Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Do the Math

My husband and I have just begun watching Mogan Spurlock's (of "Supersize Me" fame) series 30 Days on DVD. Last night we watched the Minimum Wage episode, where he and his fiancée live on minimum wage for 30 days, and it made me very angry.

Not at the filmmaker — I think it was very important what he did. It opened my eyes to how great my life really is. We have money in savings, we eat what we want, we never have to wonder where our grocery money is coming from or anything. It's wonderful.

I'm not sure whom I'm mad at, to be honest. There was a point in the show where Morgan ran into a 22-year-old man with four children to support on $7 an hour. Why why WHY don't people think about the cost of having children before they actually do?! I look at our life and I wonder how we would ever manage to put anything at all in savings if we had children to raise, and we're comfortably in the middle class.

Glancing at my credit card statement -- my first one since my credit limit was raised and the first with a significant balance on it thanks to a series of plane tickets for two vacations -- I was horrified to see a $40 interest charge for a single month. No WONDER families are in so much debt! If they don't have the money to buy things, they put it all on credit cards. My minimum payment was $10 less than the interest payment. It was horrific to see -- so horrific that I borrowed from my savings account to pay it off. It's such a conspiracy, really.

But I think about all the families that rely on credit cards and end up in $20, $30, $50,000 of credit card debt alone, and it makes me so angry. Does ANYONE do the math?

It all seems so simple. Children are expensive. They need food, clothing, entertainment, etc., all separate from the adults. And let's not even go there when it comes to childcare. There's a mindset that "if you wait 'til you can afford it, then it will NEVER happen!" "If you get pregnant, then it's meant to be. God won't put more on you than you can handle." BULL. SHIT.

I see people constantly with more than they can handle. The only reason they're handling it at all is because the rest of us who pay our taxes and work for a living are handling it for them. I have accepted that when we buy a house, we'll be paying for services like schools and health care for children we don't have. But that people are having 4, 6, 8 children without having the means to afford it, it just makes me sick.

Why does critical thinking go out the window when it comes to pregnancy and babies? Why oh why do people make excuses and call each one a gift from God, even though some parents have children living in squalor, going hungry, just because it was "God's Plan."

It's bullshit and nothing but people using God to make excuses for their selfish behavior. If you can't afford to care for a child, then you have no business having one. PERIOD.

Does that change the reality that children will be born to unfit, unprepared parents? Of course not. But until every child can be cared for and cared for well, I will continue to believe that there are already far too many children for this little planet to handle, and it would be wholly irresponsible for me to add to that burden.

1 comment:

Margaret Haugen said...

Amen, sister!