The case is called Roe v. Wade. The arguments are called pro-choice versus pro-life. The real argument is economics versus parents, kids and seniors.

The nation’s economic and family structures in 2022 rely on men and women working and bringing home paychecks. The days of men at jobs outside the home and women relegated to roles as domestic engineers are gone.

With Roe v. Wade in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s right to privacy in regard to the decision to end a pregnancy.

Women stopped dying from botched back-alley abortions. With oral contraceptives available, families got smaller and more prosperous. Women embraced a new independence.

It’s a chicken-and-egg question as to what changed the economy at the same time. As more women entered the workforce, families came to need not one, but two paychecks to survive.

Tax burdens were shifted from corporations and the wealthy to working families that found themselves facing the triple burdens of paying for childcare, college and retirement.

Large companies that traditionally had provided fixed pensions for retired workers phased them out. Few small companies could afford pensions.

By 2020, federal tax policies had put the top 10% of families in possession of 75% of the wealth in the nation and created the largest wealth gap in its history.

Unlike other first-world nations, the U.S. heaps the responsibility to feed, clothe and educate kids on time-starved and financially stressed families. They get little or no help in paying for early childhood education. The cost of childcare can gobble up entire annual salaries and still the quality of care is questionable.

Unlike public school teachers, childcare workers are largely untrained and poorly paid. Regulation of conditions in daycares is spotty.

College education can be crushingly expensive for low- and middle-income families. The U.S. lags other developed nations in the percentage of citizens with a college education.

Meeting the needs of seniors, most with limited savings, has become nearly impossible.

A single U.S. senator, Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., last month blocked a social infrastructure bill that would have lifted some of those burdens with support for universal prekindergarten and childcare, child tax credits, four weeks of paid family and medical leave, and home care for seniors. A measure that would have provided free college education had been cut from the bill.

Republican senators sat on their hands.

Families got no relief, and the wealth gap remains.

Instead of solving these problems 49 years after Roe v. Wade, the nation is focused on whether the high court will overturn it. The focus on abortion rights instead of on the nation’s poor track record in caring for kids and seniors is utterly confounding.

The most powerful nation in the world must fix these issues and make the economy work for everyone or risk one day finding itself weak and toothless with no one to blame but itself.

“Our View” represents the opinion of the newspaper editorial board, which is made up of members of its board of directors. Remarks may be directed to

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