I tell about some of these daycare battles in my new book, Who Killed the American Family? In the 1970s, feminists began demanding government universal daycare programs that would cover every social and economic group. The liberals wanted daycare to lure women out of their homes and into the workforce. The feminists got Congress to pass the Comprehensive Child Development bill, but it was famously vetoed by President Richard Nixon and the feminists are still crying about that veto. Although Nixon expanded government in many ways, in this instance his daycare veto message perfectly expressed how social and fiscal conservatism are connected. He noted that good public policy should enhance parental authority and parental involvement with children, but government daycare would just add “a new army of bureaucrats.”
The feminists tried again, of course. Daycare was one of their hot-button issues throughout the 70s. In 1989, legislation called the ABC bill would have given the government responsibility for raising children. In the 1990s Hillary Clinton tried to advance the cause once again with a big White House conference. President Obama is now constantly promoting what he calls universal pre-K. Providing government-run daycare for all would add billions to the government’s budget and require many new government employees. Those who call for the GOP to ignore social issues are clearly also betraying fiscal conservatism.
Listen to the radio commentary here: