We Need More Government: Part 3.

Chuck Sheketoff

kidsLeslie Carlson's excellent "The Nanny Diaries-Portland Style" highlights a failure of the free market system to meet our - Oregon families' - needs. One of the roles for government is to step in when the free market fails. And child care is a perfect example of why we can't rely on the free market to meet our needs. We must collectively meet needs through the institution that binds us and provides the opportunities: government.

We can change our Department of Human Resources's hostility toward developing child care businesses as part of the welfare-to-work strategy (DHS rules make it damn difficult for a poor woman to start a child care business as part of her strategy for self-sufficiency).

The low income single mothers who rely upon Temporary Assistanc with Needy Families are a workforce waiting and often wanting to help provide child care, yet the state would rather have these folks go flip burgers than get the education and training and support necessary to become a quality child care provider. The state's Economic and Community Development Department should be directed to recognize that child care availability and affordability is part of Oregon's business climate and to put resources into improving it. Instead, they are busy telling backpakers, wine, food, and golf enthusiasts that Oregon is a great place to visit because we allegedly love dreamers (and apparently dreamers who don't have children who need to be cared for while they work).

I dream of a State of Oregon where quality child care is available and accessible and affordable because its part of the public education system and all of government is working together to ensure the providers are trained, skilled, paid well, and nurturing.

  • brett (unverified)

    This post doesn't make any sense. The earlier article didn't demonstrate the failure of the free market -- it demonstrated that one person is having trouble finding decent child care. It's a perfect opportunity for the free market to solve the problem, by offering better service. If someone were to open a child care business that met her needs, she would gladly give them her money.

    What evidence do you have that the government is "hostile" to child-care businesses? Why do you say that the state "would rather have these folks go flip burgers"? Cite the rules you refer to, give us links. This is a blog - links are what they are all about.

    What a sloppy post.

  • Leslie Carlson (unverified)

    The reality of life in America is that politicians (especially the right wing) spout "family values" as being important, but what they really mean is: middle class mothers, stay home with your kids, and welfare moms: get out and get a job. The system is patchwork at best and the free-market day cares cut costs by providing large ratios of kids to teachers and low pay to their employees. I would argue that Chuck is right: the government is passively hostile to families by not stepping in to help, as they do in other countries. If you want a link to see what the rest of the industrialized world does, check out http://www.mothersofamerica.com/parentingchildcare1.htm

  • Claire (unverified)

    Some links:

    http://findit.emp.state.or.us/childcare/rules.cfm http://www.dhs.state.or.us/children/publications/cc/2002marketratestudy.pdf http://www.ssw.pdx.edu/emlen/pgCC_Oregon.shtml

  • (Show?)

    The free market is not meeting the needs of Leslie and thousands of other parents - quality child care is hard to find, even for folks with the economic means, and even harder for low- and moderate-income Oregonians, the majority of Oregonians. The suggestion that just one person is having a problem is absurd. We regulate child care for safety and quality because of the problems that occur when left up to the free market. Its time for a more active role by government to make it more readily available, because the so-called free market is failing miserably.

    For the hostility, read the DHS rules (http://www.dhs.state.or.us/policy/selfsufficiency/ar_search.htm) or the Family Services Manual (http://www.dhs.state.or.us/policy/selfsufficiency/em_firstpage.htm) regarding how income is treated for the self-employed, how to be approved for educational activities, and the like. The bottom line of DHS is to reduce the caseload, and the state prides itself on abandoning the human investment model that would have allowed women to be educated and trained to become child care providers, and the state rules are stacked against these women becoming self-employed.

  • brett (unverified)

    A comparison to social democracies such as Sweden or Holland ignores the fact that those societies have significantly higher tax structures:


    I don't think many Americans would be in favor of such large increases in taxation in return for more subsidization of child care. And then there's the reference to Cuba, which I don't think I need to get into.

    I'm not being obtuse here, but I still don't understand how the rules are "stacked" against child-care providers, or the self-employed in general. This page:


    seems to tell me that if anything, the rules treat the self-employed more favorably than those employed by someone else. There is a deduction for your costs and an additional 50% deduction for the self-employed. Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems like the self-employed are generally more eligible for benefits than regular employees. I would appreciate an explanation of how I'm wrong, which I probably am.

    I certainly didn't mean to suggest that only one person is having problems with child care. What I meant to say is that you can't generalize a failure of the free market from one person's experience. If the market is currently failing, isn't that an opportunity for someone to step in and fill the need?

    I'm sorry, but "passive hostility" is not a concept that makes sense. Hostility involves intent to harm. Passivity can be neglect, definitely, but not hostility.


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