Will America be a better and freer country three decades from now if the children who turn four in this decade spend most of their waking hours with members of a government teachers union rather than with their moms?
President Barack Obama's vision of America, not surprisingly, starts with very young children spending their time in the custody of government employees.
"I believe we should start teaching our kids at the earliest ages," Obama said last week.
When he used the word "we" here, Obama was not talking about Michelle and himself, he was talking about the government. When he used the words "our kids," he was not talking about his own children -- who attend the most expensive private school in Washington, D.C. -- he was talking about other people's children and grandchildren.
What Obama wants, quite literally, is their souls.
"So we're trying to help more states make high-quality preschool and other early learning programs available to the youngest kids," Obama went on, prosaically.
The budget he presented to Congress was more concrete: It calls for $75 billion in federal spending over the next 10 years to support universal government "education" of 4-year-olds.
"This represents a down payment on the Obama administration's vision for high-quality preschool for all 4-year-olds," says a Department of Education fact sheet.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius explained at the National Press Club last April -- at a lectern shared with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten -- that Obama's vision for federal involvement in the lives of very young children does not stop with 4-year-olds.
Obama's budget calls for HHS to spend $15 billion over 10 years to fund an Obamacare provision called the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. An HHS budget document says this program will send government-funded "nurses, social workers, and other professionals" into people's homes to "improve parenting skills."
"I think that there still needs to be great understanding of what the president has put on the table is really a birth-to-five proposal, recognizing that you can't start at 4-year-olds," Sebelius said at the National Press Club.
"We really need to start at birth," said Sebelius. "So, there will be an enhancement of home-visiting, which we know is an evidence-based strategy that helps people be good parents from the onset, helps the first and best teacher a child will ever have learn important skills.