Parentalism: Sharing the wealth

Had a great couple of conversations at an event I went to about a week ago and thought I might use it as blog fodder.   As one would expect the presidential election continues a point of interest in most public discussions, but not always appropriate for many settings.   To that end, Em and I were able to quickly divert the conversation to parenting, which is always a good thing since Em is as blue as can be, I’m definitely purple and we live in a red state.   Parenting is something most everyone can get who is over 30.  It also is something I know about which makes it easy to speak to without much of a stretch.  Plus parenting is a topic which we can all synchronize on, like the first time your kid got dreadlocks,

100_0635 by you.

the time when you broke your arm dropping into a bowl with your 7 year olds or the first protest you took your kids to.

photo by you.

So not sure how, but somehow parenting came back to politics, arrghhh.   So Em does a conversation flip from “sharing the wealth” being a political thing to being equally a parental thing.   Premise: All parental wealth is ultimately shared with the kids.

Under that premise, the transition from “democrats suck” to parenting was pretty easy –  the only really enjoyable sharing of the wealth is being a parent.   So I thought I would take it a little further – is it possible that parenting can fuel an economic rebound?  Can free spending entitlement based parenting be a new socio/political/economic model?

Heck yeah! If trickle down economics works as a model, then improving the discretionary income of minors has some validity and who is most able to make this happen?  Yup, parents. Parentalism.

Propping Up the Cell Phone Industry: A Parentalism Use Case

So I started thinking about how being a parent could drive improvements to the economy.  We could do all kinds of things like change curfew hours, enable them to take up a hobby or make a decision of some sort which requires more cash or changes how the kids can spend cash.   The first thing that came to my mind which could have an impact was my decision on a new cell phone.   My continuous denial to buy my two oldest kids a new 3G iPhone is having a negative impact on economy.  Yes, I know – horrible dad, since all the cool kids have them and AT&T could use a little increased share of wallet from me.   My take is that one should be happy at 12 to have a phone, even if it’s not an iPhone since every good parent gets their kids a mobile phone by 12, right?   Well maybe not every 12 year old has a cell phone and that just might be how parentalism could help the telcos, the economy and my dad coolness vibe.  Let’s do a little math:

  • 75M kids in the US under 18
  • Fuzzy math: kids over 12 years old is let’s say 20M
  • Let’s say that 20% have cell phones, so there is a bunch of opportunity here.
  • Let’s say that another 10% could have phones if their parents were just cool enough

So quick math indicates that by just practicing parentalistic spending you could pump $120M/yr into the economy and no one even needs to get an iPhone, but surely the cool kids would.  No really it is not that hard to back into the number: 2M kids @ $10/mo for the extra line, $40 in minutes/overage and $10 in unlimited texting and the $120M doesn’t include ringtones, games or a device purchase.  This could be exciting economic stuff this parentalism.   Think about it — what is more joyful than seeing your kid text message their way through dinner.   Like father/mother, like son/daughter –  a proud day definitely lies ahead with parentalism.  What other parental decisions could be made which would provide stimulus to the economy?

  • Buy a new Minivan?
  • Start a new college or trust fund to fuel transaction fees?
  • Participate in a bake sale?
  • Refuse to do a carpool
  • Invite people you hardly know to your kids birthday party? (no that would be weddingism)
  • Just say yes to that candy in the checkout lane (it also makes life easier for other around you)

Ultimately there is always a spreading of the wealth which occurs by choice, design or accident which we all participate in everyday. The big questions is when, where and how is acceptable spreading of the wealth determined?  Is it determined by the fact that the wage earner makes the decision?  Isn’t a vote a decision? Isn’t where you live a decision? I guess you could move to Canada…errr wait, healthcare is socialized, maybe France then might work.

I liken a tax credit or stimulus check approach  to having the same positive impact as giving your kid a raise in their allowance within a parentalism model.  Think about it, what did you do with your stimulus check, providing you got one?  What impact did it have on the economy?   Not much….  At the end of the day, I’m not sure I would trust my 12 year old twins to more responsibly stimulate the economy than the government.  I’m not sure I would trust the average adult either.

Well there may be some upside to giving the twins more money, it may improve the skateboard, apparel and video game industry, I guess you have to start somewhere.  On second thought, it might be cool to take a high speed train ride across the country on summer vacation while stopping at several national parks and breathing clean air.  This should be my last political post, probably.

QUESTION TO SELF: I wonder if this is what mommy bloggers feel like after they write a post?

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8 Comments

  • Reply jon gatrell November 23, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Parentalism: Sharing the wealth: Had a great couple of conversations at an event I went to about a week.. http://tinyurl.com/58emax

  • Reply publisherhash November 24, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Share the wealth? Well be a parent. #parenting #economic # politics http://tinyurl.com/6n78ye

  • Reply suzymiller November 24, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Many of the UK company directors I know are taking salary cuts – or working on no salary at all. So I suggested to my Seven year old that his pocket money chores continue but that he takes a 100% pay cut till the economy improves in 2012 (let’s be realistic).

    Luckily, Henry has a speech impediment so the full force of his reply was distorted enough to make it less insulting than if it had come from one of his elder siblings. He is now threatening to take union action and I worry about the internal economy of my household surviving this crisis. Meanwhile, the UK government is getting into even more debt than most of the population put together, whilst telling us to spend more. But they forgot to tell us that we need to spend money we have, not increase debt (like the banks have been doing. And… oh, the Government) so I shall be suggesting to young Henry that he get me a machine for making money this Xmas (like the one Gordon Brown uses) so that way I will be able to afford to pay him a fair rate for his chores.

  • Reply J G November 24, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Suzy,

    I had to approve this comment once I saw your site. I know it is very possible it is spam, but due to translation from english to English I was concerned that it may not in fact be spam.

    http://www.sos-village.org/
    Cheers!

    ~jon

  • Reply In response to an excellent fiscal article | CertainShops: Resource for Professional Articles November 27, 2008 at 6:07 am

    […] Parentalism: Sharing the wealth […]

  • Reply marc0 November 28, 2008 at 8:38 am

    I’ve been thinking since well before the s chip or whatever they called that last attempt at kids healthcare, that if the government fully funded everything costly to a parent, in a way that could not be abused at all; it would solve more than just the economy.

    What is everyone afraid of?

    Why not fully subsidize healthcare for say age 15 and under or something? Perhaps make it not only free, but paperwork free for say, a 13 year old to walk into a clinic or an emergency room and get almost every legitimate need met.

    How about make diapers, powdered milk, baby wipes etc., free? Afraid of hurting capitalizmo? OK, make a generic version of each free, and if you want more colorful, softer, gooer or etc., those can be hell 3x as expensive as they already are.

    In fact, make “providing for your child” completely subsidized and then each of us adults can make real choices such as personal healthcare/cigarettes; transportation/fancy car; second job/daydreaming; etc.

  • Reply The Mommy Blogger November 28, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    This was a very interesting article 🙂

  • Reply J G November 29, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Thanks MommyBlogger, thanks for stopping by and providing a comment. I see you already changed to a christmas theme…

    ~jon

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