Don’t Read Twitter at Bedtime

courtesy of flickr user velvetart

Much better to cross-stitch or maybe play some Scrabble, methinks.

I was checking TweetDeck the other night, and here is the exchange to which I was treated:

@thegoodhuman BINGO! RT@DMansini: @thegoodhuman @Matt_SF @EverydayFinance i advocate a tax credit for the CHILDLESS – we use far less resources

@thegoodhuman Absolutely. Should not be reward for having kids RT @Matt_SF @EverydayFinance what if we remove child/dependent tax credit? $3650/kid adds up

@Matt_SF @pcdunham: @Matt_SF @EddieBraverman there should be competency & income requirements to have kids, not fucking incentives


Where to even start?  Maybe that there should also be competency requirements to Tweet?

Too snarky?

Maybe I’ll start here:  Basic math dictates that two people use more resources than one, and fewer resources that three.  However, the world does not work on the principles of arithmetic.  Certainly, some childless people use fewer resources than families with children.  However, I know quite a few families with children who have made huge efforts to decrease their consumption of goods and services, and some even came to the path of simplicity because of their children.  Sometimes this is a choice made to leave a more sustainable and healthy world to our children or perhaps to allow parents to work less, earn less, and spend more time with their children.  Sometimes consumption is reduced out of necessity because children are expensive – and by the by, anyone who thinks $3,650 per child is a REWARD or INCENTIVE is out of touch with the cost of raising a child, to put it mildly.  Either way, parenthood dictates to many families that we use up, make do, or do without.

On the other hand, I know plenty of single people or couples without children who use well more than their fair share, jet-setting around the globe on lavish vacations, driving multiple gas-guzzling luxury cars, rushing out to purchase the latest gadget, standing in front of a closet full of brand new and barely worn clothes, shoes and accessories each day, and basically using their disposable income to ensure that they have everything they could possibly want at their fingertips.  To generalize that childless people use fewer resources than families with children….that may be true on the whole, I don’t know, but it certainly doesn’t jive with my personal experience.

And in the end, the whole conversation just baffles me.  Even though I have two biological children, I am sympathetic to the idea of limiting population size as a huge component of environmental stewardship.  But that’s ultimately not what we’re talking about here.  We are simply talking about the cost, in dollars and cents, of giving tax rebates to parents, and the effect that removing that rebate would have on our current budget crisis.  Whatever your political/environmental/human rights position on procreation, to suggest that the way to cut costs is to take money out of the pockets of lower- and middle-class parents while refusing to ask the wealthy to bear more responsibility…..seriously?  And what should the income requirement for parents be, anyway?  And how would that guarantee good parenting?  Or are we just interested in low-cost parenting?

Baffled.  Just.  Baffled.

  • Kari O’Driscoll

    Yikes! I think that when it comes to financial crises about which we feel we have no control, we tend to turn on each other. Perhaps these individuals ought to think about who will work to support them in their old age (Social Security and Medicare don’t fund themselves) if they “outlaw” having kids. Besides which, having and raising kids is hard. Nobody I know ever decided to have a kid for the tax break. It’s not enough of an incentive.

    • Kelly Coyle DiNorcia

      Kari, that’s a great point. Things are out of control and there has to be someone to blame – for these people, it’s parents. It’s hard to accept that maybe it’s just the system….or maybe it’s us (all of us to a greater or lesser extent)!

  • Jennifer Orozco

    Yeah, I had four kids who literally drive me up the freaking wall, cost way more than any one has ever lead me on to believe, quake and quiver when I think about buying them cars, paying for their weddings, and shelling out for college for the grand incentive of 3,650 dollars a year.


    • Kelly Coyle DiNorcia

      Right? “Reward” my foot!

  • Pea

    testing testing!

  • Pea

    My guess is that they were not necessarily talking about responsible parents despite what it sounds like.
    You can be irresponsible as a parent and a singleton. The shame is that if we all saw each other as part of an extended community your kids would be ‘my kids’ and we would all be less me me me.
    I don’t mean it to sound all saccharine and ‘We Are The World La La’ either because this attitude works in many non western communities to great effect.

    • Kelly Coyle DiNorcia

      Pea, glad you made it on to comment! I totally agree, if we spent less time blaming and trying to take from others, and more time trying to find ways to make life a win-win situation for everyone (all humans, all species and the environment) many of our problems would miraculously disappear. Competition creates scarcity; cooperation creates wealth. That’s actually in a nutshell what I aim to do on this blog, and in life as a person and a parent: figure out ways to live that cause the most good and the least harm (to borrow a phrase from Zoe Weil!).

      • Pea

        Lovely. Then count me in.