November 22 2011

PelosiCare for Kids

Carrie L. Lukas

Americans want ObamaCare repealed. They recognize that liberal promises about government-controlled medicine—that it would bring health care costs down and preserve the private health care system—were bunk. One entitlement program, the CLASS program for long-term care, had to be rescinded because lawmakers wisely required that it had to be judged fiscally sustainable, which Department officials couldn't even figure out a way to fake. Not so with ObamaCare, which is slowly being implement, even though it's increasingly clear that it will be a full-on disaster for taxpayers.

Faced with this evidence, former Speaker Pelosi wants to double-down on this failed government-entitlement model and “do for childcare what we did for healthcare.”

Tina Korbe writing for Hotair.com dissects the many reasons why a government childcare entitlement is a terrible idea. For starters, it would encourage more parents to turn their children into the government-subsidized childcare centers, and while it's an uncomfortable topic to discuss, research suggests that this isn't always the best situation for kids.

Government regulations and subsidies would also almost certainly end up disadvantaging smaller or alternative childcare providers (at-home care situations, care by relatives or friends, for example), which, as I write about in a chapter on daycare in my book, are parents' preferred alternative to parent-care. In other words, the quality of childcare used by many would likely go down, rather than up, in Rep. Pelosi had her way.

Tina hints at this, but notes that as someone who doesn't currently have kids it's uncomfortable to comment on, but there's also a matter of fairness. Pelosi complains about her own experience of “being unable to find a babysitter” after having five kids in six years. As a good liberal, the solution to one's personal problem is always to create a top-down-government program to redesign society as a whole. But why should other taxpayers be tasked with solving the problem of finding care for a family of five?

It shouldn't matter, but I get to comment on this from the position of a mom with three kids, with number four due in the spring. I understand that finding and paying for babysitters can be a pain and a real sacrifice. Yet no one has forced me to have this many kids. Moreover I know many women (and men for that matter) who wish they could have had more children but either as a matter of circumstance or health can't. Should they really have to pay for what many would consider my good luck, or at least, is a choice I freely made?

People often assume that when we are talking about subsidizing childcare, we are talking about helping the poor. But this isn't necessarily the case. Many lower-income families make huge sacrifices to keep a parent at home when children are young because of their conviction that such care is best for the child. We shouldn't discourage this concept, and surely shouldn't force parents willing to stay-home to subsidize those who go back to worse.

There's a case to be made that our current system of taxation and government programs penalizes big families, and the young in general. Ramesh Ponnunu has written about this, and makes the case for greater tax breaks for families with children to help those who are raising the necessary, next generation. The benefits and drawbacks of a more family-friendly tax code is a discussion worth having. But simply creating a true government nanny state, where parents are encouraged to turn their kids over to be tended by government-provided, bureaucrat, daycare workers, isn't family-friendly at all, and would ultimately be another expensive disaster for taxpayers.

Voters whose top priority is electing those committed to repealing ObamaCare should add this to their list: Make sure to ask candidates about their position on the next, nightmarish government entitlement program: PelosiCare for kids.

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