.. its own merits. So far, it has been taken for granted that people who have children have a right to dip into the public purse for their education and healthcare. But on what sense of logic is this based? When politicians shifted the tax burden from families (parents with children) there’s never any talk of who it’s shifted to. There are many choices that adults make.
One choice might be to parent a child. Another choice might be to have a career. Time and money limit the choices we make, or at least they should. For the government funds the one choice over another, is to say it one choice is more valuable than another. Read how Joel Slemrod and Jon Bakija authors of Taxing Ourselves, explain it: Having children is largely a voluntary choice, and may even be viewed as a matter of personal consumption preference from the point of view of the parents.
Some adults prefer to save up and spend their money for a round-the-world trip, while others prefer the job of children with the attendant costs of food, diapers, Nintendo, and possible college. Is it fair to reward adults who prefer to have children, at the expense of adults who prefer other ways of spending their money? (Burkett 74) Parents argue that they are giving the gift of life. To say ‘having a child is the moral equivalent of buying a boat, therefore, the parent is completely responsible for that child, is an insult to the sanctity of human life. But the childfree say this statement is meaningless. A gift is something you give to someone.
It is also something that can be refused. How many of us remember being asked? Besides, overpopulation is more of a problem than underpopulation. Selfishness is a term often hurled about by both sides. Parents say the childfree simply want to lead a hedonistic lifestyle. The childfree don’t want to consider anyone’s needs but there own.
They are immature in the sense that they refuse to put anyone else first. The childfree have heard it all before. They argue that people rarely have children out of an obligation to humanity. They want a baby to coo over, a genetic link to the future, or simply didn’t use birth control. Somehow working families has become a code phrase for parents. Because you have no children, you have no family , and it may be perceived that you have no life and therefore can be imposed upon by your employer, coworker, even the tax system.
While Childfree is tackling the political inequalities the childfree face, No Kidding! is concerned with the social aspects. Five years ago there were two chapters, today there are 47. The first No Kidding! chapter was formed by Jerry Steinberg, a French teacher from Vancouver, BC. Steinberg got tired of coming in second to his friends with children. Inevitably, conversations turned to their spouses and especially their children. He wanted to spend time with adults whose lives did not revolve around their children, who were not interrupted 30 times in a phone conversation, and had the time and money to be spontaneous.
When he went looking for a support group, he found that there were groups for single mothers, single fathers, parents with terrible toddlers and with troubled teenagers, but none for folks who don’t have children, so he created one. No Kidding keeps track of places friendly to the childfree–restaurants, neighborhoods, pools, etc. While discrimination against people with children is illegal, many childfree search out places where they don’t have to deal with the noise and disruptions that come with small children. There are clues to look for avoid homes with good school districts, live on a main road (parents usually avoid places where kids can play in traffic), look in gay neighborhoods, As a society we have to recognize and respect the needs of everyone. We must reconceive personal identity, separate parenthood from identity.
Those who don’t have children are not career-crazed or sad, barren spinster types. Neither stereotype acknowledges that people, even those who have longed to be parents, can have rich and balanced lives without children. The childfree have weighed the pros and cons and discovered the opportunities are great, that a spare room can become a music room instead of a nursery, that instead of a college fund money can be used for travel. Compromise is possible. For a starter, how about ending subsidies for parents earning $60,000 a year or more? Capping the deduction based on need makes sense. And it also makes sense to increase the dependent deduction rather than add a per-child tax credit, that way tax payers who support family members but don=t have children could take advantage of it.
(Batista 1) Corporate attitudes need to change and companies must see the big picture. What’s sad is that, in the rush to embrace ”family values,” corporations seem to imply that some families are more valuable than others. Benefit programs need to be evaluated to find inequities. Rather than a bevy of child- friendly programs why not have a smorgasbord of benefits that are applicable to both groups? If on-site childcare is a perk, allow the childfree to donate that slot to a relative or someone in the community. (Chat 10) In other words, realize a family just doesn’t mean kids.
But even if you have no family, everyone has a life outside the office. It demands time and effort, whether to raise kids, write a book, or take your dog to the vet. Recognizing those needs pays off in commitment and productivity. There are choices to make and potential parents must ask themselves which they want more, a larger income or a relationship with their children. The government cannot subsidize reduced parental investment in children.
Parents alone bear the responsibility of their children unless they fall into povery. It doesn’t take a village to raise a child, it takes a responsible parent. Bibliography Sources Cited Belkin, Lisa. Your Kids Are Their Problem. New York Times Magazine.
July 23, 2000: 30+ Burkett, Elinor. The Baby Boon: How Family Friendly America Cheats the Childless. New York: Simon & Schuster Inc., 2000 Chat Transcript: Debating Family-Friendly Policies. ABCNews.com, March 27, 2000. http://abcnews.go.com/onair/2020/2020 032700 childless chat.html.
Batista, Bobbie. CNN Transcript – Talkback Live: Are Children a Burden on the Childless? CNN.com Transcripts. July 26, 2000. Ethics and Morals.