Barack Obama

So How Many Kids Went to Federally Funded Daycare During World War II?

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During his State of the Union Address, President Obama lauded federal programs to provide childcare during World War II:

During World War II, when men like my grandfather went off to war, having women like my grandmother in the workforce was a national security priority?—?so this country provided universal childcare. In today's economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. It's not a nice-to-have?—?it's a must-have. It's time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women's issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us.

Look, the reasoning goes, if we could afford to have the government pay for childcare during World War II, why not now, when it's really important and folks are really strapped?

As it turns out, the federal government provided daycare for a peak of 130,000 kids during 1944, according to the Congressional Research Service. The program ended in 1946. Given the millions of kids alive at the time, this hardly counts as universal. 

Perhaps more important, there's something deeply misguided in comparing today's America to World War II-era America. The Depression was not really over at the start of the war. And while stimulatarians claim that the military build-up led to prosperity by via a Keynesian multiplier effect, the fact is that wartime America was a nightmare of rationed goods, from butter to nylon to gasoline to rubber. As economist Russ Roberts has noted, increasing GDP through a single-minded focus on military arms shouldn't be confused with "prosperity," which came later and only after the government relaxed labor and production controls and cut spending massively.

There's a larger misstep in Obama's argument about federally subsidized child care, too: His solution to every rising price is to subsidize its purchase (this is true for health care, education, you name it). But when you subsidize something with tax dollars, you're likely to increase both aggregate spending on it and increase prices (this too is true for health care, education, you name it). And his nod towards "high-quality" child care suggests more rules and regulations on the practice, which also will like raise prices too.

This isn't Obama's failing alone, of course, but why do politicians rarely or ever talk about growing supply as a way of reducing prices? One of the most frustrating aspects of the Obamacare debate was that virtually no one on either side was talking about how to reduce prices by increasing supply. It was all about regulating prices by restricting or dampening demand.

That's an ass-backwards way of looking at things, but it makes politicial sense, I guess: You want to be the person cutting the check to a specific beneficiary rather than fading into the background after deregulating an industry and letting innovators come up with new, better, cheaper goods and services.

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  1. In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families…

    And exactly why is that the case? Is it perhaps because the government takes too much of everyone’s money? Nah, that can’t be it…

    1. That and every little thing a family could do to make money is regulated or illegal.

      I brew beer at home all the time, I enjoy brewing beer, and could probably make some decent money selling beer from my home, but I would need a pay for licenses, make sure my set up meets some sort of arbitrary standard etc etc…

      Whenever Republicans complain about regulations, people assume all their talking about is allowing some evil company to pour toxins in a river, they need emphasize how regulations prevent people from making money at home doing things that they enjoy.

      See also Uber.

      1. Whenever Republicans complain about regulations,

        By now, everyone knows they are full of shit?

        True story, that has happened to me twice, in different states.

        Republican bigshot legislator meets with hospitals/industry group, claims to feel our pain on regulation, promises to pursue deregulation.

        And the next day, the very next fucking day, introduces bill(s) to increase regulation.

      2. “See also Uber.”
        are you trying to summon big mike and the cartel alliance?

        1. I miss Mike. He make me felz smart.

      3. Hell, it applies to such ordinary things as cutting hair on your front porch or cooking meals for neighbors.

        There are zillions of things that poor and low-skill people could do to help themselves earn money, but they are all illegal just because some goddam union or guild wants more protectionism.

      4. You should check out the regulations on getting started distilling (see Distilled Spirits FAQs).

        Basically, you need to be either wealthy enough to afford getting your plant everything but up and running to apply for a license or already be in the business and work under someone else’s license.

    2. I’d want to thrash that word “necessity” a bit. I suspect it’s not a necessity so much as a luxury. Also, the feminist demonization of stay-at-home moms doesn’t help.

      1. Yes. We have a nicer house, better entertainment, etc. because we’re a two income family. Is it required? No. We would have a more modest house and use coupons and budget, etc., and be fine.

        Would it be as nice? NO. Would my wife go crazy as a stay at home mom? probably. My house would be way cleaner though…

        1. false. my sister is a stay at home mom, homeschools her kids, and the place is a wreck. cleaning stays as a low priority whether you work in the home or out of it (in most cases).

          1. no offense to your sister, but she’s not my wife. my wife is clean freak that keeps our house clean already, but would kick it into high gear. Also, we wouldn’t home school, so she’d have a big chunk of her day to clean and run errands.

        2. Yeah, your right elbow’d be worn out too.

          1. portable internet has made “tennis” elbow a concern for the working man nowdays

          2. I’m a lefty in a lot of things

      2. I suspect it’s not a necessity so much as a luxury.

        Are you saying my full-time nanny is a luxury?

        What’s next, I give up my ivory back scratchers and cut back to just a single monocle-polisher?

        1. Those spats aren’t going to wash themselves. What else is my footman for?

    3. Is it perhaps because the government takes too much of everyone’s money?

      Partly, no doubt. But, also, likely because childcare is so heavily regulated that costs inevitably escalate to cover the cost of compliance.

      1. part of the cost is staff ratios, such as no more than 10 children for every staffer working with them. That also keeps pay down

  2. but why do politicians rarely or ever talk about growing supply as a way of reducing prices?

    Because when the price of something goes down, the value of it also goes down. The more expensive something is, the better it is. That’s why declining prices are a bad thing. It causes the value of the goods go down as well.

    1. That’s certainly true from the perspective of the people SELLING the stuff. Higher prices are better for you if you have a quasi-monopoly on the production of certain goods. Which you get by working hand in hand with Democrats to impose regulations on your competitors.

      1. Mercantilism, with all its fallacies, is alive and well.

        1. I believe Keynes says he is a Mercantilist.

      2. I think there’s a significant number of Republicans who can be worked with to impose regulations on competitors, too. Let us be fair when we damn.

        1. Yes, that’s fair.
          Point is that maybe politicians are biased in favor of keeping prices high, because they know that’s what lines their pockets.

    2. Don’t forget there was deflation during the 19th century and that lead to the significant worker unrest due to falling wages (as a result of falling prices).

      Plus, deflation tends to occur during recessions so through the principal “with this, therefore because of this”, deflation is blamed for causing recessions.

  3. When I was growing up ,my mother took a evening job so my dad was home with us.When I turned 11 or 12 she worked days and I watched my younger brother and sister. This was normal in my town.

  4. Seriously. They’re coming for our kids. F*** them.

    1. More importantly, they’re coming for my wallet.

    2. “They’re coming for our kids.”

      You appear to be stuck in the past and thus misunderstand 21st Century America’s transforming culture, Injun.

      “We have to break through our private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families.”
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3qtpdSQox0

      1. Wow. Holy sh1t. That video is unbelievable.

        1. Yeah I remember that video. I’ll remember as long as I live. The state actively seeks to undermine and destroy every institution that could possibly rival it’s own power. That means churches, civic organzations, charities and especially families. All for the state, there can be no loyalties to any other institution.

          1. FUCK. THAT. BIOTCH.

      2. That gets creepy every time I see it.

      3. They only pop out of your body.
        It’s not like that matters, really.
        We have to get beyond our primitive animal instincts where we procreate in order to propagate our genes. Procreation is a social service that we do to provide productive workers for the Great Leader. Finding it personally fulfilling or meaningful is a bourgeousis attitude that needs to be exterminated.

        1. “They only pop out of your body.”

          Hazel you need to get out of the private notion that it’s “your” body. You need to understand the collective notion that it’s our body and to break through the private idea that bodies belong to individuals instead of the whole community.

          1. Hilarious!
            Great stuff on the comments today.
            Our body!

      4. If Jihadis murdered Melissa Harris-Perry in a gunfight, I wouldn’t condone the killing, but I would understand it.

      5. That’s? kind of corporatist.

        Not in the post-WWII way but in the pre-WWII way.

      6. So if the community has ownership rights to someone’s child why not the parent as well? Does Melissa realize what she seems to be advocating?

  5. I’m so glad I didn’t watch this crap.

  6. This isn’t Obama’s failing alone, of course, but why do politicians rarely or ever talk about growing supply as a way of reducing prices? One of the most frustrating aspects of the Obamacare debate was that virtually no one on either side was talking about how to reduce prices by increasing supply. It was all about regulating prices by restricting or dampening demand.

    Fucking eh right Nick. This should always be the first libertarian response to the word “subsidy”.

    1. This should always be the first libertarian response to the word “subsidy”.

      Why is it meddlesome politicians only fuck things up by using the stick? They should really try the fucking things up using a carrot every once in a while.

    2. Isn’t it “fucking A”? As in, “ass”?

      Fucking Eh sounds like a disgruntled Canadian or Minnesotan. Should be followed with “Don’cha know, ya cunt.”

      1. Is “Uffda, motherfucker” acceptable?

      2. Fucking ass? nope. I thought it was Fucking “A”wesome.

  7. Look, the reasoning goes, if we could afford to have the government pay for childcare during World War II, why not now, when it’s really important and folks are really strapped?

    I have a better question: Why are folks so damned strapped that both parents have to work just to make ends meet? Could it have anything to do with the policies of government ya think?

    1. Guess I should have read the comments before posting and I would have seen Restoras’ similar point right off. Oh well, I guess it doesn’t hurt to re-iterate.

  8. so this country provided universal childcare

    This conflation of the country with the government – do you think he’s doing it on purpose as an Orwellian language trick, or do you think this kind of thinking is so embedded in his little brain that he does it without thinking of what it means?

    1. Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.

      We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.
      -Bastiat

      1. True dat, Bastiat.

    2. This conflation of the country with the government

      Everything for the State, Nothing outside the State, Nothing against the State.

      Sound familiar? Its not a conscious manipulation of language. Its who they are. Totalitarians.

    3. I would bet that much of that childcare was grandmacare

  9. Uncle Sam didn’t look so threatening when he was smaller.

  10. but why do politicians rarely or ever talk about growing supply as a way of reducing prices?

    Because the government has no ability to produce, only to take. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And the government will be damned if it let’s any other institutions whether it’s businesses, charities or families, get in the way of it’s drive for power.

  11. This isn’t Obama’s failing alone, of course, but why do politicians rarely or ever talk about growing supply as a way of reducing prices? One of the most frustrating aspects of the Obamacare debate was that virtually no one on either side was talking about how to reduce prices by increasing supply. It was all about regulating prices by restricting or dampening demand.

    I have noticed this as well, it seems to be a universal blind spot.
    Housing not affordable? Instead of increasing supply, we’ll make it easier to borrow.
    Minimum wage workers can’t afford food? Instead of increasing the food supply, raise the minimum wage.

    In all of these cases there seems to be a magical idea that giving people money is equivalent to making more stuff. Handing out loans means more people have houses, or raising the minimum wage means more people have food. But neither accounts for the fact that if the supply does not increase, then prices will, which will negate the effect of the money.

    1. If there is only so much X to go around, giving people money to buy X will change the distribution of X but it will not produce a net increase in overall consumption of X.

    2. When you conflate money with wealth, then printing money looks like wealth creation.

      1. When you teach millions of children to conflate things like money and wealth large-scale theft becomes easier.

      2. Just print me that sweet legal tender baby!!! its starting to become more valuable as paper anyways

      3. When you conflate money with wealth, then printing money looks like wealth creation.

        Just as likely that arbitrary building codes, home ownership standards, and food production standards *are there for a reason*. Taking them away means you want loan shark orphans, keep grandma living in a shallow grave, and poison babies.

    3. “In all of these cases there seems to be a magical idea that giving people money is equivalent to making more stuff.”

      It’s easier to tell someone they didn’t build that then to build it yourself

      1. Very, very, good response.

        These people don’t know how to build, so they steal what other’s have built and call it justice.

        1. That or they think they’re too damned special to get their hands dirty.

    4. Probably because at the individual level, if I give you a dollar, then you can convert that into food without having any effect on prices or supply. Politicians seem to not realize that things don’t work like that when you hand out tens of billions of dollars to tens of millions of people.

  12. According to the National Office of Vital Statistics, there were 15.7 million births in the U.S. from 1939 to 1944. So if federal child care was provided for 130,000 kids, then “universal child care” covered less than 1% of the children. I really don’t understand why Our Glorious Leader would tell a fib about this, do you?

    1. I really don’t understand why Our Glorious Leader would tell a fib about this, do you?

      To destroy the family so there can be no institution for people to turn to but the state.

    2. Obama is for the 1%!

  13. But think of all the permit fees they can collect from daycare providers that they hadn’t even dreamt of during WW2.

  14. One of the most frustrating aspects of the Obamacare debate was that virtually no one on either side was talking about how to reduce prices by increasing supply. It was all about regulating prices by restricting or dampening demand.

    Only the latter allows the government to put its gun to your head.

    1. I’m sure the government can put the gun to your head and say, “Grow more food!”.

      Not that it’d work?

  15. The socialist contributors seem quiet . . . I wonder if that reflects a general trend or if they’re just tired of how evil the rest of us are.

    Obama and politicians operate based on the saying: You can fool some of the people all of the time. But in this case some is equal to 64 million.

  16. “This isn’t Obama’s failing alone, of course, but why do politicians rarely or ever talk about growing supply as a way of reducing prices?” You can put what Obama knows about economics in a thimble. Definitely the president with the least understanding of economics in our lifetime.

  17. So How Many Kids Went to Federally Funded Daycare During World War II?

    Including Japanese kids? 🙁

  18. Love that last paragraph.
    Gillespie gave ’em the ol’ one-two combo.

  19. How many went to federally funded daycare during WW1?

  20. Politicians aren’t about delivering an above average solution. They are about delivering an average solution.

  21. Thanks for sharing. We have a lot of depression and anxiety in our family. As a church, I think it’s important to mention those things to help others know it’s ok. It’s helpful to go to counseling and anyone can suffer with depression sometimes. Thanks for your honesty and sharing.
    This is where to start??????????WWW.WORK4HOUR.COM

  22. Sure daycare should be available. Tell that to CONSERVATIVES who cut after school programs for kids so their parents or parent can work a full-time job and/or go to school. And while they are at it, demand “religious” day cares follow basic standards all others do like how many children, safety standards, background checks…..

    – Whether it’s in a church, synagogue, mosque, or temple, it’s still a daycare!
    Even worse, many states exempt* religious child care programs from inspections and regulations that other daycare programs are subject to.
    *”In God’s Name: As Exemptions Grow, Religion Outweighs Regulation”, by Diana B. Henriques, New York Times, October 8, 2006
    (By the way, are you sure the day-care is really part of your church, or is your church just renting space to your day care?) (http://www.daycaresdontcare.org/faqs.htm)

    – Toddler’s death in church day care reveals gaps in Indiana child care laws (http://tinyurl.com/p6rfmqd (indystar.com)

  23. $89 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening?And i get surly a chek of $1260……0 whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids.
    Here is what i did
    ?????? http://www.paygazette.com

  24. $89 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening?And i get surly a chek of $1260……0 whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids.
    Here is what i did
    ?????? http://www.jobs700.com

  25. This is a silly right wing article with no thought. What about the stay at home moms common at that time? Isn’t entirely possible this program was created to help women get into the workforce while husbands were away at war? Some would do it and go to work, others would not.

    Terrible attempt at an article.

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