What I’m reading this morning:
Revanche of A Gai Shan Life received a very creepy series of telephone calls. Fortunately, she’s bright enough to recognize a scam, even when it’s posed as an alarming threat and associated with the name of an outfit accredited by the Better Business Bureau. The levels to which crooks will go…amazing! It’s important to know about this one, and always to remember never to share any information with anyone who calls on the phone and tries to wheedle or extort it from you.
Rachel Adams over at The New Yorker cranks a ridiculous number of words on a ridiculous topic. Just to show how WT old Funny really is, at heart…I crave what’s in the picture—for breakfast! Yum!
At The Atlantic‘s website, Derek Thompson and his readers hold forth on the cost of bringing up baby. Thompson publishes a pair of pie charts that compare the cost of parenthood in 1960 with today’s costs. Having been around and fully sentient in 1960, I commented on the article as Melete, my incarnation as proprietor of Adjunctorium:
In 1960 most women stayed home and took care of the kids, and decent public schools were the rule, not the exception. Today women must work to help keep the staggeringly expensive roof over the family’s head, and so the kids are warehoused in day care facilities that may consume half or more of the woman’s salary. Today public schools are institutions of social work, not education, and so people who care about their kids’ learning put them in private or parochial schools — again necessitating that their parents leave them in an expensive shelter while Mom and Dad work 8 to 10 hours a day.
With both parents trudging to the office every day, owning two cars is no longer an option. In 1960, many families had only one car, especially if they lived in regions that had viable public transit.
Housing, cars, gasoline, and healthcare cost much more relative to income than they did in 1960. Clothing manufacture has been offshored, taking away Americans’ jobs but giving us acres and acres of cheap clothing.
The cost of child-rearing is thus interwoven with many of the other costs on the chart: Higher costs of housing and health care (not to mention social pressures) push both parents into the workplace, and this drives up the cost of caring for the kids. Education costs more because without a SAHP in most households, middle- and upper-income families are less engaged with the public schools, the quality of the schools continues to fall, and so those parents shell out to put their kids in private schools.
Not all these factors are necessarily bad — few of us want to return to the good old days when most women couldn’t get a decently paying job because they weren’t welcome in the boys’ club that was the workplace. But…the cost of providing women career opportunities and cutting the chain to the stove obviously is going to be higher child care costs and higher transportation costs.
LOL! Speaking of the cost of education, I was amazed to learn what the school where we sent our son is charging today. If we had to educate a child today, we could not begin to send him there on what my husband earned as a corporate lawyer. We’d both have to be corporate lawyers to put the kid in that school! Instead, we would have had to move to the suburbs (DXH strongly disliked commuting, and so we lived in an upscale central-city enclave) in hopes of finding a halfway decent public school, pushing up the cost of transportation and day care.