The Latino community continues to struggle to regain the ground lost during the Great Recession. According to the Pew Research Center, median wealth fell by 66 percent among Latino households between 2005 and 2009, compared to a 16 percent drop among non-Hispanic white households. In 2010, the median income per household for Latinos was $37,759, 27 percent lower than that for whites. The foreclosure crisis disproportionately impacted Latinos, at the same time as the Latino faced higher-than-average levels of unemployment. This has resulted in lower credit scores and increased barriers and extra costs to obtain credit, making Latinos even more susceptible to predatory lending practices. Efforts to reduce the federal budget deficit and national debt have already resulted in cuts to many domestic programs. While for some Americans, domestic programs appear only as a number in a budget for thousands of others these programs can mean the difference between life and death. Continued support for the growth of small business, investments in our technology and transportation infrastructure, ensuring fairness for women in the workplace, as well as investing in job training and education, will put millions of families on stronger economic footing.
Grow the Economy for All
We need to create an economy that works for everyone -- where an entrepreneur can start a successful business and an individual’s hard work can support a family. In recent decades, the middle class has been squeezed by ever-higher home prices, college tuition, and health care costs, making the American Dream tougher to attain. But it’s a dream Latinos won’t give up on. Hyper-partisan politics need to be replaced by bipartisanship. No single political party or organization has all the answers, so let’s work together, across the public and private sector, to develop innovative new policies that will expand opportunities for workers and entrepreneurs in the global economy.
Boost investments in our economy
With the ratio of jobseekers to job openings slightly better than four to one, competition for jobs in post-recession America is severe. Workers with lower educational attainment—including the 52 percent of Latino workers who have only a high school degree or less—find themselves at a disadvantage. Funding for domestic priorities in areas such as education, job training, and infrastructure has been on a downward trajectory since 2010. By 2016, the federal investment in non-defense domestic discretionary programs will be at its lowest share of GDP since 1962. At a time when our community is growing, the pie is shrinking. It’s time to reverse this trend. An overwhelming 96 percent of Latino voters support a federal budget that invests in infrastructure and education to stimulate the economy, so let’s increase investment in:
- Job training. We should train workers to compete and thrive in the 21st century economy by expanding the role of businesses in job training programs so that workers gain the skills that employers seek.
- Our youth. Funding education from preschool to graduate school, and ensuring there are supports to keep kids on track, are among the most important investments we can make in our future. That includes expanding universal preschool as many states have begun, implementing dropout prevention programs, enhancing community programs that support youth through challenging years, and making college more affordable.
- Infrastructure. Reliable roads and bridges, flood protection, and other major public works projects, not only create good jobs, but provide a lasting benefit for the entire economy that businesses and families can rely on.
- In addition to the areas above that need increased federal investment, we also need to expand affordable childcare options to unleash the greater economic potential of Latinas, whose labor force participation rate grew 14 percent between 1970 to 2007.
Ensure a Fair Playing Field
Companies and workers who are working hard and playing by the rules shouldn’t be undercut by those who knowingly break the law to get an advantage over their competitors. Violations of the minimum wage and other employment law obligations are all too common, especially for low-wage workers who are unfamiliar with their legal rights, resulting in economic hardship for the worker and unfair competition for law-abiding employers. It is equally unfair that women in the workplace are all too often paid less than male counterparts for performing the same work. To ensure a fair playing field for employers and employees alike, we support:
- Vigorous enforcement of employment laws to deter and remedy illegal practices.
- Equal pay initiatives to remove unfair pay disparities and boost Latinas’ and families’ incomes.
Increase Latinos in Economic Policy-Making Positions.
Promoting the appointment of talented Latino leaders to positions at key agencies will help our community’s economic prospects. More Latino leadership in the federal and state agencies that are tasked with directing and promoting investment in our businesses and workforce will help government better understand our community’s unique character and needs, and better enable America to tap in our community’s energy.”
Maintain Support for the Most Vulnerable
With all of the economic challenges facing Latinos, it is more important than ever to ensure that the basic social safety net remains intact so as to provide a lifeline to the most vulnerable in our community and those families that have been hit by hard times.
- We oppose cuts to safety net and income support programs that provide critical income and health care for the elderly, disabled, and children such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.
- Promoting the appointment of talented Latino leaders to positions at key agencies will help our community’s economic prospects. More Latino leadership in the federal and state agencies that are tasked with directing and promoting investment in our businesses and workforce will help government better understand our community’s unique character and needs, and better enable America to tap in our community’s energy.”
- And we support efforts to ensure that survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault are able to change their working hours where feasible, receive temporary unemployment compensation when they have to quit a job to move elsewhere in order to keep themselves and their children safe, and not get penalized for taking time off work to address critical safety needs for their families, such as meeting with law enforcement or filing for an order of protection.