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Re: Needed statistic on gov. cost comparison

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  • 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 1 of 1 , Feb 11, 2010
      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.

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

      > elder?????  and by how


      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


      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


      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?

      Yeah. I post this stuff in my cynics4bettertomorr ow.org blog. Or, on the pages of the website itself for some things.

      --- In Why_breed@yahoogrou ps.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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