Best of breeders

I know. I know. I know that the Daily Telegraph comment pages are just a masterclass in trolling.

I try to resist, but with this, they’ve gone too far.

Janet Daley came up with a whole premise that makes me want to eviscerate my fellow man.


Apparently, Cameron is out to win over the votes of ‘hard-working families’. Whatever his futile ruse is, it’s not adequate for Janet Daley.

She is unequivocal about her answer to the challenge:

he does not address the most prevalent form of anxiety and distress that bedevils a majority of families (and not just those who are "troubled" in the sociological sense): the strain caused by worries about money. Given that this is a problem which could be directly remediable by government – in the form of tax relief for people raising children – it seems distinctly odd that he should fail to mention it.

Tax relief for people raising children. That’s right.

She thinks that people who make the choice to have children should have to pay less tax than people who do not have children.

That’s right. The people who consume school places, place extra burden on medical services, produce extra waste for landfill (disposable nappy mountains anyone?), and demand clean, safe public parks for their children to play in, want to pay less tax than those people who don’t use schools, make scant use of the NHS, produce far less waste (refuse, water, sewage) and have no need of childrens’ playgrounds.

All of these things that children consume cost money. The state provides those funds out of various pots of tax revenue.

Even if those who procreate pay the same in tax as those who don’t, those with children are being subsidised. They pay no extra taxes at any level to fund the services that they require and the child-free do not require. If one adds a tax break for the fecund, those who can’t or won’t breed are being baldly penalised for their  circumstances or choices.

Bringing up children is hard, they say. It’s expensive and tiring.

I know all of this – that’s why I don’t have any children. I made the choice on the basis raising kids places burdens that I have no appetite for.

I’ll have to live with the consequences of my decisions when I’m old and there’s no-one to look after me, they say.

As if.

As if having kids is a guarantee of support in your dotage (it’s not even a guarantee they won’t push you down the stairs so they can have your house).

As if these parents who demand tax breaks are even bearing the consequences of their decisions now, let alone in 40 years time.

Despite not wanting children, it doesn’t mean I’m uncaring or unwilling to accept any undertakings. I have 3 cats and a horse.

The cats cost nearly £2000 a year to feed, plus vet’s bills etc, making nearly £2500 a year.

Keeping a horse is even more expensive. If I want to do everything myself, then I can expect to spend upwards of £5000 a year. If I require any assistance, i can expect that cost to double.

It’s hard. I wanna hand-out. Wah Wah Wah.

No. I don’t. I made considered decisions and now I’m prepared to live with them. Which is as it should be.

In economics, there’s the concept of externalisation. The industrial polluter who saves money on clean technology and emits fumes that are other people’s problem and not the industrialist’s is externalising the cost of his activities. You may of heard the exhortation to “Make the Polluter Pay”.

This means that the externalities must be eliminated and those responsible for producing things that pollute or consume common resources must bear the cost of their activities.

I see no reason why the exact same principle should not apply to having children.

In short, if you want to pollute the world with your offspring, you have to pay for the consequences, and not expect those of us who have made more prudent choices to pick up the tab.


Update:  This just in from the Daily Mash.



6 thoughts on “Best of breeders

  1. “In economics, there’s the concept of externalisation.”
    OK, but isn’t the act of not having children an act of externalisation in time? It tacitly makes use of the conviction that other people have had children, whereas you spent your money upon a pack of wildlife murderers and a pony whose last act upon this earth will be as a Frenchman’s dinner.

    If you choose to regard having children as nothing more than an expense, you are poncing off of the fruits of other people’s labour and money. It is not an honest exchange, it is conscious, deliberate act of seeking to profit in the future from others’ life choices to finance your own pleasures/advantage today. The question is whether you have any money of your own to make it worthwhile for them to care about you when you are old.

    If this is so, your act of externalisation is predicated upon the idea that there will always be a willing supply of biddable females who want to come to Britain to work as nurses, spoonfeed you and wipe your arse with a car sponge in your dotage, (Because everyone wants to live in Britain, now don’t they?) only if you have spent all of your money upon extravagances, none will want to. At the 7.5k a year in declared expenses alone, that could add up to enough money to purchase an annuity to put towards the best healthcare money can buy.

    Instead, are you expecting us – society – to look after you because you spent a large chunk of your income on some long-dead animals? Again, an act of externalisation in time, just like a polluter who feels that someone else can live with foul water or unbreathable air.

    If the rise of the “Idiocracy” of Mike Judge’s film is an issue, should there be methods to stop dumb people breeding? Consider how Mike Judge does not have much of an issue with Clevon in this clip, instead, it is the smug middle class couple who are the real problem.

    Tax breaks for childbearers should be confined to couples who are married perhaps? That would not deter the fat sharons who have no ability to control their impulses. They are on benefits anyway, so why should any form of criteria like that deter them? Benefits, in their way, are a form of tax relief in that they are relief from the expense of living.

    A better idea would be that abortions are not paid for on the NHS. I don’t judge your lifestyle but I am not paying for it, as it constitutes an externality. You don’t want it, you pay to get rid of it, and if you are so cheap that that eventually involves a backstreet lady who butchers you, so much the better as you won’t have any more.

    Choosing to have children to avoid tax is a fantastic idea to encourage more industrious people to breed. You can take the money that you have saved and hire a servant to raise them, surely?

    • You make some very good points, many of which I agree with.

      However, on the basis that I am a net contributor on a massive scale into the state, as well as having private pensions and medical cover, I don’t see how I’m externalising the consequences of my choices.

      What to make of someone who is not a net contributor, and who chooses ‘not to breed’ is another question altogether.

      The question of whether these policies are intended to persuade the “right kind of people” to reproduce is an interesting one as well, and what unintended consequences that may have.

      Personally I think the whole idea of taxing people differently depending on their lifestyle choices is grotesque and riddled with moral hazards.

  2. Pingback: If A Tapeworm Could Speak… | Orphans of Liberty

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