The latest liberal plan to save the nation is the Administration’s American Families Plan. It is heralded as a lifesaver for struggling families. Finally, Americans can supposedly enjoy the long-overdue benefits similar to those enjoyed by citizens benefiting from Europe’s extensive social safety net.
The Plan’s wish list is impressive. There is affordable child care for everyone. Add free pre-school for all three- and four-year-olds, paid leave for new parents, extended tax credits, health benefits and two years of free community college. There is something for everyone in this plan. What is there not to like in this program that only the most hardened scrooge can hate?
A Hefty Price Tag
The plan’s $1.6 trillion price tag is a bit hefty. However, President Biden claims it can be recouped with higher taxes on corporations and wealthier individuals. The rich will be made to pay because they are rich. Moreover, the government is big and has unlimited possibilities for expanding its low-interest debt.
With such deep-pocketed resources, liberals argue, there is no limit as to what can be done to improve the lives of millions of American families. They claim it matters little if the government gets bigger as long as American families benefit. Think of it as an investment in the future and the Plan will not appear so bad.
The Limits of Money
However, the American Families Plan has two major defects. The first is that it frames the debate in economic terms. The left holds the absurd belief that any problem can be resolved if enough money is spent.
Indeed, the debate is all about money—or more precisely about free money and other people’s money. The discussion is how to transfer more money from the taxpayers’ pockets to the government’s coffers.
Opponents to the plan have responded in kind. They rightly notice the grave injustice in taxing the rich to foot the bill for the left’s wish list. Tax hikes can only go so far before they weigh down the economy. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) criticized the plan saying it will initiate “the biggest job-killing tax hikes in a generation.”
The problem with limiting the discussion to economic consideration is that it neglects the most important moral arguments against the plan. It ignores the plan’s most vulnerable flank. Money will not solve the moral problems that so ail today’s families.
Refusing to Define the Family
Thus, the second and most important defect of the American Families Plan is its refusal to deal with the notion of what the family is. The Biden Administration’s programs typically exclude what is highlighted in their titles. Most of his stimulus plan was not about stimulus. The infrastructure scheme has very little infrastructure spending in it. Likewise, this American Families Plan has next to nothing in it for the family.
The family has gone missing in Biden’s Plan. He adopts the modern individualist concepts of the family as defined by Kant, who called it a complex of purposeful and legal relations. Today’s liberals also include the postmodern notions of a family being whatever individuals declare it to be. It assumes no permanent commitment. Any group of individuals might qualify.
Aristotle defined the family as the original natural community for the creation and maintenance of life. Saint Thomas Aquinas called it the first and smallest social union. Leo XIII said it is a small but real society through which the individual enters society. It stands between the individual and the State. The family presupposes a stable fruitful marriage and the development and education of offspring to carry forward society for future generations.
Thus, a family has an end, and any plan that works against this end jeopardizes its survival. Any definition outside this purpose is not a family but a group of individuals.
An Anti-Family Agenda
The Biden Plan works against the nature and purpose of the family.
To start with, judging from the Administration’s LGBTQ+ agenda, family for it is anything a person wants it to be.
The Plan offers affordable child care and universal pre-school. However, such programs presuppose babies. The administration is doing everything possible to expand the abortion agenda through government policy. Contrary to his professed Catholic Faith, the president is actively working against the family by denying the abundant births that should come from marriage. His program would be better labeled as one to benefit infant survivors and facilitate their care away from home.
A family plan should be about doing something about birth rates. The family is in crisis because of America’s demographic meltdown caused by the failure of families to replace the country’s population. However, official government policy embraces the contraceptive mentality that destroys families.
Family presupposes a father and a mother that provide the best possible condition for children’s solid physical and spiritual development. However, there is nothing in these programs that encourages more healthy families. There is nothing that helps defend them against the dangers of contraception, abortion, cohabitation and divorce.
While child care might be needed in some cases, nothing can replace the parent in the home that bonds with children. The universal placing of infants and children in daycare centers should not be a desired goal.
American Broken Family Plan
While traditional families might benefit from some parts of the Biden Plan, it does not address the essential issue of what makes up a family and how the stable family is the only way for individuals to get ahead.
Since its focus is only economic, the American Families Plan appears to target the broken family. The primary cause of poverty is not the lack of training or education but the broken families that fail to fulfill their responsibilities. Thus, government programs do not address single parenthood, absent fathers and rampant promiscuity destroying families everywhere. Tragically, the government often facilitates their perpetuation. Instead of aiding the family, the government absorbs it into its care.
Thus, the Biden program is self-defeating. The best possible way to help the family is to form healthy families: the healthier the family, the less need for government intervention. The family is an essential social unit, but it is also an economic powerhouse that creates and distributes wealth beyond anything that the government can provide.
The Church is a much better instrument for shaping healthy families than the State. The Church can provide moral advice, encourage fidelity and instill virtuous habits. All this can be done at little cost yet great benefit to society. Instead of browbeating Catholic nuns into paying for contraception, a good family policy would focus on developing a moral climate for families to flourish.
What is ailing the American family is not money for the family. Without the correct notion of the family, no amount of money will fix American Families. What is needed is moral direction, and there is none in the Biden Plan.