Ounce of prevention, pound of cure, etc etc

The government (at least, the National and Act parts of it) have signalled they’ll veto Sue Moroney’s bill to extend paid parental leave on the grounds that it would cost too much.  (May I just say as an aside, GO SUE!)

Zetetic at The Standard has shown that in the first place, compared to such fucking trainwrecks as the “Roads of National Significance” (coming soon to a negative-cost-to-benefit-ratio near you!) extended paid parental leave is fucking chump change.

But I’d like to address a second point:  the rightwingers’ basic lack of understanding as to how this stuff works.

One of the arguments for things like paid parental leave (and early childhood education, and early intervention and rehabilitation of youth offenders, etc etc) is that, beyond just being a sign that your society is caring, compassionate, and supportive of not-traditionally-valued non-income-generating work (piff, socialism), it pays itself off.  No, not in the current financial year, nor even in the current term of government, but within a generation (no long time if you actually care about things beyond your own net wealth balance sheet).

You pay parents to spend more time with their infants now, you get smarter, more connected, more caring, more “productive” adults later.

But the right don’t get that (and to an extent, I might argue Labour doesn’t get it either, given their usual willingness to fight battles on a right-determined field).

And given the right like to make stupid analogies about governmental budgets being like household budgets (wherein households can print their own money) etc, here’s one back at them:

Refusing to extend paid parental leave, ignoring the longterm benefits, on a household scale, is like crying “But I can’t afford to buy flour, sugar, and butter for $10 now!  I have to cut my spending so I can buy a $30 cake on Saturday!”

Of course, to extend the analogy further, on Saturday they’ll no longer be running the household, having fucked off to the Wairarapa for a wine-tasting weekend, so why the fuck do they care if someone else has to buy $30 cake because there’s no ingredients in the cupboard?  That $10 now could get them <5L of petrol!


  1. Rageaholic

    Once again you have hit the nail on the head QoT! The thing that baffles me most about the right-wing frame of mind is that it is in their own best interest to live in a society where everyone is happy healthy and wise. If I pretend I’m the most selfish person in the world, I still want to live in a society where everyone around me has had a good start to life with parents who have had as much support as possible because that a better world for me too.

    But it seems the overwhelming point of view amongst people who are against PPL is simply “people who might need paid leave obviously can’t afford children and just shouldn’t breed, end of story!!” No mention that being able to afford to raise kids is not the same needing paid leave when a child is born, or consideration that punishing people for having children harms the KIDS most of all, and of course no discussion of making birth control free and abortion more easily available so that people who don’t want to raise children for whatever reason (one of which may be not being able to afford it) don’t have to. Yes, I read the comments in the Herald and regretted it.

    • QoT

      Thanks! Yes, of course there’s no consideration for the fact that having kids not only costs money but is kind of necessary to that whole capitalist-growth-model thing they’ve got going on.