The Corner

Elections

About Warren’s Aunt Bee

Activist Tom Steyer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and former Vice President at the Democratic primary debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, January 14, 2020. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

In last night’s debate, Senator Warren again mentioned how her “Aunt Bee” had helped her when she was at wit’s end holding a job and taking care of her family. A few months ago, Wonkette gushed, “Elizabeth Warren wants everyone to have an Aunt Bee, or at least affordable childcare.” What Warren actually wants is for everyone not to have to rely on Aunt Bee. If you would prefer Aunt Bee to commercial day care, you’re not getting any help from Warren’s plan.

Warren has explained that she would subsidize options that would include locally licensed child care centers, preschool centers, and in-home child care options. “Local communities would be in charge, but providers would be held to high national standards to make sure that no matter where you live, your child will have access to quality care and early learning.” So unless your aunt is going to get the training, receive the license, or otherwise comply with regulations to ensure she is “high quality,” she’s not going to be covered by Warren’s plan.

If Warren wanted to help families take care of their children regardless of the care arrangements they choose — whether they rely on a mother staying home, or informal care from a relative, or commercial day care — she could just put the money she wants to funnel to high-quality child-care providers and instead give it to parents to use as they see fit. That’s not the plan she’s chosen to run on.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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