This thread can be a place to discuss this topic. I really love the idea of child care, pre school, and some community college and/or trade school help. I am not so sure about more payments to people with children. I think the money is counterproductive and incentivize the wrong people to have children. I think paying for daycare and pre-school for working parents could be a huge boon to the economy and also encourage more working Americans to have children. It would also make a dent in the number of abortions performed every year which is a win in my book. I think corporations would reap more than the expected tax to fund these programs.
We have to get people working on our country and given wages are rising, jobs are posted, and they still aren’t being filled there has to be a hidden cost on the workers that they would encumber to go to work. Childcare seems like it could be one of the problems given it basically wipes out the wages of going to work for $10/hour.
Completely agree. And to pay for it using an overdue increase to capital gains for those making > $1m makes the plan hard to criticize imo (with an exception for cash transfers for kids which I agree aren’t ideal)
One idea that would be fairly low cost but would help a little bit would be to make full-day kindergarten a no-cost option for families rather than charging tuition.
Give families the choice between half-day and full-day but stop charging extra for the ones who want full-day.
I don’t think there’s a serious shortage of kindergarten teachers out there.
Another idea is to increase the $5,000 cap on Dependent Care FSAs and the $6,000 cap on the Childcare Expense tax credit. Childcare costs way more than that and we could help out working families more by simply expanding the existing tools set up to help them.
Also, make at least a portion of the Childcare Expense tax credit refundable. Or maybe even fully refundable, dunno.
That’s true but I think a big loss is that women will have children, outright leave the labor force and then either have permanently left or seek to reenter later with a gap. Even if the women are making at or even less than the cost of the childcare it could be a net gain if we avoid the career gap and loss of human capital.
Not sure I follow the drag of more workers engaged in childcare. A job is a job. If more people work because they can get childcare even if some of that work is providing childcare how does that diminish the returns of such a policy?
Also long term this allows more people to choose to have children that may not be doing that now. That increases the future population of workers which is good for the economy as well.
If the “returns” are more consumer goods – more hamburgers, healthcare, and haircuts – then replacing parents caring for children with unrelated adults providing childcare does not increase the amount of those other goods.
If the “returns” are better quality care, then that might or might not happen.
If the “returns” are “population growth without immigration”, then that might also happen.
I allow for gains in economics beyond simple GDP increases. At some point, the happiness, security, and freedom of people can be factored in. Those can be gained, even if the accountants don’t measure it in dollars.
Simply giving parents more workable alternatives…well that’s a win in my book.
Lot’s of good economists have asked the question of whether $'s are the best measure of economic activity or just the easiest to use. I think you are hitting on that and it’s an excellent point, but very difficult to calculate.
More kids in paid daycare will certainly raise the GDP as we calculate it. That’s because child rearing provided by stay at home parents doesn’t generate cash movement and that’s what we use to measure GDP.
Giving parents another choice is a win. Taxing other people, including those who would prefer to stay home with their kids, to pay for it is a loss.
In cases where the parents just aren’t good at caring for kids, it’s probably a net gain. I’d prefer that people who aren’t good parents and don’t earn enough to pay for childcare just don’t have kids. But, I don’t know how to do that in a free society.
Economically producing the need for more workers and also allowing more workers to pursue work can only add to the size of the pie. We have reached a time in history when the demand for work to be done is exceeding the supply of workers this is somewhat demographic in nature and somewhat a result of the expansion of the world economy over the last 40 years.
IMO we have effectively onboarded Chinese, Indian, and South American workers into the world economy. That had a 20ish year impact on wage suppression and inflation suppression. They are onboard as workers and are now consumers. The problem now is that the oldest generations in the first world are the largest generations and the working generations are the smallest. This trend will hit China and India about 20 years after us but the birthrate trends are already starting.
This is true: to do a fair comparison you’d have to add in something for the stay at home parents. But how much? Many parents stay home with only 1-3 kiddos. In daycares they’re staffing for at least 4-1. Infants require a 5-1 staffing ratio* and older kids can have more kids per staff member. They staff at a lower ratio than required so that they can have “floating” staff members to relieve another staff member during lunch break or so someone can go to the bathroom, or walk a sick kid to the office, or whatever. Still, most stay at home parents aren’t watching that many kids. A few might be watching more than daycare would allow, but on average I’m sure it’s fewer.
So even if we properly accounted for the value of the unpaid labor they are providing in the GDP (which I completely agree we are not currently doing), getting more parents to work and kids in daycare would still have a positive impact on GDP.
*This may vary by state… I’m speaking for Ohio where my mother was a headstart director for many years and I had to help her fill out a lot of her legal paperwork that she didn’t understand. I picked up a lot about Pre-K legal requirements during that time period!