Child Care Builds Bridges for Families and Politicians
They say politics makes strange bedfellows, and the same can be said for child care. Parents, government, business, social conservatives, and liberal advocates all agree that child care is a priority for this country.
The latest “strange bedfellow” in the child care conversation is The Conference Board’s Committee for Economic Development, a national think tank with a Board of Trustees filled with CEOs from economic powerhouses like Unisys Corporation and Merck. As a part of its ongoing “Sustaining Capitalism” series, the Committee for Economic Development launched a new project, The Economic Role of Paid Child Care in the U.S.
Child Care is an Economic Issue
The report’s opening sentence gets right to the point. “One of the most fundamental roles played by child care is enabling parents to participate in the labor force.” Folks from all different walks of life can agree to that statement.
Much of the report covers the same arguments that parents and providers have been yelling from the rafters: parents, especially women, are forced to leave work or higher education because of lack of access to child care. Working class families from both rural and urban settings struggle to afford quality child care. Most families rely on a patchwork of unpaid, informal child care, which may be unreliable and not equipped to meet a child’s unique developmental needs.
This ongoing child care crisis, exacerbated by the pandemic, has economic consequences. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce found that 11% of rural working parents and 13% of urban working parents planned to voluntarily leave their jobs because of lack of child care. And more than half of rural and urban parents pursuing higher education said that lack of child care created significant disruptions to their studies.
You know who can afford high-quality child care? People earning over $150,000. So, the politicians who posture about the “liberal elites” not being in touch with working class Americans are the same ones who oppose helping working class Americans get a hand up in today’s economy.
Child Care is a Nonpartisan Issue
Eight out of ten Republican voters and nine out of ten Democratic voters support income-based child care assistance to working families and a child care tax credit, according to a 2021 National Policy Poll. This level of bipartisan agreement is a rarity in today’s rancorous politics. Sadly, Republican legislators are out of sync with their constituents and are dragging their heels.
A handful of conservative lawmakers 和 strategists are promoting accessible child care including Republican Senators Mitt Romney, Josh Hawley, Mike Lee, and Marco Rubio (yes, really!) Their rationale is more about boosting birth rates and fueling the economy than child development and parental choices, but, again, strange bedfellows.
We are serious about providing child care – a vital tool and resource for families to raise happy children and build Pennsylvania’s economic future. Child Care Voters, an exciting new voter engagement project, is gearing up to make child care THE hot topic in the 2022 state elections. Child Care Voters is going to drill home the message to candidates that child care is essential to sustain families, and – in the words of the Committee for Economic Development – capitalism.
Check out the Child Care Voters’ webpage 和 Facebook page and register yourself as a Child Care Voter!
Pennsylvanians of all stripes will come together and prove that strange political bedfellows can make all the difference. With your engagement, we will show candidates that, behind those poll numbers, there are real people who demand child care, and to ignore us will be at a their political peril.