Childcare benefits – robbing Peter to pay Paul

This news report made me want to comment on childcare expenses and government support. One mother says “I’d like to see more help from the government to reward people who want to work.” The problem with this is not just that the government isn’t a limitless bank account to give handouts to those in need, but that the government’s only source of real money comes from taxpayers; from people who do already work. How is the government donating more money to working parents with children “rewarding people who want to work” when that money will necessarily come from people who also are working and want to work, but don’t have children? In what universe does this pass as logical?

This is simply taking from non-parent workers and giving to parent workers. If this is “rewarding” working parents, then it is penalising non-parent workers. But why? And what business does the government have in “rewarding” any private citizen for their personal and family decisions? I already know the socialist answer that will be given: society has a vested interest in children; we have a duty, an obligation, an interest in “our” children, and that justifies passing on childcare costs to total strangers. Of course, like all socialist notions, this is pure nonsense. No one has an automatic vested interest in an unspecified undefined unlimited mass of potentials. If I have an automatic unchosen “interest” in other peoples’ children (any and all in the same country as me; no children in particular but all of them in general), and this interest must be realised by me paying for their living expenses, I necessarily cannot have an interest in deciding where my own money will go; my interests must be sacrificed to theirs on demand. And if you accept the principle that your own choices should be negated and your own property can and should be used to provide for other peoples’ children, you concede that what property and choices remain to you are entirely conditional and temporary, until another voice shouts and another group stamps their feet, petitioning government to dip into your earnings once again.

Look at the sheer number of charities that exist. Look at the extraordinary funds that are given in charity every year. Private citizens do not struggle to support causes that they consider worthy. But if they can’t, or won’t – that is not then a license to demand money, least of all by force (which is precisely what government power is.)

The facts are: parents are responsible for their own children, and no one is responsible for other peoples’ children; (the government should intervene in incidents of neglect and mistreatment). Hardly anyone actually disagrees with this, yet they still usually accept as a given that childcare should be part-financed by the state. But it is parents’ responsibility to decide whether or not to bring children into this world, and part of that consideration must be whether they can afford to. If hard times arise, one is always free to appeal to the goodwill and generosity of others. But to presume the non-existence of such goodwill and then compensate for this alleged lack of goodwill by demanding money for your children by force, is an ugly contradiction; it is one of the most bad-willed acts one could commit. How can one claim to care about the welfare of children (again, none in particular but all of them in general) yet not care for the rights of adults?

Another fact is that if it wasn’t for socialised healthcare, paper money, mass inflation, recession, ever-increasing taxation, ridiculous public sector spending and EU bailouts and fees, every single citizen would enjoy far more wealth and financial options; all living expenses would be dramatically eased, including childcare. It’s the government’s fault that times are so tough; do not mindlessly appeal to its excessive power to once again meddle in our private affairs. It has no business there. It should get out and stay out.

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