Author Topic: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!  (Read 60611 times)

Squirrel away

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #50 on: April 03, 2014, 05:04:11 AM »
I thought the article Was satirical at first.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 07:59:28 AM by Londoner38 »

GuitarStv

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #51 on: April 03, 2014, 06:40:44 AM »
The child raising numbers are ludicrous.

18 years * median family income of $60,000 = $1,080,000 in income.

median 2.2 children * $310,000 per child = $682,000 spent on child care per median family over 18 years.  (We'll ignore staggered births.)

That means that 63% of the family's income was consumed by those children. 

That's ludicrous.  No one needs to do that.
My daughter, because of her daycare costs 35% of my budget which does not even account for housing costs which they normally do (we bought looking a duplexes that were 2 or 3 bedroom so really the 3rd bedroom is not really because of her so I don't count it).  It is a choice I made, and don't expect anyone to help with it, but I am not surprised that you could add up to 63%.

No, ~60% of before-tax income is WAY too high for an average. The article is bogus.

I do plan on having kids.
Even daycare alone would be almost 50% of my before tax budget, again, if we had two kids and they were going to daycare at the same time.  The number does not surprise me at all.  You may plan to have kids, but I know what the cost is now.

This is about what daycare costs would be for two kids around here as well.

quilter

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #52 on: April 03, 2014, 07:05:05 AM »
I was 95% sure that this was an April Fool's joke, since I recognized the author (Reihan Salam) to be a "conservative commentator". And the last thing conservatives want to do is hand out gifts to all those welfare queens popping out babies.

I suggest you read up on the whole welfare queen myth.

I was speaking in the voice of a Republican political hack there, not my own voice. Sorry for not making that clearer.
.  Sorry to be so picky but many people believe that. I understand now where you were coming from.

I can understand if you make a low wage, or two low wages how hard it is to save. But our government is going to implode if people don't work towards personal responsibility. If they tax the wealthy or childless more in my opinion it will just give them more money to waste or funnel to their cronies and contributors corporations.

LucyBIT

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #53 on: April 03, 2014, 07:54:50 AM »
The deck is heavily stacked against parents in favor of the childless.  Considering the large societal benefit provided by parents of furnishing the next generation, I am all for leveling the playing field and making it less punitive/onerous to have kids.

I have to disagree on both counts.  First, as others have pointed out, parents get all sorts of benefits that childfree people do not.  It is ultimately their choice to have kids: why shouldn't I (and everyone else) likewise get society's help with our expensive lifestyle choices?

Second, how are we to know that your particular contribution(s) to the next generation are actually going to be a societal benefit?  You might well be raising the next generation of louts and layabouts.  Even if they are benefits rather than liabilities, shouldn't you then expect them to repay you directly, with support in your 'golden years'?

Um, yeah. +1

And let's not forget the social cost to a childfree woman. If you're not one, you might not understand, and I have no economic/financial side to this point; but childfree-by-choice women are branded as selfish and biologically broken for not wanting to reproduce. I have personally experienced this, and every so often we get another article complaining about women who refuse to reproduce before 30 and how it's ruining society, and maybe just google it if it comes to that, but this is a thing.

I'm not even self-branded childfree; I almost never discuss it. I just lack children, so I get heat. It's a terrific state of affairs for infertile women, I'm sure.

GuitarStv

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #54 on: April 03, 2014, 09:57:03 AM »
The deck is heavily stacked against parents in favor of the childless.  Considering the large societal benefit provided by parents of furnishing the next generation, I am all for leveling the playing field and making it less punitive/onerous to have kids.

I have to disagree on both counts.  First, as others have pointed out, parents get all sorts of benefits that childfree people do not.  It is ultimately their choice to have kids: why shouldn't I (and everyone else) likewise get society's help with our expensive lifestyle choices?

Second, how are we to know that your particular contribution(s) to the next generation are actually going to be a societal benefit?  You might well be raising the next generation of louts and layabouts.  Even if they are benefits rather than liabilities, shouldn't you then expect them to repay you directly, with support in your 'golden years'?

Um, yeah. +1

And let's not forget the social cost to a childfree woman. If you're not one, you might not understand, and I have no economic/financial side to this point; but childfree-by-choice women are branded as selfish and biologically broken for not wanting to reproduce. I have personally experienced this, and every so often we get another article complaining about women who refuse to reproduce before 30 and how it's ruining society, and maybe just google it if it comes to that, but this is a thing.

I'm not even self-branded childfree; I almost never discuss it. I just lack children, so I get heat. It's a terrific state of affairs for infertile women, I'm sure.

So, you feel that the choice to not have children is a financial burden that you've had to work around?

Hunny156

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #55 on: April 03, 2014, 10:06:40 AM »
The deck is heavily stacked against parents in favor of the childless.  Considering the large societal benefit provided by parents of furnishing the next generation, I am all for leveling the playing field and making it less punitive/onerous to have kids.

I have to disagree on both counts.  First, as others have pointed out, parents get all sorts of benefits that childfree people do not.  It is ultimately their choice to have kids: why shouldn't I (and everyone else) likewise get society's help with our expensive lifestyle choices?

Second, how are we to know that your particular contribution(s) to the next generation are actually going to be a societal benefit?  You might well be raising the next generation of louts and layabouts.  Even if they are benefits rather than liabilities, shouldn't you then expect them to repay you directly, with support in your 'golden years'?

Um, yeah. +1

And let's not forget the social cost to a childfree woman. If you're not one, you might not understand, and I have no economic/financial side to this point; but childfree-by-choice women are branded as selfish and biologically broken for not wanting to reproduce. I have personally experienced this, and every so often we get another article complaining about women who refuse to reproduce before 30 and how it's ruining society, and maybe just google it if it comes to that, but this is a thing.

I'm not even self-branded childfree; I almost never discuss it. I just lack children, so I get heat. It's a terrific state of affairs for infertile women, I'm sure.

Yup, I totally agree.  I just turned 38 yesterday and I am childfree by choice.  The heat I've gotten since I married has been pretty intense - it's amazing what people say and think about you for making such a horrible choice!

Not to mention that any financial achievements are immediately brushed off by the parental set b/c I don't have kids.  I agree that kids are expensive and it will take longer to achieve certain financial goals, but certainly not impossible.

I take it all in stride now - I find the comments more amusing, and I change the subject.  Some things are just not worth the effort!

AJ

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #56 on: April 03, 2014, 10:39:09 AM »
The deck is heavily stacked against parents in favor of the childless.  Considering the large societal benefit provided by parents of furnishing the next generation, I am all for leveling the playing field and making it less punitive/onerous to have kids.

I have to disagree on both counts.  First, as others have pointed out, parents get all sorts of benefits that childfree people do not.  It is ultimately their choice to have kids: why shouldn't I (and everyone else) likewise get society's help with our expensive lifestyle choices?

Second, how are we to know that your particular contribution(s) to the next generation are actually going to be a societal benefit?  You might well be raising the next generation of louts and layabouts.  Even if they are benefits rather than liabilities, shouldn't you then expect them to repay you directly, with support in your 'golden years'?

Yes, this.

I know precisely zero parents who chose to become so out of an obligation they felt toward society. People have kids because they want kids. Until humans become an endangered species, kids are a luxury good. Unless you are adopting special needs children, you* are not "helping society" by raising kids. Is parenting hard and expensive? Yes. But you knew that going in. If I wanted to become a hobby pilot and own my own plane that would probably be expensive too, but I wouldn't expect tax breaks to help subsidize my own choice to take on an expensive hobby.

*and when I say "you" I mean me as well, since we also plan to reproduce, hopefully soon :)

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #57 on: April 03, 2014, 11:16:02 AM »
Just don't point out to the eco Nazi, Nissan Leaf driving crowd that the carbon footprint of having just one child far outweighs anything you can do to limit your carbon footprint as an adult.  Having four kids is like setting up a small coal fired power plant in your backyard.

brewer12345

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #58 on: April 03, 2014, 11:34:05 AM »
The deck is heavily stacked against parents in favor of the childless.  Considering the large societal benefit provided by parents of furnishing the next generation, I am all for leveling the playing field and making it less punitive/onerous to have kids.

I have to disagree on both counts.  First, as others have pointed out, parents get all sorts of benefits that childfree people do not.  It is ultimately their choice to have kids: why shouldn't I (and everyone else) likewise get society's help with our expensive lifestyle choices?

Second, how are we to know that your particular contribution(s) to the next generation are actually going to be a societal benefit?  You might well be raising the next generation of louts and layabouts.  Even if they are benefits rather than liabilities, shouldn't you then expect them to repay you directly, with support in your 'golden years'?

We can quibble over whether the 300 large estimate of raising a kid is accurate, but it is easily 6 figures, not including college tuition.  You think the penny candy help of an extra personal allowance on income taxes makes a real dent in that?

How do we know one of my kids will not cure cancer?  This is a straw man argument.  We are talking about societal choices/policy, not an individual case.  Does the next generation benefit society as a whole?  Sure does.

But I will not belabor this further.  You have a chorus of childless haters which I will not try to convert.  Have fun.

hybrid

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #59 on: April 03, 2014, 12:07:17 PM »
Devoting $65k of your resources to a new SUV isn't an easy path either, and while people doing so provides jobs and helps my stock portfolio grow, that's not why they bought one, so I ain't going to give 'em a pat on the back for doing a solid for the rest of society.

Yeah no worries, I don't think we're looking for one. The bigger point was do you begrudge us the tax break all the same?

As smallife has pointed out, many women are looking at the personal and financial sacrifices that go with raising kids and are saying "Screw that!", or one and one only, thank you very much.

If various societies answer is no, and women are in control of their reproductive destiny, I think the rather obvious answer is society as a whole will have less and less children over time. In the long run that could be a very good thing for the planet. In the short term there could be quite a bit of pain that comes with that.

I read an article in The Economist arguing that China's boom stemming from cheap labor is rapidly drawing to a close. The reason? Chinese society is getting old. There simply aren't as many young workers as there used to be, and many of them have better options than working in a sweatshop.

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #60 on: April 03, 2014, 12:27:38 PM »
We can quibble over whether the 300 large estimate of raising a kid is accurate, but it is easily 6 figures, not including college tuition.  You think the penny candy help of an extra personal allowance on income taxes makes a real dent in that?

It's a start :-)  Then there's 13 years (or more) of K-12 education that parents get for free.  Private, non-sectarian schooling runs a bit over $16K/year (per http://www.capenet.org/facts.html ), or about $200K per child.  Since about 20% of Americans remain child-free throughout life, that means they're subsidizing each child to the tune of about $40K.

For college, if you care to look at it as parents paying, rather than the person going to college, the states & federal government provide lots of subsidies: low(er) cost tuition at state universities, grants & scholarships, low-cost subsidized loans, etc...

Quote
How do we know one of my kids will not cure cancer?  This is a straw man argument.

How do we know that one of your kids will not shoot up a school, or kill people by driving daddy's pickup while blind drunk?  Just as much of a straw man as your cancer-curing argument, isn't it?

GuitarStv

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #61 on: April 03, 2014, 01:10:52 PM »
Then there's 13 years (or more) of K-12 education that parents get for free.  Private, non-sectarian schooling runs a bit over $16K/year (per http://www.capenet.org/facts.html ), or about $200K per child.  Since about 20% of Americans remain child-free throughout life, that means they're subsidizing each child to the tune of about $40K.

It's just as much a benefit to the childless that we don't have huge swaths of the country unemployable and uneducated as it is to the parents of children.  I pay a lot of money to fund fire departments that I've never used, a military that has little effect on my or my life, and a police force that I have rarely had to contact.  I don't mind this because it's part of living in a society, and everyone benefits from the presence of these institutions.

JKLescher

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #62 on: April 03, 2014, 01:21:17 PM »
Ok then Brewer, back it up. How is the deck heavily against parents?

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/05/26/what-is-the-real-cost-of-raising-children/

Given the cost listed there I'll say: Yes an extra personal exemption, child tax credit, child and dependent care credit, and EITC make a big difference. Do they pay for it all? No. Do they make a difference? Most definitely.

Who are these haters? I've seen many different opinions in this thread by parents and childfree. Many people look at having children a blessing for a choice they willingly made or intend to make in the future. And yes, we all know it's expensive, but what in particular makes it such a punitive or onerous experience?

If you're just trying to pick a fight then fine, but you're not winning any points for well-reasoned productive discussion.

skyrefuge

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #63 on: April 03, 2014, 01:23:31 PM »
The bigger point was do you begrudge us the tax break all the same?

No, I don't exactly begrudge you. Were I in your shoes, I'd be happy to take the tax break too, just as I'll be happy to take ACA credits or any other thing that our dumb tax code throws in my favor.

But I'm certainly not happy with the government for setting up the tax code that way. If the Child Tax Credit had been implemented as a solution to smoothly navigate our way through upcoming demographic changes (and if its effects at achieving such were being carefully studied and tweaked over time), that would be one thing. But there's utterly no evidence that demographic trends were the reason for the law. Rather, it's pretty clear that it was created as a short-term cynical ploy to attract a particular block of voters to the political party in power.

Maybe actual research would show that that cynical ploy just happened to be the "right" move to make for the future economy, but that would have to be some truly fantastic dumb luck.

smalllife

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #64 on: April 03, 2014, 01:31:48 PM »
Then there's 13 years (or more) of K-12 education that parents get for free.  Private, non-sectarian schooling runs a bit over $16K/year (per http://www.capenet.org/facts.html ), or about $200K per child.  Since about 20% of Americans remain child-free throughout life, that means they're subsidizing each child to the tune of about $40K.

It's just as much a benefit to the childless that we don't have huge swaths of the country unemployable and uneducated as it is to the parents of children.  I pay a lot of money to fund fire departments that I've never used, a military that has little effect on my or my life, and a police force that I have rarely had to contact.  I don't mind this because it's part of living in a society, and everyone benefits from the presence of these institutions.

Right, but when that turns from funding societal institutions to writing checks to those with children (EITC, Child Tax Credit, FSA Dep Care, etc.), the dynamic becomes a little bit different.   I am grateful and happy to help fund the civic institutions that make the world safe, functional, and peaceful.   That however is completely different than the direct and indirect incentives to have children (which, much like the mortgage deduction as hybrid mentioned as well, is something that are law writers/voters/powers that be have decided is important to subsidize and encourage as a society for better and for worse).   

warfreak2

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #65 on: April 03, 2014, 01:44:17 PM »
Then there's 13 years (or more) of K-12 education that parents get for free.  Private, non-sectarian schooling runs a bit over $16K/year (per http://www.capenet.org/facts.html ), or about $200K per child.
You're right, state education is a massive subsidy... to employers, for example, who would otherwise have to provide most of this training themselves. To workers, for example, who would otherwise be trapped in contracts which prevent them from leaving, because otherwise their employers won't be able to offer them that training. To consumers, for example, because if all businesses had to train their staff starting from the skill-level of four-year-olds, there wouldn't be many profitable businesses to provide us with goods and services.

State education is a massive subsidy to everyone. Everyone benefits from an educated populace. For example, I am pretty happy that the people processing my paychecks and handling my finances had 12 years of basic maths education before they started. It's also an inconceivable improvement to my life that almost every book, news article, blog and forum post that I ever read was written by someone who learned basic literacy for 12 years. And I find it very comforting to know that the doctors and nurses who treat me when I need it, got a 12-year grounding in the human body, how living things work, and how different materials and substances can interact. Plus, I doubt I'd have anywhere safe to live if the people who built my home didn't know basic things about, you know, gravity, how humans need to breathe air, and how electricity can be dangerous. Perhaps more appropriate on this site: anyone investing in stock indexes that depend on the entire country's economy growing, be glad that that economy is powered by people who have had at least 12 years of knowing-their-arse-from-their-elbow classes.

Everyone benefits, everyone pays. No problem. Considering how much of a contribution parents make to those children's educations that we all benefit from, I even think it's perfectly reasonable to add on a few tax breaks for parents.

But... you're arguing that the primary benefit of education is to the parents, so it's a subsidy to them? At least admit that the child themselves gets most of the benefit. Whether or not you have children, if you went to school, then it's not unreasonable that you pay taxes towards schools.

Daleth

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #66 on: April 03, 2014, 02:00:54 PM »
The child raising numbers are ludicrous.

18 years * median family income of $60,000 = $1,080,000 in income.

median 2.2 children * $310,000 per child = $682,000 spent on child care per median family over 18 years.  (We'll ignore staggered births.)

That means that 63% of the family's income was consumed by those children. 

That's ludicrous.  No one needs to do that.
My daughter, because of her daycare costs 35% of my budget which does not even account for housing costs which they normally do (we bought looking a duplexes that were 2 or 3 bedroom so really the 3rd bedroom is not really because of her so I don't count it).  It is a choice I made, and don't expect anyone to help with it, but I am not surprised that you could add up to 63%.

No, ~60% of before-tax income is WAY too high for an average. The article is bogus.

I do plan on having kids.
Even daycare alone would be almost 50% of my before tax budget, again, if we had two kids and they were going to daycare at the same time.  The number does not surprise me at all.  You may plan to have kids, but I know what the cost is now.

This is about what daycare costs would be for two kids around here as well.

Daycare doesn't last 18 years. It lasts 3-5 years tops, so the proportion of your income spent on your child should go way down once they reach school age. Why would parents need to continue spending at that rate for the entire 18 years that Slate's article posits?

Gin1984

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #67 on: April 03, 2014, 02:04:23 PM »
The child raising numbers are ludicrous.

18 years * median family income of $60,000 = $1,080,000 in income.

median 2.2 children * $310,000 per child = $682,000 spent on child care per median family over 18 years.  (We'll ignore staggered births.)

That means that 63% of the family's income was consumed by those children. 

That's ludicrous.  No one needs to do that.
My daughter, because of her daycare costs 35% of my budget which does not even account for housing costs which they normally do (we bought looking a duplexes that were 2 or 3 bedroom so really the 3rd bedroom is not really because of her so I don't count it).  It is a choice I made, and don't expect anyone to help with it, but I am not surprised that you could add up to 63%.

No, ~60% of before-tax income is WAY too high for an average. The article is bogus.

I do plan on having kids.
Even daycare alone would be almost 50% of my before tax budget, again, if we had two kids and they were going to daycare at the same time.  The number does not surprise me at all.  You may plan to have kids, but I know what the cost is now.

This is about what daycare costs would be for two kids around here as well.

Daycare doesn't last 18 years. It lasts 3-5 years tops, so the proportion of your income spent on your child should go way down once they reach school age. Why would parents need to continue spending at that rate for the entire 18 years that Slate's article posits?
Then you have afterschool care and summer care for the next 8-10 years which can be quite a bit too.  But my point is, not even considering a ton that they consider the "child's expenses", I can see how that amount is reached.  If you go over that amount for 5 of 18 years, I think that does matter.

brewer12345

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #68 on: April 03, 2014, 03:41:26 PM »
Quote
How do we know one of my kids will not cure cancer?  This is a straw man argument.

How do we know that one of your kids will not shoot up a school, or kill people by driving daddy's pickup while blind drunk?  Just as much of a straw man as your cancer-curing argument, isn't it?

Indeed both the happy and sad cases are straw men (kids?).  That was my point.  The question is whether society as a whole benefits from the next generation as a whole.  Since there shortly would be no society without the next generation, it isn't hard to figure that one out.

AlanStache

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #69 on: April 03, 2014, 03:48:57 PM »
Quote
Indeed both the happy and sad cases are straw men (kids?).  That was my point.  The question is whether society as a whole benefits from the next generation as a whole.  Since there shortly would be no society without the next generation, it isn't hard to figure that one out.

I for one welcome our new robotic overlords, and happy relinquish my owner ship shares in the companies that own the hardware they run on.

brewer12345

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #70 on: April 03, 2014, 04:02:07 PM »
Ok then Brewer, back it up. How is the deck heavily against parents?

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/05/26/what-is-the-real-cost-of-raising-children/

Given the cost listed there I'll say: Yes an extra personal exemption, child tax credit, child and dependent care credit, and EITC make a big difference. Do they pay for it all? No. Do they make a difference? Most definitely.


With all due respect to our gracious host, I would say that his views on the subject are rather, um, fanciful and his cost estimates are very unrealistic.  There are many costs of raising children and some of the biggest ones are not direct.  In addition to a bigger house and car, daycare, food, medical coverage, clothing, educational costs, etc., there are many things about having kids that make things more challenging for parents vs. a childless couple.

Want to switch jobs?  Will the new employer accommodate whatever schedule peculiarities you have due to having kids?  Want to move to a new area?  Will it mess up the school year?  Oh, and you will have to pay up for a home in an acceptable school district.  Want to take a few years off to be with one or more small children?  Hello, mommy track.  And so on.

Most parents only get the extra personal exemption and child tax credit, and they pale in comparison to the very large (six figures, easy) costs of raising a child.  Should childless taxpayers subsidize these costs?  Open to debate, obviously.  I'd rather subsidize that than farmers, the defense industry, the film industry, etc.

Jamesqf

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #71 on: April 03, 2014, 10:24:06 PM »
It's just as much a benefit to the childless that we don't have huge swaths of the country unemployable and uneducated as it is to the parents of children.

Did I say that it's not?  No, what I said is that the child-free are helping to pay the cost of educating your kids, which is a subsidy to parents, regardless of any incidental benefit to the child-free.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #72 on: April 04, 2014, 06:43:59 AM »
It's just as much a benefit to the childless that we don't have huge swaths of the country unemployable and uneducated as it is to the parents of children.

Did I say that it's not?  No, what I said is that the child-free are helping to pay the cost of educating your kids, which is a subsidy to parents, regardless of any incidental benefit to the child-free.

I disagree. I thought warfreak said it very well: it's a benefit to the children. And all of us were once children, and either attended free public school or had the opportunity to do so.

Insanity

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #73 on: April 04, 2014, 02:41:36 PM »
It's just as much a benefit to the childless that we don't have huge swaths of the country unemployable and uneducated as it is to the parents of children.

Did I say that it's not?  No, what I said is that the child-free are helping to pay the cost of educating your kids, which is a subsidy to parents, regardless of any incidental benefit to the child-free.

If it provides more than ancillary value (which it does) to someone then it doesn't become a subsidy.  A well run school will increase the value of your home providing you a return on that investment.

thepokercab

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #74 on: April 04, 2014, 03:59:11 PM »
It's just as much a benefit to the childless that we don't have huge swaths of the country unemployable and uneducated as it is to the parents of children.

Did I say that it's not?  No, what I said is that the child-free are helping to pay the cost of educating your kids, which is a subsidy to parents, regardless of any incidental benefit to the child-free.

This line of thinking can be applied to just about anything and would be equally ridiculous.  I don't own a car- so I suppose that us 'car-free' folks are helping to pay the costs of the roads, which is a subsidy to people who own cars. 

Oh, i suppose there is a benefit to having roads that make it easier for goods to get delivered to my local grocery store, but these are 'incidental' to us car-free people. 

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #75 on: April 04, 2014, 05:10:41 PM »
This is just silly. There is zero question that children benefit everyone economically. You can argue about the precise numbers of children you want as compared to adults for an optimal output, but just consider your precious Vanguard funds, for example. All those companies rely on at least a continued base of consumers/customers to exist 10 or 20 or 40 years from now. A stable base would be good. A growing base will be good in some ways (financially) and bad in others (arguably environmentally.) A quickly shrinking base will mean you don't get your precious dividends after a few years, and a few years after that your FIRE comes to a screeching halt as your entire portfolio is worth zero with nobody buying/selling anything.

So if you want society and industry and commerce to continue, you need kids. If you want it to continue optimally, you probably need to provide some incentives and help for those who have them. The kids you are subsidizing through public education and tax breaks and all that other stuff are the reason you can become FI at all.

Society and the economy are not zero sum games. Taking money from you to pay for my kids might seem unfair on it's face, but it's arguably beneficial to BOTH of us in actuality.

-W


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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #76 on: April 04, 2014, 05:13:00 PM »
This is just silly. There is zero question that children benefit everyone economically. You can argue about the precise numbers of children you want as compared to adults for an optimal output, but just consider your precious Vanguard funds, for example. All those companies rely on at least a continued base of consumers/customers to exist 10 or 20 or 40 years from now. A stable base would be good. A growing base will be good in some ways (financially) and bad in others (arguably environmentally.) A quickly shrinking base will mean you don't get your precious dividends after a few years, and a few years after that your FIRE comes to a screeching halt as your entire portfolio is worth zero with nobody buying/selling anything.

So if you want society and industry and commerce to continue, you need kids. If you want it to continue optimally, you probably need to provide some incentives and help for those who have them. The kids you are subsidizing through public education and tax breaks and all that other stuff are the reason you can become FI at all.

Society and the economy are not zero sum games. Taking money from you to pay for my kids might seem unfair on it's face, but it's arguably beneficial to BOTH of us in actuality.

-W

+1.  Could not have phrased bettter or more politely on my best day.

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #77 on: April 04, 2014, 07:08:09 PM »
Probably going to regret diving into this thread, but:

If I had my kids at the exact same age (starting at age 21 and no, not planned at all), but changed one thing (made myself Mustachian at age 18) I would already be FI - or very, very close - despite never grossing more than $65K a year.

Parents can sure as fuck save money.

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #78 on: April 04, 2014, 07:31:53 PM »
"Want to move to a new area?  Will it mess up the school year?" 

Is this being considered a serious holdback??  I was an Army brat, moved every 3-4 years and not necessarily between school years.  I can assure you I wasn't harmed by it and the world did not end.

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #79 on: April 04, 2014, 07:34:31 PM »
Subsidizing low-income children creates an incentive for the welfare crowd to breed.  From an evolutionary standpoint, it be better to subsidize the lost wages of higher earners.

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #80 on: April 04, 2014, 07:58:50 PM »
MMM raises kids on what, $25K a year?   I don't think parents need more than the really nice tax credits they already get.  Kids also do not have to go to a $100,000 ivy when state schools are quite inexpensive and spending the first two years getting core subjects done at a community college is cheaper still.


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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #81 on: April 04, 2014, 08:13:16 PM »
MMM raises kids on what, $25K a year?   I don't think parents need more than the really nice tax credits they already get.  Kids also do not have to go to a $100,000 ivy when state schools are quite inexpensive and spending the first two years getting core subjects done at a community college is cheaper still.

As I said, MMM's numbers do not have more than a distant relationship with the real world experience of most parents.

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #82 on: April 04, 2014, 08:24:09 PM »
"Want to move to a new area?  Will it mess up the school year?" 

Is this being considered a serious holdback??  I was an Army brat, moved every 3-4 years and not necessarily between school years.  I can assure you I wasn't harmed by it and the world did not end.

Aside from making you a brat?  :)

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #83 on: April 04, 2014, 10:19:58 PM »
If it provides more than ancillary value (which it does) to someone then it doesn't become a subsidy.  A well run school will increase the value of your home providing you a return on that investment.

Not so.  First,  looking at a the house as an investment, I would have had to pay a higher cost to buy the house in the first place because of the well-run* school, so I would have no net gain.

*Assuming the school stays the same over the time between purchase and sale.  Of course it could also go downhill, meaning I'd lose.

Second point is that a higher resale value doesn't benefit me personally, or anyone else who looks at a house as a place to live, rather than an investment.  It's quite likely that I will never sell my current house.  So all that higher home value does for me is increase my assessed property valuation, and hence my real estate tax.  So again, negative benefit.

This is just silly. There is zero question that children benefit everyone economically.

Sorry.  You can claim that there's zero question, but that doesn't make it so.  Indeed, even making the claim would seem to demonstrate that you're out of touch with reality, or at least haven't bothered to read the whole thread.  Several people have posed questions, meaning the number is greater than zero. 

Quote
Society and the economy are not zero sum games. Taking money from you to pay for my kids might seem unfair on it's face, but it's arguably beneficial to BOTH of us in actuality.

Only if you get to define what constitutes a benefit :-)

Certainly it's true that society & the economy are not zero-sum games.  Sometimes they're negative sum games.  For instance, suppose we have a nice park, and our taxes pay for a maintenance staff that cleans up trash & repairs vandalism.  You carelessly toss your trash around, spray-paint graffiti on the rocks, &c.  I do none of these things.  Now even though the park is a benefit to both of us, am I not subsidizing your use of it?

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #84 on: April 05, 2014, 06:38:03 AM »
While not in the military I too moved mid-school year across the country.  This is not a road block.  If your point is that parents have to plain with there kids in mind then yes I concede the point, parents have to think about there kids.

Don't think it has been mentioned but us childfree also help subsidize employer provided helth insurance.  Where I worked we looked at switching plains few years back and it was an open joke about there being three interest blocks-childfree-married with out children and married with children. 

I think we would all agree that the cost of raising a child can very wildly, mmm did not make up his numbers.  But he was able to structure his life to not need outside paid childcare, this may not be practical or bottom line optimal for a large number of parents.

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #85 on: April 05, 2014, 01:41:17 PM »
The child raising numbers are ludicrous.

18 years * median family income of $60,000 = $1,080,000 in income.

median 2.2 children * $310,000 per child = $682,000 spent on child care per median family over 18 years.  (We'll ignore staggered births.)

That means that 63% of the family's income was consumed by those children. 

That's ludicrous.  No one needs to do that.
My daughter, because of her daycare costs 35% of my budget which does not even account for housing costs which they normally do (we bought looking a duplexes that were 2 or 3 bedroom so really the 3rd bedroom is not really because of her so I don't count it).  It is a choice I made, and don't expect anyone to help with it, but I am not surprised that you could add up to 63%.

No, ~60% of before-tax income is WAY too high for an average. The article is bogus.

I do plan on having kids.
Even daycare alone would be almost 50% of my before tax budget, again, if we had two kids and they were going to daycare at the same time.  The number does not surprise me at all.  You may plan to have kids, but I know what the cost is now.

This is about what daycare costs would be for two kids around here as well.

Daycare doesn't last 18 years. It lasts 3-5 years tops, so the proportion of your income spent on your child should go way down once they reach school age. Why would parents need to continue spending at that rate for the entire 18 years that Slate's article posits?
Then you have afterschool care and summer care for the next 8-10 years which can be quite a bit too.  But my point is, not even considering a ton that they consider the "child's expenses", I can see how that amount is reached.  If you go over that amount for 5 of 18 years, I think that does matter.

But Slate's estimate is that parents spend 63% of their income on children. It's totally ludicrous, not to mention impossible for most people, to spend that much. Even daycare doesn't cost 63% of household income, and afterschool/summer care costs less than daycare.

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #86 on: April 05, 2014, 02:57:23 PM »
This is just silly. There is zero question that children benefit everyone economically.

Sorry.  You can claim that there's zero question, but that doesn't make it so.  Indeed, even making the claim would seem to demonstrate that you're out of touch with reality, or at least haven't bothered to read the whole thread.  Several people have posed questions, meaning the number is greater than zero. 

No.  You're the only one trying to argue that children don't benefit everyone economically.  Other people are posing questions about how much it costs to have kids, how much it may or may not effect your earnings potential, and how much the state should encourage, or give advantageous treatment to people who have kids (through tax breaks, etc..). Questions that are certainly up for debate. 

But- there is indeed zero question that children benefit everyone economically, because, and i'm going out on a limb here, if we stopped having children the economy would collapse and society would end. 

Gin1984

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #87 on: April 05, 2014, 03:11:48 PM »
The child raising numbers are ludicrous.

18 years * median family income of $60,000 = $1,080,000 in income.

median 2.2 children * $310,000 per child = $682,000 spent on child care per median family over 18 years.  (We'll ignore staggered births.)

That means that 63% of the family's income was consumed by those children. 

That's ludicrous.  No one needs to do that.
My daughter, because of her daycare costs 35% of my budget which does not even account for housing costs which they normally do (we bought looking a duplexes that were 2 or 3 bedroom so really the 3rd bedroom is not really because of her so I don't count it).  It is a choice I made, and don't expect anyone to help with it, but I am not surprised that you could add up to 63%.

No, ~60% of before-tax income is WAY too high for an average. The article is bogus.

I do plan on having kids.
Even daycare alone would be almost 50% of my before tax budget, again, if we had two kids and they were going to daycare at the same time.  The number does not surprise me at all.  You may plan to have kids, but I know what the cost is now.

This is about what daycare costs would be for two kids around here as well.

Daycare doesn't last 18 years. It lasts 3-5 years tops, so the proportion of your income spent on your child should go way down once they reach school age. Why would parents need to continue spending at that rate for the entire 18 years that Slate's article posits?
Then you have afterschool care and summer care for the next 8-10 years which can be quite a bit too.  But my point is, not even considering a ton that they consider the "child's expenses", I can see how that amount is reached.  If you go over that amount for 5 of 18 years, I think that does matter.

But Slate's estimate is that parents spend 63% of their income on children. It's totally ludicrous, not to mention impossible for most people, to spend that much. Even daycare doesn't cost 63% of household income, and afterschool/summer care costs less than daycare.
Actually no, they estimated the cost of a child, which according to the US government includes their portion of the rent etc.  My daughter's daycare costs 1/4 of our gross income, we play to have two children, if you account for both kids, plus food, housing, clothes and yes after school care, it does add up.  We spend over $1000/month in daycare and we live in an extremely LCOLA.  I would be surprised if they added up to over 50% of a parent's gross income.

warfreak2

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #88 on: April 05, 2014, 03:39:34 PM »
But- there is indeed zero question that children benefit everyone economically, because, and i'm going out on a limb here, if we stopped having children the economy would collapse and society would end.
Technically, this shows that the average benefit to society per child is positive, but not that the marginal benefit to society of an additional child is positive. That means you can't point at a random parent and say "your child is a negative contribution to society" because the average child is a benefit to society (also, it would make you a dick!). But it's the marginal benefit or cost to society, per additional child, that determines whether it's beneficial to incentivise parents to have more, or fewer children.

I think the problem is that when we talk about "incentivising", people get the impression that it means making it profitable for parents to have children; of course, that's something the government shouldn't do. In practice, these incentives make it (financially) less of a negative, but (financially) still a big negative.

My point is that this isn't really an argument about whether it's right for somebody without children to subsidise somebody with children; that's a "microscopic" effect. (It's also about the average, rather than at the margin). Economic policies should be decided by their macroscopic effects: does this benefit or harm society overall? The macroscopic effects of reducing these tax breaks would be greater tax revenue, and fewer children. The IRS already has the data to calculate how much additional tax revenue that would be. But, how many fewer children? I don't really know, I suspect there are economists and sociologists who have an estimate.

So, to those who want to see these tax breaks cut: how many fewer children do you think there should be, and why?

fixer-upper

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #89 on: April 05, 2014, 04:27:08 PM »
My point is that this isn't really an argument about whether it's right for somebody without children to subsidise somebody with children; that's a "microscopic" effect. (It's also about the average, rather than at the margin). Economic policies should be decided by their macroscopic effects: does this benefit or harm society overall? The macroscopic effects of reducing these tax breaks would be greater tax revenue, and fewer children. The IRS already has the data to calculate how much additional tax revenue that would be. But, how many fewer children? I don't really know, I suspect there are economists and sociologists who have an estimate.

So, to those who want to see these tax breaks cut: how many fewer children do you think there should be, and why?

It isn't an either/or situation, and the whole proposition leads to the question of whether it would be better to change our economic model rather than provide subsidies to stack more consumers in crowded cities. 

Our current economic system is built around the need for constant inflation, which leads politicians to encourage population growth to fuel that inflation.  The need for monetary velocity is the primary reason why you won't see illegal aliens being deported, ever rising medical/education/housing/food costs, etc.  It's a failing model, and propping it up through an increase in slavery/taxes isn't necessarily a good thing.  Treating children as stock animals to harvest their future labor through taxes isn't the most moral thing either.

How much earlier could you retire if we lived in a hard currency economy where 5% of your purchasing power wasn't stolen via inflation each year?  How many years do you work to pay the taxes which support population growth?  Should we aim for a situation where raising children on 5 acres is an affordable alternative to a condo?

To answer your question; I believe we should aim for a slow population decline to roughly 150 million people in the US.  At that level, our population should be sustainable on an organic level rather than relying on GMO crops, oil-based fertilizers, etc.






waltworks

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #90 on: April 05, 2014, 04:35:50 PM »
I think some people like to live in a fantasy world where utilitarian concerns don't matter and we can legislate entirely based on fairness/freedom for the individual. Concepts like, say, stop signs don't work in that world, of course.

It would be interesting to do a real analysis of the optimal level of fertility, but there is a lot going on there in terms of non-quantifiable preferences (how much do you like immigrants? Ok with birth control? etc) so it's probably a fool's errand. Suffice to say it's definitely not zero, and that you could spend a lot of time arguing about what the optimal level is, but that the minescule benefits given to support child rearing by the state are dwarfed by the contributions those children will make.

The desireability of *some* inflation is not related to population growth, just FYI. Without exchange, no more economy. Without economy, no more FI or fun times.

-W

But- there is indeed zero question that children benefit everyone economically, because, and i'm going out on a limb here, if we stopped having children the economy would collapse and society would end.
Technically, this shows that the average benefit to society per child is positive, but not that the marginal benefit to society of an additional child is positive. That means you can't point at a random parent and say "your child is a negative contribution to society" because the average child is a benefit to society (also, it would make you a dick!). But it's the marginal benefit or cost to society, per additional child, that determines whether it's beneficial to incentivise parents to have more, or fewer children.

I think the problem is that when we talk about "incentivising", people get the impression that it means making it profitable for parents to have children; of course, that's something the government shouldn't do. In practice, these incentives make it (financially) less of a negative, but (financially) still a big negative.

My point is that this isn't really an argument about whether it's right for somebody without children to subsidise somebody with children; that's a "microscopic" effect. (It's also about the average, rather than at the margin). Economic policies should be decided by their macroscopic effects: does this benefit or harm society overall? The macroscopic effects of reducing these tax breaks would be greater tax revenue, and fewer children. The IRS already has the data to calculate how much additional tax revenue that would be. But, how many fewer children? I don't really know, I suspect there are economists and sociologists who have an estimate.

So, to those who want to see these tax breaks cut: how many fewer children do you think there should be, and why?

warfreak2

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #91 on: April 05, 2014, 04:48:51 PM »
It's hard to engage with an argument based on fundamentals I'm not going to agree with - all I can really say is I don't think "future tax income" is the reason children are beneficial to society, I don't agree with the conflation of tax and slavery, and I don't agree with the description of inflation as theft. Waltworks already noted that inflation doesn't have to be related to population growth so I won't labour that point.

That said, we might agree on the desirability of maintaining a lower population. I'm not really sold on it either way. There are some enormous benefits of having more people, because we have a productive society in which each person's work can potentially help everyone else, and more people means everyone is helped by more people. But as you suggest, there are also strong ecological and environmental reasons to prefer a smaller population. It might interest you that the current US fertility rate is actually slightly below the replacement rate.

brewer12345

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #92 on: April 05, 2014, 05:18:16 PM »
To answer your question; I believe we should aim for a slow population decline to roughly 150 million people in the US.  At that level, our population should be sustainable on an organic level rather than relying on GMO crops, oil-based fertilizers, etc.

Sweet!  Every city will be Detroit!  I figure a 12 gauge loaded with buckshot should take care of feral pitbulls.

fixer-upper

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #93 on: April 05, 2014, 05:37:33 PM »
It's hard to engage with an argument based on fundamentals I'm not going to agree with - all I can really say is I don't think "future tax income" is the reason children are beneficial to society, I don't agree with the conflation of tax and slavery, and I don't agree with the description of inflation as theft. Waltworks already noted that inflation doesn't have to be related to population growth so I won't labour that point.

I do view inflation as theft.  We all know that cash sitting unused loses purchasing power, but if you invest to keep up with true inflation, the government taxes the "income".  Either way, something is taken from us.

And while inflation doesn't have to be related to population growth, it is.  Waltwork's hypothesis is valid, but still relies on changes to the economy.

Quote
That said, we might agree on the desirability of maintaining a lower population. I'm not really sold on it either way. There are some enormous benefits of having more people, because we have a productive society in which each person's work can potentially help everyone else, and more people means everyone is helped by more people. But as you suggest, there are also strong ecological and environmental reasons to prefer a smaller population. It might interest you that the current US fertility rate is actually slightly below the replacement rate.

The ultimate population is open to debate.  As you point out, more can be better, but not always because quality tends to decrease with quantity and population density.  Example:  If you were looking for an employee and had the choice of a random kid from the streets of Chicago or someone who grew up on a farm, which would you pick?

fixer-upper

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #94 on: April 05, 2014, 05:48:45 PM »
To answer your question; I believe we should aim for a slow population decline to roughly 150 million people in the US.  At that level, our population should be sustainable on an organic level rather than relying on GMO crops, oil-based fertilizers, etc.

Sweet!  Every city will be Detroit!  I figure a 12 gauge loaded with buckshot should take care of feral pitbulls.

Detroit is a perfect example of a place being kept as a slum due to forced redistribution of wealth.  Without section 8 and EBT money, it would clear out before next winter, and be a prime candidate for redevelopment.

With the continued flow of welfare benefits, it will continue to stagnate as a place where most of us wouldn't dare to live.

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #95 on: April 05, 2014, 05:59:50 PM »
Ok, this is just a libertarian (extreme libertarian, at that) vs. not argument, then. Which is not going to get resolved here or anywhere else, anytime soon. Once you start throwing around the "taxation is theft" thing it's hard to have a rational discussion (privatize all roads? disband the armed forces, fire departments, and police? The ends don't justify the means, and taxation is theft!) anymore.

So I think it's probably best to say we disagree on the fundamental principles of how society should function and leave it at that.

-W

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #96 on: April 05, 2014, 06:29:05 PM »
To answer your question; I believe we should aim for a slow population decline to roughly 150 million people in the US.  At that level, our population should be sustainable on an organic level rather than relying on GMO crops, oil-based fertilizers, etc.

Sweet!  Every city will be Detroit!  I figure a 12 gauge loaded with buckshot should take care of feral pitbulls.

Detroit is a perfect example of a place being kept as a slum due to forced redistribution of wealth.  Without section 8 and EBT money, it would clear out before next winter, and be a prime candidate for redevelopment.

With the continued flow of welfare benefits, it will continue to stagnate as a place where most of us wouldn't dare to live.

Praying at the altar of St. Ayn Rand?  Can Ayn Rand fit through the eye of the needle?

fixer-upper

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #97 on: April 05, 2014, 06:58:08 PM »
Ok, this is just a libertarian (extreme libertarian, at that) vs. not argument, then. Which is not going to get resolved here or anywhere else, anytime soon. Once you start throwing around the "taxation is theft" thing it's hard to have a rational discussion (privatize all roads? disband the armed forces, fire departments, and police? The ends don't justify the means, and taxation is theft!) anymore.

So I think it's probably best to say we disagree on the fundamental principles of how society should function and leave it at that.

-W

You're portraying me as an extreme libertarian, which isn't correct.  I'm not anti-tax, but I am a hard currency advocate who hates paying capital gains taxes for simply breaking even.  I'd welcome social credit over Keynesian (and possibly Austrian) economics, but I'm guessing most people here never learned of the social credit movement since it isn't taught in US schools.   

If you read up on the theory, you'll find that it promotes exactly what this thread is asking for, but without discriminatory taxation.  The method relies on stimulus going directly to the people rather than the banks, which promotes optimum velocity without the deflationary effects of interest and taxes.

Edit:
It also promotes the Mustachian ideal of FIRE, freeing people to work as they wish and encouraging entrepreneurs rather than the current status quo of people making more on welfare than they could through work.

Praying at the altar of St. Ayn Rand?  Can Ayn Rand fit through the eye of the needle?

C.H. Douglas, actually...and he'd fit through the eye a good deal easier than Keynes.



« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 07:21:22 PM by fixer-upper »

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #98 on: April 05, 2014, 09:43:21 PM »
Quote
Then there's 13 years (or more) of K-12 education that parents get for free.

Newsflash: public school isn't free.  At least, not like it was when I was a kid back in the dark ages (70s and 80s).

Want to play a sport?  No longer do you get to wear 20-year old uniforms, you have to buy new.
Want science, computers, art, music, or PE?  Your parents better fork over some cash, because those aren't included in an elementary education anymore!

It doesn't matter if *you* have children.  If *you* went to public school, then you benefit from public school.

And someone else mentioned how childcare does not last 18 years.  Depends, do you work?  If you do, then childcare costs do not end at kindergarten.  There is after school care and summer camp.

mm1970

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Re: Slate Magazine Says Tax the Childless, Parents Can't Save Money!
« Reply #99 on: April 05, 2014, 09:46:45 PM »
Tax code? How about mandatory parental leave like the rest of the "civilized" world?

Only if those without children get the same amount of "personal growth" time . .  you choose to have a kid, maybe we want that same amount of time to choose to climb a mountain, etc.  or tackle some other life goal outside the office.   I'm all for expanded mandatory minimums on paid time off, but not if it is under the guise of "parental leave" where companies can discriminate the childless because it's not "for the kids".
FMLA (and the reasons for taking it) is dictated by the government, not companies.