Like a lot of academics I lean towards socialism. Ideologically, I agree with socialism, and I truly take to heart that we should all be treated equally, and if we can’t manage that, at least fairly.
But I’m also a pragmatist when it comes round to my pay cheque. A third of it goes on income tax and National Insurance. I am not keen for the government to take any more.
The latter might be because I do wonder what I get in return for those taxes.
I have never claimed benefits of ANY kind.
I have never claimed unemployment, housing, disability, and I have no issues with paying for these as we should help out those in need.
I do not have kids. Or ever will. While I believe that children shouldn’t be raised in poverty (apparently 1 in 4 in the UK are, and this is increasing with Austerity), I do have issues with my taxes going to parents who earn £50k. Seriously, I earn less than that and could easily support several children on my wage. May I suggest you cut back on the two foreign holidays a year and the endless toys that your child doesn’t need?
Likewise, I have issues with my taxes going to pay for others’ childcare. Seriously, you should have thought of that before you had kids. I shouldn’t have to pay to mop up your mess. Similarly, they are YOUR kids, so don’t farm them out to Grandma and Grandpa. And if you are, then pay them. Their time is valuable too.
While families are raking in the cash, what about older people? How about a state pension that people can actually live on? Society seems to get its knickers in a knot over kids living in poverty, but what about older people? How about some more benefits from them? Why should they have malnutrition and live in a cold house so that their neighbour earning £40k can get child benefit? If you could see further than your own children and had social values you would return the child benefit. We could then use it to increase the state pension and winter fuel allowance.
If you’re going to make the biggest decision in your life – to have kids – then you need to be pragmatic. While your heart might want it, can your wallet afford it? Will you, as parents, work full time? Who will provide child care? How will you pay for it? How will you pay for the essentials?