As Mother’s Day approaches, I am thinking about an invitation I received recently to view a film called “The Motherhood Manifesto” at a local library. “Bring something yummy and come hear about the policies that make it so hard to be a mom these days!” the invitation read cheerfully.
The word “manifesto” in the title sent up red flags for me. But, curious, I went to the host website – www.momsrising.org – to see what the components of the “manifesto” are. Cleverly, the website’s authors have used “MOTHER” as an acronym for their demands: M = (paid) Maternity and paternity leave. O = Open, flexible work. T = TV and afterschool programs. H = Healthcare for all kids. E = Excellent childcare. R = Realistic and fair wages.
“Manifesto” is the word for it, all right. Karl Marx would be proud. Virtually everything on the site advocates government regulation of business, and taxpayer-funded social services. The site is filled with supporting factoids about how many school-age children are home alone each afternoon (14 million!), the need for government censorship of the (40,000) TV commercials children see each year, and Canada’s allegedly wonderful health care system.
This initiative, like so many touted as women-driven and mother-centric, betrays the Left’s complete lack of understanding of – or utter disregard for -- basic economics. As long as some public policy pronouncement is “for the children” or accompanied by a compelling story of a family’s struggle or financial hardship, we’re supposed to be all for it, even if it bloats the government or brings the economy to the brink of collapse.
As one who worked in Detroit in the 1990s during the Clintons’ (happily) failed attempt to nationalize health care, I can attest that Canada's system is hardly the model plan that MomsRising.org seems to think it is. In Michigan, we saw the Canadians come across the border to avoid months waiting for necessary surgery, for a choice of doctors, or to obtain America’s better medical research. Canada's system is a failure for the same reason the United Kingdom's is a failure: when people perceive that something is "free" (because the costs are hidden to them), they use much more of it than they would if they had to pay for it.
Laura Hollis is an Associate Professional Specialist and Concurrent Associate Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, where she teaches entrepreneurship and business law. She is the author of the forthcoming publication, “Start Up, Screw Up, Scale Up: What Government Can Learn From the Best Entrepreneurs,” © 2014. Her opinions are her own, and do not reflect the position of the university. Follow her on Twitter: @LauraHollis61.