But what’s interesting is what kind of families the plan favors, and what kind of families it doesn’t. There’s nothing wrong with families, like mine, in which both parents work, but it’s still striking to see a proposal specifically engineered to favor those families at the expense of single-earner families.

This is of a piece with contemporary progressivism. Usually, progressives portray themselves as people who simply want to give everyone an equal chance to fulfill their potential, contrary to conservatives who want to tie everyone to the Procrustean bed of their very specific model of “the good life.” But in the case of the family, we see that it increasingly isn’t the case. Smart conservative proposals like those of Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Mike Lee (Utah) wouldn’t privilege one kind of family over another. It is progressives who put forward a specific model of “the good life” and who are using government policy to nudge — or virtually force — people into it.

Indeed, President Obama is also the politician who gratuitously decided, in flagrant disregard of the Constitution, to pick a fight with religious institutions over a government mandate to subsidize contraception for everyone. A society where contraception is seen as so essential that it is not only made available but mandated and subsidized is one that has in mind a very specific picture of the good life — and is willing to use government force to bring it about.