Child Care: Comprehensive Benefits for the “Economy”?

A Economist Articles on Government Subsidies in Child Care (Day Care) In Economist Full of economic lessons, though the magazine doesn’t necessarily draw exactly that (“British Child Care is Expensive: Making It More Affordable will Help Some Mothers Pay,” June 30, 2022).

The magazine rightly suggests that a statement from the outgoing British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is questionable: better access to child care, the politician says, “would be a huge benefit to the economy.” We can be more radical: the statement is meaningless if the benefit is not a net of expenditure or if Johnson is not meant by “economy” All UK citizen. In either case, better access to baby food or diapers or clothing or larger apartments will have the same effect.

It is true that reputable magazines and often offer fresh perspectives and at least set the problem right:

In an ideal world, governments don’t have to worry about that. Based on their preferences and potential earnings, parents will make a reasonable decision on whether to outsource child care or keep it at home; For example, borrowing them to cover short-term costs may mean.

The following sentence, however, is not sufficiently informed by the economic way of looking at things:

The question for policymakers is how much parental behavior reflects real choices and how much is driven by limitations. A

In a free society, “limitations” are created by other people’s choices and their equal freedom of choice. For example, most consumers are unwilling to pay more for products and services that use less regular labor than women who choose to have ten children.

The magazine also writes:

But there is plenty of evidence that limitation is a problem. Three out of five non-working mothers say they would love to work if they had the right child care.

Of course. Most good things have costs, that is, limitations. Many non-working people would prefer to work for a decent salary. Many prefer to read more books or go to the gym again and again if they need less time or money. Many would shop at whole food if it weren’t so expensive. Many would prefer to live in Los Angeles if they get the city benefits and no cost. And so the announcement. The real question, as indicated by Economist But a little more Impressionist, these choices are made by individuals because of their preferences and limitations, or the government gives its own preferences and limitations.

A sentence that soon follows will help identify errors in imagining an ideal official world:

In other words, cheap child care can help increase, but policies need to be well-designed to target truly limited parents and stop spending out of control.

The first clause will only be true if we define “economic” growth as an increase in the production of products and services that the government prefers to consume its swarm — for example, more children’s services as opposed to less concerts or less beer. The important second clause assumes that, in order to explain the doubts expressed by Economist Concerning the choice of rational parents, government behavior rationally reflects the choice of everyone in the economy – which has shown that the economy of public choice is the mother of all heroic ideas rather than bureaucratic and political interests and limitations.

To avoid what James Buchanan calls the ideal eunuch, we can consider another issue: personal responsibility, which is inseparable from the moral beliefs of equal and sovereign individuals. In this context, each adult (or voluntary family grouping) must, on the one hand, make its own dealings with the joy and benefits of childbearing and parenting, and on the other, the opportunities that should result. Forgotten time and other resources are limited.

And how did our ancestors, who were poorer than us, do that? Whoever wants to be today, the net of child care, as poor as our ancestors, they raised as many children as they could, they got as little help from the big brother. This remains true despite the change in their time and the relative value between us; For example, housing and domestic workers have become much more expensive than household appliances and robots, which have become much cheaper (before they had infinite costs).

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