Anne Alstott (Yale) delivers the annual Richard Crawford Pugh Lecture on Tax Law & Policy at San Diego today on Child Care Reform After the Pandemic: Towards a Public Option:
This lecture will build on the work that Ganesh Sitaraman (Vanderbilt) and I do in our book, The Public Option: How to Expand Freedom, Increase Opportunity, and Promote Equality (Harvard University Press 2019), to make four points:
First, child care should not be understood as a private responsibility, one to be met by market purchases by individual parents. Instead, we should frame child care as an important public investment – as we do in the case of public education and public utilities.
Second, we should recognize that the economics of child care doom the market model to failure: by treating child care as a consumer product, like Doritos or air freshener, we guarantee the trifecta of high cost, low quality, and poor working conditions. And tax-based subsidies cannot effectively cure these defects.
Third, there are existing models for a public option in child care, and many states, localities, and nonprofits have begun to take measures that we could extend. A public option has been proved to provide affordable care, verifiable quality, and sound working conditions.
Fourth, a public option will help us weather a future pandemic or public emergency, for reasons of high quality and public accountability.
Previous Richard Crawford Pugh Lectures on Tax Law & Policy:
- Rosanne Altshuler (Rutgers), The International Tax Landscape: Past, Present and Future (2020)
- Lily Batchelder (NYU), Optimal Tax Theory and Distributive Justice (2019)
- Deborah Schenk (NYU), Horizontal Equity Redux (2017)
- Michael Graetz (Columbia), Tax Reform Beyond the Headlines (2015)
- Edward Kleinbard (USC), Progressive Tax or Progressive Fiscal System? (2014)
- Stephen Shay (Harvard), Coherence in International Income Taxation (2013)
- M. Carr Ferguson (Davis Polk, New York), Simplifying the Corporate Income Tax (2011)
- Eric Solomon (Steptoe, Washington, D.C.), A Framework for Tax Reform (2010)
For more on Dick Pugh, see here