Labor force participation in the United States is declining for women, and it is significantly declining for parents as a whole since more and more people are choosing not to have children. In part this is a consequence of economic development, but much of it is also driven by economic necessity, as people realize that they simply cannot afford to have children. It costs more than $200,000 at bare minimum to raise a child, and that figure does not take into account the lost earnings from time off work. For many working Americans who need to work full time, the costs are much higher, given that child day care costs about $10,000 a year in the United States. Americans are simply being priced out of parenthood by the high cost of living, low wages, exorbitant medical expenses, and so on.
I propose an expanded child care credit, in the form of direct payment for child care services for low-income families, and a tax credit and discounts for middle-income Americans. This would allow more people to take that decision to raise a family, and increase female participation in the workforce, which has been shown to be a massive boon to economic growth. This program can be paid for by dropping subsidies to profitable corporations, such as those in the oil and gas sectors. It is time for the government to stop handing out cash to big businesses who do not need it, and directing that spending instead to help grow the economy and improve American quality of life.