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The Childcare Boogeyman

By Jesse Taylor
Wednesday, June 25, 2008 14:56 EDT
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imageGather ’round real close-like, everyone. I’ve got a spooky story to tell you about the Government and the Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Mommies.

One of the most dramatic changes in American life in the years since World War II involves the way we raise our children.

We used to do it ourselves. Now, convinced we have better things to do, many of us leave the job to others.

“Better things” including earning the money to feed and clothe them. Because we’re selfish like that.

Encouraging this flight from parenthood, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has proposed what he calls his “Zero to Five” plan. It is a collection of programs aimed at getting the government involved in the raising of your children from the moment they are born.

“The first part of my plan focuses on providing quality affordable early childhood education to every child in America,” Obama said in a November speech. “As president, I will launch a Children’s First Agenda that provides care, learning and support to families with children ages zero to five.”

“We’ll create Early Learning Grants to help states create a system of high-quality early care and education for all young children and their families,” he said. “And we’ll help more working parents find a safe, affordable place to leave their children during the day by improving the educational quality of our childcare programs and increasing the childcare tax credit.”

In the middle of the night, government stormtroopers will break into your home and give your child a pillow with proper lumbar support. And then never be heard from again…

This week, Obama upped his ante by vowing to “double funding for after-school programs that help children learn and give parents relief.”

Obama, of course, will also continue to defend your “right” to hire a physician to kill your child in utero so you won’t have to raise the child at all.

Not to be all rainy on the parade, but if you have an abortion, the government most certainly won’t be involved in the raising of said potential future child at all. Not that I’m necessarily advocating that path, but still.

“In 1948, only about 17 percent of married mothers were in the labor force,” wrote Cohany and Sok. “By 1995, their labor force participation rate had reached 70 percent.”

Note that these are “married mothers” — not single moms, who because of illegitimacy, divorce or a husband’s death are forced to work outside the home.

You know, legitimate reasons to step away from your children long enough to earn the money to keep the heat on. You heard it here first, ladies – dead husband means a live job!

In fact, as of 2005 (the latest year cited by Cohany and Sok), more than 53 percent of married American women with infants (babies less than 1 year old) worked outside the home.

Some of the data points to the conclusion that this phenomenon is driven as much by changes in our values as in changes in our economy.

For example, relative poverty was clearly not the most powerful factor driving married mothers of infants to work outside the home. In fact, those whose husbands earned an income ranking in the lowest 20 percent were the least likely to go to work, Cohany and Sok discovered, while those whose husbands earned an income that ranked in the highest 20 percent were the second least likely to work.

Less than half of these relatively poor and relatively rich mothers with infants worked.

Yet, of the married mothers with infants whose husbands earned an income in the middle 20 percent, 64.4 percent worked outside the home.

Which, of course, points to poor mothers not having the money to afford the childcare – poverty was the most powerful factor keeping married mothers in the home. Likewise, well-off mothers wouldn’t need to work outside of the home because they wouldn’t need the money to survive. So, now, we’ve got economic reasons for staying in or heading out of the home. What are the moral reasons?

Similarly, Cohany and Sok discovered: “The more children a woman has, the less likely she is to be in the labor force.” Almost 60 percent of married mothers with infants who had only one child worked. Only 36.6 percent of those who had five or more children worked.

In America today, the rarer child makes a scarcer mom.

Yeah, because more children means more money for childcare. Now…the moral reason!

It is also telling that while 58.5 percent of native-born mothers with infants worked outside the home, only 35 percent of immigrant mothers with infants did.

Because it’s harder for immigrant mothers to find work that, again, would allow them to pay for the childcare to work outside of the home, particularly if they lack familial connections in the area.

…And the moral reason!

Some force in our culture that was not as strong in 1948 as it is today is devaluing traditional family life and the stay-at-home mom.

…Which would be?!?

But this force could be waning. “After a lengthy and dramatic advance,” concluded Cohany and Sok, “labor force participation rates for married mothers of infants peaked in 1997 and have been relatively stable since 2000.”

…And the force would be?

Through his plans to increase government funding and control of the rearing of children ages “zero to five,” Barack Obama would increase, rather than decrease, the force that drives mothers of infants to leave them in someone else’s care. He would also cause a wholly unjust transfer of wealth.

What the fuck is the moral force?

The force such that we’ve seen so far is purely economic – and no amount of government programs will change that reality, only provide the opportunity for families to take advantage of them in order to get better jobs and provide a better life for their kids. You know, like the pagan whores they are.

The “unjust transfer”, incidentally, is couples with a stay-at-home parent paying so that other bad parents can go have jobs and be even more productive members of society. You know, what took the Roman Empire down. There’s a reason, incidentally, that the author here isn’t able to generate his moral reason – there isn’t one. There’s no moral arbiter in society telling us to toss our kids in the brightly colored hole while we go on to the glory of $11 an hour office work, cavorting freely with the admin who constantly talks about his IBS and the sales rep with the drinking problem.

There are, however, bills to pay and people to feed, a consideration that should be secondary to maintaining the proper place of the mother in the home. Otherwise, we risk the entire destabilization of our society through kids with proper nutrition and a bevy of Satanist games they learned at daycare, like Ring Around The Christian.

And that, people, is the scariest outcome of them all.

Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor is an attorney and blogger from the great state of Ohio. He founded Pandagon in July, 2002, and has also served on the campaign and in the administration of former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. He focuses on politics, race, law and pop culture, as well as the odd personal digression when the mood strikes.
 
 
 
 
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