By: Nihal Krishan featuring IWF Policy Director Hadley Heath Manning

Biden’s child care proposal is part of a larger economic recovery plan titled “21st Century Caregiving and Education Workforce,” which would invest $775 billion over 10 years to rebuild and strengthen the nation’s caregiving economy through a free universal preschool program, in-home elder care, and long-term care for the disabled. The plan would be funded, in part, by rolling back some tax breaks for real estate investors with incomes over $400,000 and by “taking steps to increase tax compliance for high-income earners,” according to the Biden campaign.

Another child care expert, Hadley Heath Manning, director of policy at the conservative Independent Women’s Forum, said she appreciated the attention Biden and other Democrats were bringing to the issue of child care but suggested some significant changes.

“Although Biden’s plan sounds like a good idea, it will create standardization within child care and result in less choices for children and their parents,” said Heath Manning, who emphasized that a universal preschool program might pressure more parents into the workplace rather than choose to stay home and care for their children, as many would prefer to do.

Heath Manning said that one of the “unpopular and inconvenient truths” of Biden’s child care proposal is that most working mothers want to work less and have more of a work-life balance in order to spend more time with their children. Outsourcing child care to paid professionals would not solve this issue, said Heath Manning.

She added that stay-at-home parents were left out of Biden’s child care plan and that his universal preschool proposal could cause a fundamental shift in child-rearing. Heath Manning said that by creating a government-funded program, the question of “how young is too young” when it comes to sending children to institutions of learning is decided, essentially, by the government.

Heath Manning said she would support states and cities to provide child care or tuition support on a sliding scale, based on need, which would give parents the choice to use funds as they want for child care purposes. Another idea she floated was a government-funded dependent care Flexible Spending Account or FSA.

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