Second Opinion: It’s a myth that families can survive on one income

The arrival of government-supported daycare should finally be apparent today to all but the most conservative ideologue.

The time for meaningful government-supported daycare in B.C. has arrived. Actually, it arrived a number of years ago, but its arrival should finally be apparent today to all but the most conservative ideologue.

With wages failing to keep up with the rise in the cost of living, employers trying to keep up with competition from overseas and governments trying to keep up with their promises not to raise taxes, working-class people are finding it increasingly difficult to raise a family. In many cases, two incomes are a necessity; that means that childcare is also often a necessity.

A report last week in the Vancouver Sun stated that daycare rates in the Lower Mainland were as high as $1,400 per child per month.

Out here in the hinterlands, of course, the cost of daycare is far less, if working parents can find a facility that they can trust and that has any room for their child. Yet wages are also less and the need for two wage earners frequently just as strong.

There seems to be an on-going myth that families should and could survive adequately on the salary of one person. It is perhaps generated by the relatively few and yet still influential members of the upper crust (upper class, jet setters, one-percenters, etc.) who believe that it is merely a lack of gumption and will that prevents the middle and lower classes from rising to the same position of affluence that they enjoy, a position that enables one hand-crafted, artisan-baked-bread earner to satisfy the financial needs of the entire family.

When one looks at the list of countries that have the highest standard of living and the greatest productivity per capita, one notices that they all have subsidised daycare.

The July 25 Vancouver Sun editorial cites studies by three universities that show that Quebec’s $7 a day childcare subsidy brought 70,000 women into the work force, boosted the gross domestic product by $5 billion a year and therefore raised far more in taxes than the cost of the subsidy.

In a province like B.C. which complains of worker shortages and has to hire off-shore labour to meet demand, bringing more women into the work force would seem to be a huge plus.

The only people who refuse to acknowledge the advantages are either those who, caught in a time warp, say that they were raised by a stay-at-home parent and their family did all right, or those who insist that childcare subsidies are merely another example of creeping socialism, a blight on free enterprise that must not be allowed to spread.