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Cost of a child

March 31, 2012

[32nd J.P.'s Moment of Common Sense on Broad View, KBZZ 1270 AM and 96.1 FM in Reno.]

I have a lot of things that irritate me, more than most people I guess, but doggone it there are often good reasons for my irritation. Here’s an example: those calculations about how much it costs to have a baby.

Are these people serious? First of all, is the subject of cost even appropriate when talking about a baby? It’s a baby for crying out loud! Your child! A gift from God! Every baby is a miracle and who puts a price tag on a miracle?

I’m trying to imagine Jesus thinking about rising from the dead and saying to himself, “Gee, this will cost some money. I’ll be walking the earth for three more days, which means food, water, sandals, a place to sleep... maybe it’s not worth it.”

The cost-of-having-a-baby calculations show up every year in newspaper stories, usually late summer to early fall, and they’re plain old unadulterated nonsense. There are even websites where you input your location and income and a few other factors, then they give you the cost of raising your child to age 18. They don’t include college. If you want to include college, double or triple the figure they give you.

First of all, why does my location matter? According to’s calculator, there’s a Maginot-like baby-cost line that separates the west from the Midwest at the Nebraska state border, from the South at the Texas border, and the Northeast is a little baby-raising territory of its own. Seems kind of weird that it makes any difference where the baby is born.

According to, the cost of raising a child here in Reno is $321,140. The cost in Michigan, where I raised my two daughters, is twenty thousand dollars less. Boy, good thinking on my part. But wait, it would have been even cheaper in Texas. I don’t know why – maybe they don’t feed their kids in Texas, or they send them across the river to eat in Mexico.

Here’s what I think: I think they’re padding those numbers with crap to scare people out of having babies. There’s no way I managed an extra $600,000 to raise my daughters. No way. The number is ridiculous. First of all, I notice they include $4,620 a year for “housing.” Housing? I thought the little runt was supposed to live with me. The baby doesn’t get its own apartment, right? So if I have a place to live, which I’m already paying for, how does my annual housing suddenly go up by forty six hundred dollars?

Another cost included in that number is transportation. Maybe the baby is supposed to get her own Camaro right away, I don’t know. My kids never got one, that’s for sure... even when they were old enough to drive. Go ahead, ask them – they’re still bitter about it.

Down at the bottom of the website there’s some small print that explains everything: the cost numbers come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The government. No wonder the numbers are ridiculous.

This is how the left attacks us from all sides. I’ve written and talked about the fundamentally anti-life viewpoint of liberal political philosophy. From being pro-abortion to elevating the state over individuals, from birth control mandates to taxes on carbon, the most reliable indicator of liberalism is a person’s attitude toward human life.

Of course they will magnify the cost of a child. They want to discourage people from having babies. Maybe they think humans are bad for the environment, maybe they think there’s not enough food... they always have some sort of convoluted reason. The fact that we’re having more than a million abortions every year isn’t enough to satisfy them, nor is mandating contraception for people who don’t think it’s proper – they also want to discourage people from conceiving. And guess what: that still won’t be sufficient.

The next step will be killing babies after they’re born... and if you think that’s far-fetched, remember that our president advocated exactly that as a state senator in Illinois. Now, believe it or not, this evil notion is becoming mainstream. On February 23, two professors, one from Oxford in the UK, the other from Italy, published a paper in the Journal for Medical Ethics where they argued for the right of women to kill their babies after birth. They call it “after-birth abortion.”

See what I mean? There are doggone good reasons for my irritation.

That's... today’s dose of common sense..

"Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future." – John F. Kennedy

"Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them." – Richard L. Evans

"The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn't been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him." – Pablo Casals

"Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they're looking for ideas." – Paula Poundstone

From Reno, Nevada, USA       

April 1, 2012 - Only liberals would put a price on raising a baby, forgetting that they once were babies themselfs. Not many liberals have babies; they abort them, erasing a whole generation; no wonder they need dead people, illegals or double voting, coming election time. God is especially fond of children and, so Jesus when he said "let the children come to me for they will inherit the kingdom'! My children were raised during my travel in different countries, but I never put a price on raising them. - Cali, Florida

March 31, 2012 - Excellent article Jim! Really enjoyed your honest and unbiased perspective! - Mary D., Michigan

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