The Biden/Democratic ‘social safety net’ legislation proposal teeing up for a vote would increase assistance for childcare in America….
That effort is already being pared down and might not make it into the final legislation…
Typical 2-year-olds in Denmark attend child care during the day, where they are guaranteed a spot, and their parents pay no more than 25 percent of the cost. That guaranteed spot will remain until the children are in after-school care at age 10. If their parents choose to stay home or hire a nanny, the government helps pay for that, too.
Two-year-olds in the United States are less likely to attend formal child care. If they do, their parents pay full price — an average $1,100 a month — and compete to find a spot. If their parents stay home or find another arrangement, they are also on their own to finance it, as they will be until kindergarten.
In the developed world, the United States is an outlier in its low levels of financial support for young children’s care — something Democrats, with their safety net spending bill, are trying to change. The U.S. spends 0.2 percent of its G.D.P. on child care for children 2 and under — which amounts to about $200 a year for most families, in the form of a once-a-year tax credit for parents who pay for care….
Congress is negotiating the details of the spending bill, and many elements are likely to be cut to decrease the cost. The current draft of the child care plan would make attendance at licensed child care centers free for the lowest-earning families, and it would cost no more than 7 percent of family income for those earning up to double the state’s median income. It would provide universal public preschool for children ages 3 and 4. And it would increase the pay of child care workers and preschool teachers to be equivalent to elementary teachers (currently, the median hourly wage for a preschool teacher of 4-year-olds is $14.67, and for a kindergarten teacher of 5-year-olds $32.80.)
The United States spends more than any O.E.C.D. country except Luxembourg on education in elementary school through college. But Americans have long had mixed feelings about whether young children should stay home with family or go to child care. Some Republicans say direct payments to parents would give them the choice to enroll in child care or stay home. Though many red states have public preschool, some Republicans have said they do not want the federal government involved. Some business groups oppose how the Biden spending bill would be paid for: increased taxes on businesses and wealthy Americans….
image….Mathias Svold for The New York Times