We heard a lot about Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, climate change, trade, health care, and free college during the 7th Democratic presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday night.
What was noticeably absent was a discussion of policy that will help foster strong families.
There was no mention of parental rights. There was a lot of talk about healthcare, but no mention about protecting the right of parents to direct the health care of their children. In fact, through their collective support of the Equality Act and conversion therapy bans, they would deny parents that fundamental right.
There no discussion about how to empower parents in choosing the right education for their child. Which is no surprise, the only candidate among the Democratic field who is willing to discuss school choice is Tulsi Gabbard, and she did not qualify for the debate.
There was absolutely no mention of paid family leave that would empower parents to stay home after a child is born or after they adopt. There was no discussion of expanding the child tax credit or creating an unborn child tax credit.
In fact, the only discussion that even touched upon the family was a discussing policy that would keep children away from their families.
Brianne Pfannenstiel, with The Des Moines Register, kicked off that discussion by asking South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg about the cost of child care.
“I meet professionals who sometimes say that they’re working in order to be able to afford childcare in order to be able to be working. It makes no sense, and it must change, and we shouldn’t be afraid to put federal dollars into making that a reality,” he answered.
“Subsidizing childcare and making sure that we are building up a workforce of people who are paid at a decent level to offer early childhood education, as well as childcare writ large,” Buttigieg continued.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts advocated universal child care for everyone.
“You know, I remember when I was a young mom. I had two little kids, and I had my first real university teaching job. It was hard work. I was excited. But it was childcare that nearly brought me down. We went through one childcare after another, and it just didn’t work,” she said.
“If I hadn’t been saved by my Aunt Bee — I was ready to quit my job. And I think about how many women of my generation just got knocked off the track and never got back on, how many of my daughter’s generation get knocked off the track and don’t get back on, how many mamas and daddies today are getting knocked off the track and never get back on,” Warren added.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont jumped in.
“Every psychologist in the world knows zero through 4 are the most important years of human life, intellectually and emotionally. And yet our current childcare system is an embarrassment, it is unaffordable. Childcare workers are making wages lower than McDonald’s workers,” he said.
Yes, three and four are the most important years of human life, so we should send children away to strangers who do not love our kids the way that we do?
According to Sanders, yes, yes, we must. And we must cut things like defense spending to achieve just that.
“We should not be spending more than the ten next countries on the military, hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, tax breaks for billionaires, and then tell the moms and dads in this country we cannot have high-quality affordable childcare,” he stated.
Former Vice President Joe Biden promoted free, universal infant care and early childhood education. In his mind, not only should parents have less time with their children, but the government should have more. And not just during the school day, but after-school as well.
“When I triple the amount of money for Title I schools, every child, 3, 4, and 5 years old, will, in fact, have full schooling. They’ll go to school and after-school programs, which will release some of the burden,” he said.
Biden did promote a tax credit, but it was to allow mothers to go back to work.
“I think we should have an $8,000 tax credit, which would put 7 million women back to work that could afford to go to work and still care for their children,” he said.
The policy advocated by Democrats on the debate stage would not strengthen families but weaken them. Democrats put government pre-schools, child care workers, and the workforce all before the family.