Daycare: Would Targeted Tax Credits Discriminate?

The Family Income Report provides color pictures showing trends of real median family incomes to increase awareness. Incomes have hardly improved past 2 1/2 decades, especially compared to the rate of improvement for prior generations – – especially for families with children – – while their tax rates for homes, FICA, etc. are much higher than prior generations. It is understandable such places economic stress on many families, forcing more mothers to seek work outside the home than might otherwise be the case – – and getting others to help pay day care cost is of interest to them.

Some family members justify their choice of mom working or not by saying it ‘takes 2 incomes to make ends meet,’ and they naturally hope for cheap daycare subsidized by others if possible. Yet the level of consumption & life style desired by some families (as necessary to ‘meet their needs’) may be much more than would be accepted by others as necessary to ‘meet their needs’ when considering priorities for mom to be home or not. For example, family A may desire consumption levels of new cars and furniture, eating out and packaged vacations requiring mom to work, whereas family B might reduce consumption by use of older cars and 2nd-hand furniture in a smaller house with only short vacations and less eating out – in order for mom to be at home full-time. Why, then, should government intervene to un-naturally shape social behavior and family choice in favor of those subcontracting childcare jobs (family A) vs. those families (family B) sacrificing consumptive life styles so mom can be at home because they believe a full-time mom is best and not want daycare of their children by others – – and when the ’stay-at-home-mother’ families would be required to chip in taxes to subsidize the others? Additionally, there is a Family C where high consumption can occur even if mom does not work, but mom wants to work for other reasons and therefore subcontracts daycare, but would also like day care subsidized by others. Is family B being discriminated against in favor of families A and C? Is it necessary for government to take actions promoting one family choice but not another?