Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed President of the Independent Women’s Forum Carrie Lukas to the newsmakers line to weigh in on her recent Newsweek piece and concerns over the American Families Act proposed by Joe Biden.
Leahy: Now on the newsmaker line Carrie Lucas, who is the President of the Independent Women’s Forum, has a great article out on Friday about three things to look out for in the American Families Act.
I’ll just read the first line. The media’s hyping President Biden soon to be unveiled, American Families plan as the surefire way to not only solve the problems of stressed-out working moms and dads but also to usher in a permanently booming economy. Carrie, what’s wrong with that picture?
Lukas: Doesn’t it sound just lovely? The problem, of course, is that all of this is imaginary, especially when it comes to the idea that President Biden is not talking about how to pay for any of this, other than taxing the fabled rich. But of course, we all know that the rich become a lower and lower threshold, and then it ends up being the income creators and job creators.
So that backfires on just about everybody. But parents should be warned about if this is really what they want for their kids, kind of being forced into this government program. That’s really is what it is. It’s a very big government view of how our family should run.
Leahy: What’s interesting about this is that I was talking with Steve Glover here in the studio during the break about the utter failure of American institutions and the institution of the federal government it looks like under Joe Biden is just spending and spending and spending. I’m tempted to say, like drunken sailors, but that would be an insult to drunken sailors. So this child care spending one trillion dollars. But for what?
Lukas: Yeah, it’s funny. I feel like one of the things I found most telling and that people should pay attention to when they hear this talk about especially about the child care and the preschool program that it’s free preschool now is one of the things that’s going to be promised. And it’s funny because the Biden administration and their paperwork promoting this, they point to a really obscure study saying gosh, you see, this is so great when we invest one trillion dollars in preschool and seven dollars in return, because kids are so much better off, et cetera.
But the funny thing is that they pointed to this kind of a really small study of 80 kids, and it was from the 1970s or something really long time ago, not at all applicable to a program that’s supposed to provide a preschool for every American child. And what they avoid talking about is the existing pretty big federal program that is specifically about providing a preschool to thousands of three and four-year-olds today. And that’s Head Start.
And guess why they don’t want to talk about Head Start? Because there have been studies of Head Start’s efficacy to see what are the results. Does it help people or kids who participate in Head Start better off later in life? And that’s because they can find exactly zero evidence that anybody has any lasting benefits from Head Start participation. So this is a lot of money, and it’s a lot of money that will have very little impact.
Leahy: Steve Glover in studio here, who was formerly a member of the Board of Education here in Metro Nashville. Carrie is saying something interesting. You’re shaking your head up and down.
Glover: Oh, yeah. Headstart has no impact. Now I’m going to get in trouble for saying that but Carrie’s exactly right. When I was on the Board of Education, we talked about this, and I don’t want to interrupt her time, but we’ll talk about this as we go forward, but everything she’s saying is spot on. Everything. I agree. That’s why I’m shaking my head.
Leahy: Yes. Carrie is absolutely right. Is this just basically another handout to teachers’ unions?
Lukas: You know, it’s interesting. Yeah, I think it is. And it’s funny that it comes out and it comes after the tremendous you think about the institutions that failed us during COVID. Well, I’m a mom of five here. I got five kids in a public school in Virginia, and my kids just started going back to in-person school about a month ago. I’m lucky that I could work from home.
I have the wherewithal to help my kids through it. But, man, these public schools have let down kids, especially kids without much parental support just unbelievably. So what is the government doing now? They say, let’s double down on this model and have it expanded so that we have three and four-year-olds being failed by the same horrible government school approach.
And let’s extend it on the other end and have community colleges basically be defacto in a free to the taxpayer responsible to no one. It’s really terrible. And I think the problem always is that Democrats are in a constant bidding war. There’s no amount of money that they will ever offer that they say is enough.
The Republicans can never outbid them. But I think parents should think about it for a second and say, do I really want the government to say that I can essentially have free or heavily subsidized child care starting at the first moment of my kids’ birth?
Is that really what I want? Do I really want the government telling me, because obviously, this is going to come with a lot of strings. It’s going to be a government-approved facility that is heavily regulated and comports with all of these government requirements. That means that you can no longer, if you’re out there and you can take time off from work all of a sudden to care for your own kids, it’s going to become foolish.
Why aren’t you going back to work right away? They don’t need mom and dad, you can just stick them in a daycare center for free. Why wouldn’t you do that? Why would a grandmother who’s currently helping out that’s stupid. You should go ahead and just use the government-run schools. It’s a really weird moment in America where we’re saying that the government’s going to pay people to get out of the house and take over child care for you. I don’t think that’s what a lot of Americans want.
Sure, they want more support. I think there’s a lot of recognition that working parents need help. They should be able to keep more of the money they earn so that they can make choices that make sense for them. And that may mean child care for people. I wish we would focus on increasing the supply of child care and different kinds of child care. Things like home-based care so that people had more options and better flexibility. But I don’t want to put the government in charge. And I bet a lot of mom and dads are going to agree with that.
Leahy: You said something interesting. You have five children and they are currently enrolled in Virginia public schools. When you look at what’s going on right now, do you begin to have second thoughts about keeping them in public schools?
Lukas: Yeah, I sure do. And in some ways, we could probably swing pulling a kid or two from public schools and moving them to private school. But I sure wish I was given a voucher. I wish I had access to the public school money and the taxes that we’re paying to support our public schools and could take it back and make a different choice for my kids.
Or at least had schools that were that cared about me as a parent and were responsive to us. And I really think that this is a moment where people have asked absolutely seen the problem with the government assigned public schools, because the schools here in Virginia, have not seemed to care at all. They’ve been hemorrhaging students.
A lot of families who have the capability have pulled their kids from public schools. There’s a lot of families who really can’t afford it financially, and they’re stuck with it. They’re not responsive to places like us. I sure wish they would. I feel like school choice is an issue that’s time has come. And we should all be demanding money that should follow the child. The private schools here in Virginia all opened in September and are providing five days a week full service.
Leahy: So they’ve been doing the job. Steve Glover, Metro Council Member-at-Large here in Nashville, has a question for you.
Glover: Very quickly. Alexandria, Virginia, I think used to be, I don’t know if they still are, but it used to be the top public school system in the country. Just out of curiosity, are you even close to that one? Is that part of the one you’re talking of, or where do you think it is now?
Lukas: I’m in Fairfax County right next to Alexandria. But the thing that is very telling is that Alexandria has even done a worse job than Fairfax County. We’re at least now providing in-person service. I believe that Alexandria still has zero. And throughout the entire year, they are not opening their doors to kids in person.
Glover: Democratically run state.
Lukas: It’s been really unbelievable. So they’ve been a Democratically run state situation I have lived here.
Leahy: Kind of crazy. So, Carrie Lukas, a great, great article that you wrote for Newsweek, and we look forward to having you on again. What’s next on your agenda? We have another minute in the interview here.
Lukas: The other one to really look out for is this idea of government paid leave because that’s one that sure sounds nice. It sounds like, who doesn’t want a lot of paid time off from work. But that is going to come with a lot of strings, a lot of costs, particularly women who are going to be losing some flexible work opportunities. That’s one of the things I’m going to be really focused on.
Listen to the second hour here:
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