“Rising” child care cost was the “Lou Dobbs Tonight” whine during the December 20 “War on the Middle Class” segment.
Reporter Lisa Sylvester heralded the need for government intervention because of rising day care costs, saying, “Policy experts say state and federal governments should do more to help working families, beginning with raising the federal child care tax credit that has been increased only once since 1980.”
But the “policy expert” Sylvester featured was Helen Blank of the National Women’s Law Center, an advocacy group that supports abortion rights and minimum wage increases and seeks legislative solutions to women’s issues.
Earlier in the report, Sylvester interviewed Jim Graham, a father of two young children, who are both in full-time day care that costs him and his wife $20,000 a year.
Sylvester left out a key issue: choice. The Grahams chose to put their children in day care, even though Jim Graham is a freelance writer who works out of a home office two days a week.
There was no discussion of less expensive care options, such as a teenager or college student babysitter, a relative or a stay-at-home mom who cares for a group of children.
Sylvester also gave no context to the data she presented. “In New Hampshire, where the Grahams live, child care costs have soared 88 percent over the past five years, according to a study commissioned by the University of New Hampshire,” stated Sylvester before saying that national child care costs are up 7 percent in the past year.
While 88 percent is a huge spike, New Hampshire could be an anomaly. Sylvester did not say that, nor did she explain the relationship of cost increases to rising demand for child care.