As states scramble to stay afloat -- how are they balancing their budgets? On the backs of working women of course. The new big trend is to cut subsidies for child care. And with child care -- poof - a critical lifeline to working moms is disappearing. The same states that cut welfare entitlements in the 90s, forcing moms out to work, are now cutting the subsidized child care that was promised in return for workfare.
While the Obama government has provided some aid to states to keep subsidies up, it is not nearly enough, and some states are just calling it quits. In California, Governor Schwarzennegger, whose respect for women is well known, recently proposed to eliminate the entire state welfare and child care program entirely, affecting 1.4 million people, two thirds children.
In some places, Head Start programs that have been in place for five decades, are competing for contributions from hedge funds and running street fairs. Many will have to charge tuition for the first time this September, exactly the opposite of the vision of the program.
The bottom line: remember that line about poor women being the canaries in society's coal mine. That sound you hear is them choking. As spending on war -- and elections -- continues to rise, we're suffocating our kids - and their caretakers. If this is as test - how much will we really give up? Our society, the richest in the world by far, seems to be asking the question.
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Support us by signing up for our podcast, and follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter.com.