Click to go to the Subscriber Log In Page
Go to menu with buttons for all pages on BC
Click here to go to the Home Page
Donate with PayPal button
Est. April 5, 2002
July 15, 2021 - Issue 874
Bookmark and Share

Although it may seem that universal child care is a new concept, one that is held in contempt by Republicans across the country, it is an old demand in the modern era and one trade union held it out as a goal for the working class early in World War II.

The issue has come up again, but this time as part of President Biden’s “infrastructure” recovery and repair plan. The GOP and other right-wingers assert that child care and other human services have nothing to do with “infrastructure,” which they consider to be only things like roads, bridges, and tunnels. In their view, providing child care for working mothers and fathers is the top of a slippery slope toward socialism.

Socialism is the new buzzword for right-wingers and the GOP and it refers to any program that will support the working class. They obviously don’t have a clue about socialism, because there is likely someone in each of their families who benefits somehow from a program that contains just a hint of socialism: how about the Veterans Administration? Or Social Security? Or Medicare? Or Medicaid? Or just about every program from libraries to public schools? And the list goes on.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who controls the Republicans in the U.S. Senate, has signaled that he will fight against Biden’s infrastructure efforts if his big bill includes things such as education, the fight against climate change, elder care, and child care. He apparently is against any program in the bill, or bills, that has anything to do with programs that are directly for the people who pay the taxes. Also, he has indicated that he will deep-six any effort that appears to fund the infrastructure plan by touching his and Trump’s 2017 tax cuts for the rich and corporations.

The opposition to such programs by the GOP and McConnell lets the people know (they aren’t hiding their opinions or intentions) that they have not a clue about what life is like for working men and women. The millionaires in Congress who control much of the legislation that is considered do not give much of a thought to the millions of single mothers who worry each day about how to pay all of their bills and stay in their homes, as well.

Their children have to bear witness to the stress that comes from all of the bills for necessities of life, all on a low-wage job that, itself, is another stress because those jobs are not secure and are not considered very valuable to society. The exception is during the pandemic when millions of low-paid workers are considered “essential.” Suddenly, the millionaires and billionaires who rule the country had a clue that these workers were important to the smooth running of daily life in the U.S. And, the essential workers are the ones who are most at risk of contracting Covid-19 during their workday.

Enough news stories over the past decades have shown the necessity of providing for single mothers and low-wage dual-income families with a giant boost of free child care. There is nothing more integral to a functioning economy than parents who know that their children are being cared for in a safe and healthy child center. That’s infrastructure. This is just one example of the human side of infrastructure, which the rich can’t, or won’t, see as a vital part of society.

If the programs for people are not included in the main infrastructure bill, Biden has indicated that he will introduce them in a separate program and legislation. To him, it’s that important. Speaking of caregivers, he said, “For too long, caregivers have been unseen, underpaid and undervalued.”

It’s not a new issue. In 1943, according to the Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), in their UE NEWS newspaper, “The CIO’s Congress of Women’s Auxiliaries proposed a wide-ranging program of infant care, nursery care, elementary care, youth programs and programs to feed children at all child-care centers. They declared that ‘We recognize that the care and protection of our children in wartime is a definite duty and responsibility of labor, the community and government’ and that ‘An adequate child program must be made available to every child of working mothers, regardless of race, creed or color.’”

It was wartime and Katherine Beecher, UE’s education director at the time, pointed out that the women who were entering industrial work by the millions to replace the men who were off to war, needed reliable and safe child care, if they were to perform their work without added stress. Their work was vital to the war effort and the effort to keep life at home as normal as possible in a time of conflict and sacrifice.

During the wave of feminist rights movements in the 1960s and 1970s, universal child care was called for because movement advocates demanded the right of women to be free to choose the work they wanted outside the home, without being dependent on a man’s income for the household. Women poured into fields where they had only been a small percentage, but there is still no universal child care and the burden on low-paid service work continues, as single mothers have to decide whether to stay home and care for their children themselves or take a service job to try to survive. There have been stories in the press about women who have been charged with endangering their children to go to work at a fast-food restaurant because they left a younger child or children at home with a 12-year-old.

In the time of pandemic, these mothers and other parents have come to be called “essential workers,” which means that they are as important as those who went to work in defense factories during World War II. The question, then, is why aren’t they being treated as essential workers now?

For the answer, we’ll have to revisit the statements and attitudes of Republicans and right-wingers in Congress and elsewhere. McConnell is opposed to “human infrastructure” programs because to pay for them, he is afraid the rich and corporations might be taxed even a little bit higher and that would affect the incomes and riches of the millionaires in Congress. He’s one of them and he has to protect his own income and wealth, along with the wealth of the others in Congress who feed on the working class of the nation. Columnist, John Funiciello, is a former newspaper reporter and labor organizer, who lives in the Mohawk Valley of New York State. In addition to labor work, he is organizing family farmers as they struggle to stay on the land under enormous pressure from factory food producers and land developers. Contact Mr. Funiciello and BC.

Bookmark and Share




is published Thursday
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

Get On The
Email List

Perry NoName: A Journal From A Federal Prison-book 1
Ferguson is America: Roots of Rebellion by Jamala Rogers