Child Benefit & Our Broken Society

Published on by Sevi Fattahpour

A couple of days ago, a volunteer from labour party rang my doorbell and gave me a number of reasons as to why i should vote for labour party.He told me how our society is broken and how its unfair that many people had their benefits cut and so on but one of the things he said caught my attention and it was about child benefit. He said: "It's very unfair that single parents have to bear the full cost of their child alone.It's very unfair that a person living on minimum wage has to pay for his kids but the sad truth is that he can't so his children will suffer. Its very unfair that someone on £50,000 a year with 4 children will have their child benefit taken away from them". So let's see whether his statement is true and whats the fundamental issue in regards to child benefit.

 

First of all, i want to make my position clear in this topic.I am against child benefit. I don't want to make it means tested, i want to get rid of it and the reason lies within the principles of individual responsibility.

 

When you say its unfair to remove child benefit from a family who earns minimum wage and has two kids or its unfair for a single parent to pay for her child on her own, i just think why should i pay for their child? Hang on, thats cruel! we are humans and we should help each other out when we need each other, so why do i want to get rid of child benefit then? Because having a child is an important decision and if a couple wants to have children, then they should be able to feed the child and keep a roof above his/her head so basically, they should be able to financially protect him/her and if they can't, then they shouldn't have a child until they can be able to financially afford a child. Child benefit takes this risk assessment and decision making and evaluation away from the parents of that child so they simply have a child and guess what? Me and you, the tax payer, should pay for it! so next time when you see a minimum wage worker who struggles to make ends meet and has a child or two and complains that he is a victim because child benefit isn't enough or has been cut, ask him why he decided to have a child, ask him whether he knew that having a child may have costs and this cost will increase as the child grows up. Ask the single parent whether she was financially ready, ask her whether she knew that in the unlikely event of her getting divorced, she might be faced with financial struggle.The answer to all of these questions would be "Yes", they knew about the costs but because the government would pay them the child benefit, they werent really worried about it(let alone the free education, health care and Education Maintenance Allowance).This mess is due to a lack of individual responsibility among teenagers and parents who want to have a child.They want other poeple who werent involved in their relationship, whom had nothing to do with them and didn't decide to give birth to that child, to pay for their irresponsibility.Is that fair? Of course not. We need to take responsibility for our actions and face the full consequesnces.If we knew that we would be faced with the consequences of our actions, we would act wisely and with logic. It's morally unacceptable to expect others to pay for the consequences of other people's actions.

 

Believe it or not, if couples knew from day 1 that they would bear the full cost of their child, they would still have children, but at the right time when they were financially ready. We would not be faced with an ageing population because people would still have children because there will be a time in their life when they can afford to have a child because incomes will rise, people will walk up the income ladder and will be able to pay for their child with dignity and respect.

 

Lastly, when people act rationally and have a child when they can afford to have one, they will also make sure they have the right number of children. An example would be, lets say a couple earn £40,000 a year and after a number of years they decide to have a child. They then decide to have another one and they can afford to have this child too but they realise that they cant have another child so knowing there will be no safety net to help pay for the third one, they stop at two children. This is a society where we want to live in, where people take responsibility for their actions and act rationally according to their situations.

 

So what is the solution, how do we scrap child benefit? Obviously, we can't simply take it away because many people depend on it so the first step would be to make the child benefit means tested so only those below a certain income level can claim it and let people know that in 10 years time, child benefit would be completely removed for all income levels. Now you might ask why wait 10 years, why not do it now? Well as i said, many people depend on it and what we want to do is to give people the incentive to save up for their child if they want to have one in the near future and alert them that if they have any children now they have to bear the cost of that child after when this benefit is scrapped.

The outcome of this policy is that we will have a society where people face the consequences of their actions and act rationally and will bear the full of cost of their actions. We will see individual responsibility coming back again to our society and after all, government spending will fall in this area which can help us cut taxes for people so the economy would grow and allow prosperity and give us the right to pursue our happines within our means.

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