by Paul Krugman
Feb. 21, 2019, 957 c
Elizabeth Warren’s child care plan would be a life-changer for many parents trying to return to the work force.
Damon Winter/The New York Times
“For millions of Americans with children, life is a constant, desperate balancing act. They must work during the day, either because they’re single parents or because decades of wage stagnation mean that both parents must take jobs to make ends meet. Yet quality child care is unavailable or unaffordable.
And the thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way. Other wealthy countries either have national child care systems or subsidize care to put it in everyone’s reach. It doesn’t even cost all that much. While other advanced countries spend, on average, about three times as much as we do helping families — so much for our vaunted “family values” — it’s still a relatively small part of their budgets. In particular, taking care of children is much cheaper than providing health care and retirement income to seniors, which even America does.
Furthermore, caring for children doesn’t just help them grow up to be productive adults. It also has immediate economic benefits, making it easier for parents to stay in the work force.
Over the past 20 years, women’s prime-age employment in the U.S. has lagged ever further behind the rest of the advanced world — at this point we’re well below even Japan. And lack of child care is probably one main reason.”