Discuss: Cost of children

Millions of parents can't afford the government's child-cost estimate of $16,000 a year, yet others spend far more without viewing it as extreme. Is that fair? Good for the kids? Should DIOKs pay higher taxes?

  22     January 4, 2008 - 2:29pm | superwife

judge not...

i think it's unfortunate that everyone is so quick to assume that people on public assistance are losers, deadbeats, druggies or the like... growing up, my parents were poor by any standard on paper- my father was a carpenter and my mom stayed at home. they made sure we had what we needed though- lots of love, a roof over our heads, clean clothes and food on the table. unfortunately, my father was killed in a motorcycle accident when i was 9 and my sister was 11 months. my mother was left with nothing but a mounting pile of bills she had no way of paying, as my father had no life insurance to cover the costs of his passing. any jobs she qualified for were minimum wage, and if it weren't for my grandmother and public assistance programs, we would have been on the streets. my mother took the help the government had to offer, went back to school and soon made enough to get back on her feet. public assistance in it's true intention isn't bad or wrong. we all have tough breaks that we don't plan for- and they can happen to anyone. those of you who judge should take a close look at what you have and how easily it could be taken away with the loss of a job, your health, or that of a loved one. now, i'm not so naive as to assume that nobody is taking advantage of the system but i do know that we all have times of need, and when we turn our backs on those who do we should only expect the same courtesy in return.

flag this »

  21     October 13, 2007 - 10:10am | photogenic

Is it fair?

Is life fair? I've done my share of loathing the rich and have found it gets me nowhere. There is definitly a wide gap between the have's and have nots. But money isn't the only thing to have. The parents that are giving their kids access to tons of money are not good parents. Those children won't learn some of the most valuable things. The things money can't buy. Such as being able to have a great time without spending any money. Or being able to reuse items to avoid waste. Or to appreciate the small things. There is a trade off for everything. As far as taxes, I believe in a flat percent tax. I don't think anyone (including the rich) should be taxed 1/3rd of what they made. No matter how much they made, they made it. Even if we all pay 10% the rich will be paying a lot. Taking more because they happen to make more is unfair. No matter what they're buying their kids.

Be smart with money and kids. Give them a budget, teach them to save, teach them the value of the dollar, but most importantly, let you kids know that money doesn't define a person and help them to find quality in themselves and others without all the material items.

flag this »

  18     October 6, 2007 - 9:08am | tjwcarolina525

We can complain all we want

We can complain all we want about certain people that shouldn't have had children in the first place, but when we do that, we lose sight of the fact that these children are here, they need to be loved and nurtured, well-fed and given a future. I think people generally assume that all struggling single parents or even struggling married parents are on drugs, homeless, on welfare, etc. But that's not the case. I'm a single mother of three children, I have always worked, payed taxes, volunteered in my community and at different times been in need of public assitance. And I literally can't pay all of my bills OFTEN not because I'm a "deadbeat" but because I made a decision years ago that I would not sacrifice time with my children to get a 2nd job that would leave them in the care of strangers or inadequately supervised altogether. There's never enough money. The times when I did qualify for some kind of assistance were a HUGE BLESSING and I was not ashamed to be using the assistance. But here's the deal . . . I made the choices that got me to where I am and I work hard to take responsibility for those choices, both emotionally and fiscally. It's been years since I took advantage of any kind of assitance, but right now we don't have insurance, I have a child with a chronic health condition, and I'm constantly stressed about "tomorrow". Still, I have been grateful for the fact that I've been able to take advantage of a safety net that "welfare" provides. I consider myself fortunate in a lot of ways because my children are happy, healthy and we live in a good place. But the truth is, there are a lot of generational family "issues" that I've had to work through and by some kind of grace, I think we're going to be okay. I've become convinced that we're not "unique", either. There are so many single-parent families not getting by financially or emotionally. I consider the financial problems a symptom of the emotional problems. Let's face it, no one in their right minds or with the right kind of support or guidance from their own families of origin would sign up for "this". It just happens. I've long thought that what families like mine could benefit from is some kind of single-parent advocacy group. It's very difficult to break free from the kind of thinking that keeps a person in a state of oppression - often we don't realize that we're doing it to ourselves. It starts with how we think about ourselves and emanates outwardly from there. Adult women who survived childhood abuse more than likely didn't get the help they needed to stop being victims. Taking away the meager programs that are in place to help the families they have as adults isn't going to "shock" them into "getting it together". I am convinced that teaching people to take responsibility for their lives is a process that begins from the inside and can only be done in a supportive, ongoing kind of way.

flag this »

  17     October 4, 2007 - 12:14pm | Tsommerville5

Cost of Children

I can't speak for the DIOK, since I don't know what it is, but higher taxes don't really solve anything. Forcing deadbeat parents to pay their child support might help. I will NEVER understand people who think, "If you can't afford them, don't have them." I have two words for you - and they ain't happy birthday. My ex turned into a true alcoholic bum that couldn't keep a job, I had to leave him (when he was working, and yes, I worked too, we did fine - or fine enough anyway) because things got dangerous. Do you think I chose to "not be able to afford them" then? Hind sight is freaking 20/20. You either don't have kids or are very lucky - or stupid. Some people will need help occasionally. Get over it. That's reality. And for those that say if you can't afford them, don't have them, I wish true hardships on you, and that you live in a nursing home you can't pay for, or better yet, end out on the street. That wish is dedicated to you for your shallowness and ignorance. I ended up living with my parents to make sure my kids had some stability, but I still work my butt off to make sure they get what they need and want in life. I have had to use assistance once in awhile, but most of that was for medical when it wasn't available with my employer. I went back to school and am still paying my student loans 10 years later so I could get more skills and actually HAVE some money to take care of what I could. There are a lot of people that didn't start with great skills, couldn't afford school, and HAD to take jobs that didn't have medical. Anyway, I'm grateful for the assistance I got, and I look at it this way...I waited until about 10 years after high school to have kids, I PAID for the assistance I got with my OWN taxes, not yours. Smoke that.

flag this »

  October 10, 2007 - 1:41pm | renehaag

Cost of Children

Whoa gal. Chill out a little. Perhaps the people who are tired of paying for "welfare" are not directing their opions at you. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect society and there are people out there who take advantage of the welfare system, through generations I might add. I'm glad to hear you provided your children a safe environment. There are people out there who don't. We all make choices in life. Imagine the good you could do if you chose to take all that anger you have and channel it into positive energy. Wishing bad things to happen to others only makes you ugly inside.

flag this »

  16     September 29, 2007 - 12:26pm | m_reddick

cost of children

Hey I feel you whith the cant pay for um dont make um but I keep hearing the same cord in all of your comments and that is the outrageous sum Alaska pays in welfare checks maybe if Alaskkans stood up to their legislature and demanded a decrease it wouldnt seem so insane to help out. I moved to Arizona a few years ago and this state only pays 200.00$ a month cash assistance. compared to Alaskas 800.00$ for a single mother and child. Not nearly enough to even think about surviving but it sur inspires people to get out ther and GET A JOB!

flag this »

  November 1, 2007 - 8:16am | korianny

You know, I went to a

You know, I went to a farmer's market one of the saturdays and a person ahead of me paid for the veggies with government issued checks $25 nomination. When I asked what those were he told me it's because he has five children! Well, you know what? maybe you people can think before having sex so I - a full time employee who gets taxes 1/3 of my wages won't have to pay for your choices! USE condoms so you won't have to beg government for money that comes out of someone else's pocket! Children are expensive - so please think twice before having sex.

flag this »

  15     August 27, 2007 - 10:56am | akgrl

Cost of Children

Show me where it says that when I was born it would someday be my responsibility to not only pay for my way in life, but for everyone else who "chooses", not to pay for themselves? When did it become my repsonsibility to shoulder the burden of cost for all of societies problems? I choose to have four children, raised them with out any assistance, although at times living below poverty. I was a single parent for many of those years, never receiving any child support and even though I would have appreciated the help from my ex-husband, as they were as much his resonsibility, did not believe society owed me. Now that my children are grown, I should not be made to pay for someone who chose to have children they can not afford. I'm going out on a limb here and also believing that I should no longer have to pay for schooling with my taxes. When my children were in school, yes, but just like anything else. You don't use a service you don't pay for it. Why should I pay for alcohol rehab, drug rehab for individuals who have chosen to be addicts. I am not. I will never support paying for someone else's mistakes or bad choices.

flag this »

  14     August 24, 2007 - 8:54am | montana_girl


First, it doesn't cost anything close to $16,000 to raise a child for one year. That is such a joke. Most of us throw away (or excessivley eat) enough food each day to feed a child or two.

Second, I thought USA citizens had the right to spend their income as they desire, not as some social activist or politician says they should. If someone wants to spend a million per year on a child, what business is that of yours?

Third, who cares about "fairness" in spending? Are you a socialist? ...steal from those who work or have family money, so that others can have more? What a crazy concept. It has never worked anywhere it's been tried.

Fourth, is it good for the kids? Depends on how it's being spent. I've seen a lot of horrible children who were spoiled on a lot less than $16,000, and other wonderful ones who have very wealthy parents. If Paris Hilton is a poster child for overspending on a child, then you make your case.

If a parent doesn't have enough money to raise a child, then he/she could get another job, ask relatives to help (but don't think they're entitled), ask a local church for help, or put the child up for adoption. Why does the government have to be our solution? They always find ways to ruin a decent program.

Before we had kids we were criticized by many people as being DINKs(double income; no kids). We were expected to be happy to pay taxes. Ha! We went to college (paid our own way) and found good jobs. Why should we have felt guilty about that? Why should anyone be forced to pay for kids they didn't have themselves? Some people are very willing to give time and money to children's charities. Those who don't want to, should not be forced to do so.

flag this »

  13     August 22, 2007 - 1:38pm | acdc_roxx


well... if you choose to have kids, or make a stupid mistake and not use protection, then that is yours fault. kids should have all the necessities growing up-shelter, food, and love. kids dont need more than 1 toy box.

i didnt have a lot of toys growing up, i had a mom that liked to go to the park and play catch or kick around a soccer ball.

so dont buy a new toy every time your kids throws a tantrum or whines when they dont get it. if they do, it just shows that they are spoiled and they expect things when they want them.

flag this »

  12     August 15, 2007 - 12:35pm | vikingsgrrl

It's called responsibility

If you choose to have children you better be able to pay for them yourself. I work to pay my own bills and live my own life. I should NOT have to support someone else or their children. Take responsibility for your own.

As someone stated below, the US is a democratic nation and not a socialist one. There are plenty of socialist organizations, like churches, where people can go for assistance. The government should not be involved and neither should my taxes.

flag this »

  11     August 14, 2007 - 9:27pm | nevesian


What a royal crock they are attempting to impose yet again. How about we take some of the MILLIONS of money wasted on "Professional" sports players which play a game and distribute that around? Or we could take some of the money from those parents that buy there kids a new car and a new cell phone to match the accident there going to cause every year?! Why is the governments answer to everything TAXES??!!
What about that big fat tax refund those parents get? Or the fact they get state assistance that we the tax payers are already paying for? I have a number of words I can pick for this suggested tax, but I'm going to have to go with DISGUSTED!

flag this »

  10     August 14, 2007 - 4:32pm | sunbrean

Cost of Children

Tax the grandparents that are living together unmarried, each earning their own incomes, taking multi-vacations per year, driving fancy vehicles, residing in a huge house on the south side of Anchorage, refusing to retire so, that they don't get bored at home or help out with their grandkids, and get the grandparents to help the poor families on limited budgets due to high costs of living with kids. The point is, they can afford it and they dont spend enough time with the grandkids nowadays!!

flag this »

  August 27, 2007 - 10:39am | akgrl

Cost of Children

Oh an unhappy kid who's parents aren't bailing them out with their grandkids. It's called choices people. They raised you it isn't their responsibility to raise your kids. Sounds like someone who hasn't grown up to be a responsible parent themselves and wants mommy and daddy to bail them out.

flag this »

  August 24, 2007 - 8:29am | montana_girl


Why the jealousy of the grandparents' lifestyle? They didn't have these grandchildren, so they don't have to pay for them. Use taxes as punishment for those who don't live the way you want them to????

Your rant was pathetic.

flag this »

  9     August 14, 2007 - 11:13am | chuckc8284

Cost of Children

Sorry, but my wife and I raised our 2 children without any type of assistance. We worked 2-3 jobs when necessary to ensure our children where well taken care of. I'm not paying a penny for children of dead beat parents. I do feel sorry for the chilren, but their not mine. With the amount of welfare we pay out, along with the number of social programs available, why should I start to pay again.

flag this »

  8     August 6, 2007 - 8:13am | bdpttrsn


My ex and her similarly married lover decided to have a child, ditch their currant marital partners and live happily ever after. The conceiving went well, but he stalled out on the ditching his wife and kids for my wife and their child. But my wife decided to ditch me....and her bastard son.... when he was 9 months old. The legal system being what it is, and me being the only reliable "parent" with a decent income .. I was drafted. Money matters to the system not genetics. I became custodial parent ..... that was 23 years and $150,000 to $200,000 ago.

It was money and time well spent....but I still think the biological parents owe my lotsa $$$$

flag this »

  7     July 26, 2007 - 1:27pm | k_wolfe

Childless people should pay more taxes?

Would that include double income couples who have already raised their families and paid a lifetime of taxes for the privilege? Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not a solution, but reducing the population is. Breeders, use reliable birth control!! Your lack of responsiblity should NEVER become a call for UNFAIR emergency taxation measures directed at the people who have either wisely chosen not to reproduce, have not reproduced yet, or who have already reared families. Geez, kwitchyerbellyakin!! Go to the drugstore BEFORE you go to the liquor store.

flag this »

  6     July 24, 2007 - 7:26pm | janigtyrgun

Cost of Children

If you can't afford it or you don't want to afford it - then don't have them! A little bit of planning goes a long ways! SHEESH!!!

And, wake up people! This is AMERICA - A DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC NOT A SOCIALIST COUNTRY (although California has already gone off that deep end!).

Nobody said life was FAIR, get over it! Work hard, play hard and do the VERY BEST you can for your kids. It's not anyone else's responisibility to take care of them and raise them - IT'S YOURS!!!!

flag this »

  5     May 23, 2007 - 6:56am | kaigun

Is that fair?

What a stupid question. No, it's not "fair". Life's not "fair". Get over it.

flag this »

  4     April 20, 2007 - 7:14am | driceq

I agree to a point

on the whole if you can't afford them don't have them but...
At the point I had my children, I could afford them within the two parent family. But things changed and it became harder to afford things. I have always worked full-time and never gotten any government assistance. I'm paid every other week so 2 months out of the year when it just so happens I end up with 3 paychecks was enough to make it so I couldn't qualify to even get a little help with daycare. Child support was pretty much a joke and yes, I went through the legal systems in place to try to get it and still am with one of my children. The thing is to realize how much life is going to change and what sacrifices you're willing to make so they have a decent life and there's nothing wrong with explaining budgets to them once they are old enough to understand. It's made a difference in my single parent household.

flag this »

  3     March 25, 2007 - 10:57am | eroissyfr

This is ridiculous. What

This is ridiculous. What exactly makes up this "guideline"? What is a DIOK? And the word "fair"...how juvenile is that? Children since time began have been brought up in all types of different financial circumstances and the world keeps revolving. I brought both my kids up on a salary of $18000 yr in their formative years. No government assistance and very little child support. They did fine. and I agree with another writer, if you can't afford them, don't have them. Birth Control is much cheaper. Stop listening to the silly government guidelines and stop expecting the government and taxpayers to finance the raising of your children.

flag this »

  2     March 20, 2007 - 10:18am | eric_kinyquist

child care assistance

Wow that is intelligent. I chose to stay home even though my husband was in the army and pay was raunchy until my children were in school. Most people don't have that option. Some of the people paying for reliable childcare are working and not on welfare will still live in poverty even though they have assistance. It is jus the way things are so far.

flag this »

  1     March 15, 2007 - 11:32am | Loquitur

What's a "DIOK"? Can't

What's a "DIOK"?

Can't afford kids? Don't have 'em. Simple.

flag this »

  July 2, 2007 - 11:58pm | Bonjo


So true. If you can't afford children, don't have them. Why should taxpayers have to pick up the tab for the result of YOUR actions? If YOU make 'em, YOU pay for 'em. Simple, really.

Overpopulation is the number one problem in the world. Think about this, seriously.

flag this »

  April 18, 2007 - 8:53pm | rotorhead

DIOK = dual income, zero kids?

I've always subscribed to the motto: If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em. Unfortunately I seem to be distinctly in the minority with that viewpoint these days. It's symptomatic of the precipitous decline in the importance of personal responsibility in our society at large, aided and abetted by our morally bankrupt legal system and the federal governments encouragement of the "nanny state".

Now, before you get all worked up about how cruel and heartless and how out of touch I am, keep in mind that I quit my job to be a stay-at-home-dad. We as a family have restructured our lives to live within our means on a single income, so that I can stay home with our child.

Everyone makes choices in their buying habits and priorities, its up to you to decide if your children are worth changing your lifestyle.

flag this »

  May 9, 2007 - 10:04am | drjs

Feed the Children (to the Rich & Bureaucrats)

It's simple:

Just give the poor folk's children to the rich folk, via the existing bureacracy designed for that very purpose: DFYS/CSED, social workers, lawyers, court psychiatrists, etc. They're paid (and very well) to do it.

Everybody knows it's in the "child's best interest."

flag this »

  September 19, 2007 - 8:30am | sara_seeger

Why should we have to pay

What about the people that work hard and wait to have kids so they can afford it and provide a good home. We get no assistance! My husband and I work full time jobs, my husband also a part time job and we are now planning to start a family. It just is not fair. I get no assistance for school, we got no break on buying a home but if we would go ahead and just have kids and maybe not work and be dead beats I could go to school cheaper and get a deal on a home and I could stay home and raise my kids! And on top of that they get free medical that we can't qualify for because we have good jobs! This system is all wrong. We reward people for not planning and being irresponsible and those who are responsible should not be penalized!

flag this »

Anchorage Daily News is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service