11 October 2011

Abolish child poverty by not having kids you can't afford

An Institute for Fiscal Studies report in the UK has said that government changes to welfare policy will result in it failing to meet targets to eliminate child poverty by 2020.

There is an absurd “legally binding target” to eliminate child poverty by 2020 in the UK. That in itself is a gross misuse of the law. Laws should not be passed to demand that government ensure certain social outcomes arise (there is a similar stupid law requiring the government to reduce CO2 emissions, who gets penalised if the government fails?).

Child poverty in 2021 is largely preventable now. There is no need for any children under 10 to be raised in poverty by 2021. This is my strategy for eliminating child poverty for the under 10s by 2012.

If you can’t afford to raise children then:

1. Contraception is free (taxpayer funded), use it;
2. If it fails, there is a waiting list of financially secure people ready to adopt;
3. First trimester abortions are available for free on the NHS;

So don’t have children you can’t afford.

Some people have children they can afford but circumstances change. That is not preventable, although if taxation were lower, more could afford to take out insurance to cover such situations.

Child poverty is first and foremost the responsibility of the people who brought the child into the world in the first place. Parents have the responsibility to consider how to bring up their kids, how to pay for them, how to provide them what they need.

Nothing would be more important than for government to make this, seemingly obvious point, clear.

In addition, don’t allow anyone to immigrate with children if they also cannot afford to keep them.

One way to do that would be to painlessly phase out the child benefit. Declare that one year from now, no one will get child benefit for any future children. 

Child poverty is not a disease you catch, it is not the responsibility of everyone who doesn’t have children and those who have them, who can afford them.

It wont be eradicated by governments, political parties and “charities” calling for taxpayers to be fleeced to constantly pay for people to raise children they should not have had in the first place.

Depending on government to fix a social problem is deluded and misguided. The best way government can help is to get out of the way. Make the first £10,000 EVERYONE earns be free of income tax and national insurance as a start, and stop paying people to breed.  Raise the income tax free threshold according to GDP growth every year


Lindsay Mitchell said...

Great post title. Says it all. I blogged yesterday about how 23 percent of NZ children born in 2010 were on a benefit by year end. That is exactly why we have so much 'child poverty'. Yes, some children live in poor working homes but even the government is now admitting that, at the same level of income, the children in the working homes do better.

We just have to keep stating the obvious Scott.

Mark Hubbard said...

You won't have seen it, but a couple of weekends ago on current affairs program, The Nation, they did a piece on poverty and (not enough) state housing in South Auckland. One segment was an interview with a class of school children, all Polynesian, about 15 to 16 years old (my guess). They were intelligent kids, but the most significant thing any of them said was the state houses needed to be built much bigger because they had big families, and the average sized state house thus led to over-crowding.

He answered a lot of questions with that statement: but none of the questions the MSM reporter was actually asking, as the piece was about how dreadful the current government was for not building state houses fast enough.

Jarlsberg's Chosen said...

Plans that require immediate universal co-operation are cool now? Okay then, lower taxes to a reasonable level by voting in a government that will cut taxes. Done. It is now irrational for you to complain about high taxes, because I have solved the problem.

ZenTiger said...

Great post title, almost says it all. Now add this bit:

To end poverty, kill yourself if you find yourself without sufficient funds.

Libertyscott said...

Finnegan - No, the point is that the people who claim to care about child poverty don't ever point the finger at people who breed without considering how they might look after their kids. I'm not seeking others to be forced to pay for me, others are seeking for me to be forced to pay for them.

Zen - You surely don't think that the primary responsibility for looking after children is the state? Since when do people have the right to have a comfortable living and breed at the expense of others? I've spend several years delaying breeding, in part, because I did not believe I could provide an adequate standard of living for kids, I'm rather fed up paying nearly half my income to pay for those who complain about the life choices they make.

ZenTiger said...

Hi LibertyScott.

Why on earth do you assume all of that (about the Welfare State) from what I said? That's a mighty big assumption.

But your second portion raises an interesting point, one I learned too late.

I too thought I had to delay children until I was financially secure - but the thing is, I was never in real poverty so I was waiting for all the wrong reasons. After my first child, my entire world perspective changed, and for the better. I grew up a lot more than I realised, and I wish I'd started earlier.

Libertyscott said...

Zen - In part it is in response to your rather vile corrolary that I'd support people killing themselves if they are poor. There is a world of difference between taking responsibility for your life and the life of another, and then giving up completely on yourself. Having known a couple of suicides (and they were teenagers from middle class homes) I'm rather saddened you'd take such a cheap shot.

However I DO like your recent point. I think you're right, and well the truth about me is that I am the result of an unwanted pregnancy by an unmarried mother who adopted me out. For me, I'd love to have children, but I want them to be in a position of stability that they deserve, which I can't offer them right now.

I strongly believe a core part of the child poverty problem comes from men who won't control their own fertility or take responsibility for the consequences of it. However, any time anyone debates about responsibility in poverty it is assumed it is somehow "mean". I simply think that having children when one is on welfare is simply immoral.

ZenTiger said...

LS, you do not need to assume that my comment was meant to imply you would support suicide. I didn't think that for a moment, not mean to imply that.

It was, I agree, a comment meant to shock.

Just as you consider it immoral to have children if one is on welfare (and I can fully understand your point), I consider it immoral to terminate a life due to financial reasons. Whether the life is 2 months from being born or two weeks after being born.

I also understand why people do it though, and wish our society had better alternatives to this.

The solution to this issue isn't necessarily the welfare state though.

We are seeing around the developed world that the welfare state is not sustainable without some massive adjustment in the financial system.

There also needs to be a massive adjustment in men's attitudes and responsibility towards children they have fathered. Big ask though - we seem to be slipping backwards, and this is in part the fault of the perverse incentives the welfare state places upon the irresponsible, and rewards them for it.

Good luck with your own journey. Don't wait too long.

James said...

Sniff...feeling that love in the room.....;-)