Our child care system used to be Mom

Beginning in the 1960s the women’s movement, in the quest for equal treatment, also convinced many women that just being a housewife and mother was unfulfilling when compared with a career; downright demeaning if you listen to some liberators.

As a result, the number of working married women began to increase. This in turn meant more income for households. Since it is well established that new found income is mostly used to raise ones living standard rather than saved, we were off and running.

Bigger houses, bigger cars and two of them were needed. Eventually cars weren’t just cars they were SUVs and pick-up trucks. More stuff! Demand helped to create rising prices and, of course, more difficulty keeping up with the Joneses.

All this in a period during which family size declined while house size nearly doubled. Go figure.

Families were trapped. Obtaining all that society now said was desirable made it a necessity that both parents in a family work. For most families child care is now a must. In some families where dual income is not a basic issue, career may be a priority.

Interestingly, while all this was going on, the number of single parent households and the age at which a first child was born increased. Both put more financial pressure on families. For many families there will be a collision between retirement and college expenses.

It’s totally absurd to me that working parents are paying 1/3 of their income in child care costs. We will address the crisis in child care by fighting to make sure that no working family pays more than 7% of their income on this basic need.

Sen Bernie Sanders

Now it’s a crisis. We have created a family environment where we need an organization, government, society to raise our children during the day. Mom and Dad are at work … to make ends meet or to acquire and keep lots of stuff.

All of our actions and behavior over the last several decades have had consequences and now we are told they are political crises.

6 comments

  1. In the early eighties in an econ seminar, the professor brought in an opinion article suggesting the best way to solve the high unemployment rate was to restrict women from the workforce (like the good old days). The class spent the whole period just trying to decide whether the author was serious, or facetious.

    It wasn’t until years later I learned that was Hitler’s answer to their unemployment problem also. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

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  2. Somewhere this week I read that one of the EU nations offer up to 4 years of family leave. Now I am not for the government (read that as me) paying for someone else to stay home and raise their children, but, to go along with your commentary today, they recognize the need for a parent to stay home and raise their children. Maybe it is time to stop keeping up with the Jones and stay home and live a little more frugal lifestyle. Who knows, without that second car payment, maybe you can save for retirement?

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    1. Ironically, without that second car payment, how many good paying middle class jobs in the auto industry will be lost?

      There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

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      1. I was going to comment on Hitler’s solution until I thought it out. On the surface, if you take children bearing women (or men) out of the workforce, you would have an instant labor shortage. Then I got thinking. Over time, wages would have to increase so that the households that were used to two incomes can continue paying their bills in the short term. Or as you pointed out, with less money, less purchasing power and less jobs. Also, unless the border was secure, the labor supply won’t change thus wages won’t rise. Then the final nail in my support of keeping a women or a male home to raise a child was the free market system. The free market will convince you that there is something that you need to buy. If your spouse can just work a few hours a day, then you can buy it. Before you know it, we are right back to where we are. Two income households again.

        The first modern credit card was invented in 1950. By the mid 1970’s, the two most common cards (VISA & Mastercard today) were well established. I wonder if this access to debt was a factor in more women entering the work force. I know my mother entered the work force in the early 70’s and then she had to work because my parents got divorced.

        The economy is full of unintended consequences.

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    2. My Dad said, “You can’t stay young forever, but you can be immature for the rest of your life.”

      Pretty sure he “borrowed” that from someone, like many of his other adages.

      He also said debt (consumer debt) is one of the things that made America great. How many good middle class jobs would we have if no one could buy a car until they had saved up the cash?

      There is a corollary: To solve the traffic congestion and emissions problem, mandate that no car can be licensed to operate until it is fully paid for.

      Frugal is a double edged sword.

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