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If you actually want to make America great again, get more women in the workforce.
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That’s the top takeaway from a fresh survey by Standard & Poor’s chief U.S. economist, Beth Ann Bovino, who says in the latest POLITICO Cash podcast that the country would be in far better shape if women’s participation in the workforce hadn’t stalled out in the 1990s.
Bovino said the U.S. economy could possibly be much bigger and more successful if it just kept adding females to the workforce at the same rate Norway has because the 1970s. And she said addressing the problem would add a lot more to economic expansion than the tax-cut program, H.R. 1, right now moving through Congress.
“If the participation rate of females in america kept at the same rate as what happened in Norway, we’d have today, by 2016, an economy that’s $1.6 trillion larger,” she said. “That means $5,000 for every man, woman and kid in the U.S. It seems like it would be worth it.”
The pace of women joining the workforce in the U.S. slowed for most reasons, Bovino said. Great among them: the lack of mandated paid out maternity and paternity leave.
“The U.S. may be the only country in the OECD that doesn’t provide income support during maternity and paternity leave,” she said, discussing designed countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Production. “If it costs a lot as a woman who’s taking care of children, you are going to do a cost-benefit examination and state: ‘Is it worth it to get that paycheck when over 50 percent goes to child care? Maybe I’ll just stay at home.’”
Bovino, among Wall Street’s leading financial forecasters, said finding ways to boost participation among women can be especially type in the coming decades seeing as the baby-boom era retires.
“At a time whenever we have baby boomers leaving the workforce at an extremely sharp rate, having those women in the workforce over another few decades, the efficiency benefits and the competitive advantage that we would have, would grow the market by leaps and bounds, by 5 to 10 percent going forward.”
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On the public-insurance plan front, Bovino recommended adding a formal score, such as for example those done by the CBO, to every major piece of legislation, assessing how it would impact women in the workforce.
“Consider it as kind of a cost-benefit examination on your choice to work, considering kid care costs,” she said. “This is a thing that the CBO has done, or something similar, when the Affordable Treatment Act had been enacted.”
On the recent raft of sexual harassment cases in politics and the business enterprise universe, Bovino said it had been too soon to add a dollar cost but that the impact on females deciding to stick with careers and rise the organization ladder was likely immense.
“It’s extremely hard to quantify both the psychological impact about the women and the workforce,” she said. “Even if it happened to just a few women within the workplace, most likely the sentiment is experienced across the office, and that has a traumatic impact on morale. And if morale can be hurt, that slows down productivity.”