#1587 What Conservatives Think of When They Think of the Children (Transcript)

Air Date 10/7/2023

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JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: [00:00:00] Welcome to this episode of the award-winning Best of the Left podcast, in which we shall take a look at the perverse reality at odds with conservatives' claim to be standing up for family values and saving children from the abuse of, presumably, Democrats for the most part, including policies that encourage child labor, child brides, forced birth creating child mothers, childhood poverty, and education intentionally designed for child indoctrination. 

Sources today include Zoe Bee, the PBS NewsHour, Robert Reich, Head in the Office, Some More News, One in Ten, and All in with Chris Hayes, with additional members-only clips from Andrewism and More Perfect Union.

What "Parents' Rights" REALLY Means - Zoe Bee - Air Date 9-26-23

ZOE BEE - HOST, ZOE BEE: When a movement is focused on restoring parents' rights, you have to ask, parents' rights to what? When groups like Moms for Liberty or PragerU use the term, it is usually associated with transparency in schools. Parents, [00:01:00] they argue, just want to know what their kids are being taught. And in theory, this isn't a bad thing. I think transparency is good. I think parents getting engaged in their kids learning is a good thing. 

But parents' rights doesn't just stop there, 'cause they don't just want transparency for transparency's sake. They don't want to know what's being taught so they can have a fuller understanding of what their kids are learning. They want transparency because they want control. They want to know what books are in the school's library so that they can make the library remove the books that have LGBTQ characters. They want to know what the history curriculum looks like so that they can refuse to let their child be taught about the US's history of racism.

And this is why they care so much about school board meetings. One of the best ways to have a hand in what happens at your kid's school is by making your voice heard by the people in charge. But this is old news, right? We all know about the calls for book banning and the limits on how history, sex ed, and other subjects are taught. That isn't the interesting part. 

The interesting part is [00:02:00] how parents' rights advocates talk about kids. To show you what I'm talking about, look at the language that Moms for Liberty members use around mask mandates. As the Washington Post reported, when a Florida school board voted to keep a mask mandate in place in 2021, Jodi Hand, a 52-year-old mother of three, jumped to her feet. "I am going to be spending every minute making sure parents know they don't have control over their children anymore," she shouted. Jodi, who the article said was wearing Moms4Liberty merch during the meeting, just stated the thesis of the movement out loud. Parents' right, according to Moms4Liberty, isn't about transparency or wanting to be heard. It's about control. Parents' rights means the right to have full, uninhibited control over children. Not every parents' rights advocate is as transparent about this goal, but the language that they use certainly points in that direction. In [00:03:00] his recent book, Keeping the Kids All Right: How to Empower Your Children Against the Leftist Agenda Without Homeschooling, popular conservative radio personality Barack Lurie gives advice for how parents can successfully indoctrinate their children. And I'm not editorializing here, either. He literally says the goal of parenting is to indoctrinate your child. This is indoctrination! But it's also the right thing to do. You're the parent, it's your job. Everything you do is indoctrination one way or the other. So how do we successfully indoctrinate our kids? We drip feed them a steady diet of strawman arguments and actively make fun of people who disagree with us. He provides sample dialogues between himself and his children where he shows off these techniques for indoctrination. 

But in all of the examples, the child always agrees with him. First of all, it is really easy to make up a conversation that makes you look good, especially when it's a fictional conversation between a middle-aged man and a ten year old.

And second [00:04:00] of all, he states that he begins each conversation by asking the child for their opinion on whatever topic they're discussing, because it shows them you have respect for their input and thought process. It engages them while giving them an opportunity to obtain your approval. 

But there's a difference between acting like you care about someone's opinion and actually caring about it. Clearly, he doesn't actually care about their opinion, because if he did, he'd be open to hearing an opinion that isn't exactly the same as his own. 

And to make things worse, there's also an implication that his approval is contingent on the child agreeing with him. Lurie cannot imagine a world where his child holds a different opinion, and he only respects and approves of his kids because they agree with him.

Contrary to what the book's title suggests, Barack Lurie doesn't want to empower his kids. He wants to control them, until they can flawlessly parrot all of his opinions back to him. 

Maybe this is just one very silly Bond villain of a man who [00:05:00] should not be taken seriously by anyone for any reason, right? Unfortunately... things get worse. Things get a lot worse. 

It might be easy to dismiss one awful guy writing about indoctrinating kids, but the rhetoric of control is all over the place. 

Consider how parents' rights advocates talk about LGBTQ issues. Many school districts are passing rules requiring teachers and counselors to tell parents anytime a student changes their gender identity or starts using different pronouns, because, parents' rights folks argue, parents have a right to know the decisions that their children are making at school. 

But when parents are so worried about what the school does or does not want to tell them, there's no consideration of what their child wants. What if your child simply wants to experiment with different pronouns to see what fits? What if your child is just waiting for the right time to talk to you about it? What if your child doesn't want you to know because they're worried you won't support them? 

Because the truth is, they don't care what their child wants. [00:06:00] They would argue that their child is too young to make any decision about their gender or sexuality, or that their child is being unduly influenced by teachers trying to turn them gay, so the child's opinion can just be totally disregarded. What the child wants doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is what the parents want.

Just like they only want to know what books are in the library so they can tell the school which books to get rid of, they only want to know if their child is questioning their gender identity so they can stop them from doing so. 

And what makes it even worse is that this doesn't even just end at their own children. They want these rules in place for everyone. And when taken to its extreme, this rhetoric of parental control can lead to devastating consequences. I won't get into too much of it here, but the book To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debi Pearl uses the Bible to justify parents hitting their children, and depriving them of food to break their will and train them to be obedient. And let's not forget my video on PragerU's so-called [00:07:00] parenting expert, who used the same language of obedience to justify locking kids in their rooms for hours at a time. 

Everywhere you look, it is about control. 

But when you have full control over something else, not just a responsibility to keep it safe, but a right to use it however you want, shy of actively harming it, that's not how you treat human beings. It's how you treat property. They see children as property. And I'm not reading between the lines or putting words into people's mouths. A few years ago, Senator Rand Paul literally just said parents own their children. And just a few weeks ago, PragerU's Jill Simonian said parents should "act accordingly" when school board members say that parents don't own their children. Which they don't. Parents do not own their children. That is just a factual statement. 

And again, I don't want to get into the minutiae around the legal relationships between children and their parents, I just want to focus on the language. The language of ownership [00:08:00] that Rand Paul and Jill Simonian are using. The language of indoctrination that Barack Lurie uses. The language of training and obedience that Michael and Debi Pearl use. And the language of control that Moms for Liberty uses. None of this is language you use to describe a good relationship between human beings who respect each other. It's language you use to describe monetary transactions and animals

Child poverty increases sharply following expiration of expanded tax credit - PBS NewsHour - Air Date 9-12-23 

STEPHANIE SY: We are talking about the largest one-year jump on record for what's called the supplemental poverty rate. That includes the value of government benefits. Were you expecting this big of a spike? And what kind of hardships does this translate into for the five million more children now in this category?

CATHERINE RAMPELL: I think most people who follow this issue were expecting some increase in the number of children who had fallen into poverty or maybe were pushed into poverty, depending on how you look at it.

But these numbers are astounding, I think, more than double the child poverty rate in 2022 that we [00:09:00] saw in 2021, a result partly, of course, of the fact that cost of living has gone up. Some of the expenses that are taken into account in that measure, work expenses, medical expenses, et cetera, have gone up.

But, primarily, it is due to a policy choice that lawmakers made, which was to basically let a number of pandemic-era programs lapse, chiefly the child tax credit, as you mentioned, but some others as well.

STEPHANIE SY: What does this mean for families and children? I know that some food pantries are — reported last year that they did see a rise in the number of people, for example, seeking food assistance.

CATHERINE RAMPELL: Absolutely. So, if you look at a number of surveys collected by the Census Bureau, as well as other government institutions, the implementation of that expanded child tax credit or child allowance was associated with a significant decline in measures of food insecurity, [00:10:00] financial insecurity, whether people could pay sudden bills, for example.

And, as you might expect, when that support disappeared, you saw the reverse. You saw greater need for food assistance, whether it's from food pantries or otherwise. Other signs of financial hardship rose as a result of that program being taken away.

And if you look, in fact, at the surveys conducted over how people had been spending those funds, because the Census Bureau had been collecting data on that, it showed that parents primarily reported using the child tax credit dollars on things like basic household necessities: rent, childcare, school supplies, groceries.

So, again, when that support was taken away, you saw those kinds of hardships return to what they had been before the pandemic, in fact, higher than they had been before the pandemic.

STEPHANIE SY: Yes, and not to mention that we had 9 percent inflation in certain months last year for basic essentials.

[00:11:00] As you write in your Washington Post column today, Catherine, the reason the Biden policy packed such a — quote — "powerful poverty-fighting punch" is that it was not conditional on any minimal level of income or earnings.

Why does unconditional cash assistance have a different impact, in your view?

CATHERINE RAMPELL: So this was among the ways that this version of the child tax credit differed from prior iterations of it, which, to be clear, had been around for many years, had been expanded under Democratic and Republican administrations alike. But this was the first time that it became available to families with little or even no earnings. So, let's say you're a kid and you're being cared for by an elderly grandparent who cannot work. Your household got that funding too and was able to use it to pay for those necessities to be lifted out of poverty.

However, this aspect of the child tax credits design, the child allowances design has been [00:12:00] controversial, right? There have been fears that maybe giving money to households not conditional on work or any sort of earnings could discourage employment. Based on the research to date, it does not look as if this expansion of the child tax credit had that effect. There are certainly models out there that suggest that it could have some sort of depressing effect on labor supply, on employment. Those are endlessly debated, those kinds of models. But that's part of the reason why this version of the child tax credit has been controversial, why no Republicans support it.

However, there have been a number of Republicans who have gingerly put forward their own alternative versions of an expanded child tax credit, maybe with some kind of modest work requirements in there or a look-back, suggesting that the parents or guardians had prior years of earnings. So it does seem like there might be room for compromise [00:13:00] here potentially later this year, as lawmakers are hashing out some other negotiations over tax breaks and whether they should be extended, that there might be some room for a version that looks not quite like Biden's version, not quite like what Republicans are putting forth, but potentially somewhere in the middle.

Why Child Labor in America is Skyrocketing - Robert Reich - Air Date 5-16-23

ROBERT REICH - HOST, ROBERT REICH: Corporations are bringing back child labor in America, and some Republicans want to make it easier for them to get away with it. 

Since 2015, child labor violations have risen nearly 300 percent, and those are just violations government investigators have managed to uncover and document. The Department of Labor says it's currently investigating over 600 cases of illegal child labor in America. Major American companies like General Mills, Walmart and Ford have all been implicated. 

Why on earth is this happening? The answer is frighteningly simple. Greed. Employers have been having difficulty finding the workers they need at the [00:14:00] wages they're willing to pay, and rather than reduce their profits by paying adult workers more, employers are exploiting children.

The sad fact of the matter is that many of the children who are being exploited are considered to be "them" rather than "us," because they're disproportionately poor and immigrant. So the moral shame of subjecting "our children" to inhumane working conditions when they ought to be in school is quietly avoided.

And since some of these children, or their parents, are undocumented, they dare not speak out or risk detention and deportation. They need the money. This makes them easily exploitable. It's a perfect storm that's resulting in vulnerable children taking on some of the most brutal jobs in America. 

Folks, we've seen this before.

Reformers fought to establish the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 for a reason: to curb the grotesque child labor seen during America's first Gilded Age. [00:15:00] The U. S. banned most child labor. 

But now, pro business trade groups and their Republican lackeys are trying to reverse nearly a century of progress. And they're using the so-called labor shortage as their excuse. Arkansas will no longer require 14- and 15-year-olds to get a work permit before taking a job, a process that verified their age and required permission from a parent or guardian. A bill in Ohio would let children work later on school nights. Minnesota Republicans are pushing to let 16-year-olds work in construction. And in Iowa, 14-year-olds may soon be allowed to take certain jobs in meat packing plants and operate dangerous machinery. It's all a coordinated campaign to erode national standards, making it even easier for companies to profit off children. 

Across America, we're witnessing a resurgence of cruel capitalism in which business lobbyists and lawmakers justify their actions by arguing that they're not exploiting the [00:16:00] weak and vulnerable, but rather providing jobs for those who need them and would otherwise go hungry or homeless. Conveniently, these same business lobbyists and lawmakers are often among the first to claim we can't afford stronger safety nets that would provide these children with safe housing and adequate nutrition. 

So what can stop this madness? 

First, fund the Department of Labor so it can crack down on child labor violations. When I was Secretary of Labor, the department was chronically underfunded and understaffed. It still is, because lawmakers and their corporate backers want it that way.

Second, increase fines on companies that break child labor laws. Current fines are too low and are treated as costs of doing business by hugely profitable companies that violate the law. 

Third, hold major corporations accountable for their supply chains. Many big corporations contract with smaller companies that employ children, which allows the big [00:17:00] corporations to play dumb, and often avoid liability. It's time to demand that large corporations take responsibility for their contractors. 

Fourth, reform immigration laws, so undocumented children aren't exploited. 

And lastly, organize. Fight against state laws that are attempting to bring back child labor.

Are corporate profits really more important than the safety of children? 

America First 2.0 & A Defense of Child Marriage - Head in the Office - Air Date 4-19-23

JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: Moving on from Florida though, we gotta talk about Missouri. And one of my favorite topics is to talk about child marriage. 


JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: Great topic, um, I'm glad it's still a political issue. And in the Year of our Lord 2023, I'm really glad that we're still having conversations about it. 

GAGE KOSMANOPOULOS - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: We're still having lively, um, debates about child marriage where we need to respect both sides of the argument because people always come through with good faith and have good faith reasons and positions well-thought-out ideologically, uh, that align with both sides and we need to come to some ground in the middle.

JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: Yeah, there's a middle ground for child marriage that we could find. You know what, just [00:18:00] because I'm feeling it, I feel like we could label this story "beyond parody". 

GAGE KOSMANOPOULOS - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: Absolutely. This one... I don't know if... 

JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: It's borderline fantasy. I don't know if I can, like, this is something that I would have made up for like a cold open bit, to like make fun of Republicans.

GAGE KOSMANOPOULOS - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: This is, this is a skit that I feel like I would have seen on SNL and thought, that's corny. Like that would never actually happen, like this is too on the nose. But it's... here we are. 

JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: Life imitates art, I guess. 

GAGE KOSMANOPOULOS - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: Here we go. I guess we're rolling the clip. 

JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: Uh, well, we can get into the clip. It requires a little bit of backstory before we get into the clip. So, in Missouri, the legislature in 2018 passed a bill to raise the minimum marriage age to 16, with parental consent, because previously they had one of the lowest minimum ages in the nation. I don't remember what the number was, but now it's 16. And as we're all well aware, child marriage obviously is a threat to children because it legally binds them to someone, usually an older person that they are controlled by.

GAGE KOSMANOPOULOS - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: And it also just allows pedophilia. 

JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: I mean it just is pedophilia.


JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: Right. So now the minimum age is 16, with some people calling for it to be higher. [00:19:00] And that's not even like the main topic of what was going on recently because right now Missouri's considering a bill to ban gender affirming care in the state for minors. Right? Pretty run of the mill for conservative states at the moment, but the reason child marriage came up is because the committee's considering this bill, and they had a Republican state senator, maybe previous state senator, current, I can't remember, uh, a Republican state senator from Missouri, come testify, his name's Mike Moon, someone who's ardently against gender affirming care. I'm not gonna do any more setup, I'm just gonna roll this clip, and you guys are gonna get into the thick of it, uh, immediately.

PETER MERIDITH: I've heard you talk about parents rights to raise their kids how they want. In fact, I just double checked, you voted no on making it illegal for kids to be married to adults at the age of 12 if their parents consented to it. You said, actually, that should be the law because it's the parent's right and the kid's right to decide what's best for them, to be raped by an adult. Okay? 

MIKE MOON: Do you know any kids who have been married at age 12? [00:20:00] 

PETER MERIDITH: That was the law. You voted not to change it. 

MIKE MOON: Do you know any kids who have been married at age 12? 

PETER MERIDITH: I, I don't need to. 

MIKE MOON: I do. Uh, and guess what? They're still married. 

PETER MERIDITH: Gentlemen...

GAGE KOSMANOPOULOS - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: No, it's crazy. It's crazy, right? It's crazy because you can tell that the guy who's, like, speaking in the beginning, when he asks if he knows any kids who have been married at age 12, he's trying to, like, artfully get his way around the question because he thinks that he's trying to pin him saying that that's a non-issue because it doesn't happen, but instead of saying no, this is a non-issue because no kid is being married at 12, he's saying I personally know children who are married at 12 and it's actually good and righteous, in fact.

JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: Bro did not let that slide. Bro took that personally. Like, I wholly expected, and I'm sure anyone listening wholly expects him to be like, Oh yeah, no, people at 12 aren't getting married, it's not an issue. You're just making this up to avoid the problem of, you know, gender affirming care for kids, whatever. But no, he, he doubles down. 

GAGE KOSMANOPOULOS - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: No, he didn't [00:21:00] even think it through, really. 

JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: He says it's actually good and they're happily married at 12 years old. Like, what are you talking about, brother? Like for, for anyone that's a little confused, the Democrats basically saying, this guy, when he was a senator, or still is a senator, voted no in 2018 to the bill to raise the child marriage minimum age to 16. And this is true. Like, people have dug up the documents, found the vote records. He did, this senator that was testifying, voted no on that bill. And now, he's voting in favor, or supporting a bill to ban gender affirming care on the basis that kids and parents should not be making decisions like that for the child. 

So it's just kind of this conflict of beliefs. And he doubles down on his stance for child marriage and says, actually, I know 12 year olds that got married and they're really happy still. 


JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: What are you talking about, y'all? 


JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: Like, a lot of people will, when they're thinking about politics, if they're more, like, your centrist, moderate types will think like, Oh, well, we just need to find our common values. How? Exactly how do we find common values with this demon? 

GAGE KOSMANOPOULOS - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: Everyone has principled positions that are result of their genuine beliefs and we have to respect those beliefs. I [00:22:00] wholeheartedly disrespect any belief that is that a child, a 12 year old can get married to an adult. That shit is fucking insane 

JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: Especially because there have been, like I think, I don't have exact numbers on the show, but there have been obviously child marriages in Missouri, like it's happened, and it does happen, it may not be like the most frequent thing. Yeah, this guy's probably officiating, like, a 13 year old marrying, like, a 40 year old. 

GAGE KOSMANOPOULOS - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: I don't understand how we got here. I don't understand how we got here, where grown adults who have positions of power within state governments can just be pedophiles. 


GAGE KOSMANOPOULOS - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: And it's like dope and sick and cool.

JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: Like, this is the caliber of political opponent that the left has? What, what are we talking about? This is so unserious, like, what are we doing? And Republicans, they'll often argue that they want to "protect the nuclear family". That's where their resistance to a lot of LGBTQ issues comes from. It's where their resistance to gender affirming care comes from, et cetera. But what the fuck does that mean, especially if you're not in favor of banning child marriage outright? 

GAGE KOSMANOPOULOS - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: It's really hard to protect the nuclear family when the nuclear [00:23:00] family starts off when a 40 year old dates a 12 year old and then by the time that 12 year old can actually, like, have kids, the 40 year old dies. 

JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: Right. Well, and it's like, when they say they want to protect the nuclear family, what they mean is that they want to reinforce standard gender roles and disallow non-conforming people from having families, right? 

GAGE KOSMANOPOULOS - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICEGage: We want women to not have credit cards, and for only men and women to get married, and for women to be the property of men again.

JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: And it's like, what are Democrats doing to hurt the nuclear family? You know what I mean? Like, what specific policies are Democrats pushing forth or establishing into law that hurts the nuclear family that Republicans are arguing against? 

GAGE KOSMANOPOULOS - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: There's not a single policy that Democrats or even progressives are pushing that disincentivizes a man and a woman from getting together and having two kids.

JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: Right. If anything, there's tax incentives for having kids in a family. 

GAGE KOSMANOPOULOS - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: The only thing that Democrats have done is expand rights to do non-traditional families and to have a father and a father, two dads in one household. That's it. And because that [00:24:00] exists does not mean that the other things can't exist as well. The existence of two dads in one house does not directly contradict a dad and a mom. It doesn't work like that. 

JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: Well, and it's like, a lot of the things that Republicans want to do, actually do hurt the nuclear family, right? Like getting rid of the child tax credit hurts the nuclear family, kicking people off of Medicare or trying to cut social security hurts the nuclear family, stopping student debt cancellation, doing nothing about guns in classrooms hurts the nuclear family, like what are we talking about here? You don't want to protect them. 

GAGE KOSMANOPOULOS - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: Doing nothing about increasing wages and reducing wealth inequality hurts the nuclear family. All of the tax breaks they give to the wealthy hurt the nuclear family. 

JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: People can't form nuclear families if they can't afford it. Like, what are Republicans doing to help that? 

GAGE KOSMANOPOULOS - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: If they can't afford to have more than one kid, how are they supposed to be a comfortable nuclear family?

JEREMY JOHNSON - HOST, HEAD IN THE OFFICE: So if you ever hear someone of the right wing persuasion try to tell you they want to protect the nuclear family, it's usually just, I don't like gay people and trans people.

Having A Baby In America – SOME MORE NEWS - Air Date 9-27-23

KATIE STOLL - HOST, SOME MORE NEWS: Millennials, who honestly were just too busy playing Minecraft or whatever to avert the two recessions and a pandemic, [00:25:00] have experienced a lot of instability when it comes to the housing market, job market, cost of living, and education. So adding a baby to the equation obviously brings more instability and stress. Despite the pressure we put on women to have children be the main caretaker for them, we sure don't make it easy to be a mother. When it comes to actually funding children, especially children born into low income families, our government seems to think that it's not their problem. The average cost of childbirth in the US is over $13,000, and with insurance, you still owe $1,000-$2,500. That's a lot of money. For many people, the high price tag might drive them to opt for a home birth, but home births come with higher risks of both infant and maternal mortality. Also, you need to own a home for that to happen. Millennials have, very rudely, collectively decided to [00:26:00] have less net worth than Baby Boomers or Generation X had at the same age, despite Millennials being more well educated.

Child care costs more than $10,000 a year, which represents a chunk of over 10% of the median couple's income, or over 35% for a single parent. And those are just for older children. It can be more than $16,000 a year in child care for infants. And it's about to get worse! During the pandemic, Congress made a record investment in childcare, setting aside $24 billion to help keep the industry afloat. This money went to assisting parents with costs, training workers, and boosting salaries to offset the loss of childcare workers during COVID. However, that money is expiring this month, and as a result, "an estimated 70,000 child care programs, or about one in three, could close as a result of lost funding, causing [00:27:00] 3.2 million children to lose care, forcing even more parents to make the impossible choice between staying home with their children or going to work so they can afford to pay for their children".

Normally, this is the point at which I go about debunking the argument that this is a reason not to have kids. But for a lot of people, this honestly seems like a very valid dilemma. It's just a grim financial reality, especially in America, and the lack of social safety nets, as well as universal healthcare, not only presents financial risks but health risks as well. The US ranks the worst in maternal mortality when compared with 10 other wealthy countries. Our maternal death rate averages over 17 deaths per 100,000 people, versus less than 3 out of 100,000 in countries like Norway, the Netherlands, or New Zealand. And this is likely to only get worse with anti-abortion laws in the US that make childbirth riskier, like forcing people to carry dead fetuses, which is both [00:28:00] psychologically horrifying and medically dangerous. In terms of postpartum care, the US philosophy seems to be that it's your problem, and you and your newborn need to bootstrap yourselves. Tiny, cute little newborn bootstraps. We make them out of the ribbons from the storks bundle. Adorable! Baby bootstraps for sale, never worn. 

One in four women have to return to work just 10 days after giving birth, and a report by UNICEF ranks the US last in terms of family-friendly policies out of over 40 other OECD countries. OECD stands for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and represents relatively high-income economies that, Theoretically, have the resources to give people things like paid leave and healthcare, which the United States doesn't do. 

How Inequality Fuels Child Abuse - One in Ten - Air Date 9-5-23

TERESA HUIZAR - HOST, ONE IN TEN: One of the things I was thinking about is that often we think of these things in very siloed ways. [00:29:00] You know, we think of substance abuse and domestic violence and other severe mental illness and all of these things as each sort of their own category of contribution to child maltreatment, really. But what you're describing, I think what is really interesting is that there's a thread of poverty as a contribution to all of these things. And this may be the thread that really runs through all of these other elements that contribute to child maltreatment. 

PAUL BYWATERS: I think that's exactly right. Poverty is not a standalone thing. Poverty affects every aspect of people's daily lives. If you're severely poor, then almost every moment of your life is caught up. You know, you get up and you want to have breakfast. You've got to decide whether there's enough food to feed yourself as well as your child. So maybe you decide not to have breakfast. You've got to make decisions about, you know, how you [00:30:00] get to work or how you get to school. Do you walk or can you take the bus? Can you afford to pay for fuel? If you go to the shops, you know, can you afford this? Can you afford that? Every moment is taken up in these decisions, all of which have kind of financial consequences. And that eats away at people. It eats away at people's relationships. It eats away at people's self esteem. It eats away at their mental health. And so it is connected with all of those things. If you're poor, you're more likely to be in poor health. If you're in poor health, you're less likely to be able to stay in or keep high earning employment. So there's kind of cycles in all of this. 

So poverty is exactly as you say, a thread that runs through all these other factors that may be part of the big picture. And maybe the thing that we see first. So when a referral comes into a social worker, what a social worker may first Think about or see is a domestic violence dispute or maybe a parent with severe mental health [00:31:00] affecting their ability to look after their children. But behind that and through that and affecting the ways in which those parents may be able to respond to that will be the poverty, will be the amount of resources that families have. 

This is one of the reasons why I'm interested in not just in poverty, which I see as absolutely essential, but in inequality. Because when you look up at people who've got money, who've got wealth and resources behind them, you see how helpful that is when they run into problems. So, if they've got a child with, say, you know, anxiety or eating disorder or something, then you can afford therapy and treatment and care for that. If you need child care in order to do your job, you can buy childcare to do your job. If you need rewards and treats and holidays to make life a bit easier, to make your family go well, then you can afford those things. If you're in poverty, none of those problem-solving, family-enhancing possibilities is available to you in the same [00:32:00] way. 

TERESA HUIZAR - HOST, ONE IN TEN: As you were describing the sort of day to day experience of someone in poverty, one of the things I was thinking about is just how exhausting, and I'm not saying that in any light way, but how truly just bone-tired one would be in that, and you know, how that's often accompanied by despair. If you feel, you know, it's so difficult to improve your situation and you can see what that means for your family, I think that that in and of itself can also serve as fuel, you know, for all of the things that we're talking about too, especially substance abuse and those kinds of things. 

I'm just wondering, you know, you made an interesting connection in your paper, because we think we talk in the US a lot about, and are trying to explore and often not well, This relationship between poverty and child abuse and neglect, but one of the things that your paper also talked about was kind of the [00:33:00] converse of that, which is the impact of child abuse and neglect experienced as a child on adult poverty. Can you talk a little bit about that? 

PAUL BYWATERS: Yeah, that's not something I've done research in about so much myself, but, you know, some awareness of the literature. So, we were talking about the cyclical relationship between poverty and other difficulties if you're a parent, but also, there's another cycle here, which is if, as a child, you've experienced abuse and neglect, then that affects your life chances. It may have affected your education, as well as your health, your physical and mental health. Both of those things will have knock on effects for your chance of getting into good employment or staying in good employment, which affects, you know, the housing that you can secure. It affects your adult relationships. There are lifelong consequences for this, and there can be a kind of cycle where if you've had those disadvantages as a child, it's harder [00:34:00] to make your way successfully in the world's eyes as an adult. Of course, that's not to say that everybody that's experienced this abuse and neglect as a child has a dreadful adult life. That's absolutely not the case. Many people show incredible survival skills and resilience and so on and manage well, but the evidence shows that there are consequences which affect many people in their adult life.

TERESA HUIZAR - HOST, ONE IN TEN: Well, and I think it also is a way of thinking about, you know, one of the sort of intractable, what feels intractable, issues that we often feel like we're not very good at all addressing are intergenerational neglect cases, in particular here in the US. I think that for us, that's often been very fraught with lots of things tried and not feeling that we're very successful at breaking that cycle. [00:35:00] But one of the things I'm thinking about as you're talking is one of the things that we're terrible about in the US is trying anti-poverty efforts. And so maybe the reason that we're not seeing better effects in our works on intergenerational neglect cases is because we're, you know, we're not applying the right medicine, essentially, to the problem. So it's very thought provoking in thinking about that. 

I'm wondering, you were talking about sort of the paucity of research that exists around this dimension between poverty and child abuse and neglect. Why do you think there hasn't been more, and what do you think needs to be done to encourage more, both in England, where you are, and around the world?

PAUL BYWATERS: The point I was actually making was about the research about inequality and child abuse and neglect. There is more research about poverty and abuse and neglect than there is about inequality. I think you tend to talk about [00:36:00] disparities, disproportionality in the States. Inequalities maybe is more of a word we use in the UK. But, because one of the things that a focus on disparities does is that it opens up this whole field of looking at what it is that people that I was talking about just now, people who have money, do parents who have money, how do they look after their children? How do they solve their problems? What are the opportunities that that gives them? So there is something about the disparity, you know, looking at disparities rather than just looking at poverty. Poverty tends to make us focus on, you know, it tends to be inevitably kind of individualizing. It says, you know, what is this about being poor that makes this poor parent a bad parent? Or, you know, what it is about this person that has made them poor? It forces us back in, tends to focus back into, into this kind of individualized way of thinking, case by case, when actually what we need to [00:37:00] do is to say, Why do we have such an unequal society? What can we do to shift poverty for everybody? You know, the rising tide will lift all boats, so all families will be better off if they're not poor, all families in poverty will be better off if they have a bit more money, they'll probably manage a bit better, and so on, and that will reduce the numbers of children who are subject to abuse and neglect. There's lots of evidence of that. 

I can think of, in the last literature review we did, there were about, I think, 17 or 18 studies which showed that having more money alone reduced the amount of child abuse and neglect. There's a single factor. So we know that that's the case. So there's something about the way in which this whole debate is framed, which tends to drive us back down the route of the individual case. You know, what is it that's different about this individual family? And that can obscure us from seeing the elephant [00:38:00] in the room, as I've sometimes described it. The elephant in the room is poverty. If you shifted the elephant, if you shifted the poverty, then, you know, of course some families would manage better than others. But you would have a substantially reduced amount of abuse and neglect.

Sen. Booker blasts GOP: ‘Morally obscenity’ of child poverty is a ‘policy choice’ - All In with Chris Hayes - Air Date 9-13-23 

SENATOR COREY BOOKER: We have now proved something pretty phenomenal, and at the same time, uh, pretty obscene. And what we've proved is that poverty for children in America is not some accident, it's a policy choice.

This moral obscenity of the richest nation in the world having the highest poverty rates is not an accident. It's not destiny, it's not inevitability. It is people in this institution making a policy choice. 

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: The people who made that choice to plunge millions of American children back into poverty are every single Senate Republican, plus [00:39:00] Democrat Joe Manchin, who refused to extend the child tax credit.

Today, Manchin is defending that decision. Speaking to Semaphore, Manchin, quote, seemed unfazed when asked if today's poverty data left him with any second thoughts. It's deeper than that. We all have to do our part, he told them. The federal government can't run everything. Senator Cory Booker is a Democrat of New Jersey and he joins me now.

Um, first let me just get your reaction. Everyone was bracing, the people in the world of policy on this were bracing for what this number was going to be. Um, and, and what was your reaction to seeing it?

SENATOR COREY BOOKER: Not surprised. We, we knew what we had done, and we're talking about child poverty tonight. Know that this was the biggest middle class tax cut, uh, in, in, in our lifetime, Chris.

So, this was giving, you know, 85 to 90 percent of families in New Jersey, uh, tax breaks, more of their federal tax dollars back. So, this was an extraordinary program. And by the way, it mirrors what our industrial [00:40:00] competitors have. They keep their child poverty rates a lot lower because what they often call a child allowance is higher.

America is the one that chooses to put such a financial strain on families holding a lot of their tax dollars. Now, this was a great program because it made it fully refundable, which basically means if you didn't earn enough money to pay that level of federal taxes, you still got that anyway. And so it lifted millions of Americans children out of poverty and helped so many struggling families who are still trying to figure out ways to make their kitchen table economics work.

So this is outrageous that in this country, we are favoring other kind of tax expenditures. Carried interest is something you've talked about a lot. For the wealthiest folks, we have a lot of little tax loopholes or tax breaks that we give them. But when it comes to something that is in the national interest, like raising children above poverty line, because it literally saves our economy.

For every dollar you invest in lifting a child above the poverty [00:41:00] line, you save over five dollars for our economy, because children, unfortunately, below the poverty line have higher healthcare costs, have lower lifetime productivity, and the like. There's just no justification whatsoever for allowing this policy to lapse.

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: Yeah, I just want to pull that graphic up again, because it's so stark, right? You don't, you don't get signals amidst the noise this often in any policy discussion, right? Where you have like, oh, there's a bunch of confounding variables, and what really caused this? This is just... There was a policy, it gave 80 percent of households with children money, it was near universal, child poverty plummeted, now it has gone back up.

Alright, here's my question about the political economy of this, and I want to ask you a question about the sort of moral insight that you had there. On the political economy, there was hope that this would be one of those things of how could you take it away, right? If you did it for a year, you know, Manchin didn't want to do it for more than that, let's see what happens, that there would just be the kind of, um...

Political energy behind it that would be impossible for anyone to vote to let it last. And, and yet that happened. What did you [00:42:00] learn from 

SENATOR COREY BOOKER: that? Uh, you know, it was a hard lesson. A lot of folks said that once we get it out the door, we'll get it. We'll see this. Almost 50% cut in child poverty. All Americans at least, yeah, upwards of 80 to 90% will see a benefit from it.

Um, but at amidst a lot of the pandemic stimulus checks and a lot of the other things that were going on, I, I saw a lot of data that a lot of folks didn't know what it was or. who was responsible for it. So I'm not sure if it developed the kind of political constituency you obviously should have right now in a time of, uh, of inflation and tight family economics.

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: Yeah, I think also, I mean, my own theory on this is that because it was part, there was a lot of COVID programs that were happening that people understood as temporary as opposed to, to, to, you know, longstanding. So I think that probably. and obscure things a little bit. Joe Manchin is really, I mean, again, I don't want to take the pressure off the Republicans because they uniformly and unanimously voted against this.

Even Mitt Romney or whoever your favorite Republican senator is. [00:43:00] Um, Joe Manchin is, is the decider ultimately because he was with you guys in the first year and not the second year. West Virginia's got one of the worst child poverty rates in the country. Have you had conversations about this with him?

SENATOR COREY BOOKER: Um, you know, this has been, there's about six of us, three House members, three, uh, Senators Sherrod Brown, uh, Michael Bennett, that have been working on this for years and years and years. So, of course, um, I had a lot of conversations with Joe Manchin, uh, as well as with some Republicans about the urgency of this policy, the fiscal prudence of this policy, the moral urgency of this policy, uh, but was not able to get, uh, anywhere.

And now, by the way, we have data. From this one year, that's extraordinary, including just the brain development of children. You could see it affected because children in poverty have a lot of cortisol pumping, a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety, and it literally affects the way their brains develop. So we have a lot of compelling data.

I have not given up, nor has the sort of six of us that are fighting for [00:44:00] this, and we're gonna continue to. Try it. And one of the things we're going to say is, often at the end of years, they try to pass these big corporate tax extenders. 

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: Oh, I know. Extender time in Washington. Yes. That's when K Street goes to town.

SENATOR COREY BOOKER: Yes. And a lot of us, therefore, have a lot of leverage in the Senate. And uh, you know, our team, we're going to prioritize children. And not just lifting children out of poverty, this is gonna help tens of millions of families with children have less financial stress. And the stories about what people were using it for, helping kids get athletic equipment, uh, paying rent, utility bills, food was the biggest thing people were using it for to feed their children.

This is what we should want. 

Why It Sucks To Be Young - Andrewism - Air Date 2-3-21 

ANDREW SAGE - HOST, ANDREWISM: We live in a fundamentally aged society. Both our elderly and our children are institutionalized in nursing homes and schools respectively. Children are disconnected from society to be brainwashed, upholding it, and the elderly are cast aside once they leave a potential weeds. Both age groups. Once reved and honored.

Now they're [00:45:00] evaluated based on their usefulness to capital. It's easy to dismiss ageism as not as great a concern as statism or capitalism, and I hear you. But the whole idea is that we challenge all structures of domination. That includes gerontocracy, the ongoing and systemic domination of kids by those older than them.

Emma Goldman rightfully pointed out that every institution of our day, the family, the state, our moral codes, sees in every strong, beautiful, uncompromising personality a deadly enemy. Therefore, every effort is being made to cramp human emotion and originality of thought and the individual into a straitjacket from its early infancy, or to shape every human being according to one pattern.

Not into a well rounded individuality, but into a patient work slave, professional automaton, tax paying citizen, or righteous moralist. Every hierarchy, every abuse, every system of control justifies itself through the analogy of adults over children. Think of how women are spoken of by misogynists, or how people of colour are [00:46:00] spoken of by racists, or how disabled people are spoken of by ableists.

We're indoctrinated to accept because I said so, to accept the suppression of our agency, and to accept the reduction of our personhood. It all starts with childhood, and continues, throughout our adult lives, in a different, but not dissimilar measure. The role of the child in our society is not of one to be assisted by sincere friends and allies to explore and spread their unique agency.

No. The child is subhuman. A commodity to be tamed and puppeted. Products to be assembled and molded. An object to be imbued with software and controlled. An animal. Mere property. It all starts at home. My critiques of the modern, atomized family structure is worthy of its own video. I have a lot to say about that subject, but it's plain to see, like I said, that the home is where it all begins.

Take a moment to examine the plight of children, those that die without vaccination or necessary blood transfusion, [00:47:00] those stuck in abusive and toxic homes, and even those in so called normal homes that nonetheless struggle, largely voiceless, with no real say over their own time, bodies, activities, behaviours, and choices.

The slightest signs of disrespect or disobedience certainly aren't tolerated in most homes. Of course, growing up, your parents probably found it miserable being so strictly regulated, and yet they grew up to replicate many of the same customs when they became the authority. But as they so argue, it's necessary if you're going to fit in and make it in this society.

Rebellion, or at least resistance, is a natural response to such authoritarian parenting, but your childlike dependence renders you weak. What would you argue for your rights? All you can do is conform. Fear becomes the cement of each lesson, and with every lesson, every threat, every punishment, every shouting session, or you learn that your choice isn't really yours, you're supposed to go along with the program, you come to realize that the things you truly want desire to do, think safe, feel you [00:48:00] have to be repressed, hidden, or done in secret.

You can't openly be you. Triply so of some marginalized identity. Slowly, reluctantly, but surely. You build up the psychological prisons. The Mask. It fuses itself to your being. As you age, the mask helps you to forget. To repress the memories of the traumatic moments that forged the mask, that told you that you were not you and could not really be you.

The mask effectively governs your every physical, emotional, and intellectual activity. Your spontaneity, your energy, your curiosity, all dampened and subsumed. The analogy of the mask is worthy of a separate conversation, because I believe it has tremendous implications. So, stay tuned. But this training, surely it has some benefit, right?

All this psychological suffocation definitely has a purpose. In fact, it's the reason our irrational society manages to go on, creating a person so unlike the natural, spontaneous, vibrant, honest, curious, fearless being. Present to the [00:49:00] two to five year old. The natural learner. The natural explorer. The natural observer.

The natural mover. Our society isn't interested in nurturing and maturing that potential. Society, which begins at home, is more considered with developing us in relation to authority, in relation to class, in relation to race, in relation to gender. You must obey, you cannot be. It creates a powerless, dependent, fearful, self enslaving, law abiding citizen.

So un molded to fit a predetermined role. It breaks people's ability to govern themselves without authority hovering over them. It infantilizes them and fosters apathy, hopelessness, and insignificance. The process starts anew in the next generation. Parents, especially, usually the legal guardians of the child, see the children as an extension of them.

Therefore, the child must reflect, them, must look good, for them, must be disciplined, for them. The so called overprotective parents excuse their stifling atmosphere with the claim that they care too much. As extensions of the parents, rather than their own [00:50:00] persons, children are molded to accept their parents perspectives and beliefs concerning gender, sexuality, religion, and politics.

Not that a child cannot be taught, huh? But think of what we're teaching them. Think of how those lessons are going to afffect them. Think of how powerless they are to speak up in the face of such a massive hegemony that accepts and encourages and enforces their condition. They have no voice. Remember when you spoke up for yourself? Perhaps it wasn't considered respectful enough.

One stare, one threat, one raised hand was all it took to shut you up. Doesn't matter if you had a legitimate concern or a good point. You don't get that right as a child to be angry. Truly angry. So you learn to control your attitude at all times. It slips out sometimes, though. In soundless gestures or facial expressions.

I've been told to fix your face, to not cry or you'd be given something to cry for, and one of the most harmful lessons we teach children is quite glaring and quite common still. Its consequences, the [00:51:00] unintended ripple effects, are frighteningly dire. The spank, the hit, the swat, the slipper, the switch, the ruler, the licks, the ass beat.

The justifications are many. Oh, the child too stubborn, she would like to listen, he rather harden, too damn disrespectful, or they pull the other side of the coin, oh well I do it because I love you, or I was beat growing up and I turned out fine, or if I don't do it, the police will. That narrative, in particular, several levels are messed up, but it actually harkens back to the days of slavery.

See, in many traditional West African societies, children were considered pure and revered. But due to enslavement, parents beat their children supposedly to train them to respect the authority of their master, so they wouldn't get into trouble and, like I said, many levels of messed up. First of all, if you're an advocate for hitting children, you do not turn out fine.

If you think violence is an appropriate response to, well, any of your child's actions, especially when you physically overwhelm them, you have lost [00:52:00] the plot. If you think kids need to be trained to respect authorities so they don't become a victim of police brutality, well set me free, cause no matter how respectful a person is, it doesn't protect them from police violence.

Lastly, especially if you're telling the child you hit them cause you love them, you are a threat to your child's future. You are communicating to that child that violence has a place in love, and you are opening them up to further abuse in their romantic and social lives. 

We Uncovered the Shocking Plot to Eradicate Public Schools in America - More Perfect Union - Air Date 10-2-23

NARRATOR: The Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF, was launched in 1994 by leaders in the Christian right community. 

LARRY BURKETT: We've been duped into believing that somehow... You can separate your Christianity, your religion, from what's going on in the country politically. And you cannot. They're intertwined. 

NARRATOR: Today, it's a nearly 100 million operation with a single goal.

We are here to keep the door open for the gospel. 

KAYLA HANCOCK: Alliance Fending Freedom is sort of on this mission to strip Americans of their rights. And undermine democracy.

NARRATOR: Kayla Hancock is the director of the Power and Influence Project at Accountable Us, a government watchdog [00:53:00] aimed at holding special interests accountable for their influence in politics.

KAYLA HANCOCK: They were obviously the lawyers behind the recent 3 0 3 Creative versus Ellens case, which appended decades of civil rights protections for L G B T Q Americans. 

KRISTEN WAGGONER: So to see the kind of ruling we got was just. An answer to prayer. 

KAYLA HANCOCK: They also brought the Masterpiece Cake Shop first, Colorado case around the baker who wanted to deny service to same-sex couples who were getting married.

MICHAEL FARRIS: I'm Michael Ferris. I'm the president and General Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom that defended Jack today. 

KAYLA HANCOCK: They were behind the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. And they're obviously not stopping there. 

MICHAEL FARRIS: We want Roe vs. Wade reversed, but that's just kind of a huge milestone along the path to becoming a pro life nation.

KAYLA HANCOCK: And now this, where they sued to remove one of the most popular abortion pills from the market nationwide. 

ERIN MORROW HAWLEY: This case is very important because it concerns the FDA's approval and continual deregulation of the chemical abortion drug. 

KAYLA HANCOCK: And, you know, I don't know when it stops, right? 

NICK SURGEY: And they really have demonstrated that they should be taken seriously.

NARRATOR: [00:54:00] Nick Sergi is Executive Director at Documented, a watchdog group that has been tracking the Alliance Defending Freedom and other organizations working in this area. 

NICK SURGEY: Documented has obtained internal videos, documents, and other materials from the Alliance Defending Freedom and Ziklag. And this shows that they want to do nothing less, really, than take down the public education system.

PETER BOHILINGER: And the final mental change is to force, via a Supreme Court decision, a constitutionally mandated school voucher system. 

NICK SURGEY: Bill Barr, the former Attorney General under Trump, laid out the basis of this project.

BILL BARR: It may no longer be fair, practical, or even constitutional. To provide publicly funded education solely through the vehicle of state operated schools.

NICK SURGEY: This has been Mike Ferris's Life's work.

NARRATOR: Michael Ferris is the former c e o and general counsel at a D F. He has been a leader in the homeschool and school [00:55:00] voucher crusades.

MICHAEL FARRIS: The privatization of public education is very good for that system. 

NICK SURGEY: Ever since the 1970s, he's been making similar arguments that he makes in these recordings.

MICHAEL FARRIS: The voucher system, one of the most necessary changes that our nation's education system needs. 

NICK SURGEY: And you fast forward to today, now they're just being taken seriously.

MICHAEL FARRIS: I believe it's a winnable case now. Yeah. Whereas, two to fifteen years ago, it probably wasn't. 

NICK SURGEY: Alliance Defending Freedom is a highly networked organization, and many of the organizations that they work in coalition with have really, since early 2021, been trying to fan the flames around LGBTQ rights in schools, and in particular, what they describe as critical race theory being taught, but is really just conversations taking place in the schools around racism, legacy of...

Um, slavery in this country. 

LANCE WALLNAU: We are now dealing with a radicalized, indoctrinated, Marxist generation of youth that are actually the agents of the nation's destruction.

NICK SURGEY: [00:56:00] And they want to use the anger that groups that they work with help whip up really to try and push this legal strategy and do what the religious right has wanted for decades, really back to desegregation and that's to push school vouchers.

NARRATOR: The type of voucher for all program they are looking to secure would allow parents to remove their children from public schools, but would still force the government to subsidize their private education with public money, even at religious institutions. 

MICHAEL FARRIS: I think that, you know, we could establish this as a constitutional right.

NICK SURGEY: Ziklag is an organization that channels money to projects on the right. Peter Bollinger is one of the leaders of Ziklag, and he chairs their education committee. 

PETER BOHILINGER: For an investment of a few million dollars, we can literally and potentially shift the flow of approximately 750 billion dollars of education funds.

NICK SURGEY: But in these recordings... You're seeing the kind of ground floor for this legal [00:57:00] strategy. 

MICHAEL FARRIS: We intend to bring, uh, a handful of cases to challenge the constitutionality of what's going on in the public schools. 

NICK SURGEY: You hear them lay out their strategy as including, very clearly, judicial selection. 

MICHAEL FARRIS: Judicial selection would be very, uh, much a part of our strategy.

NICK SURGEY: They probably have some... Specific judges in mind, they certainly have specific circuits in mind. 

MICHAEL FARRIS: We're gonna file one of these cases in the eighth circuit. The eighth circuit is the best circuit in the country, uh, for, uh, principled originalist judges. 

NICK SURGEY: Here we get a really unique insight into what they're hoping to achieve at this court in the next few years.

BILL BARR: In this environment, vouchers may be the only workable and the only constitutional solution.

CAROL BURRIS: The same people who oppose Medicare for All, they love vouchers for all, including for the children of the wealthy.

NARRATOR: Carol Burris is a former public school teacher and principal. She now serves as the executive director of the Network for Public [00:58:00] Education.

CAROL BURRIS: You know, we see the rhetoric and the attacks on public schools ramp up, accusing us to, um, of indoctrinating children. 

MICHAEL FARRIS: There's a clear open. effort to indoctrinate kids in this warped ideology.

CAROL BURRIS: And it's really being used to turn the public, especially more conservative parents, against their public schools.

AMY CAWVEY: It has shifted from an education to an indoctrination. And I've seen that in the last few years. It's grown It's gotten even worse.

CAROL BURRIS: And they make it very clear what it is that they want to accomplish which is the destruction of public education in our country.

MICHAEL FARRIS: The public schools because of market forces would be really compelled to clean up the rat.

CAROL BURRIS: Problem is no one ever Follows the logic through what would happen if we had a marketplace system in the United States?[00:59:00] 

And that was the only system we had which is the ultimate goal. There are going to be places where parents are not going to get the schools that they want, if they can get a school at all. Because that's how the marketplace works, right? It goes where there are customers. So what happens when we have areas where there just are not that many families to serve?

Where will there be a school? Where... Does your child go?

NARRATOR: And there are very real issues with moving towards a fully voucher based approach to our nation's education. 

CAROL BURRIS: We have years of research on voucher programs and it's very clear. Students who leave public schools on average or private school do worse and sometimes a lot worse.

like 0.40, standard deviations worse, which is huge. 

PETER BOHILINGER: Given the current makeup of the Supreme Court, I really believe that we could have success. 

CAROL BURRIS: Will they be successful? You know what, I honestly don't know, given this [01:00:00] particular Supreme Court and some of the rulings that they've had in the past. 

Final comments on the article that inspired today's episode and more examples of abusing children through policy

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: We've just heard clips today, starting with Zoe B explaining the concept of child ownership that seems to drive much conservative thinking, the PBS NewsHour looked at the expiration of the extended child tax credit that had reduced child poverty by 46%, Robert Reich explained the push for child labor, Head in the office discussed Republican approval of child marriages.

Some more news. Looked at the economic difficulty of affording to have a baby. One in 10 made the connection between wealth inequality and child abuse. 

And, all in with Chris Hayes, looked again at the very conscious policy choice that was made by all Republicans and Joe Manchin to throw people and their children back into poverty. That's what everybody heard, but members also heard two additional bonus clips, the first from Andrewism discussing childhood trauma, and More Perfect Union discussing the [01:01:00] right wing plan to destroy public schools.

To hear that, and have all of our bonus content delivered seamlessly to the new members only podcast feed that you'll receive, sign up to support the show at bestoftheleft. com slash support, or shoot me an email requesting a financial hardship membership, because we don't let a lack of funds stand in the way of hearing more information.

Additional episodes of Best of the Left you may want to check out for more context include number 1479, Torturing Children and Families in the Name of Protecting Them, that's from March 2022, 2022, looking at conservatives approach to legislating trans kids lives, and 1563, Putting Our Kids to Work for Corporate Profits.

That's from June of this year, 2023, detailing the new push to allow for child labor to exploit the most vulnerable kids in the country. Again, those episodes were 1479 and 1563. Now, to wrap up, I [01:02:00] just wanted to read some quotes from the article from Slate that inspired today's episode. It was titled, A Big New Report on American Children is Out.

It's Horrific, 

The subhead is, Protect the Children is a Popular Modern Rallying Cry, If Only, and as was mentioned in the show today, too many related issues, particularly surrounding kids and poverty and economics and all that, are often looked at in silos. 

And, even though we've made episodes in the past that cover essentially every topic that was described in the show today and that was mentioned in the article, we couldn't help but think that it just lands a little bit differently when all of the issues are compiled together like this, And, hopefully, it also brings a little clarity to the thinking behind all of these seemingly separate policy choices that so uniformly harm children. So from the article, A new human rights report paints a damning portrait of [01:03:00] children's rights in the United States. That is, children here have remarkably few rights, and are particularly ill treated in the conservative states that claim the mantle of family values.

According to HRW, Children in the U. S. can be legally married in 41 states, physically punished by school administrators in 47 states, sentenced to life without parole in 22 states, and, work in hazardous agriculture conditions in all 50 states.

Over and over again, the worst states for children are clustered around the pro life bible belt, and the map of the states that are the worst for children looks a lot like a map of red state America. Liberal states, too, have a long way to go when it comes to protecting kids, but they generally do a bit better.

Now, I'm skipping the parts in this article that we've already addressed in the show, but one major topic we didn't get to today is Forced Births in the [01:04:00] Wake of the Overturn of Roe vs. Wade. From the article, The report doesn't look at forced births, but the U. S. states that ban abortion also routinely force children, including child rape victims, to carry pregnancies to term and become young, sometimes very young, mothers against their will.

Now just a quick look at a couple of headlines from the past couple of years. There was, she wasn't able to get an abortion, now she's a mom. Soon, she'll start 7th grade. That's from Time Magazine. And then this one, National Right to Life Official, colon, 10 year old should have had baby.

And just to clarify from the article, it says, the 10 year old Ohio girl who crossed state lines to receive an abortion in Indiana. should have carried her pregnancy to term and would be required to do so under a model law written for state legislatures [01:05:00] considering more restrictive abortion measures, according to the General Council for the National Right to Life.

So, in some places, that's where we already are and in others, that's where we're headed. Next up, physically assaulting kids at school. From the article, it says only three states fully ban corporal punishment at both public and private schools. 

25 make it illegal in public schools but allow private school teachers to use physical force as punishment for students, 22 states don't ban corporal punishment in schools at all, and not a single state bans corporal punishment, adults committing acts of violence against children. To be clear, the article continues, corporal punishment is a euphemism for adult assaulting a child.

The same act would be a crime if it were an adult carrying it out on another adult.

And, I'm just going to keep going with this article [01:06:00] because this is such a good point being made. Continuing. It wasn't so long ago that there was a similar legal landscape for domestic abuse, and it remains true in several other countries that a man assaulting his wife or girlfriend isn't a serious crime unless he inflicts serious physical damage.

This is the landscape we've created for kids in the U. S. That unless parental abuse Does grave physical harm, parents can abuse their children with near impunity. We give adults tremendous leeway to hit and otherwise commit acts of violence against children who are smaller than them, dependent on them, and under their authority.

We don't give adults these same broad rights to commit violent acts against other adults. Children are put in a special category of people it's okay to assault and abuse. This is crazy. And there's no real effort to stop it.

And I've gotta say, I think that I probably [01:07:00] just went to a public school in one of the states where hitting kids was already banned, and just assumed that that must be the case across the country, and was like, Oh yeah, I've seen movies of like, the olden days when kids would get hit by teachers, but we're way past that now, in the 90s, I thought to myself.

Nope, turns out I was just lucky to live in the right state. 

And then finally, the last... Issue to highlight, Human Rights Watch also details many ways in which the American criminal justice system is particularly cruel to children. But perhaps the most egregious is the fact that 22 states do not prohibit the sentencing of children to life in prison without parole.

End quote. If you can even imagine that, I, when I heard that, I mean, when I read the article and, and understood that was, like, I had heard of that. I knew, I knew that kids can sometimes be sentenced to life in [01:08:00] prison, and I just thought, like, Is there another law that more starkly demonstrates people's total lack of understanding about humans and human development and all of those sorts of things?

Like, like, what could a child possibly do? I mean, the answer is nothing. I'll cut to the chase. What could a child possibly do that would make anyone think, like, well, time to throw them away forever? They did something as a child, they're irredeemable, they will never be safe to rejoin society, or they need to be punished for literally their entire lives for something that they did years and years before their brains stopped developing.

I mean, it really stretches, uh, the imagination to, to think about the people who... Write a law like that, or fail to [01:09:00] write a law banning life in prison for children. So, finishing up, I'm just going to let this article close things out, quote. Protect the Children is a rallying cry in right wing circles at the moment, implying all sorts of boogeymen, liberal educators, books featuring gay penguins, drag queens in libraries, child sex traffickers using Wayfair armoires and pizza restaurant basements.

In reality, it's adults, and disproportionately conservative adults, Who are making life much more perilous for children by failing to protect them from guns, from violence at home and in schools, from early marriage, from early and forced motherhood, from back breaking labor, and from life behind bars.

End quote. That is going to be it for today. As always, keep the comments coming in. I would love to hear your thoughts or questions about this or anything else. You can leave a voicemail or send us a text to [01:10:00] 202 999 3991 or simply email me to jay at bestoftheleft.

com. Thanks to everyone for listening, thanks to Deon Clark and Erin Clayton for their research work for the show and participation in our bonus episodes, thanks to our transcriptionist trio, Ken, Brian, and Lewindy for their volunteer work helping put our transcripts together, thanks to Amanda Hoffman for all of her work on our social media outlets, Activism segments, graphic designing, webmastering, and bonus show co hosting.

And thanks to those who already support the show by becoming a member or purchasing gift memberships at bestoftheleft. com slash support. You can join them by signing up today and it would be greatly appreciated. You'll find that link in the show notes along with a link to our Discord community where you can continue the discussion. So coming to you from far outside the conventional wisdom of Washington, DC, my name is Jay, and this has been The Best of the Left Podcast coming to you twice weekly, thanks entirely to the members and donors to the show, from bestoftheleft. com.

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  • Jay Tomlinson
    published this page in Transcripts 2023-10-06 20:09:46 -0400
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