It’s becoming Too Expensive to Raise a Family in Singapore so Fewer are Raising Families

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 7th, 2012

Week in Review

Raising a family is expensive.  Once upon a time you could do it on one income.  But now with huge welfare states requiring heavy taxation one income rarely cuts it anymore.  It takes two.  Childcare.  And more cooperative employers.  For without all of this young people just won’t be able to afford to raise a family (see Survey: 50% couples not have babies because ‘Money No Enough’ posted 10/6/2012 on TR Emeritus).

According to a recent survey conducted by voluntary welfare organisation ‘I Love Children’, about 1 in 2 couples (50%) said not having enough finances is the main reason for not having children…

‘I Love Children’ is a voluntary welfare organization set up in September 2005 with a purpose of keeping Singapore young — by advocating a higher priority to having children, and promoting a society where children are loved and mainstreamed. It hopes to inculcate the value and importance of parenthood and family among Singaporeans, as well as encourage a children-friendly environment in Singapore.

To keep Singapore young.  All nations would like to keep their nations young.  To have an expanding population growth rate.  So they have more young workers entering the workforce than older workers leaving the workforce.  Why?  To avoid the financial crises they’re having in Europe.  Japan.  The U.S.  And like they will probably soon have in China.  Where all of these nations have an aging population.  Where more people are leaving the workforce while fewer are entering it to replace them.  So the tax base is shrinking.  As is tax revenue.  And this at a time when government spending on pensions and health care for the elderly is rising.  Which means fewer and fewer people will have to support more elderly people in their retirement.  As the tax base dwindles governments replace that lost revenue with more and more borrowing.  Leading to those financial crises.

At the dialogue session, 26-year-old Ms Gillian Neo, said, “Currently, infant care in Singapore is still quite expensive. Even the more affordable ones, after government subsidies, is still $700 a month…”

During the the dialogue session, young parents also said that flexi-work arrangements are a major incentive as that will enable them to spend more time with their children…

However, there is still a lot of resistance in the mentality of some of the management of companies towards this mode of working.

“I was offered a full-time work from home arrangement with my previous employer… Six months into it, it really fell flat on the ground. One of the reasons was my immediate supervisor was really not supportive of the arrangement,” said Mandy Loh, a freelance writer…

She said, “In fact, there have been studies done by the employers federation, for instance, to show that for every dollar spent on flexi-work options, the return is S$1.68.”

Madam Halimah also suggested that flexi-work arrangements could be used to attract people to work for SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprise], which are currently facing a labour crunch.

The problem is not lack of affordable childcare.  The problem is that a high level of taxation (often to support an aging population) requires two incomes to raise a family.  Children are not supposed to be a nuisance that we dump off at childcare while we go to work.  They should be raised in a loving family with a full time stay-at-home parent.  A role typically filled by the mother.  The CEO of the house.  While the husband works full time to pay the bills.  Parenting is a team.  It takes two to raise a family.  A mother and a father.  Not a childcare facility.  And, no, this isn’t discriminatory to women because they can’t have a career and be a mother.  It’s what’s best for the children.

The working mom also comes with some baggage.  Especially if she is a key person on a project.  Because a snow day may pull her out of the office when they call an emergency meeting.  If a child falls ill she may be out of the office for a few critical days of the project.  If a meeting runs long because of a crisis she will still have to leave at 4:00 PM to pick up her kids from daycare.  If a project requires an emergency trip to another state she will not be able to go.  School holidays and half-days will take her out of the office, too.  These aren’t hypotheticals.  Many of us have probably experienced this in the workplace.  This is why employers are reluctant to hire single moms or single dads.  And a little reluctant to hire a married mom with young kids.  Because it is often the mother and not the father that will miss work for the kids.  As the father’s career will be more established because of less time missed for the birth of their children.  It’s not unfair.  Men and women are just different.  Women give birth.  Men don’t.

Emphasizing a woman’s career over her children has put more women into the workforce.  Which has allowed greater government spending.  This is why governments want state-provided childcare.  Because they want to get women back into the workforce as quickly as possible so they can resume paying taxes.  Which governments can never seem to collect enough of with an aging population.  Making it ever more difficult for young people to have the children governments want them to have.  To bring new taxpayers into the workforce.  So bringing women into the workforce probably hurts in the long run more than it helps.  For it allows the government to spend more.  But it also discourages young people from raising families.  Leading to fewer children.  An aging population.  And a shrinking tax base.  Which will probably be made up with more government borrowing.  As more nations join those in Europe, Japan, the U.S. and probably China who are suffering from the pressure of aging populations.  And the financial crises they cause.

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