Easing the burden of people in the “sandwich” generation who must care for both their children and aging parents amid a struggling economy will be a key theme for President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address on Wednesday.
President Obama’s administration will seek to help “middle class families who are struggling in this economy, and [provide] the help they need to get ahead,” the White House said in a released statement today.
President Obama acknowledges that having a stronger economy and more job opportunities are the most important issues for the middle class, the statement says. What we must also do, he says, is “to reverse the declines middle-class families saw not just these past few years, but have seen for over a decade.”
He proposes nearly doubling the Child Care Tax Credit for families making less than $85,000 per year. Families can now claim up to $3,000 in expenses for one child or $6,000 for two children. In addition, there would be a $1.6 billion increase in child care funding that would benefit 235,000 children from lower income families.
Middle class families in the “sandwich” generation will also receive help in caring for their parents. The initiative will add funding to various programs that provide respite care, or temporary relief, for families that care for their aging relatives. The various programs also provide transportation and adult day care.
Lastly, the government will seek to make planning and saving for retirement easier for the middle class. The initiative will improve various aspects of 401(k) plans and expanding Saver’s Credit.
Obama also will propose capping federal student loan repayment to be at most 10 percent of the borrower’s discretionary income to assist recent graduates in the tough job market. In addition, all student loan debt will be forgiven after 20 years of payment.