Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Commission claims babies harm the economy

Australia's Productivity Commission (clearly not a reproductivity commission) has issued a report urging parents not to have more than two children.  Kids, you see, don't work and don't pay taxes.  They also seem to be causing mommies to stay home to care for them and keeping them from being "productive" citizens.  By choosing to stay at home, these selfish women are "depressing the labour supply and reducing the taxation base."  (Link to story.)

This story is a ridiculous example of egg-head bureaucrats with misplaced priorities.  Children aren't economic resources.  They're people.  And parents don't choose to have children because of the financial benefit.  In fact, they welcome children in spite of their significant costs.

It is also ridiculous to value only work outside the home.  Mothers (or fathers) who choose to stay at home to care for their own children are providing significant value to those children and to society - whether or not that value shows up on a tax return.

Did the commission consider the economic effect of all the goods and services purchased for children?  What about the money spent to keep them entertained?  Fed?  Clothed?  Diapered?  What about people buying new houses or moving to bigger apartments to have room for more kids?  I doubt that any of that was considered.  It doesn't fit the template.

The template seems these days that human beings are bad.  We're destructive of nature and destroying the planet.  The fewer of us - the better.

I have a suggestion for how people who think that there are too many people on the planet can have a direct impact on solving that "problem" themselves.  But I think I'll keep that to myself.


Steve said...

Along these lines, in my federal income tax class last semester, it was revealed to me that there are allegedly intelligent people out there who think that we should be taxing the value of stay-at-home moms' (or dads') work as imputed income, since they could be paying for childcare, home cleaning services, etc. Insanity.

St. Louis Conservative said...

Because, after all, the government has a right to that tax money, right? Insanity is the perfect word for it.

Anonymous said...

That almost sounds like a ploy to show how insane that the tax system is. I hope those inteligent people aren't really serious about that.

We had a slightly similar situation arise at our Catholic school this year. We have a program through which the school buys gift cards from stores at a discounted rate and then sells them to school families and parishioners at face value. The incentive for families to use this system was that the proceeds from the sale to a particular family is applied towards a tuition reduction for that family. Therefore, it is a way to help pay for their children's Catholic education.

We were informed this year that doing this is a tax violation because it's a viewed as a transfer of money from the school to the family and is therefore taxible income, even though there is no actual cash being transfered, just a reduced tuition rate.