Debunking Lily Batchelder and her fake news analysis of Trump’s tax plan.

There’s a fake “analysis” by an Obama shill named Lily Batchelder going around that Trump’s tax plan and child care deductions will raise taxes for middle class people, including single mothers. But the analysis is based on two massive lies:

  1. That no working parents use child care in the United States.  
  2. That the cost of child care is cheaper than all the reports from Washington Post, Vox, many others and again, GOVERNMENT DATA.  

This is complete nonsense, based upon data from a variety of government sources, collected at http://www.childstats.gov.  At worst, 1 in 30 parents are bringing a child or children to work with them.  The rest have their children in a variety of child care arrangements, usually relatives or center-based care, but with a substantial share using nannies, babysitters and the like.  97% of working parents use child care in the United States.

As far as the second lie goes, Batchelder grudgingly estimates child care costs at a much lower number than government and other sources do, as shown below.

So either child care is super cheap and the Washington Post, Vox and other fake news media were lying when they said it was so expensive, and crippling family budgets, or Trump’s plan is totally awesome and Batchelder and the fake news media don’t want to admit it, since the plan allows to you deduct the average cost for your state *per child up to 4 kids* and the national averages for child care from ages 0-13 (where a child ages out of being deductible) are clearly far more than the $6000 and $8000 numbers for child care cost Batchelder tosses around in her fake report about Trump’s tax plan and child care deductions.

She claims all her assumptions are “reasonable” or “conservative”, but since they are based on massive lies, this is prima facie yet another complete lie.  Her assumptions are neither reasonable, rational or conservative.  The statement that the deduction is for a specific number of children suggests that it is a deduction per child, with the average cost of care calculated for each single child and added up for the first four children in a household.  There’s also the FACT that Trump’s plan mentions that the $500 top-ups for EITC-eligible parents are per child, so the deductions appear across the board to be per child up to four children.

Let’s view Batchelder’s examples through a more fact-based, real-world lens, with deductions per child, and assuming that nearly all households use child care or have a relative providing care at home as a grandparent or SAHP.

Her two big examples are a single parent making $75,000 per year with two school-aged children who has no child care costs and a married couple with two children making $50,000 per year with $8000 in childcare costs.  Some key points about those fake examples:

  • Batchelder’s single parent makes TRIPLE THE MEDIAN INCOME of single parents in most states, including most high-income states.  So this is a very fake example of a single parent.
  • At triple the median income of a real single parent household, Batchelder’s single parent “reasonably” can be assumed to live somewhere with high earning potential like New York.  (Hey, that 75k is almost exactly triple the median income of single parents in New York!  Wow!)
  • The cost of school-age before/aftercare (AKA “child care for school-age children”) in New York is about $8000 per year, per child.  Not total, which is what Batchelder uses to shoehorn Trump’s plan into a Narrative of “higher taxes for hard working single mommas”.  But a single parent making that kind of money is “reasonably” and “conservatively” likely to be paying a lot more than $8000 per year in child care costs.
  • Meanwhile, Batchelder’s married couple makes far less than the median income of married couples in most states and is EITC eligible (barely).  Funny how that works. Further, even her torturing of math for muh Narrative still doesn’t hide that this near-poor married couple owes nothing EITHER WAY.  Her only rebuttal is that the new tax refund this family gets isn’t big enough, not that they pay more tax!
  • But at $50,000 per year for two married parents (her example does not state if both or just one is working), they are “reasonably” likely to be using grandma for child care or Mom is staying home.  In which case Batchelder’s torturing of the data is in vain, because this household can deduct whatever the average cost is in their state times two.  Since she doesn’t specify those kids are school-aged, that household can deduct the much higher typical cost for two children of preschool or infant age, which ranges from $14,000 annually in the South to $22,000 in the Northeast and $18,000 in the Midwest and West.
  • “Conservatively” and “reasonably” assuming the married couple lives in the Midwest and Mom stays home with the two kids under 5, Batchelder’s $8000 estimate is simply too low, nowhere near the cap allowed.

Trump’s tax plan changes the above-the-line deductions to a flat number of $15,000 for singles and $30,000 for marrieds filing jointly and eliminates both personal exemptions head of household as a tax status, along with condensing tax brackets down to three.  This is the source of a lot of whining around the internets about losing the Head of Household tax status.  But given the high cost of child care, the above-the-line deduction is more than adequate to replace it.

For the $75,000 parent, this changes their pre-child care taxable income from $53, 550 to $60,000.  But that parent can deduct up to $16,000 above the line rather than $8000, so they end up with $44,000 left over, and under the new brackets, they obviously pay less than under current law.  Definite savings.  Instead of the lie that the $75,000 single parent would pay $1640 more in taxes, they would actually pay $4125 instead of the current $5685, a savings of over $1500. Under Trump’s new tax plan, even a high-income single parent making $75,000 per year with two school-aged children can see a tax savings of 30%.

Meanwhile, that $50,000 earning married household whose details are much more blurry would see a much larger refund than they already are eligible for, since they could claim up to $18,000 above the line after their $30,000 deduction and $2,000 in child credits and EITC credit.  So we would be paying married people to have slightly more children at the margins, since having a third child would still benefit this household by adding another $9000 of deduction, which we can’t make assumptions about, because at just two children, they have $0 in taxable income after child credit, standard deduction and imputed child care deduction for the SAHM.

In short, Trump’s tax plan is sketched out and low on nitpicky details.  But a reasonable, realistic set of assumptions shows that it’s a very generous plan with a very pro-natalist, pro-family, pro-woman setup.

Book review of a pretty practically conservative guide, SJWs Always Lie, by Vox Day

Vox Day hits a strong triple with this short book describing the “Social Justice Warrior” type of extreme liberal and how to identify and combat them in life and work.

I haven’t done a real book review in a long time, and I’d like to start with this fascinating little book by Vox Day, SJWs Always Lie.  As I note above, this book is a strong triple, just short of a home run in quickly and simply explaining what SJWs are, how they operate and how to deal with an attack from them and keep them out of one’s organizations and institutions.

Mr. Day begins simply, saying that SJWs are “unpaid amateur propagandists” who believe in Narrative above anything else.  This keeps the reader focused when he moves on to examples of their behavior.

In what is the weakest part of the book in Chapters 2 and 4, Mr. Day uses overly complex examples taken from nerd spheres and gets a little too into the weeds with them (like in his discussion of Gamergate in Chapter 4, where video gamers protested gaming journalists being literally in bed with game developers and other ethical/conflict of interest breaches), but soon enough his video game background kicks in and the reader still gets a coherent walkthrough of how SJWs operated in those nerd spheres.

In Chapter 3, Mr. Day provides a breakdown of the eight-step process of SJW attacks (available as a free pdf download, also serves as a great sample of the book) and also of the way SJWs use Codes of Conduct, volunteerism and qualifications over skills to take over organizations. As a housewife, this called to mind a non-nerd example that happened to La Leche League, a grassroots breastfeeding organization started by upper-middle class housewives in the 1970s and which has at the statewide level imploded due to SJW entryism of the very kind described in this little book.

With ten chapters, the book has a lot of good bits once he moves into the realm of corporate and civic life.  The discussion of SJW proofing one’s organization in Chapter 10 is incredibly valuable and worth the very reasonable price by itself.

Along the way to that last chapter, Mr. Day brings up some common roadblocks that conservatives are all too familiar with.  The “moderate” who would rather lose the institution the right way (pun intended) instead of kick SJWs out.  The incredibly fragile reliance on megacorporations and the Establishment (media and academic “experts” with no practical knowledge) as a bottleneck and how taking the risk to be free (or freer) of those entities can preserve a more normal organization or community.

 

I’ve been letting the perfect be the enemy of the “just get it online”, so here this review is, very belatedly.  As we see in America a surge of right-wing populism and possible election of a right-wing populist and as we see the basic idea of an SJW slowly start being defined as “problematic” even among progressives and liberals, I think this little book is an interesting and useful bit of practical description and advice.  A strong triple, due to being a little too inside-baseball and understandably not delving into where the really impossible SJW infestations are: female-specific institutions and organizations.  Perhaps it will be for another to solve the riddle of how us ladies can SJW-proof our spaces and get them back to useful and discrete from male ones.

Please help Vladimir Bukovsky, Freedom Fighter

I am spreading the signal for this good cause.

This really brilliant woman has a good summary with donation links.

This is the donation page:

https://www.crowdrise.com/help-vladimir-bukovsky-brave-putin-critic1/

 

If you can spare something, please do.  If not, keep passing the link along.

Goal was met!  Yay!

30 year olds in 1975 vs 2015

Measuring America: 30-Year-Olds: Then and Now[Source: U.S. Census Bureau

 

“Moderate” income is defined as 66-200% of national median household income.  This would be roughly 35k-110k based on 2014 numbers, the latest available.

25% of first marriages end in divorce, not 50%

I got the Shaunti Feldhahn divorce data book much sooner than expected.  I haven’t had a chance to read it all the way through yet, but she is using census stats, so isn’t just making up stuff.  That said, the 25% number is an estimate derived from taking widows out of the data on first marriages where the person is still married to their first spouse.  Otherwise, the number is 72% of first marriages with first spouse.

The 50% number was a projection based on trends at the time it was formulated, and even then it was 40-50%.

Anyone saying likelihood of marriage ending in divorce is 50% is not looking at how many ever-married people have divorced.

What did happen, and she notes this, is that before the 1970s divorce spikes, marriages remained intact 85% of the time.  That dropped to 70-72% (remember, this includes intact marriages where death ended the marriage, otherwise it’s closer to 75%) by 1985 and stayed there.  Interested parties might look at that stability and contrast it with fertility declines over the same period of time.

The interesting thing to me is that a 25% divorce rate is miserably bad, but there is enough data to show it’s remained constant over several marriage cohorts.  And it’s, well, it’s half of 50%.  I haven’t gotten to the part where she compares by age bracket, but that should be interesting.

 

Four middle classes from Pew Research

There has been some really fascinating and informative discussion in the comments recently about education, class and child rearing, among other things.  And it turns out a few years back (2008) Pew Research split up the people who call themselves middle class in America (53% of Americans) into four groups, which mostly explain some of the crosstalking going on.

America’s Four Middle Classes

That’s the link to the report and discussion, and there’s also a link to download the data used as well at the end.

But their four classes map to some assumptions that I know were governing my view of “middle class”.  The labels they use are Top of the Class, Anxious Middle, Satisfied Middle and Struggling Middle.

The “Top of the Class” is what I’ve always thought of as middle-middle class or very lowest entry-level upper-middle class.  Two married professionals with a kid or two, at least one has a power career, but both might.  Often reliant on mom having credentials and often higher than median income to navigate their complex systems for schooling and career entry/access.  Pew thinks of this class as primarily male, but that may well be because it includes some part-time working wives or wives whose job is to “stay home” but really navigate the system full time.

The Anxious Middle is where our household is, and I think Pew doesn’t understand that it’s probably where most of your IT-worker households are represented.  This group can earn well, but mostly doesn’t crack 100K nearly as often as the paired-off professionals do.  And IT is a historical-quirk industry, many of the men in it are painfully aware that they simply could not earn at that level in a pre-IT world and might struggle to even marry, much less earn enough to comfortably support a family.  So there’s a constant status anxiety to go with the volatility within the industry, where it’s hard to lock in a job for more than a few years at a stretch and there’s endless pressure to reskill or retrain.  Lower down the income band for this class is very likely the remnants of the blue collar workforce with solid but lowish earnings and great benefits. This is also where some of the struggling SAHM households are, where Dad makes what both consider “middle class” money, but they are constantly crunched and pinched on one income.

The Satisfied Middle is young people with decent-paying (40k or so) jobs for a single person and retired folks who live a kingly or queenly life on their 2k-3k/month pensions.  Almost half this group receives a pension or Social Security income.  And what’s left are happy because their incomes do them very well as single and childless folks or merry widows, etc.

The Struggling Middle is basically striving single mothers and married low-income families who don’t use much welfare.  This is where a fair number of the people who reject food stamps but make very little and easily qualify are.  And another chunk of the struggling SAHMs.

It’s been nearly a decade since this analysis was done, but it helps clarify where people are when they think of middle class.  I was clearly thinking only two of these four groups were middle class at all.

Gourmet home cooking isn’t easy or quick

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/11/the-myth-of-easy-cooking/417384

The Atlantic serves up a legitimate beef with a myth that I think any housewife of the last 20 years is quite familiar with.  Women have put vast amounts of effort into trying to make the “gourmet meal in 20 minutes” fairy tale come true for their own households or claiming they manage it…somehow.  This mother just threw down her spatula and picked up her laptop instead.  I appreciate her doing it.

She does live in New York City, the paradise of eating out pretty cheaply and decently if you want to do that, but her basic point that a watered-down fancy-chef recipe simply isn’t reasonable for normal life is a sound one.

Many women are afraid of not being “diverse” in the food they give their children, especially SAHMs, who believe that because they’re home all day they need to provide “real, HIGH QUALITY food” that they prepared with their own hands from numerous exotic ingredients.  An example of this is the homemade bread fad.  Although is it a fad if it, like homeschooling (which it did not come out of but which was one of the subcultures dragging it into acceptable non-fringeness) is now something all kinds of non-home-centered women feel is something they ought to do?  Making one’s own bread at home daily is relatively modern.  Like other kinds of cooking, in the past anyone good at it did it for most of the other people in their neighborhood.  But these days women are supposed to “easily” make their own bread all the time, with all kinds of “one weird tricks” to make it not take a long time or be physically demanding.  (It still does and is though.)

Cooking is one of those things where a lot of women would be better off buying the decent takeout and ready meals without being shamed over it because they’re housewives.  This is so totally a real thing, it’s super sad and depressing how women beat themselves up over this, or make little snippy comments to other women for the crime of buying potato salad from the deli instead of making it at home “Because it’s so easy and quick, why spend the money?” Because my time isn’t actually worth zero dollars and including my time, it’s cheaper to drive to the store or fire up GroceryDeliveryExpress2015 if you live near one and order the salad in bulk.

Anyway, the article is interesting and talks about how cookbooks used to be written by fellow housewives, but then EVERYTHING CHANGED IN THE 1980s.  Thanks Boomers!