Let’s Strengthen Biden’s Child Care Policy to Unite America
Helping families generally finds bipartisan support. And President Joe Biden has put forth a massive child care and tax proposal to keep child care centers open, help low-income families with child care, and offer tax relief on the cost of having kids. These are great moves.
But like far too many efforts, this proposal is more reactive than proactive.
Without sustainable and equitable early childhood investments, the rest of us pay to prop up a losing proposition for American families. Continuing with business as usual pushes our current problems, from inequality to the climate crisis, onto future generations. How could Biden’s proposal be better? It could:
1) Cut all benefits to wealthy families who don’t need the funding.
2) Use those savings as cash incentives to power up family planning and early childhood investment systems in the United States to
a) target child abuse by amending the federal child abuse law,
b) incentivize delaying having kids until parents are really ready, and
c) promote environmentally just families for all regardless of income, ensuring resource availability for all, including future generations. Those changes – made as part of recognizing our sacred constitutional right to nature – would create massive long-run savings and catalyze sustainable development. We could start to give all kids a Fair Start in life.
Cory Booker has already proposed a vehicle – baby bonds – through which the modernizing changes could be accomplished, and a Missouri House committee just voted to invest more in incentivizing fostering and adoption.
Opponents to these changes will want to use Joe’s plan to incentivize unsustainable population growth, and use babies to grow the economy. Names like Ivanka Trump, Marco Rubio, Mitt Romney, and growth-minded people at Vox like Matthew Yglesias want to use child care, and especially child tax credits, as incentives for women to have kids to reverse falling birth rates. That’s short-sighted, and ignores every child’s right to a socially and ecologically #fairstart in life.
Changing the way we plan for and invest in families – doing it in a socially and ecologically sustainable way – is thinking ahead and creating long run change. The impacts would be ten to twenty times other things we could do to address the climate, inequity, and decline of democracy crises. Better family planning also has a massive impact on pandemics, improving our response and reducing risks. It’s time to raise the baseline for conditions at birth to set kids up for success for life and build a better future by recognizing the obligations of those at the top. That’s how we come together – or deliberately include future generations in democratic communities – and truly unite America around a common core. We rebuild Main Street by creating a middle class through future generations, at cost to Wall Street and through the elimination of poor and unsustainable family planning.
In this way we can proceed from fundamental values, and achieve the personal autonomy the political right values, by applying the equity the political left values – but specifically prioritizing children. We can take power away from big business and big government, the entities the left and right respectively oppose, and invest it in future generations. Learn more here.
That’s truly uniting.
The Having Kids Unite America campaign is not simply a Green New Deal – it’s a Real Deal, or a new and intergenerational social contract to ensure a #fairstart in life for all kids.
TAKE ACTION: Add your name to urge President Biden to improve the child care rescue package. And share the campaign with hashtag #UniteAmericaforkids