How government creates the need for government programs: child-care edition

Victor Joecks

Over at the NPRI homepage, Steve Miller has written an excellent commentary detailing how some Nevada bureaucrats are trying to enact regulations that would increase the cost of child care.

The regulations have good intentions, but of course, so does the road to hell.

[T]he Bureau of Services for Child Care has been pressing, since 2004, to make all Nevada child-care centers replicate the upper-middle-class developmental model – even though staffing costs for child-care providers become significantly more expensive under that model.

Repeatedly, over recent years, it has been explained to Bureau of Services for Child Care officials that simply requiring licensed child-care providers to increase staffing to uneconomic levels would not make toddlers safer.

The reason is that Nevada’s economically hard-pressed parents cannot afford the higher rates providers would have to charge to support the higher staff-to-child ratios and other personnel costs. Indeed, even without the new regulations the bureau is seeking to impose, parents are currently removing toddlers from licensed centers and increasingly placing them with unlicensed providers, older children or even alone, during the day.

Think about what’s going to happen here if the bureaucrats get their way. These regulations would raise prices, which would force some low-income parents to withdraw their kids from daycare and leave them in less desirable circumstances.

Soon there will be talk of a child-care crisis – parents can’t afford it, single moms can’t look for work, Nevada’s children are in danger! Some of the same bureaucrats that enacted the cost-raising regulations will probably petition the legislature to create a child-care handout. There will be tearful testimony before Assembly and Senate committees. More liberal organizations will bus in paid demonstrators demanding government solve this “crisis.”

And, voila, legislators will create a taxpayer-funded, child-care handout to solve a “crisis” that government regulations created.

Hmmm, where else can we see the unintended consequences of government actions?