How to End the Child-Care Crisis

A child’s first 1,000 days are a time to be seized.

Comments: 268

  1. Of course, one could argue that only those people should have children who can afford to raise them. If this causes an unwanted lack of labor force, then society will be forced to take steps toward making childcare to be more affordable.

  2. @PaulN We're already seeing a all-time low in birth rates for a fourth year in a row. We're moving closer to forcing the issue of it being a societal good to help new parents, OR to expand immigration to make up the drop in new people.

  3. @PaulN How does one argue for this? Forced sterilization?

  4. Here's are some other thoughts. Expand education for planned parenthood and birth control. Require prenatal and financial training for all expectant and prospective parents. Enforce child support rigorously. Before people bring children into the world, they should be aware of the immense responsibilities. You need a license to drive; perhaps you should have one to become a parent.

  5. @Rich That's all well and good, but affordable childcare is a crisis even for people who are relatively well off and prepared. Having two kids in a "good" daycare where I live costs more than our mortgage, and yet the teachers are still grossly underpaid. The point is that making sure children - even poor children - are well-cared for is not only the right and decent thing to do, it benefits *everyone* long term.

  6. @Sarah You need to investigate how it is possible that it costs more than a mortgage and yet the care providers are low paid. Could it be that paying the executive director of the non profit childcare provider is not cost effective. Could it be that the cousin of the executive director is charging above market rates to rent the facility to the "charity" that is getting funds from the government in addition to what households are paying? Could it be that the rates charged to middle income workers increased when the payments became tax deductible and the cronies are raking off excess cash?

  7. @ebmem In NYC, where I live, childcare costs about $30,000-$45,000 of after-tax income. This true if you're talking about day care for one child or a nanny (who presumably could watch more than one). My mortgage, by comparison, is $994 per month (though admittedly I live in a very low-cost part of NYC--they do exist).

  8. This phenomenon of rights inflation needs to be studied. It seems to be a matter of virtue signaling these days to declare any given value, condition, or issue to be “a fundamental right.” So far, this includes health care, a universal basic income, child care, a living wage, abortion, meaningful jobs, clean air and water, a comfy climate, free access to the Internet, and nice scenery. Nothing needs to be paid for, apparently, all of this and more is supposed to be given to everybody, and for free. The problem is that calling something a right is also to impose a burden on someone else to supply the item or items in question. Burdens are costs. They require work, effort, time and money. People who proliferate rights need to be aware of the costs and burdens imposed by their rights claims.

  9. @Eddie We call these things "the blessings of liberty" and we all expect that we will have more rights than our parents and that our children will have more rights than we do.

  10. @Eddie yes, we are. Thank you for your concern.

  11. @Eddie: "...health care, a universal basic income, child care, a living wage, abortion, meaningful jobs, clean air and water, a comfy climate, free access to the Internet, and nice scenery." All of that sounds reasonable. Although I haven't heard anyone say they have a right to 'nice scenery.' But it would be nice if we all had a place to breathe and enjoy.

  12. All laudable goals. How will you pay for them? Please show your work, too. Don't just say, "Tax the rich" or "Make the rich pay their fair share." I mean show me (1) how much your plans will costs and how you derived those figures, (2) the new taxes to cover those costs, (3) the bases for concluding the the new taxes (or increased marginal rates) will produce the revenue to cover those costs. Frankly, we need to take that approach with every proposal. Both Republicans and Democrats are unwilling to do so.

  13. @James - "Don't just say, "Tax the rich" or "Make the rich pay their fair share." Gee, James - I hope it's OK with you if I "just say" we should stop shoving windfall, unneeded, trickle-up, (R)egressive tax cuts down the insatiable, greedy maws of the already-obscenely-(R)ich pluto-corporatocracy like we've been doing in every (R) administration for the past 40 years while pretending they're good for the hoi polloi?

  14. There are too many "rights" being demanded these days. Who is going to enforce and pay for all these rights? Same thing goes for the right-to life advocates - who is going to pay for all these kids?

  15. @Swaz Fincklestein Just stick this one on the fridge along with the other cutesy ideas our political children come up with, like free college for all and free healthcare for all. Indulge them in their fantasies, this will never come to pass.

  16. @Swaz Fincklestein Child care is a lot cheaper than prison

  17. @Swaz Fincklestein Right to life advocates are not pro life. They are pro birth. After that event they don't much care what happens to those that have been born.

  18. Maybe this article fails to address the most important issue. Tyler Cowen at the Marginal Revolution blog asks "Is day care bad for kids, especially well-off kids?" (May 5, 2019). Cowen cites a forthcoming JPE article by Margherita Fort, Andrea Ichino and Giulio Zanella that finds that one additional daycare month at age 0–2 reduces IQ by 0.5% at age 8–14 in a relatively affluent population. The magnitude of this negative effect increases with family income. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis from psychology that children in daycare experience fewer one-to-one interactions with adults, with negative effects in families where such interactions are of higher quality.

  19. Comments complaining about this being a right and the costs involved are perplexing. Somehow, most other developed countries have figured this out. Tax rates are a bit higher, but more importantly spending priorities are different. And paid parental leave, and relatively low-cost, high-quality childcare is actually quite doable! It requires policy will and a communal mindset when it comes to our society - today's children will be the ones who run society and confront climate change head on. Boomers, if I may speak to you - these children will be the ones running society as you approach the end of your lives, and early intervention will yield a higher GDP and kinder, more compassionate people who will care for you in your last years. Finally, taking child care seriously as a national priority is not either/or with family planning, but something that goes hand in hand with it!

  20. @jackal Comparing the cost of public services in America vs other countries isn't an apples to apples comparison. We are functionally the security guards for the Western world, and we spend multiples more on our defense industry and military to subsidize the security of those countries. They have the privilege (not a right) to spend more of their budget on social programs, because we protect them. Like it or not, you live in the capital of the world police, and those costs don't exist in a vacuum.

  21. @jackal The comments are only perplexing to a jackal. There is zero evidence that children raised in day care centers are better off than those raised by their parents. "Early intervention" is ineffective as documented by HHS under Obama. There are tax incentives in place that make a federal gift of $12,000 per year to two parent families with children.

  22. Why address the boomers? Why not address the legions of people who have babies while they themselves are infants?

  23. Maybe the 21 percent of families with children under 3 who live in poverty should not have had children they cannot afford to raise. Maybe having children is not a right. Maybe it is a privilege that should be considered carefully before being undertaken, with the costs involved a priority. Maybe we need to stop sentimentalizing and romanticizing childbirth and family life and start viewing the raising of children more realistically. It's an expensive and difficult job that lasts at least 18 years, and maybe more, and isn't for everyone.

  24. Access to affordable birth control and women controlling their own reproductive decisions are key systems issue that are totally related to the child care issue and poverty.

  25. @Ms. Pea, children are not a luxury good. They are our fellow human beings. Saying "maybe the poor shouldn't have children" is an easy, lazy way to ignore our collective responsibility to the babies and children who are already here -- and who will continue to be born whether we think their parents should bring them into the world or not. Most other developed countries do much more than ours to help young families, enabling people who are not wealthy to get the support they need to parent their babies and young children successfully. Those countries have recognized that the investment pays off. We can and should do the same.

  26. @Ms. Oral contraceptives cost $10/month and abstinence is free. How much more affordable and or women's control is possible?

  27. Child care is a right, and it has been for many decades. But that right belongs to child, not the mother. The state has an obligation to care for every child if the parents fail to do so. But that does not and should not mean that the parents have any right to fail to take care of their children. The essence of what is really meant by "child care" here is to give the mother the right to abandon caring for her child temporarily many days per week, and to impose her parental obligation on the rest of society. I do not argue here against parents paying qualified others for temporarily caring for their children. The issue here is whether the parents have the right to force the rest of us to pay the cost of them temporarily abandoning their parental obligation.

  28. @Errol Yes, this is an important distinction. The child has a right to care from society. The parent does not have a right to subsidies for fulfilling their parental responsibilities. It is like public education. Society has an interest to ensure all children are cared for and educated. We can do that by training and paying care givers and educators a fair and living wage. But if we pay for the care and education, society reserves the right to specify how children are cared for and educated. We do not have an obligation to subsidize parents to care for their children, just as we do not have an obligation to give them vouchers for their children’s schooling.

  29. @Errol So what is it exactly that you recommend? One parent stays home? Guess what, that's not feasible for most households given the average cost of living, rising cost of an education, etc etc. Next will come the argument that if you can't afford to have a kid, don't have one. Well let's see... daycare in my state costs over $1000/month. That's a mortgage in many places. In addition, I have been on a waitlist for 3 different daycares since I was 5 weeks pregnant to get my kid in to 2 day a week daycare (he is nearly 6 months old). So even if I have the cash and the job flexibility to utilize childcare (even in a limited capacity), I can't. Given the cost of childcare and/or the cost of having a parent stay home full time, roughly 90% of the US can't afford to have children. Great you say? Think again. Folks without children suffer as well in this system, so yes, all will benefit from providing resources to make child rearing feasible. Lack of available, high quality pre-K childcare and education has been shown to increase crime and societal misconduct, lower chances of high school graduation (let alone attending college), and all of the snowball effects these things have. If you want there to be doctors and nurses to care for you when you are old, police and firemen to serve your community, or even a barista to serve you coffee in 20 years, you should support and be willing to help pay for raising good productive humans.

  30. @Errol why the mother, and not the father as well? What about single parents, who must work in order to provide for themselves and their families? And parents in poverty that cannot make enough to cover the cost of childcare? (and if they cannot even do that, staying home to parent and forgoing needed income is a non-starter). The issue here is not abandonment of parenting responsibilities. It is ensuring that our population can continue to procreate without driving themselves into the ground.

  31. I'm not a fan of this trend of calling any nice-to-have privilege a "right." Negative rights are "true rights," in that they simply demand that the government let the individual do what they want as long as it's not actively harming other people. Positive rights, where people claim entitlement to some public service, are a lot trickier because they typically involve transfer payments from certain demographics to subsidize that entitlement. In my opinion, the bar to prove that a positive right is truly justifiable to demand from society as a base need should be very high, because when if they involve setting up new bureaucratic frameworks then they inherently require forcibly reallocating wealth. I don't feel that publicly-subsidized-childcare-for-all passes that smell test.

  32. @asdfj It is a "right" if we decide it is. For example, many state constitutions guarantee a right to a basic public education. Free education is a right. Why not early education and child care?

  33. @asdfj Mentally & emotionally healthy citizens make our country stronger in every way, so I do think a compelling case can be made for early childcare (as well as for strong public education) The impacts are high, and radiate into society over the lifetime of the child.

  34. For the same reason just outlined above. It has to be paid for.

  35. Maybe a parent or relative should be with the children until they are in school. Some people work part time or from home. Trump’s new tax law that is hated by liberals, also provides a big improvement in childcare benefits.

  36. @Robert Bosch Ummm... can you elaborate on how it improved childcare benefits? Haven't seen an ounce of benefit and taxes were awful this year. I just had my first baby in December and my husband and I's cumulative income was down $30,000 this year because I am in grad school (paying tuition out of pocket). We owed $2200 more than last year and changed nothing on our deductions and had nothing new or different with our home or assets.

  37. It's important to socialize children from the time they are born. In ancient times, babies were raised by family groups and in rural environments with lots of caregivers. It would have been a great benefit to me to have additional child care when my infant was small. Good for the parent(s) and good for the child.

  38. The best childcare should be done by their parents, not outsourced to strangers. Once your kids get in school, parents will no longer be their prime influence. One parent should make the career sacrifice and stay home with the kids until they reach school age. The income you forfeit will be more than offset by lower taxes and childcare bills. But more important, you will have the time with your children you can never replace. Think of it this way. What will you remember more: the first five years of your child's life, or the spreadsheet that caused you to be late from picking them up from childcare where their daily report card said they spoke their first words and took their first steps?

  39. @Liberty hound So what do we do when the children go to school, since we've gone ahead and tanked our career by being out of the workforce for AT LEAST 5 years. As a mother, much of my income is going towards college savings, retirement (so I'm not saddling my future adult child with my own care), life insurance, family savings, etc. Time is crucial with children, of course. But I'm providing for my child in multiple very important ways that go beyond being there her every waking moment. Many of us will never ever buy into the thought of one parent (=mom) having to stay home as the only and best possible solution. It's anachronistic for a variety of social and economic reasons.

  40. @someone - In this day and age, jobs come in day time shifts, evening shifts, and late night shifts. One parent could work daytime, and one could work a night job. There would be no need for daycare. Or, you could keep making excuses for why this generation can't do what my grandparents generation did. But grandma never had HBO, a big flashy SUV, the latest iPhone, $300 a pair sneakers, and she certainly did not fly all over the world on a whim. Two single moms could move in together and do the same.

  41. @Liberty hound My daughter stayed home with her children until they were 4 and 6; she would have done so longer, but her husband's business failed and it was a necessity. It did NOT "tank her career"!!! She was wise to marry in her mid-20's and have her children before she was 30. She had worked and was well- started on her career. She was able to do a bit of consulting to keep her foot in the door - maybe 5 times a YEAR. Her children are no 17 and 19 and she is now the COO of a medium size national company. And she's not yet 50. Who knows how much higher she will go!!! Unto everything there is a season. Have those children in the correct "season" and there will still be decades ahead for a career.

  42. Ya high paying jobs, abortion on demand, three months vacation and free child care should all be rights. And food too, no one should pay for food it's a right. Oh and what about those new curved screen TVS those should be a right. And what about cells phones ? Shouldn't it be a right to have the latest cell phone at no cost? The list never stops!

  43. @james Elizabeth Warren has outlined her plans in detail to provide child care assistance. Also good thing we aren’t locking up toddlers in internment camps on our southern border. Oh wait.

  44. @Andres Galvez. No, Andy, we are not locking them up. And by the way, 30% of those children showing up with an adult do not belong to. that person.

  45. Child Care is a scarcity. Scarcities cannot be human rights.

  46. Yes, "quality" care is a right-- you don't have to say it three times for me to get the Obamaspeak dog whistle. Every child has the right to be born to a mother and a father who are married to one another, where the father goes off to work and the mother stays at home to rear the children. Old-fashioned? Patriarchal? You bet. Our children deserve no less.

  47. By the same token, having a baby should require some thought too. Birth control -- the great leveler.

  48. Failure to care of a child in utero and for the first years of its life is a crime against the child from which can never recover.

  49. People somehow feel entitled to declare the things they want (child care, higher education, abortion, etc.) to be “rights.” I could care less about child care as I have no children, never have, never will. Shouldn’t it be my “right” to opt out of paying school taxes? No? Why not?

  50. @Larry ... as long as you don't exercise your "right" to various forms of subsidies for older people, paid for by the young. If you're planning on using any pension, Social Security, or medical insurance (including private ones, because younger people subsidize older ones in them, too), then yes, you should be invested in there being a healthy young generation. Otherwise, enjoy living off your savings in old age, while paying for all costs (including medical ones) out of pocket. I doubt you will get far.

  51. @Larry Because it is for the good of society.

  52. @SF, every one of those ”subsidies” you mentioned, I paid for myself and in some cases, continue to pay for. No free “rights” there! And don’t worry about me getting far because instead of whining about the rest of society funding me and my “rights”, I spent a substantial portion of my adult life making sure I would be self sufficient, and I am.

  53. I can think of no better single investment in our future as a country. How do we make this happen?

  54. @JKR Make the US government fund the welfare of its citizens and work towards the good of society instead of a military/industrial complex? Sigh.

  55. According to HHS under the Obama administration, Head Start is ineffective. Children who participate in Head Start are no better off than children who do not and in some cases are worse off. Apparently, Democrats want to introduce universal mandatory preschool in order to make sure that middle class children are subjected to the same deficient care as low income children.

  56. @ebmem No one is talking about "mandatory preschool." You just made that up.

  57. Is there anything nowadays that is not someone else's financial responsibility?

  58. @Stephanie Wood Well said, Steph, well said. Brava!

  59. @Stephanie Wood Actually, they do. With 44% of Americans paying NO INCOME TAX at all, I would say the "rich" are paying their "fair share" and more.

  60. Why would anyone want to bring a child into the world which one could not care for ... for whom one could not have a reasonable hope for a healthy and abundant life?

  61. In Alabama and other states, it seems people (women) don’t have the choice to decide in all instances.

  62. How do we pay for this? Society is not supposed to raise children, parents and families are supposed to raise children.

  63. @Marie, And who makes up society?

  64. I agree. Children have a right to be brought into this world by parents who can care for them. No individual should have a baby and expect others to be able to do for this child what they cannot do themselves.

  65. @Stephanie Wood - :)) And Jeff gives parental leave to his employees.

  66. @Stephanie Wood Expecting people to be very, very careful before deciding to have children- and limiting the number of children they have- and helping out poor people who have fallen on hard times are not mutually exclusive issues.

  67. "Six months of paid parental leave is the first step. Parents also need assistance during this time." While I think this is well-intentioned, it's also very unfair. I don't think the authors have thought enough about how this could actually work in the U.S. For starters, why is it that only parents should get six months of paid leave? What about those who are caregiving for elders, other family members, or even themselves? Reserving this special privilege of paid leave only for parents sets up our society for even more bitter class warfare, and pits the have's (the parents) with the have-not's (those who aren't parents but still desperately need access to paid leave). You can't just make one group okay (parents) at the expense of the others (non-parents). How exactly are we going to pay for six months of paid leave, per pregnancy, per parent? And who is going to be responsible for paying these parents to stay home with their infants? I'm not saying I'm against this, but I won't support it until I know who pays the bill. Don't tell me we're going to fund for this by taxing the rich (the rich have more 'rights' than anyone, and they will never allow the non-rich to usurp their 'rights'). Are businesses going to have to bear this burden? What about the workers at these businesses who, because they're not parents themselves, won't qualify for paid leave? Yet, they'll have to do their own jobs plus those of the absent parents. It's a novel idea, but it needs a lot more work.

  68. @Josa The reason elder caregivers are not included is because this is about supporting the child during the 3 years where there is extensive neurocognitive development.

  69. @Josa Well said. As a single male, I've been paying more than my fair share of taxes my whole life. Suppose I have exactly the same job and salary as someone who has children...I get taxed more, simply because I have chosen not to have kids. Why do I have to pay for their choice?

  70. JS I am a single person who works full-time and is the primary caretaker for a elderly parent who has suffered from dementia for several years now. If you don’t think that end of life care is depressing, exhausting and expensive (oddly enough like child care in reverse except the baby is older, bigger and is devolving rather than evolving) then you know nothing. Yes there are resources but financial cost can be ghastly. This country has not figured out how to take care of its elderly, no surprise it cannot figure out how to take care of its young. And can I point out that for each of these age groups, elderly and young children, women are usually the primary caregivers. Not all of the time but most of it. So again no surprise that public assistance is dismal and catch as can.

  71. Think about 1950. A very bad time, if you're a feminist. Moms stayed home with their kids. Dads went to work. The kids were not farmed out to "professionals." People looked askance at working mothers; the prevailing view was that they should be home taking care of their children. This, of course, was an economic sacrifice for the family, but that's the way it was. The kids came first. They didn't go on expensive vacations, they didn't own ski-doos or condos. They took care of their kids. Of course, today suggesting that people (male or female) stay home with their kids is even more pie-in-the-sky than the beautiful proposals in your opinion piece, but if you really want to seize the first 1000 days, that's what you do.

  72. @Ken: What's actually "pie in the sky" is your blithe assumption that a woman will still be able to cover rent, food, and most especially healthcare if she doesn't work. This is not hard to figure out.

  73. @Akalea I just reread my post and I see no such assumption. In fact, the last paragraph of the post says that women staying home with their kids nowadays is pie-in-the-sky, even more so than the proposals in the opinion piece. But I quite liked the "blithe."

  74. And who pays for this? People trying to save for retirement and take care of elderly parents? It doesn’t seem radical to me that people are responsible for their own children. A social net that covered EVERYBODY I could support, but not something this selective that so favors one group.

  75. @Ponderer, a government big enough to give you everything is a government big enough to take it away.

  76. I'm kind of tired of male professionals who don't have and have never had primary care of young children getting the floor on this critical issue. YES, the first 1000 days are a time to be seized. By families. By mothers, specifically. The fact is, no one is going to give your baby or toddler the amount or quality of attention that you will. Institutional care is always of lower quality, and the child is always cheated out of the constant sensory experiences and emotional connections that he or she needs. I've visited many infant and toddler care facilities and I always saddened to see the blank stares on the faces of the tiny kiddos. I smile at them, wave to them. Nothing. Blank stares. They are so unlike my own child who would always meet a smile with a smile. I would say I was lucky enough to stay home with my child. But it wasn't just luck. I made the choice to live in poverty to do it. We lived in a very small apartment, had no car, and went without health insurance. But I'll never forget the precious, sun-filled days that I had with my baby and then toddler. I'd do it all again.

  77. @Somos I grew up in Europe and your comment horrifies me. I went to full-day socialized day care from infancy and we ALSO had first-rate health care and DID NOT live in poverty! I not only had a first-class early childhood education, but I actually enjoyed it! And judging by the success of my peers, it worked out pretty well.

  78. @Somos That's weird, but every time I pick up my baby from her day care I see smiles all over, children playing together or being cradled by the workers there. My child has one of the biggest smiles there and waves bye-bye to her day care family. It truly is not as clear cut as you want it to be.

  79. @Somos - In my building there are a number of stay home moms and the kids just give me blank looks and stares. My guess is that I am white, have grey hair, and speak English. They look at me saying, "hello" and I often wonder if they think I am sick or something. I look nothing like the moms and I sound nothing like them. I also notice that the girls are far more shy than the boys.

  80. Here's another thought, make the personal choice to have one parent (mother or father) stay at home and raise their child. This of course requires, two parents. Keep in mind, those "industrialized" nations some people look to as models for America, fail to mention that all those government handouts have encouraged and led to the highest rates of single family households in the world.

  81. @Mauricio In many Western European countries, many many parents live in stable couples but do not formally marry. These households may look like single-parent households in the statistics, but they are actually two-parent households.

  82. When a columnist or politician advocates for more and more and more free stuff they should identify a funding source. What tax will be raised on whom. Yes, the rich are rich. But just taxing them to provide childcare, free tuition, or whatever--the list is pretty long these days--will not provide enough funds for all this free stuff. Identify a feasible tax source. And once you do that, people will see that these services are not free. That sometime in their life they will have to pay for most of them. By raising income taxes. When you are having children you will get the free childcare, but later in your life when your income is up you will pay taxes for others' childcare. Ditto for free college tuition. Stop this advocacy for free stuff for all. Advocate for free stuff for the bottom 20 or 30 percent of the population. Everyone else is mostly going to have to pay their own way plus some for the bottom 20 or 30 percent.

  83. @Gordon Wiggerhaus: How about we take the money from the military-industrial-complex? That's my vote. Invest it in life rather than war.

  84. So many commenters here can't imagine how the US could possibly afford paid parental leave. Just imagine, for a moment, that there are other countries in the world and that many of them have paid parental leave. Then take a look at what they do and consider whether their approaches could be adopted in the US. Call it a thought experiment.

  85. Paid parental leaves means, by definition, that the parent is already working and will be compensated while they are not working.

  86. I wonder if other countries have anything like our undereducated population (and sometimes proud of it!), lacking any interest in anything extra-animal, or religiously inclined to do so, who keep having babies. Whether they are rural whites or urban blacks, or ultra-Orthodox Jews, or Pakistanis, the having of 6-9 children just won't cut it if we're talking about quality child care. A little birth control is in order. A lot of birth control is in order, actually.

  87. @Evelyn Those countries pay very high taxes for those "rights" They live a lower standard of living than we do. Their expectations are lower. We want it all and we want "someone else" to pay for it. As Margaret Thatcher famously said, "The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." Very, very true.

  88. Not to sound like a cynic, but why do we discuss issues like health care and child care when it all is for naught? We the sheeple will gripe and moan about how we have deficiencies in social welfare programs but then we turn around and hide under our beds when we hear the word 'socialism'. So, I am tired to this stupid game. Let's continue our march toward a second Gilded Age (except with more measles and less TB).

  89. So even after reading only the title, we all knew this would come down to public financing.

  90. You don't deserve to be paid for doing nothing, especially when getting pregnant is a choice?

  91. Pregnancy is quickly losing is status as a choice for American women. It's becoming a state-mandated burden. If we really want to see fewer children born into poverty, make access to birth control AND abortion easy and safe.

  92. @Lindsey I absolutely support the right to get an abortion. Why bring unwanted children into the world, whatever the reason. This will always be an ongoing struggle, because there will always be strong arguments on both sides. Abortion rights will always need to be defended. We can't get complacent or take them for granted. There are lots of things like that. The only place that the concept of inalienable rights id really valid is within the context of the Constitution of this country, and even then... The only rights that really exist are the ones we take for ourselves, or those that are given to us by others.

  93. Legalized abortion takes away a baby’s ‘right’ to be born. If born alive, the mother no longer has a ‘choice’. Baby must be cared for by her, the dad, the grandparents, or other family. Government not involved here.

  94. It’s not a right. Do it yourself or pay for it, two perfectly fine options.

  95. @There I agree with you. I do not understand why people expect others to be burdened.

  96. I get what many are saying about rights needing to be paid for, but let's not forget that we will pay one way or another. Poor prenatal care is paid for in higher NICU and obstetric medical costs. Poor early childcare is paid for in special education services needed later, prison costs, addiction, and more broken families when people who grew up without secure attachment to their own parents become parents themselves. Sure, I think people who can't afford children shouldn't have them, but many do so anyway. Short of forced sterilization there is no way to prevent that. So once the children are born, do we give them the best start possible, or let the cycle repeat? As a society, we pay one way or the other. Which approach has a better return on investment?

  97. Feckless people oughtn't to have children -- I'd tie subsidies to birth control -- but for the rest, you are right.

  98. @Nikki It's not the poor clamoring for more "rights"; it's people who have good jobs and don't like paying. Pre-natal care is available at no or low cost in most areas. Getting the women to actually use it is another matter. Should we be expected to make house calls?

  99. In most societies, in most of history, child care was provided by mothers. What's wrong with that?

  100. @Jonathan Katz If we're talking about activities that would promote cognitive development, a daycare environment staffed by specially trained teachers would do a better job. Some mothers simply park their kids in front of the TV.

  101. @Jonathan Katz Mother here, and nothing is wrong with that, assuming the mother wants to and can afford to do so. Same for fathers--spend a few days around my husband with his child and you'll really wonder about the supposed "biological advantage" of maternal care. However, I am a highly educated an highly-trained individual, who happens to value and enjoy my vocation. As I mentioned below, I also had the good fortune of having been a child in a European country that offered high-quality socialized child care--maybe my academic and professional success has a lot to do with that. So no, I don't want to give up the career I trained for for years, and deprive my family of half our income, because you and others like you think I should. I'm the living proof that socialized child care works for everyone.

  102. Many mothers (and/or fathers) would like to stay home to care for their children. But they have to work!

  103. In New Zealand all working parents of new borns get six months paid leave from the government and that applies to any parent, whether male or female. Our PM took up the offer and still worked from home by skype or whatever, if something important came up.( The PM's partner is a house husband. ) I think they also have a creche at Parliament as well.

  104. @CK in Christchurchurch Okay....what is the immigration policy in NZ? Can immigrants who are illiterate in the language they speak and who have no education be allowed into NZ? Then given food stamps, a free education and free healthcare for their children? Well, here in the US, working people pick up the tab for immigrants. Does that happen in NZ? Compare the population of NZ to that of the US. It is harder for an ant to pick up an apple than to pick up a tiny breadcrumb.

  105. @CK to paraphrase Nietzsche - the government has no money and what it claims to have it has stolen. You are simply arguing to transfer hard-earned wealth from your fellow life-travellers to other people's pockets. Which is why so many highly educated and entrepreneurial Kiwis flee as soon as they get emigration papers.

  106. I think that those who are voting pro-life should be heavily taxed to pay for this. Let’s start with a 50% tax and go up to 95%, for say the Koch brothers and other pro-life backers with their kind of money. Let’s see just how pro-life they are.

  107. @William Feldman And I think that you have no understanding of how unconstitutional it is for the government to attempt to identify "bad thought" and tax people who vote the wrong way.

  108. There are so many other choices for child care that no one is talking about. I adopted two young children as a single woman and had a live-out nanny for one year (yes, cheaper than the cost of FT daycare) and au pairs from government approved agencies for a number of years. Europeans have used au pairs to help care for their children for decades, but we Americans chafe at the idea of having a 'strange' person living in our home. And as for respite from costs, let's take back some of those corporate tax bennies from the last tax overhaul and provide parents with decent child-care tax credits.

  109. Ah, but we do not always know who our au pairs really are. In some cases, parents have gotten very unlucky. Best to have a spouse -- and a close, nearby extended family. When I was a kid and both my parents worked (yes, in the 1950s), my grandmother and various aunts as well as an older cousin could step in. We were lucky.

  110. Oprah Winfrey was raped as a child repeatedly by a biological relative. For 5 years. Don’t generalize about the safety of family members providing childcare. Not all families are the Waltons or the Obamas!!!

  111. I suppose it's too much to ask people who want kids to make sure they can afford to take care of them? To work hard, save money, and ideally have a partner to share in both the financial and physical demands? Then you or your spouse could stay home for a year or so and give the baby a chance to bond with you, rather than depending on a faceless, impersonal provider. When my children were born, I gave my ex-wife enough money to stay home for a year. I don't regret it, and I think my children are the better for it. Of course this was the same ex-wife who, on turning 30, demanded that we have kids immediately, and hang the finances! Yeah, much easier to squawk about needing a handout. What about those of us who worked to reach a point at which we could depend on ourselves?

  112. @spindizzy nope, the government has to fix everyone’s problems.

  113. @spindizzy You're missing the part where you gave your own wife a "handout" - but don't think other parents deserve the same.

  114. This is a familiar "everyone is me" argument, fueled, clearly, by resentment -- resentment that is specific to this person life, which is, in fact, very different from most people's lives. The simplistic, self-centered perspective -- with blinders on to all else that happens variably in the world -- would be funny for its immaturity, if it weren't so destructively common in contemporary America.

  115. When will we stop judging how people raise their children and help each other. I am almost 70, I was lucky to have healthy children. After our children were born, again I was fortunate to be a nurse who could work different hours than my husband. We occasionally had a sitter for 2 hours in between our getting home. I was gobsmacked when my 65 year old neighbor asked me if she could be our sitter when I was pregnant with our first child, we used her for several hours a week for 7 years. It is hard to work and care for children but people have done it through out history. You do what works best for your family and cherish the time you have with them, because they do grow up and you will miss it. Young parents have enough stress, try not to criticize, help when you can.

  116. "Salaries for early-childhood educators have increased 1% in the past 25 years." And CEO's? This is the crux of the problem of not having quality childcare available for anyone needing care. The extreames of wealth and poverty in this nation are mind-boggling. When I read comments here complaining that "someone, likely the with money" shouldn't have to help with someone else's child, I know that they hope to maintain their status quo. When a CEO has a salary plus bonus of millions and millions a year and a childcare worker is making less than $15.00 an hour, this is an obscene situation. Brain research shows that a nurturing early environment makes a difference. A child growing up with consistency in their caregivers, whether the parents or the daycare providers, will grow up with greater capacity to contribute to society. Those spouting that they shouldn't have to care about someone else's child, should remember that their doctors and nurses, the scientists and researchers who design things and programs that benefit you were someone else's child. What is so onerous about caring about other human beings?

  117. here's a solution... don't have children. AND certainly delay having them if you are unable to financially support yourself and a family

  118. @Brendan When I got married in the mid-60's, the advice given was to live on the husband's salary and save the wife prior to having children. Everyone said that once one was accustomed to living on two salaries, it would not be fun to go to just one. And that's what we did. We saved my salary and 3 1/2 years later when our first child was born, we could pay what insurance didn't pay to have that baby, and to buy what we needed. It was very wise advice and would well-serve today's young. We know that today's Millenials have no children, no house, no savings. It's not all due to "student loans" - it's due to they lifestyles. They spend not only every penny they earn, they actually spend MORE and rack up big credit card debt. Yet, I'm supposed to pay higher taxes so they can buy a house and have children? I don't think so...

  119. Meanwhile the government is trying to force women to have babies they will struggle to take care of. Free convenient birth control and abortions must be available if we as a country refuse to help families.

  120. For a nation that has legal abortion, legal prostitution, and homosexuality is legal, we seem to be the more humane society when it comes to looking after children and the rights and options for woman. That's probably because we are a SECULAR Democracy. Homosexual parents also get the same rights to maternity leave as heterosexual parents do, in NZ.

  121. @CK in Christchurch So....other than Canadians, Kiwis are so often heard to say NZ has all the answers. So, since you are so full of knowledge, tell me what you know of prostitution? How does a female choose to be a prostitute? Do most prostitutes in NZ have histories of sexual abuse as children? Go ahead...we’re all ears. Enlighten us, oh all-knowing ones..,

  122. Okay, I’ll bite. Who is going to pay for this?

  123. Eliminate the mortgage interest deduction. Boom, universal child care paid for.

  124. Absolutely. And I own my own home.

  125. @AJF Yeah - because everyone know that is not political suicide.

  126. "Research shows that investing in early childhood yields a 13 percent annual return . . . ." No. What that research shows is that an early childhood program targeted to disadvantaged children yields benefits. Non-disadvantaged children do not appear to have been included in the study. Childhood development is too important to be this careless with the facts.

  127. Dear New and Future Mothers, You can stay home for the first 3 or 4 years by doing without all the material goods and services you think you need. Your newborn/infant cannot properly do without you. My wife stayed home for 13 years and although times were financially tough, my three kids never had it so good. Here's the real issue: going to work is a lot easier than staying home; there is no more difficult or more important a job than being a full time mother. Sorry Dads, but we are no match for Mom.

  128. @rab Many observational studies demonstrate no adverse outcomes from children who have mothers who work outside the home. If anything sons of working mothers are more egalitarian when they have their own families. And what about the mother's self esteem if she is one of those women who are not fully satisfied without a career of their own? (My own mother, now in her 70s, deeply regrets not having a career, especially once we started school). And what happens when dad leaves? or loses his job? What happens to the family then? Also what sort of example do you want to set for your daughters? To always be dependent on a man? This is a personal issue, and women in the USA should be like women in other developed countries and have the freedom to make the choice that works for them and their families.

  129. @rab I guess you live in an area with inexpensive housing costs, eh?

  130. So many of these comments so mean spirited. What ever happened to the old adage it takes a village...My husband and I decided that I would stay home with our children. For us it was the right choice. It also enabled me to help out a divorced Mom who had to be financially responsible for her children. I was around to help nieces and nephews whose parents worked. Please people, think about helping one another and not disparaging others..

  131. @MarquinhoGaucho...you are so right - helping one another - it is what I said to my "captive audience" of two in the way way back of the Taurus wagon - "...I can think of no other reason that God has us here on earth - than to help one another."

  132. If the USA taxed prostitution and made it legal then you'd have enough money to pay for child care. Prostitution has been around forever and to not tax it doesn't mean it's not happening. Just think of all the taxes the government would get if it was taxed. And the government would have to pay out less in sexual diseases if the businesses were monitored by health officials. It would also put controls and stop child and people traffickers.

  133. @CK The idea that decriminalizing prostitution would stop sex trafficking is entirely false. There are simply not enough willing prostitutes to meet the demand for sex as a service (most surveys suggest that about 90% of those currently in the sex trade would stop if they had other options). Therefore, to meet the demand, pimps traffic women and children. Trafficking absolutely still occurs in places where prostitution has been legalized, the only difference is that now those pimps can carry out their "business" with impunity and the government manages to turn a profit too.

  134. Cost of day care for one child in NYC: $30,000-$45,000 of after-tax income Cost of nanny in NYC: $15-20 per hour, plus applicable employment taxes. Median household income in NYC: $50,711 gross, annually. Just a PSA for those making the "don't have them if you can't afford them" argument.

  135. Of course you are correct. So why doesn’t one parent stay home with the children? Please don’t tell me that in order to maintain the lifestyle you want, it is not economically feasible and that instead, someone else should pay the childcare bills. They are your children.

  136. @Robert, it can be extremely difficult for a parent to re-enter the labor market after temporarily leaving it to take on full-time childcare duties. Employers have proven to look down upon such gaps in work, and it is often impossible to ever make up for those ~5-7 or so years, typically occurring at the height of one’s career. This is an issue mothers have historically faced, but fathers face it too should they choose to stay at home. It impacts not only one’s finances but also one’s self-esteem and self-worth.

  137. @Robert Bosch Yes, we would also like "luxuries" like living indoors, and health insurance. And preferably to not "retire" out on the street. It's simple math, and it just doesn't work out. For one parent to work and cover housing, necessities, health care, and retirement savings would require at least a $150k salar, even in my comparatively low-cost-of living part of the city. That's a small minority of people, even here.

  138. I am so disheartened at the comments critiquing the concept of publicly-funded/subsidized childcare, as well as those “don’t have them if you can’t support them” comments. It is a reminder of just how conservative the NYT readership is. I moved from the US to Canada and am about to go on my second paid maternity leave. My first was 12 months; the upcoming one will be 18 (as the max was recently increased). The leave is paid through “employment insurance” which all workers must contribute to when working and can be used in cases of unemployment or parental leave; it is a % of my salary. I am an educator and my husband is a gardener, but Canada’s system makes 2 kids financially feasible for us even though we live in an expensive city, and I am eternally grateful for it. My friends in the US struggle with awful decisions I did not have to consider, e.g. whether to have a second child, whether to put a 6 week old in daycare, etc. Please do not assume their decisions are made lightly. I truly feel the Canadian system changed my life dramatically for the better and I can only hope the US will someday follow. Unfortunately, judging by some of the heartless/clueless comments here, it will probably not happen until there is a generational (or gendered) shift in power. (Notice how many comments telling mothers to stay home are written by men or those who had children decades ago!)

  139. @LB in Pennsylvania So, tell us all the negative aspects of living in Canada. We only hear Canadians say how great Canada is. All countries have a plus and minus list. Give us the downside of living in Canada..,

  140. @WH of course Canada is far from perfect, as are all nations. I am obviously not defending Canada as a nation in one simple comment. You are free to read Canadian newspapers to learn more about the issues here. I am speaking specifically on this topic as someone who grew up in the US until I was in my mid-20s, then moved to Canada to attend grad school, learned more about Canadian policies that would impact my life, and subsequently was privileged enough to made a conscious decision to immigrate to Canada. On the issue of parental leave and childcare, I feel Canadian policies are lightyears ahead; when I compare my life as a working mother with US friends of a similar socioeconomic background, I know that my entire family will benefit from living in Canada. I suppose one negative aspect of Canada’s system is that it is still difficult for unemployed/working poor parents to survive on the paid parental leave benefits. They could be increased :)

  141. @WH You're right, there's a downside. We're right next to the US.

  142. I think those of us in favor of more comprehensive social programs do our cause a disservice when we constantly label every public good a "human right." I am a passionate supporter of universal, government-subsidized childcare and healthcare. But given the variety of human experiences, cultures and geographies on this planet, we cannot practically label these things "rights." For instance, if I choose to live in an incredibly remote corner of Alaska, I cannot expect good healthcare. But I do think that wealthy societies have a responsibility to provide basic protections to their citizens, since they can well afford to do so. Just as we all need roads and schools, we also need healthcare and child care to be productive citizens and contribute to a prosperous, stable society.

  143. I have no intention of paying higher taxes for other people's babysitting costs. You made the decision to have those kids. So like everyone else, you need to figure out how to arrange your life to account for the children. Maybe one parent needs to stay home with the children until they are kindergarten age. Maybe the extended family needs to help out. But if I am not part of your family or wasn't involved in creating your children, I am not going to spend my time or money helping you with your children. You already get tax benefits. That's enough. Jeez. Is this where we are? People are arguing for a right to force other people to pay for babysitting?

  144. @Lilo Hey...maybe you haven't noticed but the South has decided that EVEN if you didn't decide to have children your should be stuck. - How unfair is that. Staying home doesn't help when there is rape or incest...Don't be a cheap tax fool.

  145. This is a very short sided comment. Do you consider kindergarten babysitting? First grade? The key takeaway from the article is providing a more supportive environment for our children regardless of the situation they’re born into. It’s about giving them a better chance of growing into an adult who is a productive member of society instead of a criminal.

  146. @Lilo My state, New York, subsidies your state Michigan by $1700 per person, on a federal tax basis. We don’t live in a “every man for himself” society. There is consideration for *the greater good*. The sad reality is that families cannot survive on one income anymore. In the old country three generations lived together and grandmas / grandpas / children were tended to mostly by the young mother. The grandparents could watch the kids too.

  147. It would be admirable to have all of these things for children. I am happy to pay more taxes to fund such initiatives. It is shameful that we live in a country that would rather pay $750 billion/year on the military and cut rich people's taxes than fund better lives for all children.

  148. @NorCal Girl I could not agree more. Why don't more Americans (and NYTimes readers!) see how shameful our lack of paid parental leave and subsidized childcare is?

  149. @NorCal Girl. It figures that the Left Coast assumes the government does things better.

  150. @Jackson I'm not a native Californian. I'm actually from the midwest. I've also lived in Japan (5 years), France (2 years), the UK (8 years), and Australia (1 year plus married to an Aussie), so I have first hand experience of other ways of doing things. The countries on that list are far from perfect, but what I have observed pre-parenthood and experienced as a parent are that paid parental leave and subsidized childcare make for a better, happier society and less stressed parents. (Incidentally all the countries on that list also have better maternal/ infant mortality rates, better literacy, better health than the US...)

  151. The comments on here demonstrate, to me, exactly what is wrong with America right now. Rather than making the table bigger so everyone gets a seat or making the pie bigger so everyone can get a piece, commenters on here scream "Why is having children a right? or Try birth control or not my problem!" What happened to taking care of one another? I always say that social security and medicare - relied up by so very may - would have a snowball's chance in hell of being passed in today's world.

  152. @Kelly. What happened to families taking care of each other without requiring the government?

  153. Name a time in history when families didn’t rely upon government or societal structures?

  154. @Kelly The same people who pay into Social Security and Medicare are the ones to receive those benefits. In that way they truly are entitlements since all agree that I am entitled to bring home my groceries because I pay for them before leaving the store.

  155. We don't care about children once they are born. We care solely about fetuses because it allows us to make women subservient. Slavery will be returning. The future is dimming daily...

  156. Your government needs to tax smarter not more. In New Zealand prostitution is taxed but there is no Capital Gains tax and NZ tax rates are lower than the USA; and we are a Welfare State.

  157. @CK Kiwi tax as percentage of GDP is 32% USA as percentage of GDP is 27% - so almost 20% higher in NZ - so - no

  158. I have a "right" to stay home and care for my cannabis plants. The first three months of their lives are critical to their development and no daycare can substitute.

  159. @tom harrison Can we be friends. ?

  160. Shrink government, boost private sector growth so wages rise and jobs become even more attractive. This can enable one parent to stay home with the kids. I don't care which parent it is but there's zero argument here - babies are better off with mom or dad all day than being in a day care. Especially if it's a government facility. They can't even deliver mail well.

  161. @Once From Rome If my wages rise a lot and so do my health insurance and health care costs, as a woman I'm still way better off going for the high paying job and paying someone else to care for my child during the day than forgoing the money in the bank and putting myself at risk of medical bankruptcy. The lack of a social safety net in terms of health and disability means money is really useful. Money will pay for food and rent and medical treatment in the future; treasured memories of a day at the park when the kid is two won't help you when you're running a GoFundMe to pay for your kid's medical bills when your husband loses his job and you don't have one and you end up without insurance.

  162. Well, let’s cut to the chase here. What do they offer families in Canada and Germany in the first 3 years of a child’s life...AND what is the tax rate for all citizens of that country?

  163. @WH Sorry - that violates the NYT's two rules of magical thinking: 1. Everything is really free 2. If per rule 1 - it is not really free then someone else - somewhere will pay for it but not me

  164. @WH i would happily pay higher taxes to provide more care for American children.

  165. A child’s first 1,000 days is a job of a parent, not the government.

  166. This article is full of statistics. What about this apparently inconvenient one? 40% of American babies are born out of wedlock. This fact is a massive factor at the root of many of our worst social ills, including those addressed by this article. But, I’ve never seen it even mentioned in the New York Times (much less as the topic of an article). Why not?

  167. @Melvin You know why.

  168. “Quality child care” is never going to be “affordable.” Such care requires highly trained professionals and personalized care that only the rich will be able to afford. Non-rich children receive the best care when one parent stays home. Period. What we need to do is end the two-income trap discussed by Elizabeth Warren where both parent need to work full time to afford housing, food, and healthcare.

  169. @Greg I agree. In my opinion, one is ever going to love you as much as mom and dad do. That's why I stayed home with my two kids and went back to work when the youngest started first grade. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to do that.

  170. @Greg ˋ “Quality child care” is never going to be “affordable.” ´ This might be true in the US, but it isn’t true in many developed countries. In Germany, for example, the training program required for early education teachers lasts from between three and five years, depending on each state’s requirements. The teacher have to pass exams and complete a year-long student teaching program. Daycare and preschool programs are subsidized by the government, and fees are determined according to a sliding scale based on family income. For infant care, the fees range from 0€ to approximately 400€ per month. For preschool, the fees range from 0€ to approximately 200€ per month. The fees for afterschool care are also subsidized and are similarly low, again with highly qualified teachers. The US could also provide affordable quality childcare if the political will were present.

  171. @Greg--The truth is that many kids do get good care from a parent at home, while others would be better off in a good day care or with a babysitter, regardless of the family's income. Our kids were in day care from age 3 months, and for 9 months of every year thereafter, as we were schoolteachers (so far from rich). No one loved them more than we did, but our babysitter was a close third. And, having raised 7 kids, including those born to her and others adopted with special needs, she had a vastly better understanding of kids than we did. She taught us so much, and our kids, now 30-somethings, still love her. She did not use TV as an opiate. She fed simple, nutritious meals. She read to them. Everyone had quiet time, usually a nap. She was infinitely patient with them, and they always loved going to her house. They made friends there. Not every day care is right for every child, and a parent staying home with the kids is not right for every family either.

  172. I stayed home with my two daughters who are now well adjusted teens. I'm glad I did it, glad I could afford it, but now that I'm through the worst of it I can say that it set me back and damaged me economically, mentally, physically and emotionally. I paid a price. this was exacerbated by having no extended family. I don't think there has ever been a good era to rear kids. nowadays mothers suffer to afford children and are shamed no matter what work choice they make. a couple generations ago, mothers were shackled at home with parenting and housekeeping duty and presumed to have no other aspirations. back further than that, parents were told that too much affection was bad for babies. keep going and kids were working in fields and factories. before that, living hand to mouth. One thing I do know is that staying home and immersing kids with loving maternal care is hard, thankless work. seriously, if you haven't done it you will never know the despair and that it can bring an exhausted, isolated young woman. if good childcare is available and affordable, no woman should be made to feel bad about using it.

  173. @just a mom Thank you so much for sharing your story. My own mother felt this same way, and that is why she encouraged me to continue working once I became a mother. I had very a hard time leaving my son with a nanny when my maternity leave was over, but he receives wonderful care during the day and is a happy, thriving toddler. I also love my work, and take pride in being an equal contributor to our family's income and financial security. I fully own just how privileged my circumstances are that have allowed me to maintain a senior position in a company while being a mother, and I will always vote to give other parents that same option.

  174. India, she has the right to her own feelings and experience. You can love your kids with all your heart and still have a tough time being a stay-at-home mom. Enough of the judgement. Being a mom is hard enough as it is. We’re all just doing the best we can and what is best for our families. You do you and let her do her. No need to perpetuate the mommy wars.

  175. @India, I appreciate your perspective, but I absolutely can relate to @JustaMom’s experience and wish other parents would not be so quick to belittle and shame mothers for sharing honest feelings. Based on many conversations with other young moms, the perspective @JustaMom shared is VERY common. Perhaps you had a very different situation; for one, you were fortunate enough to be able to afford a housecleaner’s labour (let alone the ability to leave the workforce yourself) which is a luxury elusive to many. It is absolutely reasonable and understandable that one would deeply love parenthood yet feel conflicted resentment towards the 24/7 work stay-at-home parenting requires; many men have had no qualms passing up the opportunity over the years and yet are not chastised for their decision!

  176. You cannot have expansive social programs like this with open borders. Sweden took in almost a quarter of a million immigrants in 2015 by 2016 they shut immigration down because they could not continue to fund thier generous social programs. We are going to have to make a decision in this country: are we for limited social programs and mass immigration or limited immigration and more social programs. We are not wealthy enough to do both.

  177. @Dori Immigrants are the young people who pay for and serve our expensive aging native-born population. The US has plenty of money, but prefers spending on other things. Aging Americans make up a huge percentage of the social services budget; the reason Social Security is squeezed is that there are not enough working people paying in. Non-citizen immigrants are particularly useful as they pay in and don't receive benefits -- we're basically cheating off their labor. On a truly capitalistic basis, it would be to the benefit of citizens to allow immigrants to come work here in service jobs, pay for Social Security and Medicare, and then go back to their home countries to age -- which we used to do before changes in immigration rules made it harder to "go back home"!

  178. @Dori first of all, we don't have open borders. Unless you are speaking of, for example, the border between Ohio and Pennsylvania. Secondly, this country is aging, and we need young people to work and pay into Social Security and Medicare.

  179. Not to throw a wrench into the argument, but humans are taking over more and more of the planet with our exploding numbers just when climate change is making more of it uninhabitable. There were 5 people born in 2018 for every two deaths. To put it another way, if every nation on earth went to a one child policy tomorrow our numbers would continue to explode for decades not just because more infants every year live to become adults but even more because the average lifespan is still becoming longer every year.

  180. @seeker And how in the world does this relate to the need to nurture and educate those who are here?

  181. I disagree that access to high quality early child care is a fundamental right, but I also believe it is in our best interest as a society to provide it (much like education in general). A lot of research shows that such an investment would pay for itself; the problem is that the results would take years if not decades to play out so there is not sufficient political will to implement these programs at a substantial short term cost to taxpayers. Over the long run though, quality early child care and education efforts reduce the taxpayers' costs for everything from social services and foster care systems to healthcare and prisons.

  182. I am afraid this is a dream. Quality child care for 2 and 3 year olds would require a ratio of caregiver to child that our society cannot afford to pay for. Yes, daycare works for parents who supplement it with what they can do, reading to the child at night, providing them with stimulating toys. The notion that it will make up for bad or inadequate parents is unrealistic.

  183. I am a small business owner and a mother... I actually started my business specifically to have the flexible schedule so I could be present for my child when needed. I want the very best for my employees, but the thought of having to pay them for 6 months while on parental leave is literally inconceivable. I would gladly give them 6 months unpaid leave and hold the job for them, but in the meanwhile, as a working parent myself, I need to have a functioning business to pay the bills. With small businesses making up ~49% of private-sector employment, we need to be part of the conversation as our nation stirs on how to improve children's lives but can't foot the bill proportionately to big business.

  184. My sister teaches Kindergarten in a low income area. I don't know all the specifics but the general problem is many many children are not at all ready for school, with a lot of emotional, behavioral and learning problems right from the start. It's very hard to overcome a lot of them. And these kids grow up to be adults in our society. THAT is why we need to do as much as possible to help people with child care, and also parenting classes, right from the start. Investing in babies and families before it's too late. (And of course free and easily accessible birth control and right to choose whether or not you want a child.)

  185. The most salient failing of liberals is the belief that what one can do, all can do. There simply isn't enough qualified paid childcare in the country, affordable or otherwise. The rich can afford it, because they can pay what the available qualified workers demand. But there are no more workers to be bought by giving more people more money. Subsidies will drive prices up and quality down. At the end of the day, or literally, all through the day, a significant number of parents must rear their own children. The two-income family business model just does not work.

  186. @Nemoknada You are citing result of a self-fulfilling prophecy. 2 income families working in the current american business model is not tenable. That is a very far cry from 'just doesn't work' at all. Note: even when women worked in the home, up until the late 1800s, the work they were doing in the home was providing the basic necessities of life...they weren't spending that time rearing kids who were either working themselves in industrial jobs or running around unsupervised. Literally the entire history of the world is a history of 2 working parents...it appears you just want to go back to where one does it 100% for free with little social gain, social capital, and inability to have purchasing/political/personal power of their own. Ongoing research in flexible work hours, parental leave policies, and more the current strains can shift. In addition, better funding of one job makes it more competitive for workers--it is not that new workers magically appear but that they are drawn from other professions. That is how market forces work. It is why if we want quality child care and education for our children we must invest in the salaries of teachers and others to make them commensurate withe the level of training required and competitive with other job prospects. I would be more than happy to let many millions of our national budget go to national subsidies for such things given the importance of the issue to every person's well being.

  187. @Nemoknada It would be simple if money were the only factor but it's not. You can't make people "good parents" by providing more child care. This is a stark denial of the progressive left because at least half, if not more, of the poor parents are the progressives who are yelling the loudest for assistance. Why - just because that's what they do and it relieves bad parents of their responsibility by attempting to place it on society as a whole.

  188. Once again for the people in the back, we have done it before and we can do it again! In the past the US operated a heavily subsidized far-reaching nationally funded child care program. There were centers in every state except New Mexico. The Lanham Act of 1940 authorized government grants for child care services. If we figured out in 1940, then should be able to do it 2019.

  189. Following this writer's proposal would be win-win for children, parents, and teachers. I find it ironic that our current system provides good support for "exceptional" children, those with problems, and doesn't offer the same support for normal children. Some children now receive public education support at age 4, but we need to provide it starting with infancy.

  190. I will be much more receptive to underlying sentiments of the pro-life/anti-abortion movement if and when they take up the cause of this nation's child care.

  191. I often say that I wish I could be a progressive for 10 minutes so that I could briefly experience the delusion of having solutions to ALL of life's problems. Without knowing any better, I will take on faith that there is positive science on early childhood development and that it is effective in boosting the life capabilities of those who implement it. Yet I would be willing to bet that the very best results of that science are achieved, not in government centers, but rather in private homes through fully engaged parents or truly well-trained and expensive caretakers. And, there it is again, the best ways to develop human capital tend to cost money and be expensive, even if the expense is a university-trained parent foregoing professional income to perform parental duties. And, here we go again, all scales must be balanced, and so we need greater Robin Hood taxation and a new government program to provide the ECD some parents cannot or will not provide on their own. Is there any point at which some level of personal accountability must kick in -- some rational thought process about what capabilities must I have to be a competent parent in the first place and what must I sacrifice to do the job well? Or has our society simply regressed to the point at which life is simply too difficult for some people, such that all of their needs must be attended to by others? I'm just sayin' . . . .

  192. @AR Clayboy Obviously you have not lived anywhere else but this country. There are civilized, industrialized, capitalist countries in the world where there is an understanding that families can be taken care of by providing some paid parental leave and public early child education.This helps alleviate the generalized anxiety and stress that parents in this country experience. And let me tell you, that stress seeps into all aspects of our society and especially, children.

  193. @Tzazu I am fortunate enough to have done business throughout Africa, Asia, Europe (Eastern & Western), Latin America and the Middle East. You are correct that I have not "lived" anywhere other than this country, and I would prefer not to. I am not a fan of the so-called "social democracies." I truly believe in our free market system as it once existed in this country. And our actual experience in constructing a European-style welfare state has done nothing to persuade me that any other nation has a superior governing philosophy. If anything, those efforts have weakened us as a people and sadly made us more divided then ever before. For those who prefer the European style of industrial organization, there are planes departing hourly. Why be here if it so much better there?

  194. @AR Clayboy Regressed? I'm sorry, but exactly when do you think people generally had "some rational thought process about what capabilities must I have to be a competent parent in the first place and what must I sacrifice to do the job well?" Certainly not at any time before birth control became more widely available. There has never been a truly free market in this or any country. Progressives don't have a monopoly on delusion.

  195. I am a working mom and we should demand more from our society, government and employers regarding the first 1,000 days. I think a good starting point would be an income tax withheld by employers and partially paid by employers. These monies can help subsidize lost income during leave. Would it be 100%? Unlikely, but it would be something. But, people who don’t have kids should also be taxed too. They can draw down the funds for a sabbatical or to take time off to care for an aging parent. I get that those who are not parents feel slighted—so let’s try to make it fair for everyone. Remember parents, our non-parenting cohorts are doing the earth a service by not procreating. I think we can sit down at the table and work towards things that benefit all of us.

  196. I am not a parent. I do not feel slighted. But I do wish men and women who are no more than babies themselves would use birth control -- the great leveler of income inequality. Without it, there is little hope.

  197. @Liz Liz might I suggest a slight refresher on US history and our Constitutional foundations. The idea of our country was free people realizing their potential, tempered by a federal government with very limited powers. Those powers were enumerated and limited (pre- the Roosevelt Court) to prevent people simply voting to confiscate the property and wealth of others. You say let's make it fair to everyone. What could be fairer than a government that limits itself to truly common needs and allows people to enjoy the fruits of what they, themselves, earn? Why is it inherently fairer to tax people to provide benefits to which some feel entitled but cannot or will not provide for themselves?

  198. With respect, your analysis works both ways -- for the old as well as the young. For instance, people who have paid into Medicare for many years and then, starting at age 65, pay Medicare premiums believe they have fully paid for the benefits they receive as post-65 seniors. Alas, they haven't. Payroll taxes and premiums fund most of Part A Medicare. Those other parts? Uncle Sam (aka, US taxpayers) pick up, at around 250 billion per year. There are many young, healthy non-Medicare-collecting people contributing to this cost. Is health insurance for older people a "truly common need?" Young people may grow old and need it -- but, some may not, and besides, their contributions won't go to their own future care. They're paying now for benefits that accrue to others. In your analysis, this is wrong, as it's not "inherently fair to tax people to provide benefits to which some feel entitled but cannot or will not provide for themselves." So.... ditch most of Medicare? (The sticking point is that most older people aren't quite ready to give up health care they haven't paid for.)

  199. The claim is that this is all about the children, but the money only goes to children whose parents use day care centers. . Poor people and ethnic minorities have lots of children, but they often live near family. Day care is provided by grandparents or other relatives. Other families choose to make material sacrifices to have one parent stay at home, because no daycare can ever be as good as the close attention of a loving parent. Neither of these groups benefits from daycare subsidies; daycare subsidies benefit professionals in the middle class brackets and up. If you want the support of all Americans, including people who live with extended families and those who choose to raise kids traditionally, attach the subsidy to children, no strings attached, not to day care centers. Day care is not the only, nor even the best way to raise children. If professional parents want to spend their subsidy on day care, great, have at it. But those families who choose to raise their children in their homes or their relative's homes should not be cut off from that subsidy, as it would be if it only went to day care providers. . Day care subsidies are regressive and unfair, because they benefit relatively wealthy 2-career families. If you want to invest in children, increase child credits with no strings attached. A child care subsidy will be seen for what it is: pandering to college-educated young women who vote for Democrats. It will fail in the Senate.

  200. Not true. Day care subsidies help people living under the poverty level.

  201. @Tom Meadowcroft What makes you think that "poor and ethnic minorities have lots of children?" Indeed, that is not true statistically but reflects racism and classism. Poorer children should be in daycare staffed by educated, well-paid teachers who can provide not only the caring that children need, but also stimulation.

  202. If this program’s targets are single parent, poverty level households, then look at it. The moment it broadens above that level, forget about it. I can see low income, single mother getting subsidies. She is only one looking out for her children and does not have the resources, assuming the deadbeat, low life father is nowhere to be found or is in jail. Her children should have minimum of security and health. We can afford that segment. I cannot see households with two parents working getting subsidized, so one of the parents will not suffer career derailment or that they do not suffer a drop in standard of living if a parent stops working. Not my problem. I do question how we suddenly will become experts at teaching children 1-5, when our record teaching the same children 5-10 or older seems mixed at best. Focus on keeping this group of low income children safe and healthy and claim victory.

  203. @Michael Blazin I recommend that you read Kathryn Edin's book about poor fathers because they do attempt to contribute to their children's upbringing. Our schools in inner cities are terrible; how can someone graduate from inferior schools and get a good job? Rather than blame the poor, we should be improving education, raising the minimum wage and subsidizing daycare for everyone, like most civilized countries. My friends in Denmark, both PhDs, have two daughters they spend lots of time with and both are in childcare after the age of 1 since the parents get paid parental leave. The govt. pays 2/3 of the childcare costs.

  204. We have a care crisis in America. When was the last time anyone felt that s/he could take any sort of time off from work to care for a sick child, him/herself when ill, an ill spouse or parent, or even the dreaded v word, vacation without worrying about being fired? I have seen quite a few people fired after returning from a serious illness or a vacation. It's a slap in the face: you take care of yourself or others and come back only to be shown the door. Whatever stress you took care of may be over but now you have the new stress of unemployment. America is not a family oriented society. If you're rich you can afford to have a family, receive the finest medical care, live where the schools are excellent. If not, forget about it. I'm glad I didn't have any children. When I see what this country has become I'm glad that I didn't bring any children into this mess. We have examples aplenty in other countries. We don't want to learn from them. We want to claim that we're unique and too diverse. In my opinion that's a red herring. We don't want to do the right thing and our politicians use that to their advantage. 5/24/2019 6:29pm

  205. @hen3ry There's another side to the coin. We had a co-worker who was was granted six months extra maternity leave w/o pay and her job was held for her. This Fortune 1000 company split her job among three of us until her return and we did not get an increase in salary during that time. Yes, we resented it.

  206. It is indeed surprising to see so many comments arguing that people shouldn't have children they can't "afford", that others shouldn't pay for their child care, or that having children is not a right. We're not talking here of theoretical children, but actual toddlers living in this earth. We already provide public education, so pre-school care just adds some years to the package, and those years happen to be the most important ones. If we don't approve public child-care, why should we even provide public education in general? The fact is that it is in society's best interest to educate its children, regardless of their parents' wealth. We all pay the price of an uneducated populace, and besides, no employer has the time or resources to teach their employees how to read and write. Of course, low-income families should not be having eight or ten children, but it is quite a sad world we live in when a couple can't have a least a couple of children because society can't "afford it".

  207. 317 trillion dollars of wealth in the world. The U.S. has 31 percent of the world's wealth. The U.S. is going down a slippery slope in the comprehensive metric called The World Happiness Index including child care, very high rates of incarceration, a lot of homeless people and, tragically, a lot of homeless veterans, drastically high and increasing suicide rates, drug deaths, an inefficient health care system with many uninsured and underinsured, lower productivity rates compared to social democracies who get much needed family leave and four to six weeks of vacation to be with their families versus our two weeks. Our educational system lags far behind all of those social democracies. We live in a Reaganomics fantasy bubble. We should be ashamed.

  208. As a grandmother of 2, I can speak to the truth and tragedy of this. My daughter is a teacher who basically got no pay for her 6 weeks of maternity leave. At one point she was a child care provider (before kids and before becoming a teacher). Instead of her pay gradually increasing, the company continually hired new people, gave them all the good hours and slowly cut my daughters hours to almost nothing. In the year she worked there she did get over $12/hour.

  209. From where do you get government funding for this? Do you tax the elderly, or single people, so couples can have kids and have the state act as their paid nanny? How do you expect to pay for paid family leave? At present parents, with children, get a number of tax breaks. You have their schooling paid for by not only the parents, but by people who are "empty nesters", or never had children. The "empty nesters" already live on a fixed income; do you raise their taxes from birth to preschool day care? In place where preschool was implemented, "empty nesters", saw their taxes go up to support preschool, and all day kindergarten. Now, you want them to fund the first four years of live in day care. I never married, or had kids. During my life I paid income and property taxes to fund families who had kids. I funded their child care credit, their earned income credit, and public school education. Now, I am being asked tmo dig deeper fro day care; on a fixed income. Instead of making "empty nesters", retired people and single people to pay higher taxes to have the state raise their kids; go to the 1% and tax them. Percentage wise, I am paying more tax now, than I did when I was not retired. There is only so much blood you can get from a stone.

  210. Just don’t forget - the children you pay taxes for even though not your own, become your doctors, police officers, sanitation workers, etc. The idea behind our tax system is that we all support a better society for all. I do agree that wealthier people should pay more tax.

  211. @Nick Metrowsky, Everyone pays taxes of one kind or another. You may have chosen not to have kids, but many other aspects of your life-- the food you eat, the gas you buy, the roads you drive on, the hospitals you've been to etc.-- have been subsidized by the government. Why not ask where we got the money for the things YOU use?

  212. If other countries can do this the US should also be able to. It is time we start to invest in our young children and make their early years a priority.

  213. I'm a lawyer and I stayed home for 6 years with my kids, until they were in full-time school. They were the best 6 years of my life, although I love my job and I loved my life before kids. I feel fortunate to have been able to choose to stay home. It is luxurious these days to have such choices. Most families do not have that luxury. The US is way behind most first world countries when it comes to supporting families. It's time we caught up.

  214. Why is it that so many social issues are either a "war" on them, an "emergency" with them, or ... as in this opinion piece ... a "crisis"? Face it, quality child care is not cheap. Do people actually have children without thinking about costs, loss of personal and professional aspirations, and time commitments, as in for life? If so, that's being self-centered and avoiding personal responsibility. If that conduct changes, this "crisis" will be gone. A neighbor's young children were raised so much by in-home child care they would cry when Mom got home from work, and the nanny left. Kids actually called the nannies Mama. Same Mom gave her kids iPads at age of 2 to "keep them occupied". Now, perhaps that is truly a crisis.

  215. @Mary You've blamed the the mom. Was there a dad?

  216. It doesn't make any sense to me that I can deduct, for example, expenses related to my professional licensing and expenses related to moving states for a job but I cannot deduct the costs of childcare--even though it would be impossible for me to have a profession without childcare. Lack of affordable childcare is a major drag on our economy. It's not a problem parents should have to solve on their own: our society needs happy healthy new citizens. And it needs productive adults in the workforce. This is like good public education; we all benefit, even if we don't have kids in public school.

  217. @D. Green Those "moving expenses" are no longer deductible thanks to Trump's tax package.

  218. I personally think that people who can’t cover the cost of a child should not be allowed to have more than one. I don’t work this hard to pay for someone to have a soccer team’s worth of kids. One can - maybe - be a right. Anything more than that absolutely not.

  219. @Elizabeth O Many people choose to remain childless. Many childless people complain bitterly about providing any form of support for children and families. I often wonder if the childless complainers realize they are likely to be old and fragile at some point in the future. Who will provide care for them when that day comes? Other people's children.

  220. Elisabeth, would you then be willing to support a childcare benefit that applied to the first child only? There are so many people who can’t afford to have one, or even with two professional incomes, can’t afford to have two. For families that do end up being larger, the early support might help them be more functional, and you wouldn’t be paying for later childcare costs.

  221. @Elizabeth O "..people who can’t cover the cost of a child should not be allowed to have more than one." How, exactly, is that going to work? Forced sterilization? Mandatory birth control implants? Confiscating newborns from parents who cannot prove they have the financial wherewithal to support them? This is a recipe for a dictatorship. Is that really what you want? Empower women, and the overall fertility rate goes down naturally. The US fertility rate is now at an all-time low. You should be paying attention to that, not the choices of a few women who choose to have large families. That is the price you pay for living in a free society.

  222. It is truly astounding how many people out there think we should subsidize their life choices.

  223. @Mystery Lits And I'm astounded that it goes unquestioned that so many of us should subsidize a military industrial complex that our political leaders CHOOSE to perpetuate. My guess is that if you actually asked the citizens of the US whether they would rather see their tax dollars spent subsidizing early childhood education or pumping up a grotesquely bloated budget for the Pentagon, they would choose early ed.

  224. @Mystery Lits What life choices have these infants made that you disagree with?

  225. @Andrew Can I choose neither?

  226. You pay me now, or you pay me later. I’d rather pay to get children off on the right foot rather than pay more for remediation later.

  227. I'm not easily shocked, but I'm a bit astounded by the overwhelmingly negative comments here and just the general lack of empathy towards the needs of young children, and the challenges parents face regarding raising children in an era of stagnant wages (for most) and rising costs. As has been pointed out elsewhere, puppies in the US have more protected time bonding with their mother than human infants do. No wonder our society is unraveling at the rate it is, if my fellow Americans have no interest in investing in the well-being of the next generation(s).

  228. @Zoe well said !

  229. I am constantly astounded by how many things that have gone on for millennia have suddenly become a "crisis". Surely, a person who is the president of a College of Education can find a better word to describe this situation. If not, then we have a crisis in education.

  230. This is one of the starkest examples of how far behind we are compared to civilized countries. I work with very intelligent and well-paid people and every one of them who is a parent struggles to find good child care. Life is so hard in so many ways for most Americans - healthcare, education, housing, childcare - all a struggle. Our infrastructure gets a Z- while we're subjected to endless political campaigns, knowing all the while that most of our votes barely "count" - if they're counted at all. Why? Why do we refuse to learn from other countries? Why do we allow our status and progress to be so badly hampered? We are only number one in cruelty and short-sightedness. Oh, and in the number of people killed and maimed by guns, in drug overdoses, in bankruptcies due to medical bills, and in legislation to cement women's second-class citizenship. Because everyone knows that countries that oppress women are the best in the world.

  231. This is a wonderful essay and reminder to us of the importance of those first five years of life. My daughter received a bachelor's degree in psychology and knew she needed a master's in the field. She chose Developmental Psych with the emphasis on early childhood. Her career is now devoted to those little ones in an inner-city day care center. We live in a society where if there are two parents both must work. If there is a single parent only, the burden of caring for her little one(s) becomes even more stressful and onerous. Each of these steps offered by Mr. Polakow-Suransky is crucial and necessary to heed and follow. These children are our future. Those young brains are sponges, soaking up every occurrence, every word spoken, every action performed. And let there be no mistake these day care employees are teachers, counselors, leaders, surrogate mothers, nurturers, and even nurses. They need to be compensated well for their hard work. And as written, the parents should not have to pay more than the close to unaffordable cost already added to monthly bills and debts. Let us take to heart this fine piece, long over due.

  232. Over the past several weeks, I've enjoyed watching a robin couple construct their nest above our front door transom: the mom laid the eggs and sat on them; they hatched and the mom and dad have been tending to the tiny babies ever since - feeding and cleaning them, keeping them warm and safe. In a couple of weeks - if things are the same as last year - the parents will coax and cajole the toddlers to fledge from the nest and then teach them how to forage for worms and bugs and seeds around the yard. I'm consistently flummoxed by humans - in contrast to these wild animals - who elect to bring a child in to the world with no apparent plan to provide their child the basics (nutritious food, shelter, affection, a safe and stimulating learning environment.) Yes, our current system is in need of improvement and I hope we as a country can get our act together and achieve meaningful change. But that's a parallel issue to making sound choices (while choice is still an option, at least) given the specifics of one's personal situation within in the larger context of our present society.

  233. @GBR ... and I’m flummoxed by a nation that makes providing those “basics” feel so out of reach for so many families. That robins life sounds enviable.

  234. I'm glad this author included salaries of early childhood education teachers in this discussion. Far too often this is left out of the conversation. Their pay is abysmal and just another reflection of the values of our country. The budget for the Department of Defense is raised by billions -- the president requests spending more than the Pentagon requests -- and nobody blinks an eye. That's the kind of Big Government spending we support in the US. Giving our children an advantage before they get to primary school, well that's a nice thing but we don't want to pay for it; and we certainly don't want to pay women (who provide the bulk of this service) a decent wage to do it.

  235. I remember reading the advice from a well - regarded parenting expert when my son was born in 1995. She said it's best if the mother stays at her me with the child the first 3 years of their life. It was disappointing advice, as my wife worked and was only able to take off 3 unpaid months. We hired a wonderful baby-sitter who took great care of our son and daughter, born 3 years later. We are still friends with her. The reality of today's society is 2 incomes are needed to manage. We must ensure all children get quality day-care during those crucial first 3 years of life. It's

  236. For those who think government should not get into child care: The government has a mandate to "promote the general welfare" that's right up alongside the mandate to "provide for the common defense". For those who insist "having a child is your choice, now take care of it": I'm happy to learn that you are pro-choice; and trust that you will continue to vote for abortion rights.

  237. I am so glad this was written. I've been talking about this for years. Wondering why we procreate when it's clearly cost prohibitive. For a long time this was a principal reason why I didn't have kids. Alas, now I have one (surprise baby) but the cost of quality care, if available, is daunting. My family has means. What about all the families that don't? The choices I know they have to make breaks my heart. Why can't this issue gain traction? It affects almost everyone.

  238. @Christina well,don't just talk about it with your friends. Teach it isn school, instead of "just say no".

  239. I think I have died and gone to heaven. Thank you so much for this article. I was just playing baseball catch with my ten year-old grandson explaining how a child’s brain understands the baseball glove when his father first drops the ball in his glove, and a million connections are made between the hand, the glove, and the eye. Thank you so much. It’s for the little kids — they come first!

  240. Stories like this make me sad and very angry. We have known for decades the value of early childhood education, the dollars saved/invested in doing the very best we can for our youngest citizens. I experienced this first hand as a teacher in a federally funded center in Chicago in the early 70’s. We took kids from the uptown neighborhood of the north side of the city, a totally ethnically mixed area. Fees were on a sliding scale, but no one paid much. The program was a total phenomenal success (I have a masters in early childhood ed)! We could see kids blooming every day. Yet, the whole thing collapsed when Nixon refused to sign onto the program for universal early education because it was an assault on the family. It broke my heart at the time, and it still does. Things could have been so different. I know personally, because I see the struggles of our 5 kids with their kids, my grandchildren!

  241. I think I have died and gone to heaven. Thank you so much for this article. I was just playing baseball catch with my ten year-old grandson explaining how a child’s brain understands the baseball glove when his father first drops the ball in his glove, and a million connections are made between the hand, the glove, and the eye. Thank you so much. It’s for the little kids — they come first!

  242. This article pertains to our current situation. We are a 2 parent working household with a almost 1 and a 3 year old. We have a babysitter for our kids due to convenience and the fact that it costs almost same as daycare. Our monthly childcare expenses are twice as much as our mortgage. It does take a toll on us and the kids. The days one of us gets out of work late means we eat dinner late and put kids to sleep later too. But the fact is to get by we both have to work and what happens if one of us gets laid off? Another issue is there isn’t enough PTO and maternity leave was unpaid too.

  243. Imagine if PK could be investing those childcare dollars in a college education fund. We really do make it so had for families to succeed in America, squeezing them dry at both ends, and creating enormous stress.

  244. The SAT is being adjusted for adversity to get more high school graduates into university. That doesn’t mean the kids will or can make it through college, because college will be an entirely different cultural experience. If education began in infancy with a quality preschool immersion, we might be able to break the cycle of poverty AND enrich this nation.

  245. Mr. Polakow-Suransky doesn't mention politics, but the fact is, only the Democratic party would support paying for affordable, quality child-care. Republicans are all for "family values" until money and taxes and government get involved. This is similar to universal background checks for gun sales, which 90% of the country supports. And with infrastructure spending. And health care. (And on and on.) Republicans in Congress dlsimply do not represent the will of their constituents.

  246. I took the mommy track back in 1987. I took the 6 weeks off after my son was born and I tried to find childcare that was acceptable and there was none, and there was no one I felt would have my child's best interest at heart more than me. So, I resigned my position and stayed home and then had my 2'nd Son less than a year later. I was blessed though because before 5 years had passed, I was able to secure a new position with my company and I stayed with them until I retired. Looking back now after 58 and 1/2 years of life, I am okay with having taken the early years with my two children. T zzzhat choice: to not let my children out of my sight, especially until they could speak and know right from wrong, affording them that much armor to face the harsh realities of life out there. I have never regretted that choice to put my children above all, but I cannot say I never resented having to suffer a hit to my career path by trying to add, positive and loved, new humans for future that could bring good to the world.

  247. @MosquitoBait. Sounds like a troll near the end there. Sorry, very tired after losing a pet goat this evening (14 yrs). She is out of the elements for tonight and burial 1st thing in the AM. Who knew a little baby goat named Lilly could hold a human heart so close. RIP my little gift and may your happiest day ever be never ending. No bitter cold in Winter, no biting bugs in Summer, just Sweet Spring forever more.

  248. I don’t think anyone thinks this is a gubbermint problem. It is a societal problem that a well meaning government may help to mediate through well-thought out and fiscally responsible programs to create and administer a federal insurance program for young couples of child-bearing years. I’m happily helping my daughter and her husband provide care for their daughter, almost 11 months. She will enter a childcare program after her first birthday and her MMR shot. It’s a huge commitment of my time and energy. Oh, but it’s like watching a flower bloom! I can assure you I never spent this much time or attention with my own 3, born within 4.5 years! My children were joys to me but I had a full household to run without Amazon Prime! But I digress, raising children from birth through adulthood will never be easy in any parental circumstance. It requires the simple acknowledgement that these eeny, teeny babes are our promises for tomorrow and every human has a vested interest in the quality of their care. In French speaking countries in the EU, childcare centers are termed “crèche”, basically the bassinet of Christ in the manger, evoking the warmth and care of a Mother, the miracle of humanity, the hope for a future. We need the same approach. Raising children is not proprietary to the parents, it is a collective, societal responsibility. Each for the Other, for All.

  249. Where is LBJ when you need him? He got Headstart encated into law and funded more than 50 years ago, well before all the studies you cite were even conceived.

  250. I really can't imagine what people are thinking at this point when they have a kid. Are they climate change denialists? Do they not understand the data? Is it just a hormonal suspension of reality? Can someone choosing to get pregnant today please explain it to me?

  251. Do you think humans should no longer have offspring? People are having fewer children later, some not at all. This correlates with women having more opportunities. It seems kind of fatalist for no children to be born. Having children (2) is the pride of my life, it means everything to me, this includes not buying them junk, teaching them to walk places and generally live modestly with consciousness and intelligence. We still believe there will be a future.

  252. This is a case of the “shoulds”....ie “government should do this” or “ government should do that.” There is no constitutional justification for the federal government to involve itself in child care, and that includes Headstart. To so misinterpret the Constitution in order to elasticize it sets a dangerous precedent.

  253. Having kids is not a “Life choice”!! Children are the future! The future affects all of us. Any and all actions that we can take to create a positive future by nurturing and loving our children should be applauded not demeaned. How appalling that some ( cold hearted and probably jealous) readers are posting negative comments about helping parents do their most important job.

  254. Our country could not afford to subsidize early childhood education, offer free college tuition, Medicare-for-all, and other social/ health-oriented programs for the general public, if we continue to welcome poorly educated illegal migrants who pay little in taxes. Many of the migrants are running away from the problems created by overpopulation. Nearly 90% of recent migrants are Guatemalan. A 3/8/11 PBS Newshour segment titled "In Guatemala, Family Planning Clashes with Religion, Tradition” said, "Women typically have eight, nine, 10 children.” "Years ago, more children meant more hands to work the land. But generation after generation, farms are divided into smaller and smaller plots. There's less food to harvest. And with big families comes more mouths to feed. Nearly half the population of Guatemala suffers from chronic malnutrition.” Guatemalans are coming here to get away from the problems bought on by overpopulation, but, once here, they continue to have many children. Child Trends has a web page titled "Fertility and Birth Rates” which says Central and S. America immigrants have the highest fertility rates in the U.S. We cannot afford to subsidize early childhood education and other programs for every resident, if anyone who manages to slip across our border is welcome to stay.

  255. @ann Yes we can, instead of sending so much money to the military that they did not ask for, looking for a war to fight, instead solving our problems with negotiating and cooperation, so war is not necessary, we can save lives and money. Raise taxes to be fair and support a nation that provides for it’s people (who pay their taxes), we can do better than just sitting back and accepting poor schools, poverty at 25%, health care only for those who have a lot of money left over at the end of the monthly, crime in “bad” neighborhoods. America is suppose to be for everyone not just the rich and those who work hard to work the political system against those who work and try to raise and educate their self and families. Stop being suckered in by politicians who are only out for them selves and staying in office. First vote them out of office and you will see a America that takes care of its citizens.

  256. Carol, you did not address Ann's point, that having 6-10 children is no longer feasible. First of all, nowadays they tend to survive. Also, they do not end up working the family farm. As the grandchild of immigrants, I welcome immigrants who, in any event, tend to be (from my experience here in Brooklyn) more ambitious and hardworking than our homegrown poor people. But they must use birth control. The having of so many babies must not be subsidized by those Americans who limit the number of babies they have to the number they can afford to have and rear up to be responsible citizens. That goes for ultra-Orthodox Jews, blacks, and Muslims too. Elsewhere in the country, ditto.

  257. You either really missed the boat, or are intentionally strawmanning. The Guatemalans are not the source of America's childcare problem.

  258. We know what to do. If it's true that 89 percent of voters think making early education affordable for working families should be a priority, then why haven't we elected Representatives, Senators and a President who are willing to tax the wealthiest controllers of 90% of our national resources; in other words, Democrats? Somewhere the message is not getting through. I suspect the ball is getting dropped in Televisionland.

  259. @mary bardmess What are you talking about??

  260. If invaders at the Mexican border are not a crisis, then it's difficult to describe exploding child care costs as a "crisis". Whatever it is, it's something that won't be solved by public money, because most states are completely broke with unfunded pension liabilities. We should send consultants to Zimbabwe, Spain, Greece, Mexico, and other poor countries. How do they take care of their kids ??

  261. "Today 21 percent of children under 3 live in poverty. The United States is the only industrialized country without paid family leave." What do the extremists who want to ban abortion have to say about this disgraceful statistic? The truth is that Republicans couldn't care less about children. They just pander to the religious right for their votes, without which they'd never win any elections.

  262. I was lucky to be able to go part time when my second child was born and i don't regret it. But i paid a personal and professional cost for that choice, giving up some great professional opportunities that came my way. I kept my foot in the door, and am now back to full time work with teenage kids. We need to create flexible job opportunities to allow patents to have more choices. A woman who stays home with the kids has a tough rewarding job,but it doesn't come with a pension or a 401k.

  263. @M. I read somewhere that adolescents need a parent’s presence as much as the very young kids because their brains are still immature (and we all know what “immature adolescent brains” means)...

  264. Oh, but we need so much money to fund the military! Kids just aren’t as important... Seriously, I loved that this article pointed out how EARLY childcare is so much more important than higher education, yet we spend obscenely little on it. And I hardly ever hear anyone talking about this problem. When I visited my friend in Berlin 7 years ago, she was paying $75/mo for a high quality bilingual full time daycare where all the teachers were college educated. I currently pay $1,400 to send my kid to a place (the best I could find) where most of the teachers were teen moms and barely have any special training. What a difference! I wonder why there’s such a big mental health problem in the US. Duh!

  265. Grand will be the day when the Pentagon has to hold bake sales to fund their latest military toy and early childhood education receives more funding than was requested.

  266. And this is senior White House advisor Ivanka Trump's signature issue. So SAD she has so little influence in the White House. So SAD the pro-family GOP thinks paid family leave is just another benefit for the "takers."

  267. @Monroe Ivanka's “policy” only serves to further impoverish women, by taking money out of retirement.