There was an item on the news this morning concerning child benefit. This is a pet rant subject of mine and the views that I hold will probably be controversial to a lot of people.
As a teenager I made the conscious decision that I didn’t want to have children. This view has never changed, although it had a slight wobble in my early 30s but I rationalised things and realised that (a) I was too selfish to have them; and (b) there was no way I could afford to have one, let alone more than one. To bring cost into any equation for me was unusual as I was quite a spendthrift up until my mid 30s but there you have it.
I’ve never personally understood the overwhelming desire that some people seem to feel to reproduce but it seems to me that Mother Nature may have already decided that the planet is overpopulated – there seems to be a huge increase in infertility yet we are always trying to find ways of circumventing that – why? Why can those who are infertile simply not just accept that having children is not possible for them and move on? I have an acquaintance who is married. He and his wife had a child whom they absolutely adore. They decided they really wanted to have a second child and when attempts to conceive were unsuccessful, they spent a large amount of money going through IVF. They are always mentioning money worries, yet they are blowing a fantastic amount of money on (what is, by my perception) a wholly unnecessary procedure because they “want” another child. Why is it seemingly impossible for them to accept that this not going to happen, be grateful for the one child they have and relish that? Is this down to “I want, I’ll have” culture that seems to have developed? Is it just outright selfishness? And, for me, the worst thing is that, if successful, these guys will receive child benefit to assist in bringing up said child.
For anything in this life, if you want it, you should consider whether you can afford it, being that financial or emotional affordability. If it’s financial, we think that it’s acceptable to get loans for things because we don’t have the patience to wait and save up for something – if you can’t afford to save up for it, what makes you think you can afford the loan repayments for it? And if you can afford the loan payments, why do you have to have it now, now now?
Why do we hand out payments to someone simply because they’ve reproduced? And why is there such an uproar when there are proposals to reduce or abolish child benefit for certain people? Personally I think it should be abolished entirely. “We can’t afford to say at home and bring up the children if we don’t get child benefit” – I’m sorry? If you can’t afford to stop work to raise children, then you can’t afford to have children surely? I think it’s outrageous to expect the state to subsidise something which is (almost entirely) within your own control.
I do realise that circumstances may well change for some parents but – quite frankly – deal with it. If you have a mortgage and you lose your job, would you expect the state to pay your mortgage for you while you looked around for something else? No, because the mortgage is *your* responsibility to look after and maintain. Why should children be any different? It seems we’re far too busy trying to abdicate our responsibilities for things in everyday life. I’m sure there will be a blog along on another day on some of *those*.
Whereas bringing back the workhouse may be a step too far in the other direction, socially I believe it had some merits!