to hold your own vision of the California requires us to listen to our better angels at times in not just respond to the prohibition that that no silly channels or anger. But the one who who recognizes that there are things in our education system and network work element this time and in all in our healthcare system that are real problems but they really do impact people's lives, but that can be solved constructively and not just used his partisan talking points and so I will whether that's running for president, Gov. Oleander school board. I think it's incumbent on on parents and and community members to be thinking about which politician actually is offering a constructive agenda rather than one. That's just sort of mouthing platitudes and and has no plan to to do any thing about right and I think you make it a good point about the some of the local offices that she mentioned because our work at the North: a family policy Council we've often discovered some of the things that happen on the local level or the state level bubble up to the federal level so it can begin there. So what do you think are some things that people could do to start on the local or state level.

If they listen and they go yes I want to get involved somehow in this white one thing that really hot right now so to speak. It is education and obviously North Carolina is no stranger to these controversies but I think visibility this past year and 1/2 will be going through so much and even so much dissent and disagreement about who cooped public schools are ultimately responsible to and how they should be governed and in what interest they should represent.

I think there's a lot of frustration with sort of traditional district school model of education and for the last couple decades. I think you know those of us who are on the right as I define myself have lot of school choices being something that we need to do to offer a life raft to kids who are respected and feeling inner-city schools, and it was good and there is progress made on that front, but I think it no longer are not, and I think we need to be thinking about school choices being broader than just a life raft for kids who are teaching feeling schools but but really a way for parents to find the environment for their child that is going to be best for them holistically. Whether that's academically, socially, spiritually, extracurricular leaks, giving parents more choices in the school that they are able to find for their kids. Just broadening the options that are available to parents and really making that a cornerstone of especially estate agenda. Realizing that this is a more honest way of dealing with some of these differences that that really polarized communities and and really you have have caused so much tension over the last year and 1/2 just saying okay yeah we we recognize the public schools aren't necessarily ghetto receiving figure text from on high and in their and their not be questioned that realizing that there's different values of play different understandings of of the sum of these controversial topics and we should be back giving parents more choices to to affirm their their families, values, and an upbringing and find a place it's right for their kids. So I think that that is to help people can can really focus on, especially in this upcoming year's that's a good example.

I'm sure there are are others that we actually follow you. Can we go 200 a website to read the new report that she's just put out the working class Americans views on family policy and now just to follow your work sure. So though the report that we be talking about. It was a publication of the Institute for family to be able to find that pretty easily.

You can also go to eat E which is my organization. The policy center and I are on social media, I'm on Twitter at PTB rights and look forward to hearing from from your listeners and into engaging further on on these questions and and I think there is definitely momentum for her orienting policy and, more appropriately direction and I am excited to see some of the perception of Patrick T Brown you so much for being with us today on family policy matters listening to family policy matters. We hope you enjoyed the program in Plano to do it again next week to listen to the show online insulin more about NC families work to inform, encourage and inspire families across poster a lot of our website it NC that's NC Thanks again for listening and may God bless you and your family


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