President Biden and his administrators have proposed showering $225 billion on government-subsidized daycare over the next 10 years.
Here’s why that’s an immoral, unconstitutional, impractical idea.
First, whether daycare is depicted as “helping parents in need” (whatever politicians mean by that – every parent needs something) or depicted as “education,” no one has a right to the fruits of someone else’s labor. Subsidized child care is not a “right,” and education is not a right. No one has a positive (as in, posited by government) “right” to anything that must be provided by another, because that enslaves the other. Rights are reciprocally negative, meaning that they are mutually “hands-off” – people have the right to be left alone, free from coercion, theft, property invasion, and physical attack.
Yet, people claim that since kids can’t care for or educate themselves, they have a “right” to government-provided daycare or education. This line of thinking implies that government can force Person A to hand over his or her earnings so that the bureaucracy can hand that wealth to Person B to “educate” B’s child, or hand it to a government school for teachers to “educate” the child. But that means Person A will be enslaved for a certain number of hours a day, laboring for the government, and if “we” can enslave Person A to pay a teacher to instruct Person B’s child, why not remove the middle-man and just force the teacher to provide the “education” free of charge – i.e., why not enslave the teacher, instead of Person A?
If there’s a right to “education,” why can’t that thought process be followed to its logical, immoral conclusion?
Of course, few leftists would openly agree to such an idea, because it strips the façade off of the redistribution of wealth and exposes the falsity of government “giving” anything to anyone under the pretext that the recipients have a “right” to it.
But that is precisely what Biden wants to do with his $225 billion daycare proposal, and that, as FEE’s Kerry McDonald reports, comes in addition to the $200 billion Biden wants to spend on federalizing preschool.
So, let’s continue talking about both, because doing so brings us to our second reason why these ideas are bad: they're unconstitutional.
Biden, all the people working for that leviathan federal government, and all state employees, swear to abide by the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution not only does not provide any enumerated power for the feds to fund daycare or education, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments strictly tell us that anything not explicitly written as an enumerated power is not a power, and is reserved to the states and the residents therein. As Tennessee Congressman David Crockett said in his famous 1831 speech known as “Not Yours to Give,” he learned in his first term that shifting money to people “in need” was not sanctioned by the rules he swore to uphold. If politicians on the state and local level want to engage in that redistribution of wealth and work against all basic human ethics, they can check their own state constitutions. Better yet, they can check their souls and realize that taxation is a form of theft and enslavement.
The next reason that Biden’s plan is a bad idea is offered by McDonald. It’s the fact that, on a practical level,
The president’s plan is presented as a way to get mothers back in the labor force by subsidizing child care expenses. ‘The high cost of child care continues to make it hard for parents – especially women — to work outside the home and provide for their families,’ the plan states. Yet, a Harvard economist who served in the Obama-Biden administration as the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors challenges the effect of the American Families Plan on parents’ workforce participation.
McDonald refers to a Peterson Institute for International Economics study and report written by PIIE’s Jason Furman, Melissa Kearney (University of Maryland), and Wilson Powell III (The Kennedy School, at Harvard – not known as a bastion of small-government philosophy), refuting Biden’s claims that nasty unemployment rates can be fixed if the feds hand out daycare cash. Biden's team claims that hordes of parents will re-enter the workforce while their kids become experiments in federal babysitting, but as McDonald notes, the PIIE study says:
This analysis demonstrates that despite the widespread challenges that parents across the country have faced from ongoing school and daycare closures, excess employment declines among parents of young children are not a driver of continuing low employment levels.
And McDonald adds:
In fact, parents with young children have actually fared better over the past year than workers without children. The researchers found that the overall employment rate of people without young children dropped 5.2 percent, compared to a 4.5 percent decline for parents of young children.
How about this?
If people want daycare for their kids, they can pay for it themselves or turn to others to show true charity, rather than the machinery of government forcing people to pay for it, changing the direction in which capital travels, and warping the market.
And when it comes to $200 billion more in proposed federal subsidies for state or local “preschool,” it’s essential to remember the anti-ethics of wealth redistribution, the lack of constitutionality, the economic mutation, and the practical problems such “government education” creates.
As McDonald wrote in an excellent May 6 FEE piece, government-managed preschool is bureaucratic, one-size-fits-all, and does not see long-term improvements for children thrown into the schools.
First, she noted:
The Brookings Institution explained back in 2017 that oft-cited studies showing positive gains from state pre-K programs are inadequate and that more in-depth studies of the lasting impact of public pre-K programs, including the Head Start Impact study and the Tennessee Voluntary Pre-Kstudy, reveal that any short-term benefits were gone by the end of kindergarten.
And she observed:
More alarming, by third grade the academic performance of children in the Tennessee pre-k program actually lagged behind the control group of children who did not participate in the program. Similarly troubling, by third grade the children in the Head Start program were found by teachers to have more behavioral and emotional issues than the control group of children who did not attend the program.
Which jibes with information my father, Paul, gathered with his colleagues at the National Institute of Education, in DC (he was there during the Reagan Administration trying to dismantle the Department of Ed), and which I observed in NH, after the state in 1996 passed a mandatory, half-day, “government-provided kindergarten” plan – a plan that, by the time the first group of “government kindergarten kids” reached sixth grade, saw no improvement in their population’s standardized tests, and the results continue to decline.
Throwing someone else’s tax money into a government-run, anti-competitive daycare-preschool paradigm is not only constitutionally and practically wrong, it’s unethical.
Schools are supposed to help kids learn.
Why can’t politicians?