Letters to the Editor

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CHILDREN: The childless pay price for others’ reproduction

Letter by Richard K. Yasger, Tacoma on May 9, 2011 at 5:18 pm with 56 Comments »
May 10, 2011 9:02 am

Re: “Don’t judge screamers’ parents: Your day may come” (TNT, 5-9).

I know many folks won’t like hearing this, but I’ll bet others probably wish it had been said a long time ago: Your decision to have a child is your choice. Don’t impose your inability to deal with the consequences on others.

Whatever you say about “accidents,” “my folks wanted grandchildren,” “it’s a biological mandate,” “it’s my right,” etc., you alone are responsible. Much of our trouble today stems from letting emotion supplant reason.

Having chosen to be childless, I find myself surrounded by a culture biased toward those who decide otherwise. Before branding me as intolerant, consider: Singles pay much higher income tax rates thanks to exemptions given others (particularly child tax credits); they pay for schools upon which they’ve placed no burden; and face the pressures of overpopulation through dwindling resources, traffic congestion, high housing costs, heavy competition for jobs and rising crime rates as government refuses to exert leadership on these issues.

I know and accept the responsibility society has for the well-being of new generations. But my patience isn’t infinite.

Just as you wouldn’t take a screamer into a movie theater, you are even more inconsiderate taking one into a crowded airplane. Plan on two or three years staying home with them or giving them a Benadryl if you don’t. Or expect dirty looks!

I would like to see public education require instruction in basic home finance and a brutally honest portrayal of what awaits someone considering becoming a parent.

Leave a comment Comments → 56
  1. oldman4 says:

    Dear Richard,
    Your complaints are ill conceived. As for education cost look at as paying back after all someone paid for your education. Your bothered by all the children and the cost of maintaining them but who do you expect to take care of you as you age? You certainly have a right to remain childless but do you have to be so self centerred?

  2. Some venues are totally inapropriate for children. Until they are mature and have mastered public manners they should be left at home. I have seen three year olds wondered-eyed and better behaved than adults through a performance of “Nutcracker.” And I’ve seen 10 year olds have lay-on-the-floor temper tantrums when they didn’t get their cereal choice at the market. Ultimate fault lies with the parents. Children need to be taught early that there are shreiking yard and pool behaviours and quiet attentive public faces that are expected, and demanded. Until your child has mastered “Public Manners” it is best to leave them at home or take them to ONLY child tolerant events and venues. One additional note: Babies scream on take off and landing because their ear drums are not fully formed and the rapid acceleration and deacceleration causes intense ear pain. Sucking on a bottle or a pacifier relieves some of the pressure on the inner ear.

  3. commoncents says:

    I have had more theatre performances and movies ruined by adults having conversations during the performance – conversations with the person next to them or someone on a cell phone – than I have by children’s inappropriate behavior.

  4. aislander says:

    In a society in which three active workers pay the Social Security of each retired worker (and don’t say “I paid in and that’s my money”–all that IS there are IOUs from the Treasury), the burden is exactly reversed from that of your complaint. Then there’s Medicare…

  5. Omega6234 says:

    Well written!! There are some places you just shouldnt take a child, movies, planes or nice dinner spots. Parents that do take their children to these places are selfish and thinking only of themselves. I shouldnt have to suffer because you wanted children. thats the bottom line… just like i dont make others suffer for my children. When I as a parent can rest assured they will not make a scene is when they earn the right to go out to certain venues.

  6. (and don’t say “I paid in and that’s my money”–all that IS there are IOUs from the Treasury)

    So…..because the money we have all paid for Social Security was mismanaged by Congress it doesn’t count?

  7. aislander says:

    The FACT is that money paid in by current workers is paid to retired ones. Then, if the country defaults, what are those IOUs worth? Or, if there is massive inflation, what can you buy even if the Treasury makes “good” on them?

  8. “Or, if there is massive inflation, what can you buy even if the Treasury makes “good” on them?”

    Social Security is indexed for inflation.

  9. aislander says:

    So…you just change the calculus for the inflation rate–AS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS ALREADY DONE!

  10. QE2=IOU on invisible steroids…..Scarlet..no ..Crimson……

    (the emperor has no clothes!!)…

  11. Great article. Thank you

  12. jjohnson67 says:

    Richard, I agree with your letter 100%. Good parenting is just too much trouble for most in today’s world.

  13. itwasntmethistime says:

    Richard, I’ll buy your arguments if and only if you don’t do anything that has anything to do with anybody’s children. Tough to do when you consider everybody is someone’s child. Who is going to take care of you when you can’t? Even the staff at the old folks home are someone’s kids.

    On the other hand, I agree with you about kids in restaurants. The last thing I want to hear when we’ve left our kids home with a sitter is someone else’s kid throwing a fit. We don’t even go to restaurants anymore.

  14. Dear_John says:

    Giving a child Benadryl, as a cheap sedative, is not only abusing the drug; it is child abuse. Shame on you for suggesting such a thing.

  15. “In a society in which three active workers pay the Social Security of each retired worker”

    Is there anything you get correct or do you just swallow and parrot everything your media feeds you?

  16. Seriously? This is your big concern in today’s world?

  17. Richard, I don’t think you are being intolerant, in fact I tend to agree with you to a point.
    Where we differ is the education point, unlike the anti-American facist rightists I think education is well worth the cost, any cost and as a member of this socity we owe it to each other to make sure each and every one of us has the best education we can give.

    I do loath the whining and crying over the mythical ‘marrage penelty’ the whiners complain about however.

  18. truthbusterguy says:

    Richard, good letter and thanks

  19. aislander says:

    “Today there are 3.3 workers per [Social Security] beneficiary.” FactCheck.org

    “by the time today’s young workers retire there are projected to be only two workers paying.” ibid

  20. Roncella says:

    Richard many children are so spoiled and are not required to do much of anything around the house or to help others including their own parents and family members who could use help from time to time.

    The kids have their own phones, computers, and spend hours texing and texing and doing nothing to add to the family except to want more and more.

    Many parents are starting to see that the computer and texing and the rest are taking a toll on their children, and are beginning to set limits on their use and how much time kids spend on them.

    I can remember a train trip my wife and i had where we had to listen to a mom trying hard to keep her children amused and occupied for two long, long days on our trip.

    If children are not trained at home, when they do go on trips on planes, trains, etc their behavior only gets worse.

  21. itwasntmethistime says:

    Hey xtp — if the quality of an education is dependent on how many dollars it cost, how come home-schooled kids beat the pants off public school kids in every subject?

    It doesn’t seem to matter whether we double the education budget or slice it in half, so why don’t we slice it in half and give poor Richard a break?

  22. Richard? You yourself benefitted by the taxpayers in your own education. You have also benefitted by those who don’t use parks, drive cars, that pay the same taxes as well. Not to mention, proposing giving children drugs to sedate them for your convenience is barbaric at best. You are nothing but a bully. Likening children to a noisy boom box, when in reality they are little human beings and citizens with the SAME rights as you. They want to yell, rant and be difficult? Why not, you get to be just as intolerable. You are no better, the children like you, put their pants on one leg at a time.

  23. ItalianSpring says:

    Richard- You are right on (except about the overpopulation comment).

  24. bobcat1a says:

    Hey wasntme, what’s your source that says home schooled kids beat the pants off public school kids? You should see some of the “home schooled” kids who show up in my classroom in the 8th grade. Can’t read at a 4th grade level and, based on behavior, are sent to public school because the parents have thrown up their hands after realizing their kid is out of control. Sure there are lots of very well homeschooled kids but there are also a lot of spoiled rotten uneducated ones.

  25. frankiethomas says:

    Someday one of those kids is going to grow up and find a cure for cancer. . .

  26. beerBoy says:

    The problem isn’t the kids – it’s the parents who, just like dog owners, forget that not everybody is in love with their “precious” little darlings.

  27. ItalianSpring says:

    BEER- it looks like we might agree on this one! YES!

  28. yogadreamer says:

    When i heard you wrote in on this article I wasn’t surprised by what you wrote but by the end of your response I just felt sad for you. It’s always interesting when people judge what they don’t know. But more important your response could mirror the response of say someone who has intolerance towards race, religion or lifestyles. You are this or that but keep it out of my face, you have children but keep them out of my face. Try stepping out of the self absorbed nature and instead of judging ask that person who has the screaming child if there is something you can do for them, kindness and tolerance go along way. The sweetest sound is that of a childs voice so innocent to the intolerance of this world.

  29. aislander says:

    Great. The board nanny leaves up the provocation but expunges the response…

  30. yogadreamer……what an appropriate screen name for you.

  31. I’m encouraged by these comments, even the unfavorable ones, which I’ve heard many times before. It’s clear that my response set off a bomb, and that intelligent discussion is badly needed. A tough sell in a culture that cares more about what Charley Sheen is up to than what many of us know and feel every day. Here is what didn’t fit into my 250-word limit:

    I support public education and have never voted no on a school levy. I supported every transit levy including that for Pierce Transit, which just failed resulting in more car dependence. I support public infrastructure, despite the fact that the county assesses me based not on my ability to pay or even what I earn, but on a theoretical selling price of my house.

    Looks like tit for tat on who’s being selfish. I make no apologies for asking parents to stay home with their children when the latter are unable to behave quietly in public. Again, with choice comes responsibility. Same with careers vs parenthood. Choose one or the other. The rest of us have to contend with tradeoffs too. I’ll do my best not to impose on you from my mistakes.

    As for the social security system’s structure and how we take care of the elderly, I didn’t create those problems and I’m not happy with the circus taking place around it now either. Alan Greenspan doubled the social security tax in 1983 and the government borrowed it to hide its deficit. We’re stuck with this and I’ve given up looking for any leadership on it. There was a time when multiple generations shared the same house and cared for each other. Being elderly carried respect and even envy. Children were engaged in every aspect of participation, not put in front of a screen. Not in this mobile culture. It expects the marketplace to do everything from day care to warehousing old folks. I regularly put away money for the day I can no longer work and invest time in staying fit and trim. But when my day comes to check out, I don’t expect I’ll have imposed much of a burden on anyone else in the process from what I see coming down in the health care debate.

    While little ones are cute and innocent, most want someone to carry their name and genes into the future, there are religious pressures, etc., we need a discussion that separates emotion from hard facts. Children represent not only a physical and financial burden on the parents, they also impose those burdens on society and most importantly, the planet on which we all depend. A common grazing field shared by many people requires each keep his herd to a fixed size or the whole system will collapse. One violator puts everyone else at risk. Read the Tragedy of the Commons and you’ll understand this.

    Overpopulation a fact. Particularly when coupled with technology that leverages every person’s impact. Experts tell us that at seven billion souls on board a planet that can sustainably support one billion, we are in crisis. Whole fish populations have collapsed. Topsoil is depleted. Water supplies are contaminated. We’ve passed peak oil production. Climate change puts agriculture at risk. This is a deficit whose math is inescapable yet denial reigns supreme. Only the utterly clueless can’t see the effects all around them. Now that three billion folks in Asia want to take up our car habit (and our companies are eager to sell it to them), not to mention everything else in the American lifestyle, we’re already seeing the effects at home and things are going to dramatically escalate. The math will be far more brutal and unforgiving whether we engage in productive discussion or not.

    Back in the 60’s I thought we understood this. Now it’s taboo even to mention it in public. A productive discussion requires both sides to be able to clearly state their opponent’s position, not attack persons. Unfortunately, that’s rare in this culture and is what blocks us from finding solutions. I thought we were smarter than that.

  32. aislander says:

    Aha. The letter was a pretext for a lot of lefty talking points. The arrogance of the left is breathtaking, and the ryasge post was an endorsement of the draconian methods favored by China. We barely have a birthrate sufficient to replace those who die, while Europe is at negative population growth levels. The result is that most European nations no longer have a culture, only a history…

  33. if the quality of an education is dependent on how many dollars it cost

    Who said anything about that?
    Redefining a persons statement inorder to somehow ‘win’ the debate or to interject your own twisted opinion or agenda is a pretty lame way to go, don’t you think?

  34. Interesting to note that the usual whining about ‘not with my money’ or why do I have to pay for someone else’ from the rightists isn’t happening here.
    Seems they want, but can’t give.


  35. beerBoy says:

    The result is that most European nations no longer have a culture, only a history…

    Are you seriously maintaining that culture cannot exist without population growth?

    You really should go back to the Anthropology 101 textbook and remind yourself of what the definition of culture is. All societies have culture.

  36. aislander says:

    European nations DO have cultures, of course, but they are not now evolutions of their historic cultures. Due to their lack of reproduction, those nations’ cultures are reflecting the immigration necessary to maintain some semblance of an economy. That dynamic leads to all sorts of interesting ethical questions, but it is what’s in play…

  37. aislander says:

    …and, beerBoy: a HEALTHY culture values itself. We have a problem with that, too…

  38. beerBoy says:

    Oh…I see….your definition of a healthy culture is one that is completely white Eurocentric.

  39. aislander says:

    No, beerBoy. Eurocentric yes; completely white; no. Lefties love to conflate race and culture. I am by no means a racist, but proudly admit to being a “culturalist,” because that is our heritage and it is what works best. Why should people want to come to America if not to partake of the culture that built it? But “Eurocentric” is not precise enough…

  40. aislander says:

    A healthy culture is one that likes itself and promotes its virtues to its youth. We are most emphatically NOT doing that, and are, in fact, doing quite the opposite. That is suicidal. Have you seen what is being taught in Tucson, Arizona public schools? It is the violent overthrow of our system of government, and the argument right now is whether the class should be made an elective. It should be about issuing arrest warrants for those who developed and are teaching that curriculum…

  41. beerBoy says:

    Have you seen what is being taught in Tucson, Arizona public schools? It is the violent overthrow of our system of governmen

    Cite please so I can read the curriculum.

    What I have read is that the teaching of non-Eurocentric history courses in AZ has led to much higher graduation rates amongst the non-European descent students. Please, point out exactly how teaching history from a different point of view is “violent” or an “overthrow of our system of government”.

  42. aislander says:

    beerBoy: Here is the report by the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction:


  43. aislander says:

    By the way, beerBoy; the Arizona situation is a side issue to my main point, which is that schools should promote our culture and economic and political systems rather than tearing them down. The latter is, as I said, suicidal…

  44. Cute trick aislander…. the report from State Superintendent of Public Schools (by definition a politician) cites 4 reasons to prohibit classes:

    1) Promote the overthrow of the United States
    2) Promote resentment towards a race or class of people
    3)Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group
    4) Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.

    He utilizes a little legalize about the word “primarily” to ignore the reality that non-Hispanic students are also enrolled in the “offending” class in order to outlaw the class.

    Then you cite the other reason in the list as though they were actually what happened.

    That isn’t sophistry – that’s just plain outright lying.

  45. To clarify – reason number 3 was the reason why the class was pulled.

  46. beerBoy says:

    The only reason

  47. aislander says:

    I’ve seen the class content, beerBoy. I’d love to see a substantive argument that the curriculum ISN’T guilty of reasons 1, 2, and 4. And our state schools, paid for by taxes from ALL citizens, shouldn’t be doing 3, either…

  48. aislander says:

    Nice lefty trick of disparaging the messenger, beerBoy…

  49. As if you’ve never disparaged a messenger?

    “Aha. The letter was a pretext for a lot of lefty talking points.”

    Oh yes, and “Nice lefty trick of disparaging the messenger”

  50. poll2020 says:

    What kind of utopian world does the letter writer (and some of the commentators) think is possible? I don’t make sweeping judgments on all ADULTS just because some of them are ill-behaved on airplanes, or talk loudly on their cell phones at restaurants, etc. I encourage those of you who do not have children to not to the same for those of us with children. Look around at the well-behaved ones and lighten up. Stay home with the kids for three years, as one post suggested? That kind of world simply will not happen again, and I would imagine it never did.

    Contrary to the letter writer’s assumption, I thought I heard statistics showing that households with children are at a low level. As someone with little kids, I certainly don’t get the impression that this is a child-centered society. The letter writer might pay more in taxes, but he will certainly have more money at the end of the day than those with kids. I’m even surprised that you see kids on airplanes – they’ve eliminated discounts for kids so it costs exactly twice as much to fly if you have two kids – we don’t have twice the money!

    People have been complaining about kids on airplanes forever, but complaining about kids in general is just mean-spirited, and reflects how selfish public life (and online newspaper forums) seems to have become.

  51. aislander says:

    There is a difference, Polago (I really shouldn’t have to go over this) between the MESSAGE (a letter) and the MESSENGER (the writer of the letter). You really should get some air, Polago (THAT was disparaging the messenger…)…

  52. leehallfae says:

    Agreed. We chose to be childfree by choice, and we’re still billed for the price of other people’s choices.

    “But my patience isn’t finite.” Nor should it be.

  53. So whenever your disparaging remark includes the word “lefty” you don’t feel that you’re disparaging the messenger, aislander?

    When you include an aside that reads, “I really shouldn’t have to go over this.” isn’t that an intended slam (a form of disparagement)?

    I do.

  54. aislander says:

    I SAID I was disparaging the messenger. Try to keep up…

  55. Sandigerl says:

    I’d like to comment about childfree taxpayers contributing toward public education. The reason we pay for public education is to continue our civil society. We citizens have decided we want to educate the youth so that our economy and our culture can continue. Like it or not, we are interdependent, and we are all better off when society is educated.

    I also pay taxes to support our schools even though my fifth-grader already knows enough to satisfy my needs. Honestly, she can cook and clean for us, what more would I want? Without school, there would be no nagging in this household, as homework, bedtime and waking up are constant struggles during the school year.

    The reason we send her to school has to do with her needing to become a productive member of society. In other words, we’re doing it for you. All you childfree folks are going to need somebody to contribute to social security when it’s your turn to collect, you are going to need somebody to figure out what medications will keep you healthy and pain-free, not to mention smiling kindly as you continue your rants in the nursing home.

    The folks providing these services for you will be those squalling kids on the airplane. You can scowl at their parents all you want, but they won’t care, as they get all the loving adoration they need from their wee ones.

  56. @ Oldman4

    My parents paid for my K-12 education through their taxes like everyone else. Are you saying every child is born into this world owing its parents? I certainly never asked to be born and it’s the law that I attend school. We do not live in a society in which a child is asked to repay his or her parents for everything ever given to him, as it is the responsibity of the parent to provide for the child they chose to have. Thus, I do NOT owe the public education system a dime just because my parents decided to have me. Not to mention, I’m not sure who would end up owing whom if both child and parent were asked to repay what was given to them (child repays education taxes and parents repay all the tax breaks given to them for reproducing).

    As for being self-centered and being taken care of in old age, is there a more completely self-centered reason to have a child? Yes, let me have a kid to take care of MY needs later on. Not to mention, that if you talked to your average nursing home patient, you’d find out how well that self-centered reason works out for them in the long run. No, I think I’ll skip having the kid, be responsible for my own retirement and senior care, and most likely support the economy by creating a need for a paid job. How selfish of me.

    Give me any reason why a person should have kids that doesn’t begin with I want/need. Who’s selfish?

    Truly, the least selfish option would be adopting a child that already needs a home instead of adding to the burden on society, if you so desperately need someone to be your slave when you age.

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