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December 11, 2006



How about incentives for these types of families to NOT have kids?


I'd be happy if more people were happily - or even adequately - married. I'd love it if there were fewer violent wee thugs around. But I refuse to believe that correlation = cause.

james higham

Handing out money, in governmental terms, isn't 'appearing to be caring'. It IS being caring. Turning it around, if he cared with his words but didn't cough up, would that be viewed as caring by the community?


I thought there was another piece in the argument: more criminal/antisocial behaviour is committed by kids in lone parent families. More co-habiting couples who are not married split up before the child is five years old than do couples who are married. Therefore, not getting married (whilst breeding) causes lone parenthood, which causes anti-social behaviour. Therefore, let's reward those who do get married, regardless of whether they breed anti-social kids or not.


AntiCitizenOne makes a good point: "How about incentives for these types of families to NOT have kids?"

I believe in taking it to the next level...

How about no false incentives at all? Or at least close to none? For a start, no 'free' education. Why should the government subsidize children? Why should I pay for your kids? People should take responsibility for their actions. If they want to have kids, be ready to pay for them.

Then we can move on to shutting down the NHS.


It's not just financial incentives though, is it? It's because of the ridiculous needs-based allocation of public housing - and all its unintended consequences - that young single mothers get council flats before young married couples with children. there are plenty of other polcies that have the same effect.


Nail, head, hammer, hit; I think that those words reforemed into a sentence is just so appropriate here! We have been HERE before, and that time John Major was shagging Edwina - so much for family values!


You're right to dismiss this idea. If anything, you yield too much to the position that tax-breaks would do anything to stop any families at all breaking up because the financial costs of splitting up outweigh any tax advantages. I know this from experience - you have to duplicate just about *everything* - houses, heating and light, furniture, carpets, council taxes. This very sore on wallet.


It's also fair to say that marriage is broadly a good thing - in which case why not refrain from penalising it?
Talk of rewarding marriage is all very well, but the fact is that the current system does actually penalise married couples. Ending that has got to be right.


Anti-citizen-one and Mat334 have a point, but fail to go far enough.

Why don't we round up all the single parents, anti-social kids and anyone else on benefit and put them in forced labour camps?

Now that would be an incentive for them not to have kids or claim benefits.

chris strange

Parties seeking rents for the people that elect them. Isn't that the modus operandi of all the parties?


To develop your analogy, stopping the bus after hitting someone will probably do him no good at all, but it may stop the bus from hitting many more people.

The idea of spending yet more money on schools, benefits etc has been tried more and more expensively over the last 60 years or so, and things have always got worse. If a policy has a failure record two generations long, we should probably try something else.

james higham

...It's also fair to say that marriage is broadly a good thing - in which case why not refrain from penalising it?...

I agree with this and further with Shuggy that the cost of splitting is prohibitive [also from bitter experience].

Not Saussure

I've not read the report, so I may well be misinterpreting its argument, but I'm not particularly convinced by the line of argument that because broken homes are associated with the various ills described it follows that we should encourage people to get married.

I'd think the important benefit comes from the child being brought up by a couple in a committed relationship, and people in committed relationships are more likely to get married than are others. Simply encouraging people to get married, regardless of the quality of the relationship, isn't likely to acheive anything other than a rise in the divorce rate a few years down the line.

That was certainly the effect, or so I've been told by many Russians, of housing policy in the old Soviet Union. There the best way for a young person to jump the housing queue was to get married.

The authorities apparently didn't particularly approve of unmarried mothers, partly because of Communist puritanism (novus homo sovieticus and nova femina sovietica should be interested in improving their minds and building socialism, not getting laid) and partly because they didn't want to have to support the mother and young child for years on end, so if your parents couldn't help with child care the state would take over that responsibility (not necessarily to the child's long-term benefit, from what one hears of Soviet children's homes). And abortions were free and readily available.

Consequently, loads of young Russians tended to get married as soon as possible so they didn't have to live with their parents. Result: very high divorce rate.

I think it's a pretty fair bet that when the state starts offer incentives, something's likely to go badly wrong at some point.


Very goodt

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