The Republicans are pushing a resentment politics take on the Biden American Families plan. Here’s turtle:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday responded to Biden’s pitch, made in a joint address to Congress, by declaring that the new administration “wants to jack up taxes in order to nudge families toward the kinds of jobs Democrats want them to have, in the kinds of industries Democrats want to exist, with the kinds of cars Democrats want them to drive, using the kinds of child-care arrangements that Democrats want them to pursue.”
Let’s look at the daycare part, specifically. Well-intentioned good-faith actors like JD Vance, Josh Hawley and David Brooks have all made very serious arguments that subsidizing daycare is taking away the sacred right of people to take care of their kids at home. Not linking to any of those assholes, but their argument is the usual “nobody can have nice things because it would take away precious freedumb.” (Side note: Republican condescension is always in the eyes of the beholder, because Brooks especially has zero idea or concern about why some rural poor mom would want to take care of her kids at home.)
There are a couple ways to address this. The first is to try to rebut it by pointing out all the logical reasons why subsidizing daycare is good for families, and especially good for women. Scott Lemieux did that, so I won’t repeat it here.
But I think that the better argument is just to subsidize taking care of kids at home and raising taxes on the rich and/or corporations a bit to pay for it. The best argument I could find for that comes from blog favorite Matt Breunig. There’s plenty of trolling in his piece, but he supports his argument pretty well, and I agree with his conclusion:
Rather than fighting the cultural mommy wars over whether stay-at-home parents are good or bad, the Democrats should instead simply craft a child care regime that supports parent care and center-based care. The most obvious way to do this is to provide free (or heavily subsidized) child care services for all who want them and to provide a home child care allowance for those who prefer to care for their young children (below the age of 3) in the home. This is what I proposed in my Family Fun Pack and this is how it is done in Finland and Norway.
The general rule of thumb in these stupid attempts to divide poor rural voters should be to make sure they get their share, couple getting their share to taxing Republican donors, and then make Republicans explain why they’re helping the rich to hurt their base.