I raise these issues because today America's working families quite literally are falling apart. And because the plan we propose promises to mend them in precisely those places where now they are weak. Three instances:
1. Couples and their children will spend a lot more time in each others company than they do now, doing things besides surfing the net, playing video games, or watching TV while plunked on the couch. Hearth and home will become again what traditionally it always was: a scene of domestic activity in which every member of the family has a role to play and real responsibilities to meet. More time is quality time when the opportunities are plenteous for parents to chat, joke, and horse around with their children -- as well as discipline, teach, and discuss with them the more weighty issues of life when the occasions arise. Thus would the family be restored not only as a functioning economic institution but in its age-old role of nurture and support.
2. Something similar can be predicted for the institution of marriage, which not only is the biological basis of the family but also the foundation of its stability. The bonds of matrimony will certainly grow stronger once the earnings from two part-time jobs together with the contributions of two adult sets of hands are required to support an independent household. Contrast this to the typical situation today where we find that both parents are employed full-time outside the home and can thus afford to live by themselves if they are so moved. Small wonder so many marriages now end in divorce! But under the terms of the new household economy walking out of a marriage becomes a much less convenient option than it is now -- which means that fewer couples are likely to go through the traumas of divorce, with all this implies for the happiness and emotional security of their children, to say nothing of themselves.
3. Finally, under our plan having three or even four children would not longer be the unaffordable option it is now for most working couples who live in large metropolitan areas. The demographic foundations of our society would be re-established and the future of our posterity assured.