The child-care problem nobody’s talking about

There was also in the debate a kind of detachment from real life. A voter asked: How will you prioritize accessing quality affordable child care?” The candidates were indignant that women can be held from the workforce by the high cost of child care. Pete Buttigieg vowed to get federal dollars” involved, and spoke of stunted careers. Ms. Warren said, My plan is universal child care for everyone.” She told of how she was almost forced off track” by child care problems. Mr. Sanders said, Every psychologist in the world knows 0 through 4 are the most important years of human life, intellectually and emotionally.”

No one spoke with compassion for parents, for mothers who forgo the earnings and status (“I have a job”) and relationships (“I’m not lonely all day”) of having a job to stay home with kids under 4. No one said that actually a lot of parents think the most important thing is to stay home and raise the kids, that many struggle to do it, and we might want to help them. No one noted we don’t give any particular honor to those who stay home, even though our culture depends on them.

What seemed to guide all the answers was a technocratic assumption that it’s best for little children to be raised by well-compensated strangers as mom is absorbed into the workforce, where she’ll finally achieve full self-actualization.

It was all so . . . cold. And detached from real life as many live it.

Peggy Noonan

January 17, 2020

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