Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Are we breeding ourselves into poverty, and then extinction?

America’s parent trap
August 9, 2010 by Robert J. Samuelson (hat tip to Noel Sheppard)

Among the government’s most interesting reports is one — published by the Agriculture Department — that estimates what parents spend on their children. The latest version finds, not surprisingly, that the costs are steep. For a middle-class husband-wife family (average pretax income in 2009: $76,250), spending per child is about $12,000 a year. Assuming modest annual inflation (2.8 percent), the report estimates that the family’s spending on a child born in 2009 would total $286,050 by age 17. A two-child family would cost about $600,000. All these estimates may be understated because they do not include college costs.

These dry statistics ought to inform the deficit debate, because a budget is not just a catalogue of programs and taxes. It reflects a society’s priorities and values. Our society does not — despite rhetoric to the contrary — put much value on raising children. Present budget policies punish parents, who are taxed heavily to support the elderly. Meanwhile, tax breaks for children are modest. If deficit reduction aggravates these biases, more Americans may choose not to have children or to have fewer children. Down that path lies economic decline.

Societies that cannot replace their populations discourage investment and innovation. They have stagnant or shrinking markets for goods and services. With older populations, they resist change. For a country to stabilize its population — discounting immigration — women must have an average of about two children. That’s a “fertility rate” of two. Many countries with struggling economies are well below that. Japan’s fertility rate is 1.2. Italy’s is 1.3, as is Spain’s. These countries are having about one child for every two adults.

The U.S. fertility rate isn’t yet close to these dismal levels. In 2007, it was at the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman, reports the National Center for Health Statistics. Hispanics were at 3.0, and other groups clustered near replacement: 1.9 for non-Hispanic whites, 2.1 for non-Hispanic blacks and 2.0 for Asian Americans. (Not all the news is good. About 40 percent of births are to unmarried mothers; many children are entering poor or unstable homes.)

TOTAL FERTILITY RATE

Expenditures on Children by Families, 2009

babies, budget, culture, economy, entitlements, government, ideology, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, philosophy, politics, public policy, socialism, spending, taxes, tragedy, unintended consequences

Filed under: babies, budget, culture, economy, entitlements, government, ideology, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, philosophy, politics, public policy, socialism, spending, taxes, tragedy, unintended consequences

First lady’s $375,000 vacation, but at least it wasn’t on clothes

Remember when the GOP spent $150,000 (of their own private money, raised by contributors) on a campaign wardrobe for Sarah Palin? Michelle Obama spent more than twice that with YOUR TAX MONEY on a vacation. Will this develop into a scandal even half as big as the Palin wardrobe?

Michelle Obama Criticized as “Modern-day Marie Antoinette” Over Spain Vacation
August 5, 2010 by Brian Montopoli

Material girl Michelle Obama is a modern-day Marie Antoinette on a glitzy Spanish vacation
August 5, 2010 by ANDREA TANTAROS


Spanish police close public beach for Michelle Obama’s £250,000 Spanish holiday

August 6, 2010 by UK Daily Mail

Michelle Obama today faced a fresh wave of attacks over her lavish break in Spain with 40 friends, which could easily cost U.S. taxpayers a staggering £50,000 a day.
The First Lady has been lambasted for her extravagance at a time when the economy is still struggling. One blogger went so far as to brand her a modern-day Marie Antoinette.
And her critics will be further annoyed when they learn that the president’s wife had a Spanish beach closed off today so that she, her daughter and their entourage could go for a swim.
Spanish police cleared off a stretch of beach at the Villa Padierna Hotel in Marbella after the Obamas had finished a busy day of sightseeing.

Obama and the party of the rich

Democrats, elitism, government, greed, hypocrisy, scandal, spending, wealthy

Filed under: Democrats, elitism, government, greed, hypocrisy, scandal, spending, wealthy

Who doesn’t trust the American people?

President Obama recently accused the Republicans of having a lack of faith in the American people. I’m not quite sure how insisting the extension of unemployment benefits actually be paid for demonstrates a “lack of faith in the American people.” However, the idea that extending unemployment benefits would discourage people from finding jobs can be seen as a lack of faith. While liberals and other progressives misconstrue Republican concerns as suggesting EVERYONE will stop looking for work because of unemployment benefits (something no one is actually arguing), they ignore the fact that many unemployed have simply quit looking for work. The right wing warning that unemployment benefits encourage people to stop looking for work was never an accusation against anyone who collects such benefits. But for the sake of intellectual honesty we should acknowledge this concern has proven true for many.

When people just stop looking for work
October 2, 2009 by Marketplace

States Where the Unemployed Are Giving Up
July 22, 2009 by LIZ WOLGEMUTH

However serious this problem is, Republicans in Congress are perfectly willing to extend unemployment benefits as long as the government sticks to its recently passed “pay as you go” rules, something Democrats and the President simply won’t acknowledge.

Obama: The GOP lacks faith in the American people
JULY 19, 2010 by Allapundit

But is there any reason to believe Democrats have any faith in the American people?

Harsanyi: Obama’s lack of faith
July 21, 2010 by David Harsanyi

Pelosi bill: Jail for no insurance
November 8, 2009 by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

Democrats, Republicans, budget, economy, funding, government, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, politics, president, propaganda, public policy, socialism, tragedy, video

Filed under: budget, Democrats, economy, funding, government, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, politics, president, propaganda, public policy, Republicans, socialism, tragedy, video

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