“We have to destroy the married family to save the married family”

That is my take on this post from Audacious Epigone.  The post is a discussion of a “comment of the week” from one of his commenters.  It mostly talks about the au courant notion of a coming asset crash, almost with a sort of glee.  The same commenter makes the following remark in the comment thread for the post:

The plutocrats and the upper middle class and the government workers will be wiped out when the currency collapse wipes out the debt.

Problem for the commenter and perhaps even Mr. Epigone is that the three groups mentioned constitute the bulk of married parents of children under 18, married couples in general and a substantial minority of cohabiting/single parents of children under 18.  That is to say, such a crash will wipe out the very people having the children right now.  One can argue about whether they’re doing a good job with the kids or having a sufficiency of them (after all, I certainly spend plenty of time on such topics, lol), but at some point, the right (whether its more dissident side or its more mainstream sides who frankly share similar views about asset bubbles and crashes) needs to grasp that the “rich” or “affluent” or “upper income households” or “the government types” make up the mothers and fathers of most of our children.

The right has to stop hoping for the dissolution of 10-15 million married parent families, of a million solo/cohabiting families and of 20-30 million married couple families with no under-18s at home.  That is what would happen if these dreams of a big asset crash or currency collapse come true in the next few years.  It won’t punish your political enemies, unless now everyone who got married before having kids or at least made 75k+/yr first (cohabiting high earners and increasingly some of the high earning solo parents) is your “political enemy”.

Even many lower-earning family households are reliant on profit shares, bonuses based on company performance, and market returns on endowed funds for the nonprofits or educational institutions they are employed with.

I’m not saying no crash or collapse will happen.  It could, for all we know.  But I am saying that the right should be promoting how to cramdown debt for such households, and how to claw back bigger shares of equity and company profits for the class of people producing our future taxpayers and future at all, and who have been converted by the actual elites into a dependent wage-earning class.

In other words, the right should be acting like it understands the changes in the demographic makeup of married families, that they are mostly college educated, mostly 1 to 1.5-earner households and that the “top of the bottom” for married parents is essentially the median household income.  That is, making the median household income (63k in 2019) for married parents is around the 25-26th percentile (as of 2018) for their 22-23 million strong pool of households.

Also, as I already alluded to, many of these households do NOT have mom working full-time outside the home, and in fact much of the increase in double-income parent households has happened in the 25th-50th percentiles, while higher income households in the top half of married parents are continuing to see women exit full-time and frequently any paid employment during elementary and secondary school years.  So maybe it’s time for some new narratives.

Chelsea Clinton is dependent on wage income

Without her ability to use her family connections to get high wage 500-600k/yr jobs, her ability to have three kids in 5 years in NYC would be very constrained, as her net worth of $15 million consists primarily of an expensive apartment and a stock portfolio a non-elite STEM(edical) worker  could have accumulated.  Her husband’s net worth as a stereotypical seven-figure bonus finance guy has more liquidity, perhaps, but it could easily be tied up in high-return private-access assets.

There are lower-tier versions of Chelsea Clinton, racking up degrees in between taking well-paying nonprofit and university administration jobs in the most expensive metro areas, but they get a lot less, more like 100-200k/yr and tend to correspondingly be childless long term whether married or not or have 1 pregnancy’s worth of kids (usually 1 but sometimes 2).  And of course, the lowest-end of them are increasingly unmarried if they do become mothers.

What’s telling about this is that Chelsea Clinton is part of the broader political discourse pool arguing that such levels of wage income are too high and need to be taxed so much more, or simply made impossible to achieve at all without political and family connections by having essentially infinite job competition at all levels of education via a global labor market rather than a nation or region-bound one.

As a side note for a future discussion, Chelsea Clinton has also been given positions where the wage was low/honorary but the stock compensation was equivalent to a “bottom of the top” STEM(edical) salary (200-300k).  This structure of compensation is very important and has had far-ranging implications w/r/t family formation and politics over the last 25 years.  But this post is just about a child of elites who still has to get paid a wage to afford her relatively “bottom of the upper-class” lifestyle.

The difference between righty and lefty extremism

Extremism on the right tends to lead to formation of a nuclear family doing something unusual and outlier-y, which fairly frequently goes nuclear. On the left, extremism tends to strip the extremist of family attachments and not always gain them political or social power, but the right believes that all left extremism works and is effective politically and socially including for the extremists.

This was never all that true, even among the Boomer-aged cohorts and with the Gen X and younger age cohorts it’s fallen apart rapidly. It’s the unseen and the seen from our man Bastiat. With the left, the right tends to believe in political WYSIWYG (the seen), while the left conversely imagines up endless waves of right wing conspiracies behind every door (the unseen).

The right looks at what it sees with the left being occasionally successful with screaming and hysterics and assumes lefties get everything they want via screaming and hysterics all the time, constantly.  The left interprets its successes over the right as failures proving there’s endless right wing conspiracies to prevent them from total and complete dominance.

Total Fertility Rate (TFR) chart by household income from twitter

It’s not mine, but I’m not sure who did it, it floats around on twitter in fertility discussions.  If anyone drops me a line, I’ll add an attribute, or when I find time to dig out a reference.  It is estimated TFR by household income.  I will probably post some variations on this chart showing the percentage of children represented at each level of household income later this week.

Women on the Pill had 20% more sex than women not on it.

There was a lot of research done on the Pill when it was first made available to American women on a mass scale in the early 1960s.  The big takeaway, relevant since use was primarily restricted to already-married women, is that women on the Pill had a higher “coital frequency” than women not on the Pill and that pre-Pill, women were in fact having less sex with their husbands over time to avoid pregnancy.   Marrying young was resulting in not as much sex after the first ten years, due to desire for limiting fertility rather than lack of interest according to separate surveys of husbands and wives.

But once the Pill was introduced, women who went on it had more sex and of course had fewer children.  It sure seemed like cake was being had and eaten too.  This is particularly interesting given that decades later research on women taking the Pill showed it to be heavily correlated with reduced sex interest in women and lower libido.  Thus we have the origin story for the mythical housewife who wasn’t that into it but just trying to keep her man satisfied.

The other thing I just remembered about this is that the Pill was the only contraceptive with a substantial increase in sex-having vs non-Pill users.  Sterilizations on either male or female side, condoms, jellies, and the like never showed people utilizing them to have more sex than people avoiding contraceptive use.

The differences between lefty and righty SAHMs.

Few of the former, but more of them in liberal zip codes among married parents.  More of the latter, but more likely to be mixed in heavily with double-income households.

There’s very few married parents at all in liberal/Democrat-heavy zip codes with high incomes, but the married mothers tend to be SAHMs to men making north of 150k/yr.  So liberal women who stay home with their kids have a tribe and a sense of place because in a major metro there may only be 5 or 10k of them, but they all literally are in the same neighborhoods and constantly could hang out together.

They also don’t shy away from things like hiring au pairs and babysitters while staying home.  Liberal married mothers are substantially more likely to be relaxed about individually choosing to get themselves the things they need as SAHMs, including paid childcare help and being sure to be married to a high-earning provider so they experience zero financial pressure to earn money.  There are lower-income SAHMs who skew liberal, but they tend to not live in the high-income urban zip codes and there’s even fewer of them.

Righty SAHMs, on the other hand, are far more common among married parents as a whole nationwide, but they tend to be scattered within a much bigger and income-diverse group of married parents in the areas they live in.  And they themselves are more likely to be income-diverse, though there’s still very few under 50k/yr.

Thus righty SAHMs are not wrong to feel isolated and odd duck-like.  In a major exurb commuting distance from a Big City, they may well be among 100k other married parents and even 30k or so of SAHMs (i.e., roughly the national-level split between double-income and SAHM households), but they probably only live near a few other SAHMs and they don’t have the homogeneous aspects the lefty SAHMs have.

What’s interesting is that I looked into the matter strictly to see if there was a pattern at all.  It’s one thing to say SAHMs are getting to be a higher and higher income proposition, it’s another to determine if there are political variations.  I didn’t expect to find what I found looking at major metros like Chicago, DC, Seattle or LA, among others.  I looked at Big Cities and outlying exurbs and suburbs in red and purple and blue states alike, and the basic “very few lefty-likely SAHMs, but mostly clustered together plus have top-quarter family incomes for their area” and “many more righty-likely SAHMs, but spanning the top 3 quartiles for their area and not concentrated in the highest one, not much clustering at all” holds up across a wide range of voting patterns.

The lady who lunches is fairly likely a Democrat these days, as is the SAHM with a nanny and two kids in tow.  Or the yoga mom who’s kept her figure after four kids.

But there’s very few of her.  Not many liberal women seem ready or willing to make those arrangements to have families.  And it is interesting to me that while liberal-leaning women want to have kids/form families at much lower rates than right-leaning women, they SAHM at really high rates.

 

A PhD in three years? Maybe.

I’m an uneducated housewife.  However, I’m working on PhD-level work (at least, nobody without one appears to be doing what I’m doing, ‘cept me), so there is a small chance I will end up with one anyway.

It’s pretty clear I’ve been struggling quite a bit because I didn’t want to admit the situation was what it was.  It’s hard to accept I might have to work with people whose entire lives are devoted to views and practices regarding education that have directly made my life incredibly difficult and made educating my own children a home-based project, but I’m probably not going to be able to stay on schedule without accepting that it may be what I have to do to complete the mission.

So this is acceptance.  Also, about the only detailed public comment I’m making about Project Y’ this year and maybe next.