Monthly Archives: April 2012

Affordable Daycare is a Pipe Dream

I came across this article with some women whining about the costs of child care.  (h/t Captain Capitalism)

Child care is one of those things that is usually not going to be “affordable” (or a good economic decision, for that matter) except to the well off and the poor (ie. single mothers). No matter how much feminists or the state desire to bring down its costs, it simply can not be made a sustainably affordable option for your average working-class and middle-class folks.

The reason: child care requires human workers that can not be outsourced and can not be replaced with technology. There is no way to offshore your child to India (other than boarding schools) and it will be decades (at least) before there is a robot capable of properly taking care of a child. So, there is no way to remove paying for labour from the equation (unless grandma is willing to take the kids).

The gains that can be made from efficiencies are also limited. Kids require work, a lot of it, and it is not the kind of work that can easily benefit from economies of scale. Sure, you can cut costs around the edges, like consolidate day cares to use larger buildings or buy diapers in bulk, but the labour costs can not really be made more efficient. You can not simply feed children or change their diapers on an assembly line, and each child requires some amount of unique individual attention, even if only to stop them from jabbing crayons into their eyes.

On top of that, governments often mandate a certain level of labour costs with the use of staff/child ratios. This makes sense of course, you don’t want one 23-year-old girl made responsible for 15 different 2 year olds, it’s simply unsafe (not to mention the complete lack of mental development or learning opportunities a situation like that provides, one of the chief benefits touted by daycare enthusiasts).

So, you legally limit the maximum ratio of children per staff. The actual mandatory ratio varies by jurisdiction and often by age, but in my jurisdiction, the max ratio for infants is 4:1 and 8:1 for preschool.

Think about what a 4:1 ratio means in economic terms for a second.

It means that, at best, only 4 women will be required to pay the entire salary (plus benefits) of one daycare worker.

If we assume both the childcare worker and the working woman make average wages, then a women with a single infant in care is paying (at least) 25% of her pre-tax income for the wages of the childcare provider, alone. This does not even include overhead, management, or supplies; simply, the direct labour costs are 25% of her income. If she has two infants, it rises to 50%. Two preschoolers: 25%.

For the working woman with the average 2.4-child family; labour costs for child care alone would eat up 25%-50% of her pre-tax income. If you add on other daycare costs (diapers, the building, etc.), taxes, the costs of working (transportation, lunches, business clothes, etc.), it is easy to see she barely comes out ahead. She’s taking home, at most, a few dimes on the dollar.

This means that only for the rich or the poor is child care a remotely economically rational decision. The rich for obvious reasons, the poor simply out of necessity; they may only make a few dimes on the dollar but without those dimes they make nothing.

Obviously, given the number of working-/middle-class women that use daycare, it’s more affordable than my simple illustration, but why?

The main reason is, daycare workers do not make the average wage. In the US, the average daycare worker makes less than $20k/year, while the average female working full-time makes $33k (while the average income for a full-time worker is almost $40k).

This brings the comparative labour costs down to about 15-30% of your average woman’s earnings, providing another dime or two on the dollar in take-home pay.

To lower these labour costs, you could lower childcare workers’ wages, but then you’ll simply have fewer workers to meet the same demand, so they’ll charge more or there will be a lack of supply. In addition, if child care labour is paid less, you’ll get less qualified candidates, and you want some minimum levels on who looks after children.

Also, wages in this sector tend to be trending up over the long-term. Jurisdictions are increasingly requiring higher qualifications for childcare workers, which will increase the wages necessary to attract workers. For example, my jurisdiction now requires a two-year diploma for childcare workers. In addition, childcare workers are demanding increasing benefits. In my jurisdiction there has been talk of the implementation of a pension plan. Labour costs are set to go up, not down.

No matter how much whining is done about the high costs and unaffordability of childcare, there is no way to bring it down given the nature of child care services.

The other idea to lower costs for individuals is subsidization. Canada does this, and spends about $5-billion/year in public money subsidizing daycare (the numbers are from 2005, so it’s probably higher now). The US federal government spent $3.7 billion in 2002, and I can’t find data on the spending of the various states.

This, of course, just transfers the costs from the users of daycare services to everybody. This benefits the poor who pay less tax, but get the most subsidies for daycare (another reason they can afford daycare, when it squeezes the middle-/working-class.) On the other hand, it simply means more of the parents’ incomes goes to taxes for the middle class, hiding the cost of daycare behind layers of bureaucracy, but not really solving the problem of affordability.

What will inevitably happen, is that as daycare becomes increasingly expensive and economically infeasible for the middle class, it will become some sort of “right” and the state will simply nationalize it. Taxes will go up further squeezing the middle-class. More couples will be forced into using daycare as they won’t be able to afford the increased taxes on a single income. Essentially, the public school system will simply expand to include the younger years.

In conclusion, daycare will never be “affordable” due to the nature of the work but at some point your children will likely be raised by unionized government workers for their early years. Enjoy.

Would an Obama Win be Best for the Right?

I came across this today (h/t: Instapundit) and the excitement over a potential Romney win is palpable, but is a Romney what the right should be hoping for? I’m not so sure.

Romney seems like a decent enough politician. I  tend to think of him as similar to Canada’s Prime Minister. Both Romney and Harper are pragmatics on the centre-right. They can be counted on be competent managers and run a country smoothly. They might make some some minor adjustments to slowly move the country rightward, but you can’t really expect anything overly reactionary or radical changes  from them. They will keep the ship of state steady.

In Canada, steady as she goes works fine for Harper; the country is mostly in good health, the economy is functioning fairly well, taxes are fairly low and lowering, and debts and deficits are not great, but they’re in control and there is no permanent structural deficit. The country is on a decent enough course, and while Harper may not be everything the right hoped for, he throws us the occasional bone. He’s a competent prime minister.

The US is in a different situation though, the economy has stalled, a structural deficit has been built into federal finances, debt is out of control, taxes are high, and the country is imploding.

Romney may slow the implosion, he will run the US much better than Obama, and he may stall America’s impending doom, but everybody knows he doesn’t have the ideological strength to do the harsh cuts necessary to bail out the state. At best, we can expect him to put off the inevitable sinking of America by a few years or a decade.

The alternative, though, is Obama, who has shown he can not right the economy, who’s running on a counter-productive eat-the-rich platform, who has overspent and who will continue to spend the state into bankruptcy.

So Romney’s obviously better then, no?

Maybe not. Communists have this idea of heightening the contradictions. This basics of this idea is that to hasten the advent of communism, communists must make the capitalist state as brutal as possible to the proletariat so as to grow the seeds of class consciousness to hasten the communist revolution that follows. Working from this idea they oppose soft-left/liberal ideas such as the welfare state, public health care, etc. which make the lot of the proletariat more comfortable. A comfortable proletariat may not notice the chains of the capitalist system and would have less incentive to cast off them off, forestalling the inevitable rise of communism.

So, how does this idea apply to the US and Romney?

Simple, the election of Romney will slow, but not halt, the economic implosion of the US. The right, having beaten that socialist Obama and installed the conservative Romney in power, will congratulate themselves on a job well done, and the momentum of the Tea Party movement will peter out, mistaking victory in battle, for victory in war. America’s decline will continue, but slower. The collapse would be postponed, but will still be inevitable.

On the other hand, if Obama wins, he will pillage the producer class, he will continue to make drunken sailors look like paragons of fiscal responsibility, the beast will be gorged, and his class war rhetoric will drone on. The economy will stay stuck in neutral, high unemployment will continue, firms will continue to leave for greener pastures, and the dollar will continue to decline. There will be no recovery; America will suffer, America will bleed. Producers will know they are being mugged, centrists will realize they are suffering, the left’s disillusionment will rise, the Tea Party’s momentum will continue to grow, and the young will begin to realize they are being chained in perpetual debt slavery.

Then in 2016, American’s will be forced to accept they need change. Thanks to four years of Obama, Ron Paul did fairly well in the primaries; he brought libertarianism into the mainstream and established the ideological groundwork for its continued expansion but he suffered from his supposed extremism. But what of a more moderate libertarian Rand Paul after 8 years of economic hemorrhaging and overwhelming encroachment of the federal state under Obama?

Cain surged, but ultimately fell due to the perceived unseriousness of his campaign and a couple of scandals. But what of a serious Paul Ryan pointing to his long-ago proposed plan for fiscal sanity after 8 years of  Obama’s economic insanity?

Would not Rand Paul or Paul Ryan have the ideological fortitude to do what is necessary necessary to bail the state out and keep her afloat? After 8 years of Obama would not the American public be begging to be rescued. Would they not look to anybody who was not a borderline-socialist Democrat for rescue? After 8 years of Obama and the loss of two establishment Republicans in a row would not the Tea Party and the grassroots have the strength to sideline the GOP establishment and run a hardline conservative?

If Romney wins, the US continues to slowly implode.

If Romney loses, Obama will heighten the contradictions of the welfare state. He will sink the Republic. Then, the right would simply have to grab hold of the opportunity to save her and set her on course once more.

Maybe the right should hope Obama wins.

The Bookshelf: 30 Bangs

I got my copies of Roosh’s books last week, and I read through 30 Bangs first, simply because it’s episodic nature and short length lent itself to being read through downtime during my rather busy weekend.

The book is simply a description of 30 different times Roosh had sex and the events and his actions leading up to the act. It is written in a very matter-of-fact, almost clinical, manner.

If you are looking to start learning game, this is not really the book. Game is present and you will probably learn something about it, particularly the game attitude, but this is no manual and the actual game techniques are sometimes glossed over in his stories. There is a small lesson at the end for the basic commonalities his success stories had.  If you are already learning game, his experiences might help you identify errors or find areas of improvement.

What I really like about this book is that it is a short, well-written, and interesting look into the life and experiences of a PUA, someone who has fully embraced the red pill. For those of us who (like me) have not tried game to any significant extent and to whom this kind of life is unfamiliar, it is a pair of binoculars allowing us to see through the windows into a player’s bedroom.

After reading this book though, I can say that I’m not very interested in the clubbing lifestyle. The descriptions of his nights out trolling for sex mostly seems joyless and mechanical. The book was obviously written analytically to deconstruct his experiences so they could be learned from, but I still expected some sense of enjoyment to leak through, but there was little. He could just as easily been writing about his experiences filling out TPS reports, for all the fun this book conveyed.

A couple times he mentions how a particular conversation or girl was fun or interesting, but usually it seems like he’s simply tolerating them and the bars for the hope of sex. For example, at one point he writes, “I was becoming skilled at tolerating stupid girls long enough to beat their pussies up in bed. Since she had a nice body with a tomato ass, I decided a little pain now would be worth a lot of pleasure later.” He writes similar things a number of other times.

While I’m sure having sex with lots of beautiful women is extremely pleasurable, the entire process seems unappealing. Reading Roissy and other game blogs, I got the impression that obtaining sex with game was a simple matter; a quick, fun conversation at the club with some gaming, then a trip to the women’s bedroom. Reading Roosh’s stories it seems to be a lot of trolling of clubs (and I personally dislike clubs/bars, as I don’t care for either crowds or noisiness, with the exception of metal concerts), engaging in conversations you don’t really care for with people you don’t care about (something else, I have a very low tolerance for), spending more time maintaining frame than enjoying yourself, then slowly weaseling your way into sex through manipulation and persistence.  I was struck by the amount of time/effort he seems to expend working his way from club to cab to apartment to bed to sex while slowly overcoming the resistance his partners put up; from my readings of game blogs, it had always seemed so much more breezy and quick.

Maybe I’m missing something, but it would seem to be a lot less effort just to pay for sex than to engage in all this for a few one night stands (I think I might have just had an idea for a future blog post) and the occasional short-term sexual relationship.

On the other hand, his day bang stories seemed less draining and effort consuming than his club game stories.

So, in sum, if you’re interested in knowing more about the life of a player, or for learning a bit more about game from real-life examples, I’d give this book a read. If you’re wanting to start learning game, try a different book first.

I found this book helpful, this helped me to know that I do not want the clubbing lifestyle. If I do ever end up fully swallowing the red pill, I will not be doing club or night game. It does not seem worth the effort to me. The temporary pleasures of sex, however fantastic, just do not seem to be worth the seeming grinding, joyless monotony of it. I’d either work on day game, pay for sex, or go without; any of those three would seem preferable.

One last note that’s probably totally unnecessary, but if you’re squeamish about sex or are a rabid feminist or whatnot, the book will offend you, but you could probably tell that from the title.

I still plan to read and give my impressions of Bang and Day Bang, but my reading list is filling fast, so I don’t know when I’ll get around to it. From this book, I’ve got a strong feeling I’ll probably appreciate Day Bang a lot more. I’ve also got Athol Kay’s The Married Man Sex Life Primer and How To Answer books on the way; I might read and review those first. We’ll see.

Lightning Round – 2012/04/17

Ok, haven’t had much time this weekend, I’ve been busy. So here’s another lightning round as filler until I can make a real post.

Remember the consequences of listening to those who complain humans use to many resources and the world is overpopulated.

One trillion dollars: Guns save almost as much as Obama wastes. I’ve been hoping to get one soon, so I’m gonna keep an eye on this series.

Evolutionary psychology once again rears it’s ugly head. The realities of biology do as well.

Expect the welfare state to continue to grow. A surrogate husband will become increasingly necessary.

A good wife and mother will provide a counterweight to the state, which is why the left is attacking homemakers.

I like Paul Ryan more the more I hear about him. Subsidiarity is not something I expected form a mainstream politician.

I guess Slate hasn’t read much Steve Sailer. Red cities aren’t “walkable” because conservatives value family, space, freedom, and independence, and thus like space and cars, and so they go to where land is cheap and houses and yards are bigger. Blue cities are walkable because liberals value interdependence, nightlife, environmentalism, and have small families, if they have one at all, so they go where the people are.

Why is Israel the only Western country with any balls left?

Also, thanks to In Mala Fide for the link. Ferdinand posted some decent advice this weekend.

An Economic Analysis of Marriage – Part 1

The Cost of the Risk of Material Loss in Divorce

Marriage is often discouraged in the Manopshere, and a single male, choosing whether I want to marry or stay an eternal bachelor is something important. Now, there’re a lot of reasons provided for why to avoid marriage, but the risk and consequences of divorce are easily the most convincing argument. So, I’m going to create a series on the economics of marriage.

This first post will be the economic cost of the risk of divorce for the average bachelor considering marriage.

At another time, I will attempt an economic analysis of the immaterial losses of divorce and the benefits of marriage. Then I will combine it all together in a cost benefit analysis.

What are the odds of divorce?

The “50% of marriages end in divorce” statistic is thrown out a lot, but this number includes those with multiple marriages and divorces, which skews the number higher than for people considering their first marriage, among other problems.

So, according to the US Census Bureau, for men, only about 60% of men reach their 25th anniversary for their first marriage (p. 11), which means about 40% of men did not.

Now, the data is by age cohort, and those married earlier had a greater chance of reaching any particular marriage anniversary milestone. For example, those married in 1975-79 had a 54.4% chance of reaching 25th anniversary, while those in the married in 1960-65 had a 66.9% of reaching this milestone. But, those married in 1975-79 had the worst chances of attaining any particular marriage milestone; they were peak divorce you might say. Since then, younger marriage cohorts have been more likely to reach milestones.

Meanwhile, in Canada, Statistics Canada has it that about 40% of first marriages will end in divorce.

So, we will estimate there is a 40% chance that a male entering their first marriage will divorce.

(Remember, the chances of marriage ending in divorce can vary depending on a wide range of variables, which I am not going to calculate at this time, but I might go into them in-depth in the future.)

How much does the divorce process cost?

The cost of the actual divorce process varies considerably, depending on a wide range of variables. A simple divorce will run about $1000, while a contested divorce can run from about $8,000-$133,000.

According to this, the median cost for mediation is $5,000, while the average contested divorce costs about $20,000.

So, we’ll say your divorce process will be about $20,000.

(Here’s a calculator if you’d like to play around).

What about Spousal/Child Support?

Your chances of paying spousal support depend on the amount of child support already paid and your income. There’s a ton of laws on this, so I’ll just use this calculator to calculate this.

The average Canadian household income is: $74,700
Two-earners without children: $79,700
Two-earners with children: $85,600
One-earner without children: $58,100
One-earner with children: $60,900

The average length of marriage is 14.5 years, with the average age of divorce for men being 44 and for women, 41.

So, putting the average divorce and income in the calculator we can get the average cost of support (both child and spousal) payments come divorce (in Ontario):

For your own income and planned family situation input the number in the calculator.

So, the average male will have to pay about $149,436 in support if sole provider, $73,458 in support if primary provider, and $0 in support if equal provider. (The cost of child support is there for illustrative purposes, but that would be the cost of having a child, not marriage and divorce.)

One interesting thing to notice: if you’re the sole breadwinner, your likely monthly payments can actually decrease as mandated child support payments replace spousal support payments. I would not bank too much on this, as it’s likely just a quirk in Canadian law or the calculator and may not apply broadly.

US law does not seem radically different overall from Canadian law.

What about a Settlement?

In Canada, “the spouse with the higher net family property is required by law to pay his” spouse “half of the difference between the two spouses’ net family properties.” Net family properties being current assets minus both liabilities and assets at marriage.

In the US, there are two systems, community property and equitable distribution, depending on the state with variations in how they are distributed. The former divides assets gained during the marriage equally, but leaves property attained before marriage alone. Equitable distribution distributes property equitably (not necessarily equally).

In general, we can say that the property you acquired during the marriage will be split more or less in half. If the wife was the primary housekeeper, while the husband was the primary breadwinner, then the difference will be the wife’s payments for continued support of the house. If they both shared provider status roughly equally, then an equal distribution of marital resources should occur.

There does not seem to be much economic cost to the average husband at the point of settlement in Canada, unless he sunk significant sums into the marital home prior to marriage and the wife did not match these sums after entering the marriage.

In the US, one could economically lose if the equitable distribution was not necessarily equal, or by quirks of local law, but for the average divorce, these would not present much of a cost. There might be extreme cases in both systems where quirks or abuses of the law could lead to unequal distribution either way, but

Other Cost Considerations

This is not to say that this will not increase economic hardship. Having to pay the expenses for two dwellings will, by itself, greatly increase economic hardship on both ex-spouses. For the ex-husband specifically though, the extra cost of two dwellings would be accounted for in the spousal/child support payments taken from his income.

It is possible a divorce could affect a male’s job performance, and thus his earnings, creating additional economic cost, but this would be outside my ability to remotely calculate.

The Total Material Cost of Divorce Risk for the Man Considering Marriage

Our formula:
Costs of Divorce Risk = Risk of Divorce * (Cost of divorce process + cost of support)

Average Male Single Earner
40%*(20,000 + 149,436 ) = $67774.40

Average Male Primary Provider
40%*(20,000 + 73,458) = $37383.2

Equal Male and Female Provision
40%*(20,000 ) = $8,000

For the average male who’s considering marriage and planning to be the sole breadwinner of the family, the material cost of the risk of divorce would be just over a full year’s worth of pay. For the average male who plans to be the primary but not sole breadwinner, it would be somewhat less than a full year’s pay. For the average male who plans a marriage where both partners earn equally, it would be a few months’ worth of pay.

So, if you plan on marrying and being the sole or primary breadwinner, you would have to ask yourself if you would pay roughly a year’s salary to be married.

* This analysis will be done for Canada. Canada’s divorce laws are generally nationally coherent, with federal laws and. The US’ divorce laws differ widely between states, so I can’t really calculate for the US. On the other hand, for the majority of men, the analysis shouldn’t vary too significantly.

Lightning Round – 2012/04/12

Today, I introduce the lightning round, in which I link to and briefly comment on some recent articles that caught my eye.

First, I didn’t know you could have a major economic crash when your youth unemployment rate hovers around 50% (and your total rate was about 25%). You’d think it had crashed already; how much worse could it possibly get? Second, it’s good to know even European conservatives can be counted on to do the stupid thing. Why would anybody listen to economists about the economic effects of high tax rates? What would they know?

Here comes big brother. (via Instapundit)

Remember, fiscal sanity is an attack on women. We must protect women from economic reality at all costs.

Ahhh… Keynesianism. The liberals all cry about the materialistic, consumerist culture, but then base their entire economic world view around never-ending consumerism.  I will probably write a post on demand-side economics in the future.

Feminists fought so that women could follow their primal desires no matter the cost to tradition, civilization, religion, or family. Now they’re unhappy that women are following their primal desires.

Remember, be sure to show the boomers how much you appreciate everything they did for you when they’re all retired and living in nursing homes.

Not sure if I should feel pity or Schadenfreude. It seems like a problem that will eventually fix itself, though. When there’s enough unemployed lawyers, some of them will eventually sue some people until things change.

Germany Eats Their Young

I promised more commentary and less self-indulgent reflection, so here we begin.

If you’ve been around the alt-right blogosphere/manosphere for a while, you’ve probably already somewhat familiar with the way the boomers have screwed over their own children in almost every way possible and how they have chained them to perpetual debt slavery.

Yes, that link to Mark Steyn did say the US owes 911% of GDP. In other words, Americans owe 9 full years of productive activity and the growth in debt shows no sign of slowing, which means the boomer’s children and grandchildren will likely spend a significant portion of their lives paying for the boomers’ excesses.

Thankfully, I live in Canada and despite Trudeau’s best efforts we have managed to avoid the worst excesses the US has subjected itself to, even thought the situation is not optimal. (I “only” owe about $17,000 in federal debt, while our pension system is actually somewhat funded, more or less).

Anyway, it seems Germany (which, as far as I know is in a fairly similar situation to Canada) will be having a problem funding its welfare state and benefits for the old (surprising, I know).

So, what are they doing to fix this?

Reducing the welfare state?

Decreasing regulation to create prosperity?

Putting back the retirement age as Canada is doing?

Of course not, that would be silly. They’re taxing the young, of course. Who could possibly want to leave their children and grandchildren better off than they are?

So, it seems Germany has explicitly decided to eat their young.

Germany’s boomers forgot to have children (where did life go?), now they realized that without children no one is there to pay for their health care when they become aged invalids (who could possibly have guessed?), so, why not take it out ofon what few children they did have.

Also, notice how their solution to a lack of a young workers to make up a tax base, is to work towards trying to drive away that same tax base. That’s sure to work.

Anyway, for those young Germans out there out there who want to work hard, keep their earnings, and be somewhat free, come to Canada; for now, we’re a bastion of near-sanity.

Expect more in future.