President Joe Biden — and his media allies — are touting his latest $2 trillion spending push as a plan to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure. But the single-biggest line item has nothing to do with roads or bridges or even green-energy plants: It’s a ploy to vastly enlarge and unionize the ranks of home health-care aides.
That’s millions of low-skilled workers getting far more than now, so they can pay hefty dues to hard-left unions such as the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, which can use that windfall to elect more left-wing Democrats.
Biden’s plan, unveiled in Pittsburgh last week, calls for $400 billion over eight years (a full fifth of the $2 trillion total) to create jobs and raise wages for these workers — while ensuring that they unionize.
He does it with another expansion of Medicaid, specifically its funding of caregivers for the elderly and people with disabilities. In the last year with available data, 2018, the feds spent $71 billion on home care via Medicaid. Biden’s “COVID relief” law already boosted the federal matching rate for state spending on such services by 10 percent for a year. Now he’d add $50 billion a year.
And Medicaid is an entitlement program: Such spending (which is already the central driver of the nation’s vast annual budget deficits) is immune from normal fiscal restraints. As long as “need” grows, so does the spending, automatically, with no new vote in Congress to expand it.
Biden’s largesse comes with a big string: A White House fact sheet says the money will be tied to care workers getting “the ability to collectively bargain.” In other words, states will have to let them unionize — and Biden’s labor allies will see that it happens. (Overall, the fact sheet on the plan mentions unions 24 times, specifically vowing the $2 trillion in outlays will “promote union organizing and collective bargaining.”)
The home-care proposal “was incorporated in part due to a push by the SEIU, which represents close to 1 million caretakers and lobbied White House officials for its inclusion,” The Washington Post reports. The White House also consulted labor activist Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. The Nation notes Biden’s plan “adopts the language of advocates” — for example, by calling it “care infrastructure.”
The SEIU, which endorsed Biden for president, noted on its 2020-election Web site that a Biden-Harris administration would “put 3 million Americans to work in new care and education jobs.” Biden’s own campaign site said he’d spend $450 billion on home-care workers, expanding “the caregiving and community health workforce by roughly 1.5 million jobs.”
That’s 1.5 million to 3 million (counting his education boost, which will likely add unionized pre-K staffers) newly unionized workers under the umbrella of unions that form a key part of the Democratic hard left. It’s unions like these that have helped ensure that AOC-style progressives dominate the New York state Legislature and the Big Apple’s City Council.
Naturally, a coalition that includes the SEIU and the National Domestic Workers Alliance will spend $20 million advertising and advocating Biden’s proposal. Then they’ll spend even more ensuring that the new workers, and the hundreds of thousands who now aren’t unionized, sign up with the SEIU or a similar union. And with Biden’s nominees dominating the National Labor Relations Board, none of those workers will have a choice.
That’s just a small amount compared with the dues the unions will collect if Biden gets his way — money the president’s team expects will help turn more states into Democratic strongholds like New York, California and Illinois, ensuring permanent Democratic control of Congress and the White House, and a never-ending stream of new schemes like this.
Biden’s not joking when he says he aims to transform the nation — he’s just not leveling with the voters about what that transformation really means.