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Four Libertarian Principles to Guide Childcare Policy

Posted by M. C. on June 28, 2021

by Laurence M. Vance

Just as many conservatives believe that the federal government should have an education policy, so many conservatives believe that the federal government should have a childcare policy.In a free society, the government would be completely indifferent as to whether anyone had children or not. It would not concern itself with their education, health care, or upbringing.
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A case in point was an event held last March held by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) titled “Should Conservatives Favor Child Allowances?,” as well as a recent article by Lyman Stone on the AEI website titled “More Choice, Fewer Costs: Four Key Principles to Guide Child Care Policy.”

According to its website, AEI

is a public policy think tank dedicated to defending human dignity, expanding human potential, and building a freer and safer world. The work of our scholars and staff advances ideas rooted in our belief in democracy, free enterprise, American strength and global leadership, solidarity with those at the periphery of our society, and a pluralistic, entrepreneurial culture.

AEI scholars are committed to making the intellectual, moral, and practical case for expanding freedom, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening the free enterprise system in America and around the world.

Lyman Stone “is an Adjunct Fellow at AEI, a Research Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, and a former International Economist at the US Department of Agriculture.”

At the AEI event, two conservative scholars argued against a government child allowance, and one argued for it. This was followed by a panel discussion in which three conservative scholars argued against a government child allowance and two argued for it, including Stone.

In his remarks, Stone posited four “key principles that should guide policymakers as we debate childcare policies and the increase in spending in this area: choice, compensation, fairness, and cost.”

1. Choice. The government should “do more to support school choice by providing vouchers to families.” But it should also support childcare choice. Any new government spending “should give parents more choice about childcare, not less, and correspondingly should not discriminate between different parental choices.”

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This post was written by: Laurence M. Vance

Laurence M. Vance is a columnist and policy advisor for the Future of Freedom Foundation, an associated scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and a columnist, blogger, and book reviewer at He is the author of Gun Control and the Second Amendment, The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom, and War, Empire and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy. His newest books are Free Trade or Protectionism? and The Free Society. Visit his website: Send him e-mail.

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