Kathi Tarrant: Kicking the can down the road on child care, other issues

This commentary is by Kathi Tarrant, of Waterbury.

‘Kick the can down the road’ is a ubiquitous phrase in American politics over the last few years,  referencing the practice of kicking a can ahead of oneself while walking along a road. It means to defer conclusive action with a short-term solution.

During the 1930s Depression era, it was considered a poor man’s game. Today, how it plays on words — a game to metaphor — can seem trivial.

Kathi Tarrant

As it relates to the child care crisis in Vermont, representatives in my district have decided to champion this to the tune of $179 to $279 million, overseen by the House Human Services Committee. The range in cost is said to be dependent on government subsidies. Since government contributed to the problem in the first place via regs in 2015, and with a rise in the cost of living and/or the breakdown of the family, the can appears to be getting kicked all over the place, upending a system intended to limit government.

To defer conclusive action may be typified as an avoidance strategy. But not for Bill Stritzler, the managing director of Smuggler’s Notch Resort, and former chair of the Business Roundtable in 2009, who recently testified on this subject at the Statehouse. He said that his company now offers free child care. He also mentioned it only impacted payroll by 1.5%.

Creative solutions and a can-do attitude offers more opportunities for growth potential than government subsidies. And since a civil society is predicated on progress, citizens — if given the chance — contribute to society in inestimable ways. Case in point: autists are now being recognized as gifted data analysts. Contrast this with the supermajority legislature behind closed doors in recent weeks, denying the press rightful entry as bills are being rushed through with a pay Peter to pay off Paul mentality, and with the express purpose of denying our own innate potential to manage ourselves with stronger economic outcomes.

Helplessness is learned behavior

The dawn of the Enlightenment brought on tremendous gains. These gains were widespread. According to calculations using the 2017 World Bank and Maddison data for global GDP and the estimated world population from Our World in Data, extreme poverty fell globally by over 80 percent in the early 19th century to about 10 percent at present. And the improvements went well beyond material wealth.

Beginning with the Enlightenment, essential, long-standing arrangements such as private property rights, the rule of law, free and competitive markets and limited government helped to improve the human condition. The Enlightenment ushered in revolutionary ideas about reason and civil society. Today, essential, long-standing institutional arrangements are being kicked around like there’s no tomorrow, and with conditions — things that have withstood over 300 years; where world output per capita experienced a tenfold surge in conjunction with a view of human nature that is realistic, and what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

We were once asked to call upon our better angels. Today, we are expected to BE angels as dictated by government. Equity (i.e. weaponized empathy) has become the new buzzword and is being used as a cover story to foment division while impoverishing the mind.

A long-term solution is a return to the tradition of freedom in political and civic affairs which compliments America’s constitutional design (and to get the media darlings to align themselves with something akin to the Fairness Doctrine (balanced coverage), and the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948.

Until that time, ‘kicking the can down the road’ will remain a game that’s being played on an uneven playing field.

Image courtesy of Public domain

One thought on “Kathi Tarrant: Kicking the can down the road on child care, other issues

  1. Wow Kathi! Dead on. Thanks.
    Where are the Watchers on the RAND Report findings showing the private sector & home based solutions were/are actually superior? One bright spot is they will begin softening us up with a 400% FPL (Fed Poverty Level) subsidy elevation no longer linked with STARS facility ratings. The need for further deregulation of smaller and home based childcare aside, this socialist feint may allow some of these smaller and home based childcare to reopen and thrive. But clearly Mr. Stritzler has a better mousetrap for businesses with some scale.
    Too Bad all his employees and customer base will still be forced to pay the extortion in taxes for the RAND proposals coming down the pike…

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