The President, in his State of the Union address, announced that he would propose a $3,000 per child tax cut for every middle and low-income family with young children. He said that it was time we stopped treating childcare as a side issue and treat it “like the national economic priority that it is for all of us.” Mind you, it is not all care of children that concerns the president, only care given by people other than the parents. The credit will go toward the covering of childcare costs, not to the family raising the child.
Whitehouse.gov says that the president will also propose a $500 tax credit to two earner families to help cover “the additional costs faced by families in which both spouses work.” This tax credit seems to have not made it into the final version of the State of the Union speech, although it is still listed on the White House website. One wonders if it was perhaps deemed just too great an affront to the mother raising children in a traditional family.
The president says “having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families,” and that he is helping women with the extra cost of working outside the home. The care of children represents a cost not only to mothers outside the home, but to the stay-at-home-mother as well. For those households with a parent at home caring for children the cost of childcare is the entire income that parent would earn outside. The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) cites a figure of $11,666 dollars as the average cost of center based daycare in the United States. One can infer that the average cost to a family of having a parent care for the children is considerably higher.
According to a 2012 Pew Research Study, 29% of all mothers or 10.4 million women, were stay-at-home in 2012. Two thirds of these mothers were “traditional,” defined as “married with husbands working.” Of these traditional mothers, 85% said they are not working because they are caring for their families. What about these families? Why do these families not deserve the benefits of tax credits?
The stereotype, of course, is that these are the women who “opt out,” who are home because their family has plenty of money without need for a second income. But the Pew Research study said that 34% of stay-at-home-mothers are living in poverty, compared with 12% of the mothers who work outside the home. Can the case really be made that mothers who use childcare to work outside the home have a greater need for economic assistance?
It would seem that the president is not simply interested in helping families with the care of their children. He also shares the belief with left wing feminists that staying home to care for children is not legitimate work for women. In October of 2014 in a speech in Rhode Island the president made this position abundantly clear to the moms at home. He said, “Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.” Why is that not a choice we want mothers to make? Is it not laudable to make sacrifices for children?
Is it legitimate work to care for someone else’s children and be paid for it, but not to care for your own? Teaching the children of others is acceptable, but not staying home to teach your own? The legal ramifications of a business’s actions or the accounting of a corporation are worthy of a mother’s attention, but not the nurturing of her own children? Please.
C.S. Lewis said it so well. “The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only—and that is to support the ultimate career.” All income is, first and foremost, for the sustenance of the individual and the family. Have we come to a place where income is of value in and of itself and the family and its care is secondary? Is the notion that it is good when a mother is able to care for her own children passé? A Pew Research Survey done in 2014 says otherwise. 60% of respondents said children are better off when a parent stays home to focus on the family. Someone ought to tell the president.