It seems a point of personal pique for him, but Wesley Smith makes a great point when he objects to the characterization of families’ taking care of their own special needs children as “unpaid care”:
Really? What about mothers providing “unpaid care” for their babies? Or spouses for each other? Should such care also be measured in terms of the cost of having services provided by professional caregivers?
As Smith goes on to insist (emphasis in original), “the societal expectation should also be that families are the first line of care-giving.” The first line of care-giving. The first line of financial assistance. The first line of loan guarantees. The first line for education. The first line, period.
The problem is that such activities cut in on the government plantation’s market. Governments can’t tax other people to provide the services. Labor unions can’t take a cut (although they do try). And politicians can’t count on votes from people who aren’t dependent on government.
The deeper affront of the “unpaid care” attitude is how it teaches us to see caring for those we love. The insinuation can be that families would (and maybe should) offload care if they can afford to do so, just as a homeowner may patch a wall to save the cost of a tradesman. As a new state senator from Lincoln touchingly exemplifies, caring for loved ones can be a joyful fulfillment, and society should encourage us to see it as such.