By Stephanie Murray, The Week
The alternative isn’t a freer market. It’s federally incentivized freeriding.
As someone who spends a good deal of time writing and talking about the need to improve American family policy, people are often surprised to learn that, for most of my adult life, I considered myself a libertarian. I don’t really traffic in political labels anymore, so I don’t much care whether I still properly qualify for the title. But for the sake of those libertarians who may be conflicted about policies like paid parental leave or the refundable child tax credit, which were just passed by the House as part of President Biden’s sprawling social spending bill, it’s worth explaining why I think family policy and libertarianism are compatible.
Whether other libertarians agree with me will likely depend on what brought them to libertarianism in the first place. For me, that was economics, which I studied in college. To this day, I believe the self-regulating competitive mechanisms of the market should be kept as free as possible. But, the anarchist wing of the movement aside, even libertarians admit there are goods and services the free market is poorly equipped to provide (though they may draw the line between the provinces of state and market in slightly different places). And from my perspective, the standard rationale for libertarian opposition to government meddling in free enterprise makes a stronger case for family policy than against it.