The Department of Agriculture claims the cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 is $233,610, or almost $14,000 annually. As the father of seven children, let me say that this is nonsense.
Moreover, the Department of Agriculture fails to identify the multiple benefits of raising children, such as the physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional advantages. These benefits are not just unquantifiable, but inestimable. The value of raising, nurturing and training children far surpass the outlandish financial estimates of Washington D.C. bureaucrats.
With this seemingly exaggerated cost estimate, how do we expect to encourage married couples to return to the healthy birth rate of more than 2.1 in the United States? We’re shortsighted if we fail to see that the current U.S. trend is unsustainable and portends economic trouble, including lower living standards for most citizens. We simply have to look at Japan, Greece or Italy for a lesson in the detriment of low birth rates.
Federal officials are simply out-of-touch with Middle America. Most of us don’t spend hundreds of dollars on a hammer and we spend far less than they estimate to raise a child each year. The government can learn something from working families.
David E. Smith, executive director of Illinois Family Institute