Is Family Economics Enough?

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Media Outlet: Democracy

Mark Schmitt wrote for Democracy on the how we think about social policy and what it means for the upcoming election:

We tend to think of domestic policy issues as coming in two varieties. On one side are big economics issues: macro choices about job creation, monetary policy, Wall Street regulation, trade, infrastructure spending, tax rates, big social insurance programs, and unions. This is sometimes called "lunch-pail economics," or "pocketbook economics"—terms that suggest one partner earning the money and the other counting it against the cost gas and groceries later in the week.
On the other side are what are called children's issues, family issues or women's issues. Under the standard liberal theory, only after you've gotten the big economic decisions right can you move on to "nice" things like child care. My favorite example the distinction: When Bruce Babbitt, as governor of Arizona in the late 1980s, proposed a policy focus on children, his state's leading paper denounced him for serving up "quiche" rather than "meat and potatoes."

Author:

Mark Schmitt is director of the program on Political Reform at New America.