Republicans and Democrats alike say they want to give parents more “choices” about child care, writes Claire Cain Miller in the New York Times. She dislikes this language, because “many parents — particularly women — feel their decisions about work and family are made within such constraints that they have little choice at all.” And: “Framing how to balance work and family as personal choices, researchers say, distracts from the bigger structural issues that force these choices.”
This critique misfires. It’s fine to observe that many parents feel their choices are too constrained; but all of the proposals that Miller is writing about, from the left and from the right, are designed to loosen those constraints. They are attempts to address “the bigger structural issues.” Implicit in “we’re trying to make sure you have more choices” is “you don’t currently have enough.” Admit that point, and the article dissolves into mist.