The Biden-Harris day care disaster

By Washington Examiner

It’s an election year, and so the Biden administration is going all-in on an ill-considered, poorly targeted campaign of subsidizing child care.

Biden’s child care plan is expensive social engineering that would create shortages and reward special interests while providing no help to millions of parents. While we grant it will get glowing press and might sound good in a stump speech, there are no redeeming traits to this plan. None. It is wretched from top to bottom.

“Make no mistake,” Vice President Kamala Harris posted last week. “President Joe Biden and I intend to cap child care costs at $10 a day for the average family and make preschool free for all four-year-olds.”

It’s imprudent for the government to spend tens of billions of dollars a year on child care at a time of record deficits and high inflation. Any pro-family spending or tax breaks Congress sees fit to provide should go to slight expansions of the child tax credit (indexing it for inflation, at the very least).

Giving parents money or letting them keep more of their own is obviously superior family policy because it gives parents a choice. Some will spend their tax savings on day care. Others will use the cash cushion as a way to work less and thus spend more time with children. Still others will use the money to build a granny flat or hire a nanny.

But the Biden administration seems dominated by ideologues who think there is only one right choice for a couple: two full-time jobs and institutional day care.

Most parents, however, do not want this. American Compass found in a 2021 poll that 53% of married mothers prefer to have one stay-at-home parent at least until the youngest child is in kindergarten.

This truth will be lost on the governing and media elites. “Whereas lower-, working-, and middle-class adults are most likely to choose a full-time worker and a stay-at-home parent as their ideal,” American Compass reported, “upper-class adults prefer both parents to work full-time and to rely on paid childcare.”

In this way, Biden’s day care subsidies are like his student loan bailouts: Wealth transfers to his highly educated, high-income base in high-cost states.

What’s more, the $10-dollars-a-day child care plan simply will not work. Ten dollars a day is the same tagline used by the liberal government of Canada, where the day care industry is imploding.

Subsidizing demand is not the way to make a thing more available and affordable. If you simply subsidize demand for a thing, it gets more and more expensive: See American healthcare and higher education.

So, what Canada has done, and what the Biden administration is planning, is to cap the out-of-pocket costs. In Canada, this has created shortages of day care spots, and the regulatory burdens that come with the money are driving many day care centers out of business.

Those regulations are mostly not about safety. They are about special-interest politics and culture war. The Biden administration will push day care providers to hire union workers and will use the federal money to tighten the noose on religiously affiliated day cares that don’t subscribe to the current elite rules on gender identity and sexuality.

Make no mistake, as the vice president likes to say, child care subsidies don’t subsidize families so much as they subsidize work.

But this is an absurd priority. The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that women make up 49.9% of all working people. If we round to the nearest percentage point, women have been at 50% for the past eight years except for two pandemic months when they rounded down to 49%. There is no sane policy framework that would prescribe Uncle Sam spend hundreds of billions of dollars trying to make women outnumber men in the workforce.

A budget-busting, class warfare, culture war, special-interest subsidizing, market-wrecking plan should never see the light of day. The administration should be embarrassed for even proposing it.

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