Should the government provide free childcare? | The Tylt
Should the government provide free childcare?
Subsidizing child care improves worker retention, boosts our economy, and results in better public health outcomes. Plus, it's high time Americans got with the program. The male breadwinner-female caregiver family model has gone the way of the Edsel, and it's time we changed policy to fit reality:
Day care, in other words, has become a permanent reality, although the public conversation barely reflects that fact. The issue of child care is either neglected as a “women’s issue” or obsessed over in mommy-wars debates about the virtues of day care versus stay-at-home moms....we still haven’t come to terms with the shift of women from the home to the workplace.
But for many conservatives, it's an issue of responsibility. Why should the government have to pay for someone to take care of your child while you are at work? It's a similar argument to the one against state-sponsored health insurance; the government isn't here to take care of us, we need to take care of ourselves. If you're going to have children, you need to figure out how they will be taken care of.
Advocacy groups point out the prohibitive expense of American childcare holds back low-income families economically and developmentally:
Since the 1980s, child care costs have nearly doubled; in 31 states, infant day care costs more annually than in-state college tuition.
Pres. Barack Obama and others argue that creating a sustainable, affordable public daycare system in America is a must-have, and that it's time to move beyond prejudice against single parents and outmoded ideas of family life. Two-thirds of American mothers work outside the home today. At the New Republic, Jonathan Cohen argues:
The United States has always been profoundly uncomfortable with the idea of supporting child care outside the home, for reasons that inevitably trace back to beliefs over the proper role of women and mothers.