Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It's all in how you view life

Take a gander at this article endorsing greater government involvement in, ans subsidies for, daycare.  It's a brilliant picture of looking only at the intentions, and not the actual results.

For starters, they note that, in real terms, the price of daycare has doubled in the past 30 years, and that government is trying to help with daycare tax credits--but don't notice that the increase in cost is, at $59/week ($3000/year), identical to the childcare tax credit maximum.  It appears that government isn't helping at all, but is rather driving up the cost of daycare.

Going on, the article notes that the tax credits increase workforce participation and "pay for themselves" in tax revenue.  Well, yes; if you pay for daycare, Mom (or Dad for that matter) is more likely to work, and the tax revenue from a minimum wage job at 40 hours per week is (assuming Dad is also working) over $4000 at the state and federal level--more than enough to pay for tax credit.

What's unasked, however, is whether Mom (Dad) and child are actually better off.  Contrary to the article's contentions, there are no data which indicate that daycare actually does better than a parent in parenting, especially when you're dealing with people who are not in poverty. 

Financially?  Well, I ran the numbers, and a woman making minimum wage with one child will take home about $7000/year--only half her official wage--after taxes.  With two children, it's $2000/year.  The woman making the median wage (and remember, women on average only earn 77% of what men do) will take home $15300, and with two, it's only $10,000. 

In short, not a lot to pay for vehicle expenses, necessary meals out of the home, and work attire. 

A final comment in "favor" of subsidized daycare is that companies find that it helps retention and recruitment.  OK, so is this an unalloyed good, or is it another case of "golden shackles"?  Yes, I'm leaning towards the latter.

You see, it's all in the questions you ask, isn't it?

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