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,
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.
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?