“Child care costs exceed rent, tuition.” caught our eye this morning while we were reading our local New Mexico newspaper. The story turned out to be credited to Bloomfield News. A similar report surfaced on the Washington Post and several other newspapers, blogs and radio and TV sources, all traceable to a 2013 Sallie Mae report. Sallie Mae (Now Navion Corp.) was a government student loan source later privatized.
The headline in the Washington Post was: “Start Saving Now: Daycare Costs More Than college In 31 States.” Those recalling cheap teen babysitters won’t understand. Younger readers aware of recent labor law mandating in-home and child care services be subject to minimum wage, overtime, vacation and the whole cornucopia of labor goodies will get it. The cheap teen of yore is now illegal. At least, in those 31 we suppose, Democratically governed states. And for a daycare location, there are liability insurance costs, licensing and more.
The babysitter has morphed into a government-regulated industry now well on the familiar road to unaffordability with its predecessors higher education, healthcare and retirement. Summing up: Parking your kid while you work to save enough to send her to college will cost more than college. So, you won’t have money left to send her to college. Your compassionate government, protecting teen babysitters et al. Those beneficiaries are likely more grateful than you may be.
Excepting immigrants, the fertility rate has been dropping in the U.S. The average age of motherhood has been increasing. Added up, that’s fewer Americans being born to natives. Some other places, Russia, Japan and others, face that too. Which means that a smaller class of young workers is stuck supporting a larger class of retirees who are inconveniently, living longer. Fun, right?
One may suppose that the human race needs a steady supply of replacements to thrive. One would be correct. But that’s long-term thinking; politicians prefer the shorter term in which they have to live: I.e. from now to the next election.
Parsing that interval, it makes better sense to make voting age child care workers happy than it does to worry about the reproductive plans of young married folk. As for the destiny of the species, that’s way past the next election; worry about that later. Much later …