If the U.S. really wants to be the competitive country Obama evoked in
his State of the Union speech, we need mega-tons more good, affordable child
care. But the cost-cutting mania in the nation's capital puts a cost-cutting
question over the nation's toddlers.
Barack Obama emphasized in his State of the Union address on Tuesday that the
fiscal belt is tightening, the budget ax is coming, the government is
So mamas, watch out. The child care programs that many of us rely on to make
ends meet and to help launch the next generation are at risk.
It's preposterous, really, that we have to worry about this when what the
country needs is far more, and far better--not less--child care, especially if
we want the kind of competitive, innovative society Obama called for in his
State of the Union address.
And don't tell me we can't get this done, even in a time of fiscal
Take a look at our own military. Somehow it manages to provide high quality,
affordable child care. Our soldiers rely on that benefit, and we need it out
here in the civilian world too.
The day before Obama's primetime speech, he announced plans to ramp up
support for military families in child care and in other areas. And yet, despite
a good chunk of airtime devoted to investments in education during his annual
address this week, he didn't once mention public child care or early
Speaker of the House John Boehner has taken a more draconian approach. If he
gets his way, the federal government will cut discretionary funding that is not
linked to homeland security, the national defense or the nation's veterans back
to fiscal 2008 levels in March, when the continuing budget resolution that is
currently keeping the government going expires.
That would amount to a 21 percent reduction from current spending levels for
the remainder of the fiscal year, according to Helen Blank, director of
leadership and public policy at the National Women's Law Center in Washington,