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 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.