How not to help children

February 02, 2009 6:10 PM

There has been much discussion today about the new report from the Children's Society, which claims to have found that today's children are less happy than the children of past generations. The report raises issues of parenting, education, child psychology and all sorts that I shan't cover here. On one area, though - taxes - it is frankly barmy.
 
The report's conclusions as to why children today are less happy and less balanced include:
 
i) because their parents don't have enough time to offer them the care and love they need. Due to financial pressures and enthusiasm to have successful careers they are - the report suggests - unable to commit sufficient quality time to their children.
 
ii) because their families don't have enough money.
 
iii) because their parents are getting divorced.
 
It is at this point that the authors start to go a bit off the rails. They decide that a large-scale programme of government initiatives and benefits increases is necessary, and therefore decide that taxes must rise.
 
Hang on a second, if taxes rise won't that mean that:
 
a) parents will have to work harder and longer, in order to provide for their kids, thus having less time to spend with them?
 
b) families will have less money?
 
c) that money worries, which are a leading cause of divorce, will rise?
 
Erm, yes, yes and yes.
 
It's bizarre - irrespective of your views on the moral, social and ethical views that the report takes on different issues. If the authors think that parents are too overstretched financially, resulting in more time spent at work, less money to bring up their kids and a higher rate of divorce, then their recommendation for government policy should have been to reduce the amount of money the tax man takes from people's pockets. Instead, this convoluted and statist solution risks simply increasing the misery of our children further.
There has been much discussion today about the new report from the Children's Society, which claims to have found that today's children are less happy than the children of past generations. The report raises issues of parenting, education, child psychology and all sorts that I shan't cover here. On one area, though - taxes - it is frankly barmy.
 
The report's conclusions as to why children today are less happy and less balanced include:
 
i) because their parents don't have enough time to offer them the care and love they need. Due to financial pressures and enthusiasm to have successful careers they are - the report suggests - unable to commit sufficient quality time to their children.
 
ii) because their families don't have enough money.
 
iii) because their parents are getting divorced.
 
It is at this point that the authors start to go a bit off the rails. They decide that a large-scale programme of government initiatives and benefits increases is necessary, and therefore decide that taxes must rise.
 
Hang on a second, if taxes rise won't that mean that:
 
a) parents will have to work harder and longer, in order to provide for their kids, thus having less time to spend with them?
 
b) families will have less money?
 
c) that money worries, which are a leading cause of divorce, will rise?
 
Erm, yes, yes and yes.
 
It's bizarre - irrespective of your views on the moral, social and ethical views that the report takes on different issues. If the authors think that parents are too overstretched financially, resulting in more time spent at work, less money to bring up their kids and a higher rate of divorce, then their recommendation for government policy should have been to reduce the amount of money the tax man takes from people's pockets. Instead, this convoluted and statist solution risks simply increasing the misery of our children further.

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