Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Stay or go (to work): middle class trade-offs

By Dave Anderson:

A single kid is expensive. Two kids can get really expensive fast. The biggest expense is day care. And unless both parents are working at jobs where they are making more than the average weekly wage at each job, having the lower paid parent staying home is probably a break even proposition at worse over the short run. Ann Kim wisely, raises this basic point at 10 Miles Squared:

But treating women�s work as an issue for culture and values misses the boat in a big way. Not only is it elitist, it denies the underlying economic realities of many women�s lives....

For many women, however, the �choice� to work at home or at an office is not one that�s dictated by values but by brutal economics.

Many women can�t afford to stay at home, given the realities of today�s middle-class expectations. But many women also can�t afford to go to work, given the high costs of child care and other factors.

The only problem I have with the excerpted segment is I would like to replace women with "parent(s)" as child-raising is becoming more of a shared gender role although women still contribute more time and energy on average to child rearing then men.

My wife and I have a three year old daughter, Elise.

She is amazing and makes me laugh every day as she tries to figure out the world around her by applying a bewildering array of tacit and formal rules to new situations such as deciding to sing "Happy Birthday" when she saw her Easter basket. The Easter basket had presents and candy. Birthdays are the days that she gets both presents and candy. Birthdays require singing, loudly and enthusiastically, therefore, singing "Happy Birthday" was, in her mind, an appropriate response to her environment.  

She is also in daycare full time as both of us work full time. Our day care is a middle-priced one for Pittsburgh, and it costs us slightly less than one of our four paychecks per month to keep her in daycare full time. 

We are also expecting a son this summer.

The combined day care bill will be slightly less than two of the four pay checks per month that we earn until Elise makes it to kindergarten. We can swing it as we have been preparing for that day for the past two years by rapidly paying down a lot of debt and smoothing out cash flow cycles, but it is going to be tough. We have also considered whether or not it makes sense for me to stay home for a couple of years as I earn slightly less than my wife but have better opportunities for part-time, casual, and temporary contract work. The break-even point is within a couple hundred dollars per month over the short run but the strongest argument for a dual-income, dual daycare family is the long run. I have been out of work before and I know the gaps in my employment history have already taken a whack to current and future wage potential. Another two year gap plateaus my career at a low level for a very long time.

Kids are expensive and often the work/stay at home decision is overwhelmingly an economic decision not a personal lifestyle choice.  And this is the decision matrix for a dual income, overly educated professional household.  If we made close to median income, the decisions that are currently tough but present long term acceptable outcomes are off the table with two kids.  Either one parent is working full time and the other stays home with some part time outside work at the cost of significantly impairing their long term earnings prospect OR the post-daycare income is near poverty level.  At that point, there are no good choices.  


1 comment:

  1. Dave, it pains me to read this. When I look back on what it took for my wife and I to rear the two children she brought to the marriage plus two more we had together I sometimes wonder how we did it. Actually, we didn't in the modern sense of the word, because day care for that many was out of the question. We lived on my earnings for several years, which meant two of the children qualified for reduced price lunches at school and we lived nine years in a house with no air conditioning. My wife made cakes for income and we were part of a neighborhood baby-sitting co-op for a couple of years, but if I had it to do over again... I don't think I would.
    From an economic angle you and your wife are walking in the fire. But keep in mind the non-financial rewards of watching your children grow, knowing that every time you see them you are looking at your own immortality. It is they, not you, who will make the difference in the world in which they will live. And furnishing them good role models of how best to contend with adversity is more valuable in the future than any estate you may leave behind. (And from what little I know, you and your wife are doing most of the right stuff.)