...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Friday, May 09, 2003
      ( 9:32 AM )
Mamas - Still the Politicians' Favorite Whipping Girls

Thanks to James R. McLean for a great post on the new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research about child care. JRM talks about how we should stop making mothers' (especially single mothers) child care burdens a political issue and just take care of the situation. I wish that could be the case. Child care is the perfect example of why things like sales taxes and flat taxes are prohibitive for so many of us. I am married, but provide the only income for my family at this point, so in terms of income, it's a single-parent home. On my income, we cannot afford formal child care. But here's the kicker, even if my husband were able to find work in his career field (computer tech - a job in that field in our state right now is about as likely as winning the lottery) - both of us working might not even be enough to balance what the cost of fulltime child care would be.

See, I have to pay the same for child care (which averages $6-700 a month) as someone who makes 4 times what I do. So while child care would literally be 25% of my take home income, for someone who made only twice what I do, it is only 10% of their income. Child care being a fixed cost like that does not allow for the working poor to find quality care for their children. But at the same time, the government demands that "welfare reform" must mean that you don't deserve help from the government unless you work. But you can't make enough to pay for child care. So you're trapped. You are a good mother, you're not going to leave your children unattended or in bad situations. But you have no way to provide for them. So you don't "deserve" help from the state and you can't "earn" it either. We treat the working poor mothers of this country as if they were the stain on our society. As if they were the cause of our problems. Our politicians look to our least common denominator in terms of influence and importance in our society and then stomp on them to give a boost to their campaigns. It doesn't make sense. Just like pouring millions of dollars into a "war on drugs" where people are punished with hard criminal time for possession of minescule amounts of pot. Just like taxpayer money paying for a president who has never honorably served in his country's military donning a uniform and performing the role of military dictator.

For Mother's Day, instead of taking away our right for overtime pay, or trying to convince us that huge deficites are a good legacy to leave our children, why not give us universal health care for our children, or a guaranteed quality public education with teachers who get paid enough to care, or just even, (dare I say it?) food enough for all the children in this country who go hungry every day. Now THAT would be a good Mother's Day.

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