The American family is in a state of crisis. Nobody in Washington really disagrees with this, Republican or Democrat. Marriage rates are cratering. Birth rates are in a total tailspin, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. This is unsustainable. America can’t function if the most basic building block of our society is collapsing. Clearly something needs to be done.
Last week, the Biden White House released what it called the “American Families Plan,” a $1.8 trillion spending package that includes a laundry list of woke leftist priorities, including major giveaways to the education establishment, which has become perhaps the most favored Democrat constituency. Many conservatives are understandably concerned about the price tag. But even if the package were something we thought America could afford, the details of the plan should make conservatives extremely worried. Rather than help the family, the Biden administration has something more disturbing in mind: a big government takeover of the family.
Consider, for example, one of the plan’s most controversial proposals, which calls for $200 billion for two years of free universal preschool. What does that mean? Instead of giving this money to parents to help them address the educational needs of their children as they see fit, this plan would push kids into our failing public school system two years earlier, effectively replacing in-home daycares and preschools and most benefiting the credentialed class that voted President Joe Biden into office.
If Democrats were serious about helping working families afford the costs of childcare and early education, they’d recognize that parents would prefer direct assistance to government programs. As University of Virginia Professor Brad Wilcox recently pointed out, “Poor and working-class families are more likely to prioritize the parental freedom of cash more than child care, whereas the educated and affluent are more likely to value child care… By contrast, the message sent by the push for universal child care is that, ultimately, work matters more than family — and that government knows best how to arrange work and family choices.”