You're currently reading an archived version of Jim Hightower's work.
The latest (and greatest?) observations from Jim Hightower are only now available at our Substack website. Join us there!
Nearly every nation with an advanced economy (and some not so advanced) treats child care as a fundamental public good essential to nurturing children, families, and the whole society. But not our US of A.
Indeed, our so-called leaders relegate millions of working parents and 21 million kids under 5 to the tender mercies of a for-profit market, with child care facilities ranging from impossibly expensive to helter-skelter, unlicensed Kiddie Korrals. Embarrassingly, while right-wingers mindlessly salute the US as “exceptional,” they fail to note that what’s exceptional about our “child care system” is that it’s such a shambles it can’t even be called a system, much less caring.
Enjoying Hightower's work? Join us over at our new home on Substack:
For the past decade, independent journalist and economic analyst Bryce Covert has documented the worsening social crisis caused by this abject failure of leadership. Her recent report paints a dire picture of huge and obvious need:
- Two thirds of our pre-K kids have both parents in the workforce, meaning care outside the home is essential.
- 85% of the parents say that finding quality, affordable child care in their area is a problem somewhere between serious and impossible.
- Nationwide, the annual cost for a 4-year old’s day care averages about $13,000.
Despite millions of working families finding this essential service unaffordable or even unavailable, political leaders have ignored their plight. Child care aid reaches only 15% of qualified kids (some callous governors even divert chunks of federal child care subsidies to their own political priorities, such as corporate welfare.) In 2017, even before Covid-19 abruptly shut down thousands of care centers, 40% of America’s children lived in “child care deserts”–zip codes with zero programs or so few that two-thirds or more of the area’s children are unable to get in.
Is this the best we can do for “the future” of our nation?