Barbara Bergmann

Barbara R. Bergmann is professor emerita of economics at the University of Maryland and American University. She is the co-author of America's Child Care Problem: The Way Out and the author of The Economic Emergence of Women, which was recently re-released by Palgrave Macmillan.

Recent Articles

Debt and Taxes

W hat's gotten into Alan Greenspan? Until recently, he was in clear agreement with the Democrats about how to deal with the federal budget surplus: Oppose tax cuts and use the surplus to pay off the national debt. But on January 25--five days after the inauguration of George W. Bush--Greenspan abandoned that position and endorsed Bush's mammoth tax cut. The explanation he gave for his reversal was patently phony: He said he had just realized that future surpluses would be even larger than anticipated. Without a tax cut, Greenspan now says, surpluses will add up to more than the national debt. This means that the government might at some point in the future have to invest the surplus tax revenue by purchasing private assets--and this, says Greenspan, would create an entangling conflict of interest between the government and private industry. Greenspan's rationale for his turnabout is remarkably unpersuasive. He says the situation he claims to fear would not arise for at least 10 years...

Decent Child Care at Decent Wages

I magine yourself a single mom with a one-year-old and a three-year-old and a job with a not-so-hot wage. You go down to your local child care center and are quoted a price of $13,500 per year. That would take half your pay and leave you without money for rent. So you look around for care that's cheaper. You find a lady who already cares for three kids in her home but has never bothered to get a license. You have no way of knowing how nice she is to the children when she is alone with them or how many hours the kids will be propped in front of a TV set or even left to themselves. You also don't know how often her boyfriend comes around while the kids are there or how nice he is to them. But her price is half the center's--still a huge part of your budget, but just barely manageable. The free market gives you a choice, and her services are what you end up "choosing." A friend next door works in the child care center you can't afford. Her wage doesn't even make it...