Economic Stimulus for Stay-at-Home Moms
This article in the Post-Dispatch describes a proposal for the state to offer scholarships to stay-at-home moms. Here’s what Rep. Cynthia Davis (the bill’s sponsor) says in justification for the idea:
“Every rule we pass in this building either encourages or discourages a behavior,” Davis said, and added that this rule encouraged women to stay at home with their children. “When your child falls down and gets a boo-boo, you’re there to kiss it better.”
Davis said the bill would also help women re-enter the work force after their children were grown.
The thinking that federal or state government needs to pick winners and promote some economic choices at the expense of others has tremendous currency right now. Compared to all the other “stimulus” expenditures that are in the air, a scholarship of a few hundred dollars for some women isn’t going to be all that damaging. Still, we should consider whether this is really an equitable use of tax dollars. What about moms who don’t have the resources to stay at home? Or who can’t conceive? (Laws like this do “encourage” behaviors — like trying to have octuplets!) What about dads who stay at home? And then there are moms who already have Ph.D.s and are making sacrifices to stay home with their children, but have no use for further scholarships.
The $1,000 limit on mom’s earnings in order for her to qualify seems like it was pulled out of a hat. Maybe a woman who works for a couple hours a day while her children are in school earns $2,000 or $3,000 a year. There’s no big difference between her and someone who earns $999, but under this bill, she would be penalized.
The $600 scholarship amount is small, and it won’t change many people’s life decisions one way or another. It would basically give free money to people who have already done what Rep. Davis wants them to do. Not the worst possible use of resources, but not the best either.