Valuing Hard Work

If there is one thing people on all sides of the aisle can agree with it's this: parents do incredibly important work. While not everyone wants or needs to be parents, there's no doubt thatĀ LDS Church leaders regularly preach the centrality of parenthood to the family, society, and eternity.

Parents of the world, we here at MormonLiberals offer you a big THANK YOU.

And, in the American economic market, that's basically all you're getting.

ParentsOur system does a good job of financially rewarding people who do valuable work. Sometimes. One huge exception is parents. Despite the incredibly useful work done by parents, they are not compensated by the free market. And, in our country, since the invisible hand decides who has food and shelter, that's a pretty big deal.

Don't get me wrong: parents do get a small handful of benefits from the government (too small, in my opinion). The government mandates that employers provide a few weeks of paid maternity leave. Parents get tax write offs for children. Struggling parents might qualify for assistance with food or daycare. And mothers get a periodic shout out by some politicians who like to say motherhood is real work, just like having a "real" full-time job (except in this one the market has decided you work for free).

This is a structural weakness of our economy: the free market usually rewards valuable work, and usually ignores work that is not valuable. But, there are errors, mistakes, places where the market fails. Your fourth grade teacher makes less than Madonna (can we really say Madonna is more valuable than Mrs. Anderson)? The nurse who keeps grandma alive and cleans her bedpan gets paid less than someone who packages derivatives and crashes economies. And worst of all: mom and dad get paid nothing, which is less than every tabloid journalist, door-to-door vacuum salesman, and exotic dancer. The market has spoken.

And it's wrong.

It is in part because of these weaknesses, these market oversights, that government intervention is necessary. These problems are not the fault of any individual, so their fixes cannot be left to individuals. The stopgaps must be as systematic as the gaps.

This is why we support government intervention. Not because we think the government knows better. Not because we want to steal your money and use it to buy your vote. But because our economic system sometimes does not compensate things that are incredibly valuable. And we don't like the idea that people doing valuable work should suffer because of the system's faults.

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