Over at the Washington Examiner, someone thinks that it’s right wing and populist to have mothers of young children working outside the home. It’s a short article, so it follows below. I’ve bolded the most questionable bits.
The Obama administration, according to Katharine Stevens in the Wall Street Journal, is paving the way for more regulation of child care. This seems like a great place for conservatives to fight for the interests of the poor and working class, against overbearing government.
In other words, it’s an opportunity for freemarket populism.
The administration is pushing guidelines for who can get federal grants, but Stevens — who is a fellow
research fellow of mine at the American Enterprise Institute — worries that these grant guidelines are
a “Trojan horse bearing counterproductive requirements,” on earlychildhood educators and daycare
These aren’t rules governing basic health and safety standards, like drinking water, cleanliness or
broken glass. Some are micromanaging: “cot placement” for daycare. Others are about requiring
credentialing — such as requiring preschool teachers to have bachelor’s degrees.
Some level of regulation of childcare and preschool is about requiring what parents would demand.
But at a certain point, it becomes excessive.
Excessive regulation of daycare and preschool mostly hurts the poor and working class. For one
thing, it makes daycare rarer and more expensive.
Some on the Left will respond and say, “well, let’s just subsidize them more.” That doesn’t address the
other problem: curbing work opportunities for women.
More importantly, unnecessary regulation and credentialing requirements take away from many
women the best way they could make money: at-home daycare.
You don’t want moms sticking 15 kids in a tiny basement. You don’t want home daycare locations run
by human smugglers. But excessive regulation curbs employment options — and daycare options —
for lower-income folks.
The bold portions are the most iffy bits of this ridiculous article. Why does anyone want the poor and working class women working outside the home? That is, as I’ve recently noted, a way of subsidizing consumerism all by itself. And note the obsession with “work opportunities” for women at home with their kids already, because the domestic sphere itself is, you know, not worth anything for its own sake. It’s just a storage space for all those future cubicle warriors and retail cogs.
And this is from a super right wing media outlet! It’s just another brick in the “free-market” wall. It’s not right wing or conservative to keep doubling down on shoving everyone out into the artificial, inhuman modern workforce. It’s also not populist to only support mothers if they generate income explicitly. Can mothers earn income at home with their kids? Sure, that’s certainly an option. But should women be pressured into it at the expense of preserving and encouraging a real domestic sphere? This conservative housewife would say absolutely not. Someday, maybe, the rest of the right will too.