Big Brother To Become Big Nanny?
Whether it be free tuition, free healthcare, free birth control, or whatever else may be on the Left’s shopping list—everything comes at a cost.
Now, it appears that the latest (but certainly not the last) item on the Left’s shopping list is an expensive ($168 billion) nationalized child care plan.
— SEIU (@SEIU) May 16, 2015
A group of advocates is making a full-throttled attempt to turn child care into a collective, social responsibility. On Thursday, the Make It Work campaign unveiled a proposal for federally subsidized child care that would dramatically expand the scope of government aid to 26 million lower- and middle-income working parents, at an estimated cost of $168 billion per year when it’s fully phased in over 10 years. The group is now looking to pressure presidential candidates (cough, Hillary) to respond to its agenda in early primary states. “2016 will be the year that America stands up and demands an agenda that supports working families,” said Tracy Sturdivant, co-leader of Make It Work. The campaign is also calling for paid leave, paycheck transparency, and action on other pocketbook issues that have attracted the support of Gloria Steinem and Sen. Patty Murray.
To put the scale and price tag in context, the long-term cost of the day care program after it’s fully implemented could easily outstrip the estimated $1.2 trillion cost of Obamacare over the next ten years. But the point isn’t whether such a government program could pass Congress now—or any time in the near future—but that we need to fundamentally reconsider the way we think about child care, whose economics are becoming increasingly crazy, to our economy’s detriment. “It is a big number, but the truth is that someone is bearing the cost—someone is bearing that cost every day, and it’s the hardworking families that are struggling on their own to piece together care on their own,” said Vivien Labaton, who is co-leading Make It Work’s campaign. “It’s a national problem that calls for a national solution.” [Emphasis added.]
Of course, the SEIU would be all over this idea (like a kid to, say, a McDonalds’ Happy Meal). Why?
Because, once nationalized, as opposed to going state-by-state as the SEIU has had to do to unionize child care workers, nationalized child care workers are ripe to unionize through the stroke of an executive pen (see TSA).
Actually, though, the idea isn’t really new.
In 1971, Congress passed the Comprehensive Child Development Act on a bipartisan vote. Co-sponsored by Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale and Indiana Representative John Brademas, the act established a network of nationally funded, locally administered, comprehensive child care centers, which were to provide quality education, nutrition, and medical services. Mondale viewed the measure as a first step toward universal childcare. Wanting “to avoid typing it as a poor person’s program,” Mondale later explained, the centers were to be open to all on a sliding scale basis. Congress authorized real money for the program—in today’s dollars, the equivalent of five times the 2012 federal budget for Head Start.
But President Richard Nixon vetoed it. Declaring the Comprehensive Child Development Act to be “a long leap into the dark,” Nixon ominously warned that it would “commit the vast moral authority of the National Government to the side of communal approaches to child rearing over against the family-centered approach.” [Emphasis added.]
Why, having the national government responsible for child-rearing…what could possibly go wrong with that?