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Politicians of both parties claim to support “working families.” But the existing American social contract — the synthesis of labor market laws and norms and welfare programs and social insurance systems — treats the individual, not the married couple or the extended family, as the unit of public policy. The ideal of elite progressives and business-class conservatives is the dual-earner family, which requires children to spend most of their waking hours with paid strangers as caregivers and turns the family home into a dormitory used on nights and weekends by parents and children leading essentially separate lives.

Defenders of the American working class against the economic and social imperialism of the overclass must make it clear that to be pro-worker is not to help workers as isolated individuals, but to help workers as members of families that are treated as the basic units of public policy.

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Michael Lind
Michael Lind is a columnist at Tablet, a fellow at New America, and the author of more than a dozen books, including Hell to Pay: How the Suppression of Wages is Destroying America (2023).
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