Spending for the second baby

A second bookcase for the oldest so we can move more of hir books from the library to hir room and the books from the floor to the bookcases and the library to our bedroom so our office can move to the library and the former office go back to being a nursery.  We’ll go to the unfinished furniture store even though we have concerns about environmental stability… but their furniture isn’t pasteboard and it’s a 3rd of the cost of the Amish place… so our ethics can be bought if the price is low enough.  $350 including finish and shipping.  (Somehow I thought it would be less… apparently not).

A new pump since I went through two with DC.  (They died every 9 months and at the 18 month mark I didn’t bother getting them to overnight me a replacement.  I probably should have.)  $260.

A new infant carseat since our children are too far apart in age to use the same one.  And two bases for said carseat.  $80 carseat, $30 each base, $140 total.

A dresser for DC2.  This we get used at a local refurbished furniture store where the guy takes landfill pieces and brings them back to their former glory.  (Sadly he does not do bookcases.)  $550.  (It is beautiful.  We decided to give it to DH and DC2 gets DH’s old one.)

Cloth diapers.  Both the kind for babies (we have medium and large, but not small) and the kind for cleaning up spit-up.  The cleaning ones got a workout these past 5 years or so and are starting to shred.  ~$200

Regular diapers.  $Infinite amounts

Soothies, wipes, pads, etc.  $Infinite amounts

Bottles.  (Our previous Doc Browns got enough use that they really needed to be tossed.  They were at the point where even people who don’t care about BPA think there could be seepage.) $20

And I think that’s it for the newborn stage.  Everything else we can use from kid #1… and the in-laws have already told us about the adorable outfits that just called out, so we’ll have some gender-specific clothing on top of the gender neutral stuff.  You know, in case we have to go to a wedding or something.

So that’s around $1500.  Maybe $2000.  Plus those infinite paper/plastic costs.

What are we missing, if anything?

If you’re multiply fecund, did you spend a lot less on your subsequent kids than on the first?

Link Love of the Lonely

One of us is traveling overseas!  The other one is… not.  Fortunately the internet is around with some great posts to fill in the temporary electronic void in #1′s soul (or you know to entertain… whatevs).

I hadn’t bumped into this awesome retro recipe website in a year or two, but had to spend quite a bit of time catching up with what I’d missed since then.

Jliedl presents Star Wars and History!

Profgrrrrl with a poem that speaks to so many of us.

See debt run instructs us on how to choose a toilet.

Academic Cog brings us writing with beans.  Also she makes us giggle with a pictorial metaphor.

We still <3 Scalzi.  A neat followup by Jim C. Hines.

Femomhist talks about being smart.

A great post on financial planning by Robert Brokamp.  Maybe now that it’s summer I can spend some time on a little pile of econ articles (complete with “to blog” post-its) that have come to me through the year and digest them for the general public.  There’s been some really interesting work done this past year.

We were an editor’s pick at this week’s carnival of personal finance!

Google Questions Answered

Q:  why do physio have no sense of humor or am i in the worng job

A:  We’re pretty sure CPP has a sense of humor, so even though we don’t see the link, perhaps it is the latter.

Q:  do college professors work everyday

A:  #1 usually does 6 days a week (really more like 5.5)

Q:  how to come true a dream

A:  Uh, that sounds dirty.  Maybe you should ask a teenage boy.  Though that might get you arrested (unless you’re also under 18).  So don’t do that.

Q:  why is my taxes wrapped up my mortgage

A:  Because of paternalism.  The gov’t doesn’t believe that you’ll remember to put aside enough money to pay your taxes in one big lump at the end of the year.  So, unless you have a certain amount of home equity, they help you out on that.

Q:  untenured can i take vacation?

A:  Assuming it is during a break and doesn’t interfere with your teaching etc, yes.  Whether or not a vacation will affect your tenure chances depends on many variables.

Q:  how to decide on right time to have a baby

A:  Think about it, talk about it, listen to your feelings.

Q:  how do average kids treat gifted kids

A:  We can’t answer this question.  We’re too busy trying to relock the black boxes of our memories.  *shudder*

Q:  what expenses do you still pay after you pay off your house

A:  Everything except principal and interest.  (Generally you can also drop insurance, but you probably shouldn’t.)

Q:  do men use the term they have to tinkle

A:  Some do.

Q:  effects of spending money

A:  Generally the main effect is that you have less money than you had before, and in its stead, either a good or service you did not have before

A deliberately controversial post: The sins of the parents

should be visited on the kids.

This is a sentiment we often see on the internets.

Schools in poor neighborhoods are often terrible.  If the parents cared, they’d homeschool or move. (Because that’s totally an option for single moms on EITC working minimum wage jobs as best they can.)

We shouldn’t improve the quality of school lunches.  If parents cared, they’d be feeding their kids organic meals full of veggies made from scratch every night so one meal a day wouldn’t hurt them.

Personally we suspect a lot of this sentiment is disguised racism.  Who cares about black kids or Hispanic kids.  It’s their fault for being born something other than anglo-saxon.  But maybe not– the internet seems to think just as poorly of rural white parents from West Virginia.

We also suspect it’s a way that middle class folks feel superior.  We’re not like THOSE people.  Our kids will do just fine because we’re so wonderful.  Our schools are great not because everyone else in our neighborhood is able to pay higher property taxes, but because we made the decision to be (white and) middle class.

It’s parents’ fault is the repeated refrain.  That’s why schools are crumbling.  That’s why kids are fat.  That’s why kids are in bad schools.  Or don’t get enough to eat.  Or get kidnapped or shot.

We at Grumpy Rumblings say:  WHO CARES?

Whether it’s parents fault or not, Won’t somebody think of the children?

Kids could have crappy parents and still get a great education if all kids had access to great schools.  Sure, some kids may be too damaged to benefit from even the best interventions, but what about the bulk of kids who could benefit?  Who through no fault of their own are stuck in poverty with little way out?  Imagine if they had great preschools, safe neighborhoods, healthy food, high quality K-12… the chance to take a calculus class.  Maybe they’d have a chance to live the American Dream.

Even if their parents suck.

My favorite animes

Princess Tutu … one of the best animes ever made.  And that is despite its silly title.  Or the fact that a brief description would be:  a duck turns into a girl turns into a magic girl ballet princess.  This is simply one of the most beautiful and beautifully crafted works of art in anime. (It also has funny bits.)  The most wonderful thing is that the first half has a storybook ending, but the second half has an ending that is much more satisfying, even if there’s a bit of pain (but “without a hurt, the heart is hollow,” right?).  There’s also a mindflip for watchers.  What is really going on?

My favorite animes are generally ones centered around people changing each other for the better, often healing each other, but sometimes just spurring each other on to greater heights.  That’s a theme in Japanese anime that I really like– we can help each other be who we want to be.  [We will ignore my guilty pleasure of harem animes for the nonce-- the following do not fit into that category... for the most part.]

Kenshin :  A story of redemption… a killer samurai in the Meiji era decides never to kill again.  So he becomes a wanderer.  But there’s a problem when you’re really good at killing– people want you to do it more… and sometimes bad guys want to do bad things and you have to prevent them without becoming bad yourself.

Fruits Basket :  A story based on the zodiac… a family with a secret.  An orphan girl who finds them.  Healing.

HimeChan’s Ribbon :  A great children’s anime.  Hime-chan becomes a magic girl with the help of accessories from her doppelganger from the magic kingdom.  She’s so genki!

Ouran High School Host Club :  A smart but poor student gets a full scholarship to a rich kid’s academy.  Breaks a vase.  Has to pay it off by working at an after school club called the Host Club.  And people grow up and change and find their families.

Natsume Yujincho :  A boy is able to see spirits trapped against their wills and sets about freeing them.

Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge :  a somewhat creepy goth chick ends up sharing a house with attractive young gentlemen.  Her aunt is giving them free rent if they turn her into a lady.  She resists, and changes them instead.

Kodocha :  A super feisty girl actress… her life, her mom, her school, her drama… Frenetic anime.

Slayers  How could you not love Lina Inverse?  She’s small and eats a lot and kicks ass.  Skip the dub on this one– one of the characters’ English dub drives me batty.

Noir :  This one is a drama and not really about redemption… but wow, beautiful music, mind-flipping story, and man, can these female assassins make killing look beautiful.  The popcorn episode…

Currently watching:  Sgt. Frog (via Netflix– so there are a lot more episodes!).  The US dub on this one is hiLARious.  I’m sure they’ve taken a lot of liberties and they have fun with that.  I’m curious what the original Japanese is like.

[Note it says "My" instead of "Our" because um, #2 feels the same way about anime that she does about mushrooms, only maybe even more contemptuous.]

Anyone else an anime fan?  (*crickets chirping*)  What do you like to watch?  Also:  sub or dub?  (I promise I won’t judge if you say dub… dubs are getting better…)

Haig-Simons Taxes: Is the tax system unfair to paid labor?

Sometimes economics blows your mind.

There’s an idea in economics of what fair taxes should look at.  There are several concepts of fairness, including vertical and horozontal equity.  We’ve talked about why there are progressive marginal tax rates before.

Back to the concept that messes with your mind.

“Ideal” taxes are termed Haig-Simons taxes (technically it’s taxes under the Haig Simons Income Definition… but that’s a mouthful).  These suggest that if unpaid work is equivalent to paid work, it should be taxed equivalently. The idea being that by its nature, the tax code discourages work that produces income (generally for elastic secondary earners) even though it should be treating it neutrally.   So there shouldn’t be a tax advantage to cleaning your own floors–or rather, there shouldn’t be a tax penalty to paying someone else to do so.

Would SAHP be willing to be taxed at 150K or whatever the going rate on salary.com is that year? Probably not. Not what we call politically feasible.

So what we do instead is dependent daycare credits or tax exemptions for childcare, but they only cover a fraction of daycare most places and they have their own problems with changing people’s behavior. And that’s only daycare.  What about the tax advantage to building your own deck rather than paying someone else to do it?

Of course, the tax system is also used to change behavior on purpose– to decrease negative externalities (ex. second hand smoke) and increase positive externalities (ex. giving to charity), and sometimes bleeding heart liberals add a little paternalism in there to keep people from harming themselves (libertarians say let them harm themselves!)  So those uses of the tax system are not included in Haig-Simons.

What do you all think?  Given that we tax labor market production (you know, to fund defense and other public goods), is it unfair to tax labor market production but not home production?

Link love

Funny about money had more adventure this week than we ever want to have.

Mike and Molly talk about being culturally middle class.

It’s work and not truly passive income (and not something we’d ever do), but I love that people buy run-down houses and fix them up to rent or resell.  Afford anything talks about rental house #3.

Academic cog talks about being Shroedinger’s job candidate.  Also check out her previous post– especially you personal finance readers.  She needs some money-making suggestions!

Today was full of dire warnings of what we’re in for in the future.  Proflikesubstance reminded me of this (scroll to the picture… that’s all you need to see).  Grasping for objectivity with this post about sibling interactions.  And an IRL reminder about the age 0-3 tag-team dining out experience.

We were in this week’s carnival of personal finance.

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