Today Laura asks if there is a war going on between single people and people who have kids. She claims to have only been aware of tension between the groups "since last fall," which leads me to wonder where she has been the other decade and change of her adult life. Of course there is a war going on. A bitter and protracted war where people periodically switch sides based on various life-altering events in their lives. And it isn't just the young and middle aged always-childless on the side of the singles, either. Randomly sample a group of empty nested seniors on the subject of property taxes and schools and you may (or may not) be surprised at the results.
Laura mentions a typical attitude on the part of the singles:
Many single people didn't think that they should have to make any sacrifices to support another person's kids. Kids are their own reward, they said. I believe one guy compared having a kid to choosing to have a puppy.
I have to confess that I used to have this attitude back in my callow youthful (and even not-so-youthful) days. I can admit this only because it is mitigated by the fact that I changed my tune long before I had kids or even got married.
My question is why the fools who feel this way can't see their own self-interest is at stake. We all have a stake in seeing that this generation of children is raised well. The future economic well-being of our country is directly on the shoulders of these kids. Getting old isn't something that only happens to the unlucky and, unless you work until you die, you are eventually going to cease to be a productive member of society. No matter how well you have saved, your quality of life is going to depend on living in a country with a healthy and vibrant economy. The way these kids are brought up now is going to have a tremendous impact on your life later, whether you have kids or not.
I view it as my responsibility to raise my kid to be a good citizen and a productive member of society and I am going to go through a considerable effort and expense to do so. He will benefit from this, of course, and I will benefit somewhat less, but if I do a good job then everyone else will also be a bit ahead of the game as well. I'm not saying that singles should discover altruism here, but rather enlightened self-interest. We would all be better off than if we were fighting the whole "who is responsible for what" wars.