DPF approvingly links to a post from the rather bitter and unhappy mind of Cactus Kate, arguing that a couple cited by the Herald series on inequality who are living on a low income and struggling to support their family have only themselves to blame, because it was their choice to have a family in the first place.
Most people chose to have children. DPF and Kate haven’t, which is fine, but little things like the long-term viability of the economy and perpetuation of the species are dependent on those of us who do. Kate writes:
The conclusion is that inequality is created by bad personal choices. No one forced these two to have three children of their own in addition to a SOCK. They didn’t accidentally have three children. The only thing the taxpayer should be paying for is Craig to have the snip.
Am I picking on Craig and Carla? Yes. But only because they have been silly enough to be used for this story. They are not the only family living like this. Will this be a permanent or temporary state for these people? Hard to tell. They have chosen to make life as difficult as possible for themselves that is for sure.
But the point here is that having a couple of children shouldn’t be a ‘bad personal choice’ for everyone not earning a high income. This used to be a country in which a family could be comfortably supported on a single, average income; we’re currently a country in which a family can be tenuously supported on two average incomes. That’s because our median wages remain stagnant while our living costs continue to rise. People aren’t leaving for Australia simply because ‘wages are higher’, but because that lets them do things like have children or own their own home, which many people just can’t afford to do in New Zealand. It’s all very well to sneer at those who have kids here as having made, ‘poor personal choices’, but it reflects terrible problems with our socio-economic model, and hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders are responding to it rationally by leaving the country.