Build Back Better helps moms. And, yes, billionaires and big corporations should pay.

·4 min read

Women in the United States are still struggling. Democrats' Build Back Better Agenda will help Americans across geographical and political spectrums catch up with the rest of the industrialized world in areas like child care, access to health care, wireless infrastructure, housing and other critical areas.

And, yes, billionaires and big corporations should pay for it. Here's why.

I recently took my third trip away from my kids in 5 1/2 years​​, and I didn't want to come back. That's not because my kids are particularly bad. I mean, they're terrible, but not more terrible than most other kids. I wasn't doing something unusually fun or adventurous, either. In fact, I got my toe broken by a horse and spent the rest of the trip on my best friend's couch shoveling coleslaw into my mouth in sweatpants, and alternating between watching "Between Two Ferns" and "Absolutely Fabulous."

The spotlight has faded

As I packed to go home, I thought about how I didn't feel ready to jump back into everything. Like a lot of women, "home" meant going back to snuggling my kids, but also being overwhelmed with responsibilities, stress and bills. In the early months of the pandemic, we were awash in positive attention to America's unfortunate exceptionalism among industrialized countries in its socioeconomic disparities, especially those facing women. But nearly two years in, the spotlight has dimmed.

Just look at back to school. It has been less than two months since most kids resumed classes, and little has changed for women. That's even more true for single moms, Black mothers and women of color, who have been struggling since long before COVID-19. In a scathing report in 2017, the United Nations' expert on extreme poverty and human rights, Phillip Alston, wrote about "America’s bid to become the most unequal society in the world."

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And women in the USA continue to see their rights sidelined: unequal pay; a majority of unpaid elderly, child care and domestic duties; gender-based violence; and unequal access to basic human rights like the right to decide whether to carry to term a pregnancy or not.

Child care is still prohibitively expensive (and often inadequate), inflation is on the rise, and in 2017, nearly 40 million people were poor in the United States, according to the Census Bureau.

A combination of those factors has led to nearly 2 million women gone from the labor force since the start of the pandemic. That many women out of the workforce has a myriad of negative consequences, including economic hardship for families, as well as the cost of missing out on their contributions to society and the economy, and what that means for women's progress, generally.

These are all problems that the Build Back Better Agenda aims to address through its approaches to housing, health care, child care, climate change and numerous other areas where Americans, especially women, are in desperate need of a leg up.

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According to Lily Roberts, managing director of economic policy at the Center for American Progress, "The policies represented in the Build Back Better agenda – paid family leave and medical leave, an improved child care system, the child tax credit – would have a positive impact on the lives of all Americans; but they are a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the lives of American women."

How to pay for it

Senate Democrats have introduced a new tax on billionaires and a minimum tax on large corporations to help pay for the reforms and investments. And why shouldn't corporations that pay a lower percentage of taxes than I do, and approximately 700 billionaires who have made nearly $2 trillion during the pandemic, pay for it?

The pandemic helped to shine a light on America's "problematic exceptionalism" in a variety of areas, including the status of women in this country. We need our representatives to advocate for our families and women's rights by supporting the Build Back Better legislation put forward by Democrats.

It is not perfect, but it is an important start to fixing some of these class inequalities that have been so pervasive since the imperfect birth of this nation.

Women are impatient for change.

Carli Pierson is an attorney and a USA TODAY Opinion writer. Follow her on Twitter: @CarliPierson

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Moms are struggling with COVID so lets tax billionaires for help

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