“WHO’S GOING to pay for it?” It’s the battle cry of many when it comes to ideas that would improve society and if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this, I would be writing this piece from some exotic tropical island instead of the Island in the North Pacific.
The who is going to pay for it excuse is in many instances, individuals using their indoor voice but actually saying, “It doesn’t directly benefit me and I live in a world that is all about me, so I don’t care and don’t want to pay for it.”
Let’s take, as an example, the issue of affordable daycare, which on average is costing parents in B.C., $12,000 a year.
Amazingly, It costs more to put your young child into daycare then it does to send them to university. It represents about 63 per cent of the average cost of a rental in Kamloops. And it has a huge impact on local economic activity.
It’s more than a paycheque that goes missing when a parent leaves their job. Future retirement benefits are reduced, purchases are not made and workforce re-entry will likely require the expense of training and/or re-certification or, alternatively, a willingness to take on a lesser job.
There’s also the hidden costs or collateral damage resulting from the social isolation experienced by many stay-at-home parents. It can even lead to the entrenchment of such gender based roles as ‘breadwinner’ and ‘homemaker.’ And even when or if the homemaker returns to work, the die is cast and the roles will remain unchanged.
It could be said that the road to equality is often mortally wounded at home, the unintended damage of a society less and less willing to share wealth, responsibility or compassion.
The issue of childcare and the consequential impacts can be fixed quickly but previous attempts have been and continue to be blocked by those individuals who cry out, “But who is going to pay for it?” Well, the truth of the matter is that, one way or the other, you, the parents and everyone else are going to pay for it. We either pay to correct it or we pay to repair the damage that will be done.
We call ourselves a society for a reason and as a society and in this regard, it is time we faced our responsibilities and began the process of fixing what we have messed up over the past few decades.
For instance: If all those working in B.C. had to pay an additional 40 cents a day in taxes ($12/month), we as taxpayers would raise $400,000,000 a year. That equates to nearly 29,000 monthly daycare spaces in B.C. being available on an annual basis.
However, the who’s going to pay for it crowd hates giving anyone, anything for free, so here’s the compromise deal. Instead of paying a whole 40 cents a day towards a better future for your sons, daughters, neighbours kids, grandkids, village, town or city, let the miserly streak shine, cut your 40 pennies contribution in half and begrudgingly kick in a whole 20 cents.
I realize it will be hard to go against the, ‘I worked hard for my money’ mindset but get over it and do it. Besides, on the bright side, at 20 cents a day, you will be forcing new parents to come up with $600 a month for each child as their share and that should make you feel better
There is an outside chance it could be even more affordable and doable if the NDP government followed through on their long promised but yet to be delivered, $10/day day-care policy. But for now, maybe having everyone take back their responsibility and begin acting like the society we are suppose to be is a good enough start.
Bill McQuarrie is a former Kamloops entrepreneur who now lives on Vancouver Island. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @bafflegabbed.