The Case Against Stay-At-Home Parents?

Sunday, June 26, 2016
Posted in category Feminism

I only take the time to comment on this piece in Bloomberg (“The Hidden Cost for Stay-At-Home American Parents”) because I see many opinion pieces on this topic that are so poorly thought out and written, and they are rarely challenged for the shallow analysis that is presented.

The writer, Michelle Jamrisko, has cited a report that attempts to quantify the costs to a family when a parent stays at home to care for children. And this report is presented without introducing the qualitative aspects of having a stay-at-home parent, a decision that is subjectively determined by the participating individuals so that they may add more value to the family life than a paycheck, missed potential raises, and retirement assets (which are already based on the flawed conventional wisdom of a constant value or always-increasing stock market).

The decision around whether to go back to work after having a baby — and pay for childcare — is already difficult. American parents can now add another stark financial figure to their calculations: Each lost year of employment could cost a family more than three times a parent’s annual salary. *

They’re missing out on a regular paycheck, but also the opportunity costs including lost wage growth and retirement assets, according to a report released Tuesday from the Center for American Progress.

“Given the importance of parents’ careers in ensuring financial stability for their children, it’s a sign we’re not thinking through childcare as an economic problem when parents are deciding to take time off or not without good tools to see how it affects their incomes,” said Michael Madowitz, co-author of the report and an economist at the liberal Washington-based research institution.

This article presents the stay-at-home-parent family as a robotically-inclined one where the parents have not intelligently quantified all economic costs, including opportunity cost and future lost incomes that are, in reality, based on multiple fallacies. The lifetime economic loss quantified in this overly-simplistic scrutiny does not take into affect the base skill set of the stay-at-home parent; the potential earnings power based on that skill set, motivation, and work ethic; the ability or desire for the parents to save for the future; or the costs of childcare and part-time parents for a working couple, and how those costs impede the ability to save for retirement even if they desire to save.

The author brings up opportunity cost without bringing into question the opportunity costs of not raising your own children and instead allowing strangers to play that role 40+ hours per week while the parents come home for a few hours at night to scramble to keep the household in order. But mostly, the article never once takes into consideration why a parent chooses to stay home with their children – reasons which are mostly qualitative and based on the subjective preferences of the parents and the lifestyle they desire for themselves and their children.

Since a report by the Center for American Progress was the focal point of this article, one only need to take a slightly deeper dive into the story to understand that this is part of an ongoing plea on the part of the Left to obtain welfare - government-mandated benefits – for women who have children so they can get paid to stay home, or allow them to opt for government-subsidized (“affordable”) child care. In short, these reports and studies and articles are contrived to build mainstream support and drive political legislation for economically-dependent families that will be forever on the dole.

The view set forth to support the notion of family welfare for all is that parents are not capable of making decisions about caring for their own children because they have not used the appropriate conventional (flawed) models to quantify staying at home vs. choosing a paying career. So therefore, government should step in, and, if a parent does choose to stay home, there should be child care welfare provided so that family does not have to rearrange their priorities, or lifestyle, based on what is important to them.

The left is not at all concerned about why parents leave the workplace to have children or the vastly improved quality of life that these families benefit from by having a parent remain happily on the homefront in a full-time role. Left-wing institutions and special interests are only concerned with enlarging their constituent base and moving forward with their anti-family, welfare-based agenda.

Just for fun, I plugged in my own numbers into this interactive graph to determine my “economic losses” had I missed out on my career to care for children at age 30. My “losses” went into the many millions of dollars, with one component hinging on the “security” of government benefits and financial markets:

LOST RETIREMENT ASSETS AND BENEFITS: The combined losses from missed 401(k) plan contributions while on leave and the lost growth of those assets until retirement and reduced Social Security benefits.

This is in spite of the fact that current statistics show no or greatly reduced savings on the part of the baby boomer generation and beyond.

* In spite of the article reading “more than 3 times annual salary,” the report from CAP reads “up to 4 times annual salary…” So which is it, and how do we know that? This is the numbers game, with numerous institutions and associated special interests intentionally citing hollow sound bites as factual statistics because it is known that most readers will process and believe exactly what they read.

Intellectually Gifted Children: the New Retarded

Friday, June 24, 2016
Posted in category Public School Prisons

A friend of mine has been having school problems with her two male children, ages 9 and 7. Issues of behavior, “inappropriate” comments (meaning, brutally honest), and a lack of “fitting in.” Hearing the problems at hand, and knowing their parents are smarties, it always seemed to me that these kids were very likely intellectually gifted.

She took these kids to a respectable assessment center, this month, where they were both tested extensively by PhDs who specialize in such stuff. High overview is: they tested with IQs of 132 and 147, respectively, with even higher vocabulary skills, and that was no surprise. Of course, they will be yanked from the government prison they are in, but appropriate schools around here are more pricey than college, and it takes months to comb through applications, search for private financial aid, and win acceptances.

In the meantime, I read an exchange between my friend and the school principal that infuriated me, and they ain’t even my kids. This person is entirely focused on the 7-year-old’s (IQ of 147) “lack of performance” lately, and his falling test scores, in spite of the fact that he’s doing complex math problems way beyond his grade level. On and on this guy went, completely focused on percentiles and scores and comparing this brilliant child to the other kids who have the ability to robotically “cram” for tests and get higher grades than her son.

Oh, and this 7-year-old boy with a 147 IQ? He had been placed in Special Education a few years ago because … he just wasn’t fitting neatly and quietly into the little round hole that had been assigned for him. This is why the government indoctrination system is a criminal entity that is entirely destructive of human capabilities. This is why government schools – unlike free institutions – have to *force* children to attend by threatening parents with charges and jail time.

The Empathy Industry

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Posted in category Diversity Tyranny

Empathy is a wonderful trait for humans to possess. It is a trait that is learned through maturity and emotional intelligence. Empathy is not supposed to be a form of self-punishment, but a characteristic of understanding another’s place and time, and yes, feelings.

Corporate America has long been at the head of the line in diversity training, and that all started out with companies scattering to develop a playbook for political correctness which has morphed into a gigantic industry of privilege shaming and political coercion through schemes promoting victimology.

Apparently, there is such a thing as an “empathy index” that can be leveraged by consulting firms to make oodles of profits off of cash-rich corporations with bloated human resource departments while also appeasing the Government-Victimology Complex that promotes so-called equality through divisiveness, coercion, and intolerance. This article in the Wall Street Journal shows a male Ford employee wearing a pregnancy suit, complete with pointy boobs, so that he may begin to empathize with pregnant women.

About 20% of U.S. employers offer empathy training as part of management development, up significantly from a decade ago, estimates Richard S. Wellins, a DDI senior vice president. He expects that percentage will double in 10 years.

The empathy industry fabricates statistics to present to corporations that state, to quote: “the top 10 businesses among 160 in a 2015 Global Empathy Index generated 50% more net income per employee than the bottom 10.” And this B.S. is enough for HR strategy hacks to go off on their merry way and concoct business cases “proving” value from such training by quantifying it through mindless mounds of unproductive paperwork.

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Janet Yellen’s Ticking Sound

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Posted in category Financial Markets

This article on Yahoo provides some good analysis on the state of the Fed’s no-exit strategy: no matter which way it turns, there are land mines between that beast and all of its purported save-the-day fiscal policies. Here’s a mouth full of marbles from Yellen on the rate hikes, yesterday, in her semi-annual purple prose to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee.

“The committee expects that the federal funds rate is likely to remain for some time below the levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run because headwinds, which include restraint on U.S. economic activity from economic and financial developments abroad, subdued household formation and meager productivity growth, mean that the interest rate needed to keep the economy operating near its potential is low by historical standards.”

The “headwinds” for which she is so intentionally allusive are the economic contraction in retail and industrial production; lack of a large enough fire under the housing bubble (including new housing starts); and a worldwide financial crisis that Yellen and the Fed, no matter what they do, cannot wash away with wizards and wands. Headwinds, meaning an “opposing” motion for which the Fed bears no responsibility, rather than a fundamental reality as a consequence of years of government-planned economic stimulus.

What Yellen essentially says above is that because of these “headwinds” the Fed committee expects these currently low rates to continue in spite of the fact that higher rates are expected in the “future” (whenever that is), and these current near-zero rates are acknowledged as being, yes, historically low, but they need to be that way in order for the central planners to continue to mange the economy like a boat with its rudder stuck. So essentially, she said nothing.

Every other issue she addresses is stated in words such as “we need to watch,” “we need to monitor,” “we are looking into it,” “very hard to predict.” According to Yellen, the labor market is not deteriorating or sliding or showing signs of recession, but rather it is seeing a “loss of momentum.” And an entire committee sits there on their collective hands. Although I did like the Tweet from Bill Gross that Yellen was speaking from “a 50-year-old textbook.”

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The Omnipotent Hag on Innocence

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Posted in category Totalitarian Government

The presumption of innocence is a staple of Anglo-American common law, except in Feinstein-Land. She states, here, that Americans shall ”petition to prove they are innocent and get off of the watchlist.” That is, the arbitrary, totalitarian “watchlist” that the United States government randomly assembles by way of secret evidence and uncorroborated sources and information based on the low standards of “reasonable suspicion.”

Condos for Car Nuts, or, the $100k+ Man Cave

Monday, June 20, 2016
Posted in category Boom-Bubble Phenomenon

Surely it’s ironic that a closed General Motors assembly plant in Pontiac, Michigan would become the new home to a “car aficionado playground,” or what is known as the M1 Car Condo project. To quote an article from MLive:

DETROIT – There are many places where people meet in Metro Detroit to proudly display their cars and trucks, or just gawk at other people’s, or both.

But Brad Oleshanksy said there are few if any dedicated spots in Southeast Michigan with a closed track, private garages and public retail all in one setting.

That changes this summer when Oleshansky’s M1 Concourse opens on 87 acres of land in Pontiac.

The $50 million project, in the making since 2013, has already had 8,000 tons of asphalt laid for its 1.5-mile track, and will open in time for Woodward Dream Cruise in August, with some events planned before then.

This project, called M1 Concourse, is an 87-acre “car enthusiast destination” that is a race track lined with nearly 300 car-condos, or private garages, ranging in price from $105k to $1M. These are deemed the “ultimate man caves.” Upcoming phases call for all the usual trappings of these bubble-economy, luxury undertakings: event space, a car-themed restaurant, and plans for extensive retail and commercial space into the year 2018. (We’ll see how that goes.)

This whole venture is described as a glorious “coming together” of the public and private sector with public funds being snatched to pay for cleaning up and redeveloping the site, and providing infrastructure.

Thus developers here descended upon mounds of cheap credit to borrow and build a luxury project, and they merged these borrowed monies with funds swindled from taxpayers via congressional dictates under the guise of “revitalizing Pontiac.” Pontiac is a city that has long been dead as a doornail, largely empty and abandoned, including empty auto plants and a shoddy downtown. The only renovations in this city have come from an economy bubbling with excess credit and Federal Reserve-gifted bargain interest rates. There is no genuine grass roots interest or demographic stability to support a project of this type, which is why it became infused with the promises of politicians and taxpayer dollars.

How long this multi-million dollar man cave will stay afloat will depend on how quickly the next Meltdown will bear down upon us. Perhaps it can join the Pontiac Silverdome one day in the Pontiac graveyard for formerly fabulous projects. Thanks to James Nellis for the tip. Follow me on Twitter @karendecoster.

 

One Giant Step for Transgenderkind

Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Posted in category political correctness

Well, I don’t see much evidence that he is breaking records, but all the same, you wanted it, you got it. Men can self-identify as a chick and use their inherent athletic advantage to win at sports. As media host Brian Wilson noted on my Facebook page, “bring back roller derby!”

The Victimology Olympics

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Wanna go to Poverty-Refugee-Homeless camp? Here’s a new article on Forbes on Misery Tourism: a new cottage industry for the achievement-hating, misery-embracing, guilt-fabricating, wealth-redistributing, lefty do-gooders whose job it is to keep alive the mentality that all achievers, doers, and producers must be dragged down to the level of the lowest and poorest common denominator in order for them to be thought of, even momentarily, as humans.

Misery Camp is where people with too much time on their hands give way to left-wing peer pressure and sink themselves into a status of phony misery, poverty, homelessness, and refugee-ism, in order to learn the finer points of such marketable skills as hunger deprivation, sleep deprivation, solitary lockup, experiencing discomfort, and oh, being stripped of your dignity and identity. Just think of how you can ”grow” your social justice warrior “skill set” and learn the finer points of victimology while posting Facebook pictures of your misery mock-up from your iPhone while you plunge into refugee status at day camp for the cost of only a couple of hundred dollars.

The refugee simulation takes place on a 400-acre farm in which participants are disoriented, are harassed and chased by groups, face challenges of finding food and shelter, and then are forced to fill out asylum forms in a language they don’t understand.Late last year, two non-profits, Giving What We Can, and Empathy Action, faced a sharp backlash when they planned to host a poverty simulation at Clare College, which is part of the elite University of Cambridge in the U.K. The organizers said they would turn “Clare College cellars into a run-down, oppressive slum” and create an event that was characterized as being “fun and insightful,” and participants were invited to stay “afterwards for a drink in the bar.”

…Sometimes the locations where simulations are held can create an ironic image. Last year the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland held a policy summit that included a poverty simulation — at the Omni William Penn Hotel, a luxury property in Pittsburgh. The Bank of America Black Executive Leadership Council has a poverty simulation scheduled for June 29, 2016 at the upscale Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte, North Carolina.

So even the Federal Reserve had a poverty simulation during a policy summit on housing, human capital, and inequality. They probably all arrived in limos and ended with a martini toast, then went to the office and expensed it all so the taxpayer could share in the ‘virtual’ misery.

The Indoctrinators who push these things are hopeful that intelligent and ambitious individuals who do wonders for humanity via their entrepreneurial and productive abilities will take on these magical misery trips and be so moved by it all that they will perhaps “leave their jobs and go into micro finance and the relief sector.” The Forbes title (“Misery Tourists: How the Wealthy Learn What It’s Like to be Poor”) is misleading, as this is not just an occasion for bored, guilty people of wealth. Shared – even if phony – misery is a useful tool for molding approval for the government redistribution-central planning sector at the expense of a free market that builds and maintains wealth through accomplishment. In fact, these misery camps are becoming a requirement of organizations, colleges, and schools as these institutions continue to condition and indoctrinate human capital for the purpose of building future support for bigger and more invasive government.

 

Muhammad Ali Was Right

Sunday, June 5, 2016
Posted in category War

My Facebook thread is filled with dissing of Muhammad Ali by, what I can mostly discern, those who are conservatives, Republicans, and assorted fundamentalists. Each slam is of the same boorish content; draft dodger, draft dodger, anti-American, yada yada.

All I see is these folks writing about hating Ali while they instead wish to worship and honor those who went to war under a slave-draft system to kill people they knew nothing about because their government held a gun to their head, gave them a draft number, and opened the gate for them and the rest of the cannon fodder. The “draft dodger” condemnations are being carelessly flung out and about by the usual idiots. In return, here’s Tom Mullen:

Ali never dodged the draft; he opposed it, accepting the legal consequences without any attempt to evade them. He didn’t flee to Canada or enroll in college to obtain a deferment. From the moment he learned of his induction, Ali stood firmly in the proud tradition of civil disobedience, saying “just take me to jail.”

So Muhammad Ali is properly described as being willing to _die for_ peace and freedom. He faced down the government, held on to principle, spoke his mind, and never sold out a damn thing in spite of his incarceration. He didn’t run – he stayed and fought the establishment, even as the government tried to destroy him.

Then, folks are bringing up Ali’s racial connotations about white people being his enemy, with him saying (to paraphrase), “I’m not going to go over there and help somebody get what the negroes don’t have,” and telling those young, white kids on college campuses, “You are my opposer when I want freedom, you are my opposer when I want justice, you won’t even stand up for me or my religion, but you want me to go somewhere and fight somebody who has done nothing to me.”

Ali, in his times, was exactly right about all of that, so what’s the problem? This is something that today’s fake-i-fied Social Justice Warriors cannot even comprehend. Ali was indeed a great American.

FDA Claims the Power to Define Words

Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Posted in category Food Politics

The FDA wants full control of the word “healthy.” To quote:

The Food and Drug Administration will re-evaluate its definition of “healthy,” which could eventually upend how a range of foods are marketed.

The gist of this is that the FDA will take full control of a word. The word “healthy,” and how it is defined, deployed, and where and when it can be used. The FDA is, and has been, a criminal organization acting in concert with Big Ag, Big Pharma, and powerful special interests while destroying every last bit of freedom that Americans have left to choose their own food.

The FDA currently allows use of the term “healthy” on packaging only when products meet certain nutrient criteria. Last year, it told the maker of Kind fruit-and-nut bars that the company’s products should not be called healthy because of their saturated fat levels.

Realize that you live in a place and time where the government can declare what food products are or are not “healthy” by employing its deviant and biased use of the term to strike down any food product that does not meet its politicized guidelines. Of all of the bars (breakfast bars, granola bars, energy bars, snack bars) on the market, Kind is one of the very few that I buy, and that is because of the mostly clean list of ingredients without the corn syrup, added sugars, and other crap. But because nuts are central to the ingredient list, and nuts have “fat,” and fat is still demonized by the Food-Agriculture Cartel and the medical establishment, Kind bars are kicked to the curb in favor of low-fat sugary snacks. This article on Fox News accurately explains the basics of how it works:

Food can only be marketed as healthy if it meets five criteria: fat, saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol and beneficial nutrients, like vitamin C or Calcium. The levels differ by food category, but snacks generally can’t have more than 3 grams of fat.

When the term ‘healthy’ was first officially defined in 1994, low fat content was the main focus of health professionals. Sugar wasn’t on the FDA’s, or most nutritionists,’ radar.

Kellogg Co. doesn’t generally market its Frosted Flakes or low-fat Pop-Tarts as “healthy,” but under the current guidelines, it could. While the foods are high in sugar, they meet all the criteria, from low fat to fortified with vitamins. And fat-free pudding cups can be marketed as healthy, but avocados couldn’t because they have too much fat, according to today’s rules.

The article also notes something else that should not escape the analytical eye, and that is the FDA is going to take years - many years – to redefine this word. That means the organization will grow ever more omnipotent by ramping up its budget, spending oodles of tax dollars, hiring masses of bureaucrats, distorting medical science, and colluding with corporate state partners to build a framework around a word – “healthy” – that will keep the current system and its profit partners deeply entrenched for decades to come while pushing out competitors whose products are not a part of the government-approved machinations.