This Thanksgiving week’s flight of articles will explore how we can better support families. The problem is the middle class has shrunk over the past 40 years, children are expensive, and without population growth and new household formations, our economy will stagnate for decades. This week’s solution is to start supporting families and policies that Foster Unwavering Nurture with the Pro-Family (FUN) Act. Welcome to Puzzle Drop Monday.
The Pro-Family FUN Act is the twin of the national compromise Abortion SCALE Act (Structured Compassionate Abortion Law Endorsement) that’s currently #11 on the US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL). Talking about abortion and taking care of families should always be in the same sentence or at least paragraph.
Children are a gift, and our future, yet almost half of Americans don’t make a living wage and can’t afford to have bigger families or even start one for that matter.
Costs of living, childcare, and health challenges are making raising children more difficult for many families.
Investing in children’s well-being has a ripple effect, benefiting society as a whole through improved education, health, and social stability.
Studies show that early intervention in education and healthcare leads to more productive adults, reducing long-term societal costs.
The Pro-Family Act
Might Pay For Itself
We’ll get into the napkin math on that below. A focus on children’s well-being today lays the foundation for a stronger, more prosperous nation tomorrow.
Ignoring the needs of children risks not just their future but the future of the nation, making it imperative for everyone to invest in their well-being.
Caring for our nation’s children isn’t just a moral duty; it’s a strategic investment in a better future for all. Easing these burdens is likely a priority for all four sides of the political table.
Not So FUN
17.3% (6.4 million) of households with children in 2022 are food insecure.
On a single night in January 2021: An estimated 161,070 people in families — or 51,000 family households — were identified as homeless.
63% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
Bankruptcy filings have surged 17% in the first half of 2023.
The US Middle Class has shrunk by 11% over the past five decades
About 3.5 million people die in the US every year, about the same number as there are births.
There are about 900,000 abortions in the US every year, mostly to women who can’t afford the child.
About as many viable fetuses are aborted each year as the number of mothers who would go on to die in childbirth if they didn’t have access to first-trimester abortions.
US Maternal Mortality Rate is 10x that of Australia, 5x that of the Czech Republic, and 2x that of Portugal.
Pay for Itself?
For you Numbers-people, there is a napkin math breakdown at the end of this article. Here’s a recap in round numbers. The Pro-Family Act would cost about $100B. Savings from crime are about $20B, and increased tax revenue from the $500B increase in productivity and GDP would be at least $80B. That’s a break-even, with a huge win for families and children. The federal government, which is the monopoly issuer of net financial assets, can float the payback period. It’s a win-win for families and the nation.
But are there easier solutions?
There’s a dizzying amount of complexity to this subject, much like a two-year-old’s playtime. Perhaps a much simpler solution is to pay people a living wage. These two solutions, the WELCOME Living Wage Employer Tax Credit and/or the P50L Earned Income Tax Credit, might be an easier way to go.
But our mission is to rate public policy solutions as stand-alone ideas to score and search for solutions that are US Public Policy Leaderboard worthy. So let’s get to it.
Here’s the PLAN: For you People-people, you can enjoy real-life political role-playing at PolicyKeys.com. Sit awhile in each role’s chair and decide whether a majority of people in that role would be for or against the solution. Empathy is power. In the classroom, PolicyKeys is a team sport.
For you Letter-people, we publish daily on a weekly public policy topic on this Super Nonpartisan Public Policy Blog. It’s like a color commentary on the big game. Or a juicy menu to order up your favorite solutions. You can check out the US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) and the sweet sixteen updates every SuperMajority Sunday.
For you Abstract-people, we’ve invented a nonpartisan scoring system to include 128 roles, four laws of public policy formation, two levels of pattern-seeking AI, forecasting science, and a treasure hunt for the highest-rated solution to every public policy puzzle. We’re open to public and/or private sector solutions. Are you?
And, four, you Numbers-people, all our solutions add up in the POL-ICYMI Key for each week’s puzzle. What stats are to baseball, PolicyKeys is to Public Policy. We publish a new BOX Score every Friday.
Should We Support a Pro-Family FUN Act?
Foster Unwavering Nurture: The Pro-Family Act improves maternal health through expanded care programs and data gathering on mortality causes.
Financial relief comes via increased tax credits, extended Medicaid, and tax-free diapers and baby items.
It removes welfare marriage penalties, expands child tax credits, and supports pregnant workers.
Funding increases for adoption and foster families, while new parental leave accounts allow tax-advantaged savings for care costs.
Raise the limits on dependent care accounts, caregiver expenses become deductible, and childcare options grow through flexibility, pilots, and incentives. Universal preschool, full-day school, year-round calendars, and summer programs to help working parents. Have FUN and support families!
Why say ‘YES’
The Pro-Family Act embodies a transformative approach to family support. Enhancing maternal health, providing financial relief through tax credits and Medicaid, and removing welfare marriage penalties strengthen family foundations. Furthermore, the Act bolsters adoption, foster care, and parental leave, facilitating a nurturing environment for every child.
Why say ‘NO’
Critics of the Pro-Family Act point to potential fiscal strains and dependency concerns. The extensive financial aid and tax incentives, they argue, could burden taxpayers and disrupt market dynamics. Moreover, the universal programs risk undermining parental choice and responsibility, fostering a one-size-fits-all approach to family welfare.
In-Favor of the
Pro-Family Fun Act
- Supports population growth (1) because it addresses declining birth rates by incentivizing family expansion.
- Increases global standing (3) because a family-forward nation is often seen as a more stable and humanistic approach.
- Supports all family forms (5) because it acknowledges and aids diverse family structures in society.
- Community cohesion (7) because shared support for families fosters unity and social harmony.
- Investment in human capital (9) because nurturing the next generation fuels long-term economic growth.
- Data-driven decision-making (11) because analytics-based policies lead to more effective outcomes.
- Entrepreneurial boost (13) because families with support can take business risks, spurring innovation.
- Now & future prosperity (15) because immediate relief links to sustained economic health.
Even More “YES’ Reasons
- Legal protections (17) because they ensure fair treatment for pregnant workers and new parents.
- Gender equality (19) because equitable family support reduces workplace disparities.
- Essentials won’t be taxed (21) because this eases financial burdens on basic necessities for childcare.
- Relief for struggling families (23) because it provides a safety net for the most vulnerable.
- Workforce development (25) because accessible childcare enables parents to pursue careers and education.
- Supports working parents (27) because it balances employment with family responsibilities.
- Childbirth affordability (29) because it reduces the disincentive for having children.
- Empowerment for caregivers (31) because it provides them with resources and recognition for their role.
Pro-Family Fun Act
- Will increase population (2) because a surge in birth rates may stress existing resources and infrastructure.
- Bureaucratic expansion (4) because the Act could swell government size, complicating processes.
- Increased taxes (6) because funding the programs likely means higher taxes for citizens.
- Government overreach (8) because the Act may lead to excessive state involvement in private family matters.
- Economic imbalances (10) because it may favor certain family structures financially, skewing economic fairness.
- Violation of privacy (12) because increased data collection could encroach on individual privacy.
- Opportunity costs (14) because investing in these programs may divert funds from other critical areas.
- Potential for abusing the program (16) because broad aid measures often lead to exploitation.
Even More ‘NO’ Reasons
- Local government budget strain (18) because funding the Act’s provisions may overextend local finances.
- Potential for inflation (20) overly generous parental leave could leave businesses unable to get products out the door.
- Discriminates against singles (22) because it could allocate benefits unfairly, neglecting single parents.
- We can’t afford a nanny state (24) because extensive social programs may lead to dependence on government aid.
- Unintended consequences (26) because well-meaning policies can result in negative side effects not initially foreseen.
- Market distortions (28) because artificial incentives may interfere with natural market forces.
- One size doesn’t fit all (30) because uniform policies may not address the nuanced needs of diverse families.
- Sloth discourages FT work (32) because substantial support might disincentivize full-time employment.
What Could Be In
the Pro-Family FUN Act?
Pro-Family FUN Act would improve maternal health through expanded care programs and data gathering, providing financial relief via tax credits and tax-free diapers/baby items, removing marriage penalties in welfare programs, and increasing funding for adoption services.
A. Improves Maternal Health: The act enhances maternal well-being by expanding care programs and collecting data on causes of maternal mortality.
B. Financial Relief: Families benefit from increased tax credits, extended Medicaid coverage, and tax-free essential items like diapers.
C. Removes Marriage Penalties: The act eliminates financial disincentives for marriage, making it easier for couples to tie the knot without fiscal worries.
D. Expands Child Tax Credits: More families can take advantage of child tax credits, easing the financial burden of raising kids.
E. Protects Pregnant Workers: The act safeguards the employment rights of pregnant workers, ensuring they’re not discriminated against.
F. Funding for Adoption and Foster Care: Additional funding is allocated to support adoption and foster care systems, making it easier for children to find loving homes.
G. Parental Leave Accounts: New accounts allow parents to save money in a tax-advantaged manner for parental leave, providing financial security during crucial family moments.
H. Raises Limits on Dependent Care Accounts: The act increases the amount that can be contributed to dependent care accounts, offering more financial flexibility for families.
I. Deductible Caregiver Expenses: Expenses related to caregiving become tax-deductible, providing financial relief to those caring for family members.
J. Flexible Child Care Options: The act encourages a variety of childcare options through flexibility measures, pilot programs, and incentives.
K. Universal Pre-K: Access to preschool education becomes universal, setting children on a path to educational success early on.
L. Full-Day School and Year-Round Calendars: The act supports full-day schooling and year-round educational calendars, aiding working parents and enhancing educational outcomes.
M. Summer Programs: Additional summer programs are introduced to keep children engaged and assist working parents during school breaks.
All these solutions would also increase socialization which is something that appears to be in serious decline in the US. Each lettered point contributes to the act’s overarching goal: to have FUN and support families in a comprehensive, meaningful way.
Pro-Family FUN Act
The FUN Pro-Family Act could have a significant financial impact, with a Fermi estimate suggesting an annual cost of around $100 billion. This includes allocations for maternal health, tax credits, adoption and foster care, parental leave accounts, and educational programs, among others.
On the flip side, the act could yield substantial long-term benefits, potentially decreasing crime-related costs by an estimated $20 billion annually and increasing productivity by around $525 billion.
The historic percentage of tax revenues to GDP is around 17%, so in this scenario, US tax revenue would increase by $90B, plus the $20B in crime savings would cover the cost of the Pro-Family Fun Act.
Generally, Governance types have a time horizon of centuries (Constitutions and Bedrock programs), Abundance types decades (Building paradigm-shifting businesses and technologies), Thrift types years (buildings, plants, mortgages), and Commerce types weeks or quarters (payroll, jobs, and quarterly earnings). All the roles you identify with have the same time conflicts.
The major components of the FUN Pro-Family Act:
- Maternal Health Programs: Let’s assume $1 billion per year for expanded care and data gathering.
- Tax Credits and Financial Relief: Given that the U.S. already spends billions on similar programs, let’s estimate an additional $50 billion per year for increased tax credits, Medicaid, and other financial relief.
- Adoption and Foster Care: An additional $1 billion per year seems reasonable for increased funding.
- Parental Leave Accounts: The cost might be minimal if it’s a tax-advantaged account, but let’s allocate $5 billion for administrative costs and potential revenue loss.
- Child Care Programs: Let’s estimate $10 billion annually for new childcare options, flexibility measures, and incentives.
- Universal Pre-School: Pre-school can be expensive; let’s allocate $20 billion per year.
- Full-Day School and Year-Round Calendars: An additional $10 billion per year for the extended school programs.
- Summer Programs: Let’s estimate $5 billion per year for these programs.
Adding these up:
$1 billion (Maternal Health) + $50 billion (Tax Credits) + $1 billion (Adoption and Foster Care) + $5 billion (Parental Leave Accounts) + $10 billion (Child Care) + $20 billion (Pre-School) + $10 billion (Full-Day School) + $5 billion (Summer Programs) = $102 billion per year
Keep in mind that this is a very rough estimate and would require detailed analysis for a more accurate figure.
Decrease in Crime
- Improved Education: Better education often correlates with lower crime rates. Let’s assume a 5% decrease in property and violent crimes, which cost the U.S. an estimated $200 billion annually. That’s a savings of $10 billion.
- Financial Stability: With more financial relief for families, let’s estimate a 3% decrease in crimes related to poverty, which might save another $6 billion.
- Community Cohesion: Stronger communities often have lower crime rates. Let’s estimate a 2% decrease, saving another $4 billion.
Total estimated decrease in crime-related costs: $10 billion (Education) + $6 billion (Financial Stability) + $4 billion (Community) = $20 billion
Increase in Productivity
- Better Health: Improved maternal and child health can lead to a more productive workforce. Let’s estimate a 1% increase in productivity, which in a $26 trillion economy would be $260 billion.
- Education: Better education often leads to higher-paying jobs and more productivity. Let’s estimate another 1% increase, adding another $210 billion.
- Workforce Participation: With better child care and parental leave, more parents can join or stay in the workforce. Let’s estimate this could lead to a 0.5% increase in productivity, adding $105 billion.
Total estimated increase in productivity: $260 billion (Health) + $210 billion (Education) + $105 billion (Workforce) = $575 billion
A Fermi estimate suggests an annual decrease in crime-related costs of around $20 billion and an increase in productivity of about $575 billion.
The historic percentage of tax revenues to GDP is around 17%, so in this scenario, US tax revenue would increase over $90B plus the $20B in crime savings, so the Pro-Family Act would eventually pay for itself.
Politics 1.0 is each party wanting to be a one-party system. Then, Politics 2.0 is the two-party gridlock that blocks the silent supermajority from getting what it needs. Next, Politics 3.0 is all the noise from special interest groups trying to influence us to see things their way. Finally, Politics 4.0 ranks solutions with a nonpartisan score and lets the best ideas rise up the leaderboard so people can choose.
The Four Laws of
Public Policy Formation
The First Law of Public Policy Formation is that people with short-term focus will naturally protect their wages, jobs, status, profits, and wealth.
The Second Law of Public Policy Formation is that people with a longer-term focus place bets to make life better, longer, easier, or different.
The Third Law of Public Policy Formation is that the clash between the short-term and long-term causes noise, angst, conflict, and harm.
The Fourth Law of Public Policy Formation is to take into account the various leading solutions’ nonpartisan scores to cut through the noise and let the silent supermajority lead the way.
Uses the following ground truth:
“There’s a time to save
and a time to spend,
a time for freedom
and a time for laws.
Where can we agree?”
This yields four legs of the political table: Abundance, Thrift, Governance, and Commerce, poetically our Political DNA, ACGT.
The four sides of the table are…
Abundance Governance (AG)
National Public Sector and NGOs,
Abundance Commerce (AC)
Technology and New Businesses,
Thrift Government (TG)
Local Municipalities, Guilds, and Consumers, and
Thrift Commerce (TC)
Established Supply Chains and Jobs.
Each side has a bias for change and a bias for the status quo. We scan these eight Information Walls for Key YES and NO Reasons, no cherry-picking.
The Political Parrots have a Key reason they don’t want us to know about because it ruins their argument. We search for these, like a treasure hunt, and sort them using our EMIT format: Emotions, Money, Information, and Timespan. We listen for these key signals in the political noise.
Key Reasons can look similar, so we edit for redundancy and look for errors, omissions, and innovations.
We search for solutions with the highest hypothetical nonpartisan rating. Something that would solve 80% of the problem with the simplest 20% solution. The Pareto principle, hence a Parrot-topia.
Are you making up your own mind or marching to the beat of a political parrot?
- Political Parrots get paid to squawk the same thing over and over again.
- They don’t listen if you’re not paying.
- They don’t fully understand what they’re saying.
- They are charming and sport every color.
We look to filter out the GRIFTERS, Gaslighting, Red-herrings, Idolizing, False-dilemmas, Tunnel-vision, Exclusions, Reductions, and Straw-man arguments.
We think you can think for yourself. Where can we agree?
Birds of a Feather
Once the Key Reasons are set, we prescore the puzzle using the Birds of a Feather AI for loose ties to beliefs, attitudes, values, and ethics. Over 16 million combinations are possible for the 128 roles. The game board starts balanced at zero, with an equal bias for change and the status quo.
We then prescore the puzzle using 56 arch-type roles that most embody each of the 56 loose ties. This yields a general bias for change or status quo and reveals ties.
The editors break the ties, and review all 128 roles for specific reasons, and overrule the general AI where necessary. These are noted in the Tuesday Tiebreaker article.
Then, we score the puzzle on all four sides of the Political Table: eight Information Walls, sixteen Subcultural Windows, sixteen Bias Columns, and sixteen Influence Rows.
When the scoring is done, a second AI looks for inconsistencies using the SAT9 AI filter (Situational Assessment Tool). This is 256 ‘supreme courts’ where each role is the chief justice in a presumed 5-4 and 4-5 bench. This generates a ± error margin.
The engine for the AI is our One-Page Narrative Tool (OPNT) which we gamified for role-playing at policykeys.com. We call our AI, POLI for Political Omnibus Leadership Initiative.
You can read more about PolicyKeys™ in the upcoming book, Politics 4.0: How Gamification, AI, and National Idea Leaderboards Can Help You Depolarize the World. The Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has recognized PolicyKeys™ for digital engagement.
A new PolicyKeys™
Where Can We Agree?® puzzle
Monday at 7 a.m. Eastern at PolicyKeys.com.
PolicyKeys™ Where Can We Agree? is a real-life role-playing game. Each week, there are sixteen sets of eight ‘rival’ roles. Sit awhile in each of their eight chairs and predict whether a majority of people in those roles would say Yes or No to the week’s question.
The best ideas land on the US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) if a majority of each of the four sides of the political table agree.
YOU CAN PLAY THIS WEEK’S PUZZLE AT POLICYKEYS.COM.
Imagine an America not paralyzed by political squawking. A Parrot-topia oasis in a desert of division. Where the sounds of the silent super-majority drown out the droning of the hyper-partisan parrots.
We’ll be freed from the cages of entrenched ideology to fly higher in the big sky of American beliefs, attitudes, values, and ethics. To boldly go where no political parrot has gone before—rating solutions with a nonpartisan score.
Where Can We Agree?
(Why Don’t You Want To Know?)
What the data says about Abortion in the US
Death in the United States
This is what a faith-based pro-family agenda looks like
A Conservative case for a pro-family policy
How much does it cost to raise a child?
17% of US Families with Children are Food Insecure
National Alliance to End Homelessness
63% of Americans are Living Paycheck to Paycheck
Bankruptcies have surged 17% in the first half of 2023
Protecting the Sovereign’s Money Monopoly
Alliance for Early Success
Long-Term Gain for Longer School Days
Journal of Human Resources
The Pros and Cons of Year-Round Schooling
US News and World Report
How Welfare Programs Discourage Marriage:
The Case for Pre-K Education Subsidies
Eight Adoption Grants You Should Know About
Government Funding for Adoption
DCFSA: Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts
Innovations for Universal Child Care
70 Innovative Companies Leading the Way on Parental Leave
National Partnership for Women and Families
Social and Emotional Learning
2023 US GDP Estimate
Providing For Life Act
Pro-Family Fiscal Policy
Institute for Family Studies
Freeing American Families
The Parent Trap
Universal Preschool: Congress Should Proceed With Caution
It takes guts to see things from all four sides of the political table.