Prepare for an onslaught of news and feature stories in the coming weeks about the latest American social “crisis” — a dearth of safe, available and affordable day-care options.

Why? Because Bill and Hillary Clinton have announced that this will be the latest issue they use to persuade us of the urgent need for greater federal intrusion into our lives. And, if you understand the way what I call the “government-media complex” works, reporters and editors all over America have accepted their marching orders and are now dutifully planning a series of horror stories designed to raise our collective consciousness on the untenable plight of working parents.

Don’t be fooled. This is nothing but another transparent grab for power by the central government in Washington. Understand that government empowerment of this kind always comes at a price — not just in higher taxes, but also, more importantly, in less personal freedom.

Isn’t it ironic how the very same kinds of people who coerced mothers into the job market — many against their will and better judgment — are now offering their plan as the only logical and compassionate solution to the very real problems they have created?

The truth is that these folks don’t care about you or your family. If you listen carefully enough to their rhetoric, you can see for yourself what their real goal is.

“We want American parents to succeed at the most important task they have — caring for the next generation — and to be good workers who contribute to the economy,” said Mrs. Clinton at a White House conference on the topic last week.

In other words, stay-at-home mothers (or fathers, for that matter) are not contributing to the economy. Your government considers you a deadbeat if your principal occupation and responsibility is taking care of your children. Unless you’re getting paid to take care of kids — and, thus, cutting the federal government in on the action through payroll taxes — you’re not “contributing to the economy.”

Even more so than Hillary Clinton’s plan for the phony health-care crisis, this push represents a grand threat to our constitutional system of limited government and our individual liberties. Though no details of the plan have been released, be assured that it will be the ultimate attempt to drive a stake through the heart of the institution of the family, to federalize control of your children from the day they are born and to create a new class of dependency on government.

Are families facing real problems today? You bet they are. More homes have two parents working than ever before. Why? Largely because the tax burden is so high that most couples feel they have little choice if they sincerely want to improve their material lives. Without even understanding why or noticing the gradual decline in their standards of life, they have become slaves to the state. Now a vocal minority are screaming for help.

If politicians sincerely want to create more options for parents, they ought to let them keep more of their hard-earned money — a lot more. They ought to encourage one parent to stay home to fulfill the most important responsibility any adult has in life — to raise children.

For the increasing number of single parents, the choices are tougher. But the first option ought to be family members, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. If those alternatives are not available, professional day care should be a last resort. However, if day care becomes the first option for most American parents, unprecedented social disaster will be imminent.

Hillary Clinton wants most kids under the control and supervision of government-approved day-care facilities. That is not a good plan for parents and it will be destructive for the next generation of Americans. If you have any doubts, just look at the very real crisis government has created in the nation’s public schools.

This is shaping up as nothing less than a fight over the future of America. Yet where are the voices of opposition? Have you heard one political leader in Washington voice an articulate dissent on Hillary’s plan to kidnap your children? Have you seen one news story, in print or on television, present even a balanced debate on the issue?

At the very moment we should be examining the failures of creeping socialism — in health care, education, public housing, welfare, etc. — the Clintons and a willing media are leading us down the primrose path toward advanced central planning and state servitude from which there may be no return.

Don’t get fooled again. This, so far, one-sided debate represents nothing less than a choice between freedom and slavery.

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