December 7, 2022

Hans G. Despain and Karol Gil-Vasquez

Leo Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina begins with the provocative line: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Tolstoy’s novel explores the complications of family life. Tolstoy’s characters demonstrate happy families are rare and parenting is difficult.

In United States parenting and family life is not only difficult, but very expensive due to a lack of the most basic infrastructure and public policy to provide support to families.   

This is unfortunate because families are the basic building block in society and need to be protected and nurtured. If family life worsens, the economy stagnates, while crime and social ills manifest. 

Despite working hard, one third of American households report they are unable to pay their bills. American workers have faced stagnant wages for several decades, and the White House has warned in spite of the post-pandemic expected high growth rates and rising prices, wage growth is expected to decline over the next 12 to 18 months. 85% of American parents report they are spending 10% or more of their household income on child care. 95% of colleges are unaffordable for low-income households. And according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development the United States ranks a dismal 37th, of 41 countries, for enrollment of 3-5 year-olds in early education.  

https://www.telegram.com/story/opinion/2021/10/01/whole-society-benefits-well-raised-and-well-educated-children/5928500001/