Clinton Again Pretends to Care About Children

Last month, President Clinton finally got around to making an attempt at reinforcing the appearance that he still cares about the middle and lower-class taxpayers in America. Now that he has accomplished or abetted the destruction of all of the decent, honorable, federal programs that the ultra-conservatives had demanded, he seems to have noticed that an awful lot of Americans are beginning to wonder why he keeps running for office as a Democrat, the one- time party of the working American.

It appears that he has decided that the pretense of helping out families by providing affordable, safe and educational day care is the way to fool the American public, this time. Finally recognizing one of the major flaws in his and the Republican's destruction of Welfare, the act he fell all over himself to sign before last year's elections, he wants to provide $300 million to ease what he suddenly discovers is a lack of adequate child care for millions of American families and promised to propose a broader child-care plan next year. Clinton stated that these funds would provide scholarship programs to help child care providers get additional training and proposed legislation to improve background checks.

He also said that members of his cabinet will lead a group of business leaders who would work with labor and community representatives to seek ways companies can increase employees' access to child care (at the cost, you can rest assured, of the denial of any possible future wage increases for those workers).

In addition, Clinton pledged to bolster the involvement of federally-sponsored volunteers in after-school programs. (Which will probably be eliminated immediately by the Republicans, the enemy of any after-school program aimed at the poor and at-risk students.)

The president promised to develop an even broader child-care plan which he will unveil in next year's State of the Union address.

Ellen Galinsky, head of the Families and Work Institute, a research group, states that over 20 million American families depend on some form of child care in order that both parents may work and support their family. Many children in day care, however, are in substandard, dangerous environments, and the majority are in situations where their development is not enhanced. The need for good child care will increase as welfare recipients move into the work force in response to last year's "welfare reform law" that so drastically cut benefits, speakers at the President's press conference said (Oh, surprise, surprise!).

Now here is the meat of the matter, in my opinion. So long as the elimination of the budget deficit is the all-encompassing passion of our "leaders", the money to assist these families must be cut from other programs already existing within the budget. Would anyone like to make me wealthy by betting that he will find these funds anywhere but in other programs designed for the lower- and middle-classes. My bet will be that it will not reduce by a penny any of the myriad forms of Corporate Welfare or welfare for the wealthy. In other words, some portion of the working class or poor will be forced into paying for this, never the wealthy or Corporate America. Their engine of tax breaks and federal generosity will continue to roll on uninterrupted or even slightly slowed far into the next century.

While two worker families were a luxury in the 70's and early 80's, it has become an absolute necessity for most American families in Corporate America's world of deregulation, falling wages and fewer decent paying jobs.

Much research has also shown that infants who do not constantly interact physically and emotionally with loved ones show a far slower rate of mental and emotional growth throughout the rest of their lives while suffering a much more difficult educational experience. Can day care workers provide that constant stimulus? Can any situation except a family where one parent works while the other concentrates on raising the children be viable for our future? Will our government "leaders" ever cease worshipping at the feet of their corporate masters and begin protecting the families and the children on which our future has always depended on? Can pigs fly?

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Copyright 11/15/97