How Should We Value Child-Rearing Work?

Canadian Dimension, September 2001 | Go to article overview

How Should We Value Child-Rearing Work?


Even if we concede that Beverly Smith (in her interesting article "The Career/Family Dilemma and Canadian Tax Law" CD, vol.35, no.3) is speaking mostly from the point of view of "the state" when she calls a declining Canadian birth rate "problematic," while for developing countries it is seen as "a good thing," the comment makes me uncomfortable.

It is also distressing to see her argue that our pension and healthcare plans are "considering privatization and extra billing" because our taxpayer base is falling and not because an unprecedented corporate agenda is pressing such privatization upon citizens and governments everywhere. If we want to increase our taxpayer base we need only allow into our country a small portion of those desperate refugees who are literally dying at our doorsteps.

It is unjust to suggest that we in the developed world have the right to have as many babies as we desire while the world's poor, whose children consume so much less than do ours, curb their reproductive rates. In any case, our planet needs fewer of all of us.

Leona Gom

Tax breaks for moms in households with taxable incomes -- to be approved by the UN, no less -- rather than a guaranteed annual income for all Canadians, based on unpaid as well as paid work?

So-called feminsts and "leftists" like Beverley Smith aren't living in the 21st century when they whine that a one-wage-earner $50,000-per-year family with children pays $4,995 in tax while a two-wage-earner $25,000-each, $50,000-per-year couple with children only has to pay $2,429 in tax.

Women with children who are poor and, increasingly, hyperpoor, children who are poor and, increasingly, hyperpoor remain invisible to people like Smith.

Does the Right strongly oppose the UN-sanctioned tax credits Smith proposes. Not strongly. Tax credits for "feminist" mothers who haven't yet accounted for the shrinking of the middle class and the increasing impoverishment of children is something the Right believes it can easily co-opt and water down.

Would the right scream/fight very hard at the idea of an unpaid work-based guranteed annual income for all Canadians, including women with children? You bet they would!!! An unpaid-work-based as well as a paid-work-based guaranteed annual income is also a wedge to critique workplace conditions, a consumption-driven society and the exploitation of workers. …

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