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Monday, May 16, 2016

Paul Krugman: It Takes a Policy

 This is far more important than tax cuts for the rich:

It Takes a Policy, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: U.S. politicians love to pose as defenders of family values. Unfortunately, this pose is often, perhaps usually, one of remarkable hypocrisy. ... Judged by what we actually do..., America is unique among advanced countries in its utter indifference to the lives of its youngest citizens.
For example, almost all advanced countries provide paid leave from work for new parents. We don’t. Our public expenditure on child care and early education, as a share of income, is near the bottom in international rankings...
But can our neglect of children be ended?
In January, both Democratic candidates declared their support for a program that would provide 12 weeks of paid leave to care for newborns and other family members. And last week, while the news media was focused on Donald Trump’s imaginary friend, I mean imaginary spokesman, Hillary Clinton announced an ambitious plan to improve both the affordability and quality of U.S. child care.
This was an important announcement .. that could well be the centerpiece of a Clinton administration.

O.K., we don’t have all the details yet, but the outline seems pretty clear. On the affordability front, Mrs. Clinton would use subsidies and tax credits to limit family spending on child care — which can be more than a third of income — to a maximum of 10 percent. Meanwhile, there would be aid to states and communities that raise child-care workers’ pay, and a variety of other measures... All of this would still leave America less generous than many other countries, but it would be a big step toward international norms

Is this doable? Yes. Is it desirable? Very much so. ... Our threadbare system of public support for child care and early education costs 0.4 percent of the G.D.P.; France’s famously generous system costs 1.2 percent of the G.D.P. So we could move a long way up the scale with a fairly modest investment.
And it would indeed be an investment...
So can we stop talking, just for a moment, about who won the news cycle or came up with the most effective insult, and talk about policy substance here?
The state of child care in America is cruel and shameful — and even more shameful because we could make things much better without radical change or huge spending. And one candidate has a reasonable, feasible plan to do something about this shame, while the other couldn’t care less.

    Posted by on Monday, May 16, 2016 at 06:57 AM in Economics | Permalink  Comments (98)


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