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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Why Did Mothers Begin Leaving Kids in Day-Care?

The day-care phenomenon didn’t become widespread until President Johnson’s Great Society entitlement-based welfare state created massive inflation.  Most mothers didn’t abandon their children for lack of love.  They were driven to it by the absolute necessity to produce more family income to pay sky-rocketing bills, when the inflation rate went into the teens.

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Today’s Washington Times’s opinion column titled Reconsidering day care assesses the after-effects of leaving children in day-care for as much as ten hours a day.  Few people will argue that children are better off for having to be in day-care.  Most mothers resort to day-care from necessity imposed upon society by liberal-socialism.

Liberal-socialists remain ever confident that they are so much smarter than the rest of us that, given control of the reins of political power, they can right every wrong and cure every social ill.  The scientifically observable fact is that all their efforts in that direction, whenever they have been in power positions, have been disastrous.  One of the worst of these was President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, which was designed to produce equality of income, education, housing, etc. as a fact, by mandating Federal and state redistributions of income, for the first time as a matter of entitlement, without means testing or demonstration of specific need.  See Hillary’s Village for more on the attitudes underlying the presumption that only the Federal government can improve peoples lives, that individuals are not capable of taking care of themselves.

The day-care phenomenon was produced by the social destruction that followed in the wake of the Great Society.

When he introduced entitlements programs, President Johnson opted for ?guns and butter,? to fight both the Vietnam War and the War on Poverty without raising taxes.  Ballooning increases in Treasury debt to fund entitlements pushed up the inflation rate, that is, total money in the economy rose faster than the supply of goods and services that were being produced.  President Nixon briefly tried price controls, but neither he nor President Carter did anything to rein in the politically-untouchable and accelerating growth of entitlements spending.  Between 1960 and 1980 the Consumer Price Index jumped 184%, at an accelerating annual rate that had hit 13.5% by 1980. 

Many of us lived through OPEC oil price increases month after month, interest rates over 20%, food costs jumping every week, long gasoline lines, and the real likelihood that institutions with our life?s savings would be forced into bankruptcy because of spiraling inflation that made it impossible for them to retain low-interest-rate deposit accounts or to fund withdrawals by selling mortgage assets at prices hammered down by high interest rates.  Despite much-publicized criminal activity by a small number of loan executives, it was 1965-1980 inflation that destroyed savings-and-loans?s traditional business and produced the staggeringly costly, down-the-drain bailout.

Terrifying as those experiences were, far worse was inflation?s corrosive effect on society that left us vulnerable to today?s racial and economic bitterness.  In the 1970s, preoccupied with the struggle to keep our kids in college and pay our sky-rocketing bills, we didn?t notice at first that the Great Society was being paid for by the loss in value of our savings and our wages.  The phenomenon of ?bracket creep? pushed us into higher tax brackets as our nominal incomes increased.  Congress, of course, was gratified by this automatic, inflation-driven tax increase mechanism that allowed them to avoid facing the necessity to pass new tax legislation or to cut entitlements spending.

In effect, inflation took something out of everybody?s savings or pension account each month to pay for the shortfall between what the economy produced and what the government was spending.  Retirement savings that had been worth $50,000 in 1960 were by 1980 worth only $27,174 in real purchasing power. 

This colossal loss in real national wealth was paid for largely by women leaving their homes to become second wage-earners.  Between 1960 and 1980, the number of women in the labor force increased 96%, compared to only a 33% increase in the number of men.  By 1980, women accounted for 43% of the entire full-time working population.  Clearly the forced separation of so many mothers from their children is related to the 1960s and 1970s explosion of drug addiction and crime among children and young adults that still plagues us today.

Hillary’s Village, in the end, had cannibalized our children.