Reviews | Why is it so difficult to raise a child in the United States?

Having experienced fascism first hand, European countries also viewed the welfare state as a means of safeguarding democracy against auth...

Having experienced fascism first hand, European countries also viewed the welfare state as a means of safeguarding democracy against authoritarianism. In the United States, by contrast, opposition to the Soviet Union – and any political program that could be slandered as socialist or communist – made it more difficult to build support for social insurance.

Where are things today: Out of 185 countries for which data are available, the United States and Papua New Guinea are the only ones whose citizens are not entitled to any paid parental leave. In Europe, on the other hand, parents have paid leave of 14 months, on average, and children generally start public school at the age of 3. Before that, governments paid a significant portion of child care costs. A child allowance similar to the new child tax credit is also common among the peer nations of America.

The United States has made some changes to its family policies over the past century, as Eric Levitz of New York magazine points out. In 1993, Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act, which requires most employers to give workers 12 weeks of job-protected, but unpaid, leave to care for a new child. or a seriously ill family member. On 40 percent of American workers are not eligible, however, and only 23 percent private sector workers paid family leave through their employers.

Half of Americans live in places where there is no licensed child care or where there are three times as many children as slots. One in three children does not attend kindergarten either; those who don’t are more likely to be Hispanic or from low-income families.

Like Times columnist Jamelle Bouie ExplainManchin’s criticism of “the law” this month has been a recurring theme in the history of America’s opposition to a broader social safety net. At its root is an age-old tendency to sort people into productive manufacturers and unproductive takers, a binary which formed the basis of “producerism”: the idea that the people who made and cultivated things were most valuable to society. company.

  • In the 19th century, producerism fueled revolts against corporations, which progressives argued were stealing the fruits of labor.

  • But in the 20th century, producerism was overhauled by conservatives and neoliberals: the taker was no longer a greedy employer or slave owner but the government, expropriating hard-earned money from its citizens through taxes and redistributing it. to unworthy welfare fraudsters, who were often black-coded.

The logic of “law” may be one of the reasons the child tax credit is less popular than its supporters had hoped. When the Biden administration made all but the wealthiest families eligible for monthly checks of up to $ 300 per child this summer, Democrats predicted the program would be a big success. Corn in a recent poll of registered voters, only 36 percent said it should be made permanent.

“The biggest division may be over the importance of work”, writing Patrick T. Brown, a member of the Center for Ethics and Public Policy who helped convene focus groups of working parents to discuss the issue. “Parents we spoke to felt a tension between the obvious benefits that a monthly benefit could bring, but still wanting some sort of work requirement. The work made a family worthy of government support; otherwise, family allowances were considered social assistance.

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Reviews | Why is it so difficult to raise a child in the United States?
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