How could any affluent country, if only out of long-term self-interest, allow so many of its children to grow up in nightmare childhoods? Ten years ago a visiting Norwegian sociologist asked me that question in an urgent and genuinely puzzled way. She had just come from a conference in San Francisco on U.S. public policy and family poverty, and she was reeling from the human import of the statistics about child poverty that she had heard. I have never forgotten her question and its stark perspective on the irrationality and injustice of U.S. policies relating to children and families. Aletha Huston’s excellent analysis of the U.S. childcare system and the needs of low-income parents (in this volume) sticks close to the empirical ground, but she also alludes to irrationality and injustice and she pauses at several points to call for radical rethinking. In these comments I will pick up on that call.