Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said Tuesday that he 'never really felt' affordable child care 'was society's responsibility.'
Sen. Ron Johnson dismissed concerns about people struggling to find affordable and accessible child care amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in order to return to work, saying that was a problem that the parents should have thought of before they decided to have children.
Johnson, one of the richest people in Congress, said he sees no role for government in providing assistance for child care. However, the Wisconsin Republican, whose estimated net worth as of 2018 was more than $39 million, had no qualms about voting for tax cuts for himself and his fellow multimillionaires.
During a visit to La Crosse, Wisconsin, that was captured on video by the progressive research group American Bridge 21st Century, Johnson was asked by a reporter about ways to help parents get back to work and fix "the lack of child care, where they can't find or afford child care."
Johnson answered, ""People decide to have families and become parents. That's something they need to consider when they make that choice. I've never really felt it was society's responsibility to take care of other people's children. What society's responsibility is to provide the opportunities and not mortgage our children's future, not cause inflation ... If you're proposing that the federal government incur even more deficit spending to provide child care for parents? I mean, I don't see how that's a solution at all."
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, finding people to staff child care facilities has been a national challenge, leading to higher costs and lower availability. According to the Census Bureau's most recent biweekly Household Pulse Survey of the impact of the pandemic, an estimated 5,327,065 Americans say they are currently out of work because they are "caring for children not in school or daycare."
But Johnson strongly opposed President Joe Biden's $1.75 trillion Build Back Better proposal, which would have invested $400 billion in affordable child care and two years of free pre-K education and which the White House said would save most families "more than half of their spending on child care" and increase "the likelihood that parents, especially mothers, are employed or enrolled in education and training beyond high school."
He rejected it as a "radical far left socialist agenda."
While millions of Americans need help to access affordable child care for their kids, it would likely not be a concern for Johnson even if his children were not all adults.
According to his most recent personal financial disclosure, he made somewhere between $5 million and $25 million in March 2020 on the sale of shares of a plastic packaging company he ran before he was elected to the Senate. Even before that windfall, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics estimated his net worth at $39,233,507 in 2018.
And though Johnson does not believe it is society's problem to help parents who can't otherwise afford it organize day care for their children so they can earn a living, he has fought to cut taxes for himself and other millionaires. In 2017, he voted for former President Donald Trump's Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which cut taxes for the very rich and corporations and added nearly $2 trillion to the national debt over a decade, according to a 2018 Congressional Budget Office estimate.
Back in October, Johnson told a constituent that the top 1% of Americans already pays "probably pretty close to a fair share" in taxes.
Though he admitted last July that he did not believe his 12 years in the Senate have been "particularly successful," Johnson announced earlier this month that he would break his promise to voters and seek a third term.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.