Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Parental Entitlement Revisted

Today my staff and I were celebrating a birthday and enjoying some birthday cake. We always get to discussing some interesting topics during these parties and today the subject of property taxes came up. This is a hot button issue for me as I live in one of the highest property tax states in the U.S. and hubby and I are really struggling financially right now, in large part due to this.

The birthday lady (aged 68) complained that she has to pay such high taxes when she is long past the days of having kids in the public schools. I complained that it is unfair that seniors and people without kids have to pay as high property taxes as people with kids. I stated my opinion that all citizens should contribute to the schools, but that those with kids should contribute more, perhaps an additional flat rate per child. The more kids a household has, the higher taxes they pay. THAT seems fair to me.

At this point, a young mom of 4 spoke up, "Yes, but the people with kids can't afford to pay more because they have kids to support."

And this is when Firecracker Mandy made her appearance. "True, but having kids is a choice. It's not like being afflicted with some disease that you have no control over."

That shut her up real quick.

I am continually amazed by the entitlement that people feel simply because they have kids. "I have kids and it's a struggle to support them so YOU help me out and pay for my kids' education." It's always this attitude of roll-out-the-red-carpet-for-the-"families". Pop out a kid and receive free meal tickets. Everyone should open their wallets wide for those who made the choice to reproduce. "I reproduce, therefore I receive."

It's truly sickening.


T said...

I feel the same way! I hate seeing friends and relatives getting money back on their tax return just because they have kids, it pisses me off. And in my state, school lunches are paid by liquor sales/taxes, and in a teetotaling state with LOTS of kids (utah), it leaves the rest of us to pay for them. We have one of the worst states for money going toward education... gee I wonder why? Everyone's getting tax breaks for having kids and leaving the childfree / nearly retired population to pay for them!

Sorry, had to rant. My husband and I talk about this a lot, glad to read your blog and see we're not alone :)

Spectra said...

I most definitely agree with you about the property tax issue. If you have children living at home, you should be paying more taxes than people that either have no children or whose children are no longer in the public school system. If I'm not using the public school system, why should I have to pay for it? Besides, people who have kids get a huge write-off on their taxes as it is. I seriously doubt they struggle SO much that they can't afford to pay a little more for their kids' schooling.

Unknown said...

Sickening and unfair indeed. But I guess there will never be the much needed change in tax law to cost the parents more, because whoever tries this will lose the votes in the next election.

Our only hope is worldwide awareness that having kids will ruin quality of life for everyone, at least for the next few decades. Every day I feel blessed to not have an unnecessary human dependent on me and the society as a whole.

SurferWife said...

Sure the mother of four has the wrong attitude about it. In agreement there.

However, it is these children that 'you' (term used loosely) don't want to support in their education that will be paying into YOUR social security.

Just because somebody chooses not to have children doesn't mean other people's children wont affect them and their lifestyle. What goes around comes around.

Interesting topic.

charmed said...

yeah, I won't be buying any houses in areas with high property taxes, I'm not paying for anyone elses kids free education.

Vodka Logic said...

Sure having children is a choice but I should not be penalized for what nature and evolution wants me to do, as do i.

Paying taxes for schools ensures that the children are educated and don't roam the streets, and are smart enough to go to college to become the doctors etc that you will need when you are old. They be the police and firefighters that help protect you in your overpriced house that you bought while I paid your share of taxes.

That huge tax right off isn't as huge as you think and is in jeopardy of getting cut. Perhaps more people on the dole would make you happy.

Don't have kids please, selfish people like you shouldn't have kids.

Thanks for letting me say my opinion, and god bless a country that allows us to disagree

Fanboy Wife said...

I really don't mind paying taxes for education because I went to public school for free, and now I'm just paying it back. However, I do think that people with more kids should contribute more since they are reaping the benefits.

Jaime said...

I totally agree... let's keep taking more and more money away from the schools. I mean it's not like these kids are going to be the ones running the country when we're 68. What do we care if they're uneducated?

Laura said...

Hooray for you! More of us need to stand up and say this!

Childfreeeee said...

I'd like to ask the parents who are commenting here (and who have a problem with my post) to explain to me how it is fair that a childfree couple (or a senior couple) pay AS MUCH property tax as a family with children? Apparently you missed the point I made in my post that I feel everyone should contribute to the schools. But why should my husband and I (who do not have children using the schools) pay AS MUCH as you? Why shouldn't you pay MORE?
And why shouldn't a family's property tax increase proportionately with each child they have? Should a family like the Duggars who have 18 kids pay the same taxes as the rest of us?

Come on.

And let's get a grip on the contributions of your little darlings. Contrary to the fantasy of parents, most children DO NOT grow up to be doctors or scientists who discover a cure for cancer. A large percentage of children grow up to become adults to detract from society, add to global warming, and drain social and environmental resources, instead of contribute.

Wix said...

Here's the thing though, at the end of the day childed people FAR outnumber the childfree. This means come election time they can easily outvote us on any issue. No politician would dare commit political suicide for themselves/their party by trying to implant something like a fee per child. Instead the government gives them bonuses and tax reductions, that's right - REDUCTIONS, so currently in many places the childfree actually pay MORE tax.

I don't expect to even see equality in my lifetime, seeing it charged as it should be (the childed paying more) sadly seems like a pipe dream.

Childfreeeee said...

Oh yes, Wix. I am totally aware my idea of fairness is a PIPE DREAM. Politicians know where their bread is buttered.

CFVixen said...

Wow...the parents disagree (gasp!) Of course you should care if your kids are educated. They are YOUR kids. Take care of them. Quit expecting others to do it.

Like Mandy, I'm all for everyone supporting the schools. It does make sense. But why should the value of your home dictate how much support you are to give? What is the logic there? (Oh yeah, I forgot...VODKA logic!) Shouldn't the ones who chose to bring more kids into the world be supporting the schools at a higher level?

We pay extremely high taxes as well, and we've been voting down the school levy that comes up in every election. It's been shot down six times, yet they keep trying. All of the parents are up in arms about it. So here's a solution: if you are so worried about the schools and YOUR children's future, YOU give more! It's obviously something that is important to YOU. Don't worry about taxes. Just write out a check. I'm sure they'd accept it.

Hania1977 said...

I live in the UK where everyone who has a child has Child Tax Credits and Child Benefit. Not just per person - per CHILD. This makes my blood boil. Why should tax payers pay for people to have children? Thank goodness the government have finally come to their senses and realised that it is morally WRONG to expect a single person on a salary of around £25k per year to have to support the child of a couple who between them earn over £100k. This is an example of how things have been for way too long in our twisted country. It makes me sick, so I totally agree with everything you say, and then some!

Christy said...

It's a lovely pipe dream, tho! I agree with what Joy said. And why on god's green earth, can't there be more decent trade schools for people who don't want to or who can't compete academically? Must we pretend everyone is college-material? There is no shame in working with one's hands.

I went to private school, so I never had to suffer thru that hell, but I never supposedly benefited from it, either. Now I have an agricultural tax deduction---we let a farmer keep some cows on our land. Otherwise, it would break us.

I would just like to know why these parents don't want to teach their children themselves...oh yeah, because they can't stand their own brats. I forgot. That's not fun and kodak-ey. Public schools are a joke. They truly get what they DON'T pay for.

What you said to that lady at the party took guts! I'm proud. My final answer is NO tax breaks for people with kids! They should definitely be paying more.

J.S. said...

I literally clapped out loud to your retort to the mother-of-4, ""True, but having kids is a choice. It's not like being afflicted with some disease that you have no control over."

Thank you for saying that SO well!

Wix said...


Social security is an unsustainable ponzi scheme. Funny you bring it up as many politicians have historically (as well as currently) also used it to try and push the populace to have more kids (typically at least 3 kids per two parents).

That of course becomes an exponential population explosion in a vicious never-ending cycle until our species finally goes extinct.

Break the cycle, breeders kids need not pay my social security, and I wont pay for their schools. Done deal.

SurferWife said...

As one of the parent commenters above, I do want to clarify to you all, that I do indeed pay hundreds of dollars per child per year towards my school, IN ADDITION TO paying the same taxes as my ederly neighbor.

Hilary said...

As a former teacher and future teacher-of-teachers, the property taxes for the schooling thing truly doesn't bother me, though I can understand why it does others. The better the school, the better your overall community (and house value). There are TONS of tax and other incentives for the childed, though, that do get to me. And as someone who does not plan to have children, I also have to be aware that the whole "next generation pays for your social security" thing will come into play. I do think we should get some sort of "green" credit--or something--for NOT having kids. But hey, if we don't--at least I have more money to go shopping and travel with!

Eddie Beagle said...

I have no problem with paying taxes for schools because it's in everyone's best interested to have an educated society. But you're right, at some point it's kind of crazy and there should be a way to have people with over a certain amount of kids pay more.

And I totally agree with your comment about the "little darlings'" contributions to society :)

Dave said...

Ah, the tired old "Who will pay for your Social Security?" bingo, a feeble attempt to justify the childfree paying school taxes.

First, Social Security is not optional as long as you live in the USA and have reportable income to the IRS, which just about everyone has. But having kids IS optional.

Second, Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, as someone else mentioned. Saying we need more kids to support the system is like saying all Bernie Madoff needed to keep his Ponzi scheme afloat was to find new "investors" to enter his "system."

Third, we childfree have paid SS taxes to pay for the retirement benefits of our elders who paid into the system. So we just want to get something back from it, like everyone else. If not, then we childfree pay taxes to support our elders AND lots of inequitable school taxes (not based on how many kids you have) just to get nothing in return?

Third, not everyone's kids will be productive citizens. we childfree (along with society in general) will pay for kids who end up incarcerated or on welfare for many of their adult years. Throw in their medical bills through SCHIP and Medicaid and that's a lot of money to pay for irresponsible behavior (breeding and parenting).

Gumby said...

Here's what I would like to see happen:

1. Get rid of any and all child tax credits.
As we've been discussing, why should someone receive a benefit just for breeding. It's a choice and a drain on the environment. Sure, some of them could grow up to be pillars of society - and I hope they all do - but still, it's a personal choice to have kids and not, as Mandy said, an uncontrollable disease.

2. Get rid of the whole social security scheme.
I WISH I could opt out of ss like religious professionals (pastors, priests, etc.) can. I would much prefer to invest the money that's taken away from me every month and invest it personally. That way at least I would have control over it and, if I don't do anything stupid with it, I am at least guaranteed to get out of it what I put in. At the age of 39, I have serious doubts as to whether I will actually be collecting what I should out of ss when I'm retired. Also, that would stop the whole bingo of who's going to pay my ss and for me when I'm old crap. I don't expect anyone else to pay for me and I shouldn't have to pay for anyone else!

And no, I'm not selfish with my money - I give money to charitable causes/organizations EVERY MONTH! And guess what? I'd give MORE if I didn't have so much of my EARNED INCOME taken away to give to other people who should be taking care of themselves! (With the exception of those who can't support themselves (at all or adequately) due to physical and/or mental disability, of course.)

OK, I better stop ranting now before I take up the entire page! LOL

Corrinne said...

I probably would have said the same thing. gah! People really drive me nuts sometimes. I realize that much of the money I pay in taxes goes towards things I don't really want it to go to and it is that way for most everyone. I don't mind helping but the parents should be footing more of the bill than a childless citizen. They're the ones that chose to procreate and out come the money-suckers!

But no. They get ridiclous tax credits for each kid. I know a number of women with kids who get a couple grand every year when they get tax returns, simply because they have a kid. And they blow it on going clothes shopping (for themselves) or other selfish things most of the time. Granted, I know that's not everyone, but many of the people I know with kids suck the life out of the system and abuse the hell out of it.

CFVixen said...

Happy to report that our school tax levy did not pass! Whoohooo!

And Gumby...I agree 100% with your post. Get rid of some of these social programs and let me take care of myself!

Unknown said...

I'm childfree-not-by-choice and I believe in funding education. I vote for school bonds on every ballot. I work very hard and I pay plenty of taxes, and really, I don't mind. I want my country continue to be a great place.

So, I don't mind helping pay for great public schools. In fact, I think schools should be at the very top of the government funding list. However, people who have children shouldn't bear less of this burden than I bear. Here is a link to a list of tax credits/breaks just for parents: http://www.ehow.com/about_5218912_federal-tax-deduction-children.html

As for public schools - I went to public schools. I was a national merit scholar, and I have two college degrees. I don't think this country lacks educational opportunities. I think this country lacks good parents.

My mom was a respected and much loved public school teacher for 30 years. She swears that the fault of poorly educated children lies not with the education system, but with parents who fail to spend time reading to their children. Public schools are a scapegoat for parents who use the TV to babysit their children.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think a letters to our elected representatives are in order.

Temujin said...

I'm a little biased, maybe, because I work in the public education sector and don't want to lose any more funding. (And my union seems to think that the main purpose of schools is to emply educators.)

But, I'm not sure I buy the idea that only the people who directly use something should pay the tax for it, like taxes should only be "user fees." If we followed that rule absolutely, you would wind up with an equally absurd system.

I only use a fraction of my city's roads, so why should I pay for all of them? There are some vegetables I won't eat, so why should I taxes for farm subsidies to grow them? I live in a quiet neighborhood, so why should I pay taxes to pay for police when they hardly ever come here? I've only been to a tiny fraction of the National Forest areas, so why should I pay to preserve all of them?

Even if the public school system gives NO benefit for childfree people, and I'm not sure that's true, but let's say it's true, there is always the possibility that a childfree person might have need of that school later. It could be a 'just in case' thing like all the others I've mentioned.

I do agree with eliminating tax breaks for having children, because that is a choice, but in that case I would want to eliminate another untouchable third-rail of American tax policy -- deductions for home mortgages. Buying a house is also a choice. Why should I help other people pay for a house when I can't afford to buy one?

I'm childfree myself, but I'm a renter, and I like to play devil's advocate with arguments I read. Any childfree homeowners out there willing to give up government help in paying off their mortgages?

Christina Megill said...

I am so glad to have found your blog.
This post is from so long ago, but I have a relevant experience. At my workplace (as well as at my friends') the special treatment for time off for maternity/paternity leave is hard to endure for us CF folks. I have "babies" (read as life pursuits- they aren't alive, but they need attention too)... could I have 8 weeks of leave? THREE TIMES!!! I do believe in parental time off, but why is that the only time workers are granted? Oh, that and when my parents are dying. The tax, the time off... it really is a pro-creation world.

beatlefreak81 said...

Maybe if parents weren't so busy buying their kids everythong they see and want, things wouldn't be so difficult. Consumerism at its finest!