Wednesday, August 20, 2014
NORTHAMPTON — Children are darling.
Children are dear.
But children are also expensive, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which noted in its latest child-rearing guestimations that considering what we’ve invested, my three kids should be worth in the neighborhood of $750,000.
Others may sneeze at such a figure, but as a fixed-income retiree, what I want to know is, where do I get the check?
Mind you, they are good children in my eyes, but with the price of bread and gas going up and the meaningfulness of Social Security on the downswing, perhaps it is time to pull up stakes.
Surely a government that can afford Humvees and other high-tech military gear for its police departments can pony up and make my retirement somewhat less than nickel-and-dime.
The USDA on Monday announced that the cost of raising a child had risen 1.8 percent compared to last year’s computations.
And on that same day, President Barack Obama suggested (without encouraging anyone to hold their breath) that there should be a separation between America’s armed forces (which seldom seems as plagued by shortfalls as Social Security) and its various police forces.
I sense, but can’t prove, that there is a connection in all of this ... that there will be a more peaceful future when people — notably retired people — find out where to cash in the kids. If we paid the freight in the first place, it seems only fitting that someone should be willing to pay us back.
Of course some may argue that if parents can sell kids, kids should likewise be entitled to sell their relevant adults, but that’s a discussion for another day.
For the moment, it is the retirees whose fixed incomes do not extend to Humvees, rocket launchers, grenade propellers, spy drones and the like who seem to have caught the attention of the USDA.
I’m not saying anyone has to sell the kids. I’m just asking where those willing to sell should form a line.
Ever since the Depression of 2008 (the ... uhhh ... “Great Recession”) struck, there have been wide-ranging complaints about the disparity of income in America. The middle class has been out-flanked and its lack of disposable income has been a cause for concern among the bankers and stockbrokers looking for more money to pump into an economic system that brought so many down in the first place. And now ....
Voila! Suddenly, selling the kids seems to be a viable way of putting disposable income into otherwise empty pockets. Food and shelter lose some of their sting and the harried money merchants will find a brand new carrot dangling before their noses.
Yes, yes ... I know: Who’s going to pay? Since there seems to be little concern about how to pay for military hardware as it crosses the line to uses on the American public, I would suggest we not worry too much about where the money will come from. If the idea catches on, there will be plenty of money.
Money to buck-up those on fixed incomes.
Money to pay off those student loans whose usefulness becomes more and more dubious as time passes.
Money to buy food without the use of food stamps.
The possibilities seem endless and all you have to do is sell the kids.
Ask the TV talking heads and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone started referring to the plan as a “win-win situation.” And to those who may caterwaul about something as abject as “slavery,” I would ask, “How different would that be from what already exists?”
Adam Fisher lives in Northampton. His column appears on the third Wednesday of the month. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.