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Needed statistic on gov. cost comparison

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  • aditmore@juno.com
    Does anyone out there know how the average public cost to all levels of government of raising a baby to adulthood compares with the equivalent average public
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 4, 2010
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      Does anyone out there know how the average public cost to all levels of
      government of raising a baby to adulthood compares with the equivalent
      average public cost of supporting and caring for a retiree, in any
      nation???
      One problem with this comparison in the United States is that while most
      overpopulation efforts are federal, most retirement costs are also
      federal, while most childhood education and care costs are state and
      local. It seems to me that the overpopulation (contraception) efforts
      need to follow the childhood education and care costs and that means (in
      the US) state and local overpopulation efforts, not federal
      overpopulation efforts.
      -Alan

      But anyway, which is more expensive, raising a child or supporting an
      elder????? and by how much????
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    • Elizabeth
      ... I ve got something to say about that, since I worked in homecare and eldercare a few years ago in Colorado. Government statistics will be hard to come by,
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 6, 2010
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        >
        > But anyway, which is more expensive, raising a child or supporting an
        > elder????? and by how much????
        >
        I've got something to say about that, since I worked in homecare and eldercare a few years ago in Colorado. Government statistics will be hard to come by, since there are so many ways this is funded, and the same funds are used for elderly, children, the poor, and on and on.

        To start with, while many elder care expenses are covered by the Federal government - especially Social Security and Medicare, a good bit of the state funds for homecare and some for nursing home or assisted living care come from the state. That is in addition to Medicaid funds which are paid by the federal government to states, then managed/doled out by the states. In most areas, direct care for the elderly comes only slightly from local funds. Additionally, there are other federal programs that pay for other sub-groups of the elderly, such as Veterans or Native Americans (tribal members).

        The vast majority of elderly people live in their own homes - paid for out of their own funds, whether privately rented or owned. Many own their homes outright - they do not have mortgages. Thus, elderly homeowners contributed little to the "mortgage crisis" of 2009. A great many live alone, and a great many live with their (also elderly) spouse, in their own home. Some live with friends, some with other (elderly) relatives such as siblings or cousins. A few live with their children. For the most part, children subsidize elderly parents very little.

        A great many people die after a short illness at home or in the hospital. A small minority ever go to nursing homes, and fewer still spend significant time there. However, many more get or need homecare to remain in their homes. Some get this by (partially or fully) subsidized professional care. Some get this solely from friends, church members, or family members. A few get it completely with their own funds.

        Taxes continue to be paid, although elderly are entitled to an additional exemption on their US Federal Income tax forms and rates. If elderly people have investments or income, non-governmental retirement programs, they continue to pay taxes on that income.

        There is the matter of time. For the sake of discussion, let's consider that "elderly" begins at age 65. If it continues for 18 years, that's 83 - beyond the average life expectancy in the US. A more realistic age that many elderly people will start needing any help, rather than just enjoying their retirement, is probably more like 75 or 80. Figure 18 years from that, and you've got a number between 93 and 97. A new baby, OTOH, will need siginficant care and subsidizing life, care, education, and other expenses for at least 18 years. Generally, more like 22-25 years if he/she goes into college rather than graduates from high school and gets one of those RARE support-level jobs at an entry level, or if the child goes into the military. In some states, parents or state funds have to pay for the child's college education, or through age 23, by law. Most government support programs (including social security or veteran's administration benefits for children of disabled or killed-in-action service members) continue through age 23. An elderly person, by contrast, will be 90 years old 25 years after he/she retires at age 65 - well beyond the expected lifetime.

        Now, how much does it cost? Well, as elderly people living on their own with minimal outside help (which they may be paying for themselves) are not taking anything, and may be paying taxes on their investments, the cost is just what they are getting from Social Security - a program which was *supposedly* being funded by their "contributions" (social security tax). However, it was deliberately underfunded, the funds raided for other uses, and Social Security has become nothing more than another welfare program with almost no qualifications besides age. Figure Social Security at maybe $1000 per month on average. Yes, I know that many people get significantly less. How much does Welfare, AFDC, WIC, food stamps, and other such things give per child? I honestly don't have a figure for that.

        Awhile back, I got an offer for a "reduced cost" medical plan - that would pay a percentage of fees. They gave some examples of costs. One I remembered that hit me as outrageous was a "typical hospital birth without complications" at an average of $19,000! I had to check into this, and after making a lot of phone calls and asking a lot of parunts, I found that this number was true to LOW! So, the child costs about $20,000 (maybe $30,000 now with inflation) right off the bat. Before that, another person has been partially disabled from the work or activities they could otherwise do. Now, this is a "disability" which is caused by someone's voluntary actions, and should not be treated like some other random illness or injury, whereas it is, and others are expected to "take up the slack" and feel sorry for the woman who cannot perform her job because she's pregnant. She's off work then for 6 weeks, so figure in a cost (to somebody) of 6 weeks of salary - a cost born by business, or that she won't be getting (or paying taxes on) if she doesn't have the "parental leave" benefit. Now, she may have to stay home - off work - not paying taxes for a few years or she'll have to pay for daycare. Daycare fees are far from cheap! From what I've heard, if you've got 2 kids in daycare, it's quite difficult to get a job that will even pay for the daycare. So, you've lost the taxes paid by the mother, possibly causing her to be eligible for various programs for her or the children, or at the very least causing the husband to be taxed less (lower family income - less taxes).

        Now, in about 5 years, the kid goes to kindergarten. The amount paid per student to local public schools varies widely, but even in Oklahoma (the state which pays the least for its public schools) it's several thousand per year. The fees go up for school as one goes along in school. Plus, there are a lot more juvenile delinquents or juvenile crimes than there are elderly who commit crimes. Thus, there's cost to courts and jails, as well as individual property loss, individual injury, theft of property, and so forth. This cost is born by individuals and property insurance companies. Only rarely does an elderly person get involved in these sorts of criminal activity such as vandalism, assault, noise violations, or alcohol or drug violations. It takes more police to watch for this crime. The crimes that the elderly are likely to commit won't be caught by ordinary police patrols. Most likely, it's elaborate white-collar crime. Elderly people have drinking legal for them, and the drugs they tend to use are only by prescription. Of course, that runs up the cost of medical care for them...

        Children need less medical care than the average senior citizen does, but that gets offset by all sorts of care that they are required by law or custom to NEED - everything from vaccinations to hospital births, to genital mutilation (oops, I meant 'circumcision'), to well-baby visits, to being checked at the emergency room everytime they fall down... (Elderly people are FAR more likely to get hurt from a fall, but children are seen in the emergency room far more frequently.) Both children and elderly are abused, but children are (apparently) abused more often. This entails more expensive care at state expense for the rest of their childhood. Elderly who are abused are often either treated and released, or the abuse is financial (has devastating effects on how the rest of their lives are funded and the quality of that life!), or it's severe and they die - with or without a lengthy hospitalization - paid for by tax money. It SHOULD be paid for by the abusers! I digress.

        So, I would say that it's significantly more expensive to care for a baby than it is an elderly person. I doubt you can find any real government data since so much of it is hidden, or it comes from so many sources. Some of what you'll find is the cost of nursing home care, but less than 1% of the elderly live in nursing homes at any particular time. I got this statistic from Silver Key Senior Services in Colorado Springs when I lived there some years back, and worked with elderly and disabled. Far more are living completely on their own than are living in nursing homes.

        Oh yeah, and DON'T expect adult children to provide much, if any, money to help support their parents. It's just not going to happen. They'll probably live in a different city and state, and will complain about being in the "squeeze generation" where they've got to provide for their children at the same time as their parents are "aging". Whose fault is THAT that these people chose to wait until their late 30s or early 40s to have children, had several because "their biological time-bomb was ticking", and 15 years later they had both teenagers and parents who were frail and elderly and needed some assistance?

        Beth
      • Les Knight
        Beth, thank you for your thorough discussion of the differences in cost between the first 20 years and last 20 years of our lives. If you don t have a blog, I
        Message 3 of 6 , Feb 6, 2010
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          Beth, thank you for your thorough discussion of the differences in cost between the first 20 years and last 20 years of our lives. If you don't have a blog, I suggest you create one and post this. It deserves to be shared more widely than this little yahoo list. Maybe others will find additional supporting figures and share them in your comments section.

          I just read a related article telling about the savings generated by the state of Iowa's investments in contraceptive services, and now I can't find it. I'll post here when it turns up.

          Les
        • Elizabeth
          Yeah. I post this stuff in my cynics4bettertomorrow.org blog. Or, on the pages of the website itself for some things.
          Message 4 of 6 , Feb 9, 2010
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            Yeah. I post this stuff in my cynics4bettertomorrow.org blog. Or, on the pages of the website itself for some things.

            --- In Why_breed@yahoogroups.com, Les Knight <les@...> wrote:
            >
            > Beth, thank you for your thorough discussion of the differences in cost between the first 20 years and last 20 years of our lives. If you don't have a blog, I suggest you create one and post this. It deserves to be shared more widely than this little yahoo list. Maybe others will find additional supporting figures and share them in your comments section.
            >
            > I just read a related article telling about the savings generated by the state of Iowa's investments in contraceptive services, and now I can't find it. I'll post here when it turns up.
            >
            > Les
            >
          • aditmore@juno.com
            Thanks for the in depth answer. Related to this line of thinking, does anyone have statistics on the correlation between community (city, town or county
            Message 5 of 6 , Feb 11, 2010
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              Thanks for the in depth answer. Related to this line of thinking, does
              anyone have statistics on the correlation between community (city, town
              or county within a nation) prosperity and fertility rate? I know that
              San Francisco has 14% children and Detroit has 35% children and Frisco is
              certainly far more prosperous than Detroit, but can we produce a
              statistical correlation? Asheville NC city councillors are using a book
              called "Rise of the Creative Class" to explain culturally liberal
              prosperity associated with gay rights, but I believe this book
              incorrectly gives "cultural creativity" credit for local prosperity that
              in fact was caused by local pockets of low fertility. Also I would very
              much like to forward that Iowa study to my North Carolina state
              legislators, county commissioners and city councillors. I really think
              this is where the political potential is and not on the national level.
              The blue states (and towns) are getting bluer, and even though they are
              already doing the most, they still have the most potential for
              improvement, far more potential than the feds have.
              Too many progressives, even when they see local correlations,
              argue reverse causality, that prosperity causes low fertility rates. I
              think it is incumbent upon us to defend forward causality, that low
              fertility is the cause and prosperity is the effect and not visa versa.

              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Why_breed/messages/1723?threaded=1&m=e&var=
              1&tidx=1
              http://www.creativeclass.com/


              ------------------------------------------------------

              >

              > But anyway, which is more expensive, raising a child or supporting an

              > elder????? and by how much????

              >

              I've got something to say about that, since I worked in homecare and
              eldercare a

              few years ago in Colorado. Government statistics will be hard to come by,
              since

              there are so many ways this is funded, and the same funds are used for
              elderly,

              children, the poor, and on and on.



              To start with, while many elder care expenses are covered by the Federal

              government - especially Social Security and Medicare, a good bit of the
              state

              funds for homecare and some for nursing home or assisted living care come
              from

              the state. That is in addition to Medicaid funds which are paid by the
              federal

              government to states, then managed/doled out by the states. In most
              areas,

              direct care for the elderly comes only slightly from local funds.
              Additionally,

              there are other federal programs that pay for other sub-groups of the
              elderly,

              such as Veterans or Native Americans (tribal members).



              The vast majority of elderly people live in their own homes - paid for
              out of

              their own funds, whether privately rented or owned. Many own their homes

              outright - they do not have mortgages. Thus, elderly homeowners
              contributed

              little to the "mortgage crisis" of 2009. A great many live alone, and a
              great

              many live with their (also elderly) spouse, in their own home. Some live
              with

              friends, some with other (elderly) relatives such as siblings or cousins.
              A few

              live with their children. For the most part, children subsidize elderly
              parents

              very little.



              A great many people die after a short illness at home or in the hospital.
              A

              small minority ever go to nursing homes, and fewer still spend
              significant time

              there. However, many more get or need homecare to remain in their homes.
              Some

              get this by (partially or fully) subsidized professional care. Some get
              this

              solely from friends, church members, or family members. A few get it
              completely

              with their own funds.



              Taxes continue to be paid, although elderly are entitled to an additional

              exemption on their US Federal Income tax forms and rates. If elderly
              people have

              investments or income, non-governmental retirement programs, they
              continue to

              pay taxes on that income.



              There is the matter of time. For the sake of discussion, let's consider
              that

              "elderly" begins at age 65. If it continues for 18 years, that's 83 -
              beyond the

              average life expectancy in the US. A more realistic age that many elderly
              people

              will start needing any help, rather than just enjoying their retirement,
              is

              probably more like 75 or 80. Figure 18 years from that, and you've got a
              number

              between 93 and 97. A new baby, OTOH, will need siginficant care and
              subsidizing

              life, care, education, and other expenses for at least 18 years.
              Generally, more

              like 22-25 years if he/she goes into college rather than graduates from
              high

              school and gets one of those RARE support-level jobs at an entry level,
              or if

              the child goes into the military. In some states, parents or state funds
              have to

              pay for the child's college education, or through age 23, by law. Most

              government support programs (including social security or veteran's

              administration benefits for children of disabled or killed-in-action
              service

              members) continue through age 23. An elderly person, by contrast, will be
              90

              years old 25 years after he/she retires at age 65 - well beyond the
              expected

              lifetime.



              Now, how much does it cost? Well, as elderly people living on their own
              with

              minimal outside help (which they may be paying for themselves) are not
              taking

              anything, and may be paying taxes on their investments, the cost is just
              what

              they are getting from Social Security - a program which was *supposedly*
              being

              funded by their "contributions" (social security tax). However, it was

              deliberately underfunded, the funds raided for other uses, and Social
              Security

              has become nothing more than another welfare program with almost no

              qualifications besides age. Figure Social Security at maybe $1000 per
              month on

              average. Yes, I know that many people get significantly less. How much
              does

              Welfare, AFDC, WIC, food stamps, and other such things give per child? I

              honestly don't have a figure for that.



              Awhile back, I got an offer for a "reduced cost" medical plan - that
              would pay a

              percentage of fees. They gave some examples of costs. One I remembered
              that hit

              me as outrageous was a "typical hospital birth without complications" at
              an

              average of $19,000! I had to check into this, and after making a lot of
              phone

              calls and asking a lot of parunts, I found that this number was true to
              LOW! So,

              the child costs about $20,000 (maybe $30,000 now with inflation) right
              off the

              bat. Before that, another person has been partially disabled from the
              work or

              activities they could otherwise do. Now, this is a "disability" which is
              caused

              by someone's voluntary actions, and should not be treated like some other
              random

              illness or injury, whereas it is, and others are expected to "take up the
              slack"

              and feel sorry for the woman who cannot perform her job because she's
              pregnant.

              She's off work then for 6 weeks, so figure in a cost (to somebody) of 6
              weeks of

              salary - a cost born by business, or that she won't be getting (or paying
              taxes

              on) if she doesn't have the "parental leave" benefit. Now, she may have
              to stay

              home - off work - not paying taxes for a few years or she'll have to pay
              for

              daycare. Daycare fees are far from cheap! From what I've heard, if you've
              got 2

              kids in daycare, it's quite difficult to get a job that will even pay for
              the

              daycare. So, you've lost the taxes paid by the mother, possibly causing
              her to

              be eligible for various programs for her or the children, or at the very
              least

              causing the husband to be taxed less (lower family income - less taxes).



              Now, in about 5 years, the kid goes to kindergarten. The amount paid per
              student

              to local public schools varies widely, but even in Oklahoma (the state
              which

              pays the least for its public schools) it's several thousand per year.
              The fees

              go up for school as one goes along in school. Plus, there are a lot more

              juvenile delinquents or juvenile crimes than there are elderly who commit

              crimes. Thus, there's cost to courts and jails, as well as individual
              property

              loss, individual injury, theft of property, and so forth. This cost is
              born by

              individuals and property insurance companies. Only rarely does an elderly
              person

              get involved in these sorts of criminal activity such as vandalism,
              assault,

              noise violations, or alcohol or drug violations. It takes more police to
              watch

              for this crime. The crimes that the elderly are likely to commit won't be
              caught

              by ordinary police patrols. Most likely, it's elaborate white-collar
              crime.

              Elderly people have drinking legal for them, and the drugs they tend to
              use are

              only by prescription. Of course, that runs up the cost of medical care
              for

              them...



              Children need less medical care than the average senior citizen does, but
              that

              gets offset by all sorts of care that they are required by law or custom
              to NEED

              - everything from vaccinations to hospital births, to genital mutilation
              (oops,

              I meant 'circumcision'), to well-baby visits, to being checked at the
              emergency

              room everytime they fall down... (Elderly people are FAR more likely to
              get hurt

              from a fall, but children are seen in the emergency room far more
              frequently.)

              Both children and elderly are abused, but children are (apparently)
              abused more

              often. This entails more expensive care at state expense for the rest of
              their

              childhood. Elderly who are abused are often either treated and released,
              or the

              abuse is financial (has devastating effects on how the rest of their
              lives are

              funded and the quality of that life!), or it's severe and they die - with
              or

              without a lengthy hospitalization - paid for by tax money. It SHOULD be
              paid for

              by the abusers! I digress.



              So, I would say that it's significantly more expensive to care for a baby
              than

              it is an elderly person. I doubt you can find any real government data
              since so

              much of it is hidden, or it comes from so many sources. Some of what
              you'll find

              is the cost of nursing home care, but less than 1% of the elderly live in

              nursing homes at any particular time. I got this statistic from Silver
              Key

              Senior Services in Colorado Springs when I lived there some years back,
              and

              worked with elderly and disabled. Far more are living completely on their
              own

              than are living in nursing homes.



              Oh yeah, and DON'T expect adult children to provide much, if any, money
              to help

              support their parents. It's just not going to happen. They'll probably
              live in a

              different city and state, and will complain about being in the "squeeze

              generation" where they've got to provide for their children at the same
              time as

              their parents are "aging". Whose fault is THAT that these people chose to
              wait

              until their late 30s or early 40s to have children, had several because
              "their

              biological time-bomb was ticking", and 15 years later they had both
              teenagers

              and parents who were frail and elderly and needed some assistance?



              Beth

              -------------------------------------------------------------------------
              ----
              Yeah. I post this stuff in my cynics4bettertomorrow.org blog. Or, on the
              pages of the website itself for some things.

              --- In Why_breed@yahoogroups.com, Les Knight <les@...> wrote:
              >
              > Beth, thank you for your thorough discussion of the differences in cost
              between the first 20 years and last 20 years of our lives. If you don't
              have a blog, I suggest you create one and post this. It deserves to be
              shared more widely than this little yahoo list. Maybe others will find
              additional supporting figures and share them in your comments section.
              >
              > I just read a related article telling about the savings generated by
              the state of Iowa's investments in contraceptive services, and now I
              can't find it. I'll post here when it turns up.
              >
              > Les
              >

              ____________________________________________________________
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              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Elizabeth
              Posted on http://cynics4bettertomorrow.org/wordpress/?p=12 I mentioned, and recommended this group in the post. Beth
              Message 6 of 6 , Feb 18, 2010
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                Posted on http://cynics4bettertomorrow.org/wordpress/?p=12

                I mentioned, and recommended this group in the post.

                Beth

                --- In Why_breed@yahoogroups.com, Les Knight <les@...> wrote:
                >
                > Beth, thank you for your thorough discussion of the differences in cost between the first 20 years and last 20 years of our lives. If you don't have a blog, I suggest you create one and post this. It deserves to be shared more widely than this little yahoo list. Maybe others will find additional supporting figures and share them in your comments section.
                >
                > I just read a related article telling about the savings generated by the state of Iowa's investments in contraceptive services, and now I can't find it. I'll post here when it turns up.
                >
                > Les
                >
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