January 16, 1998 in City

Kids Need Parents, Not Paid Stand-Ins Fuzzy Blanket Clinton Plan To Expand Day Care Is Bankrupt, Socially And Economically.

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Regulators in the Commonwealth of Virginia admitted this week they let a day care center stay open in spite of appalling lapses: Its employees went home early, leaving a 14-month-old alone in a crib. The baby’s mother had to smash a window to retrieve her infant from the darkened building. The center allowed young children to play the bloodthirsty video game “Mortal Kombat.” It failed to call 911 when a child had a seizure. Parents interviewed by the Washington Post said they like the facility in spite of its “mistakes.”

Children all over America will experience more of the same if Congress approves President Clinton’s proposal to create a $21 billion program subsidizing and promoting day care. As incidents like the one in Virginia show, day care, even regulated day care, is an exercise in parental denial and considerable risk.

Politically, Clinton’s proposal is clever. It’s bigger government and heavier taxes, wrapped in the fuzzy blanket of family values. Socially and economically, it’s bankrupt.

The federal government already has a $5 trillion debt from creating more spending programs than it had the money to finance. The average American family now loses 37 percent of its income to taxes - up from 5 percent in the 1950s. That’s one big reason brand-new mothers feel so much economic pressure to return reluctantly to work.

If the administration wants to help kids it should lighten the tax load on all families.

Many parents make great financial sacrifices, scrimping on one income or struggling with the difficulties of job sharing, telecommuting and flex time so their kids will enjoy the superior love and care that only an at-home parent can provide. These parents should not be taxed more heavily to subsidize the moreaffluent parents who choose day care, which child development expert Edward Zigler of Yale has called “psychological thalidomide.”

Research has found that kids raised by hirelings and strangers are more likely to suffer mental disorders and bond poorly with their parents.

Sure, federal day care assistance is justifiable for single parents struggling to get off welfare and achieve self-sufficiency.

Beyond that, however, the United States cannot afford, economically or socially, to promote a child-rearing practice that parents know in their hearts is bad for kids.

, DataTimes MEMO: See opposing view under the headline: Child care imperative urgent and indisputable

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From both sides CREDIT = John Webster/For the editorial board

See opposing view under the headline: Child care imperative urgent and indisputable

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From both sides CREDIT = John Webster/For the editorial board


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