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The Baby Boon : How Family-Friendly America Cheats the Childless
The Baby Boon How Family-Friendly America Cheats the Childless Author:Elinor Burkett Who stays late at the office when Mom leaves for a soccer match? Whose dollars pay for the tax credits, childcare benefits, and school vouchers that only parents can utilize? Who is forced to take those undesirable weekend business trips that Dad refuses? The answer: Adults without children -- most of them women -- have shouldered more than thei... more »r share of the cost of family-friendly America. Until now. "Equal Pay for Equal Work" is one of the foundations of modern American work life. But workers without children do not reap the same rewards as do their colleagues who are parents. Instead, as veteran journalist Elinor Burkett reveals, the past decade has seen the most massive redistribution of wealth since the War on Poverty -- this time not from rich to poor but from nonparents, no matter how modest their means, to parents, no matter how affluent. Parents today want their child and their Lexus, too -- which accounts for the new culture of parental privilege that Burkett aptly calls "the baby boon." Burkett reports from the front lines of the workplace: from the hallowed newsroom of The New York Times to the floor of a textile factory in North Carolina to a hospital in Boston. She exposes a simmering backlash against perks for parents, from workers who are losing their tempers and fighting for their rights. She spells out how tax breaks for families with six-figure incomes are not available to childless people earning half as much. And she tells the dramatic story of how pro-family conservatives and feminists became strange bedfellows on the issue of pro-family rights, leading to an increase in workplace and government entitlements for parents -- at the same time as the childless poor lost their public benefits. Americans are on a demographic collision course between the growing numbers of mothers in the workforce and the swelling ranks of a new interest group: childless adults. Armed with hard data and grassroots reporting, Elinor Burkett points the way to a more equitable future. With an inside look at what some companies are already doing to redress the grievances of childless workers and a hard assessment of what the truly needy -- children and adults -- require in order to survive, Burkett fires the first shot in the battle to come.« less
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This book makes an interesting argument that making women's rights and family rights synonymous reinforces proscribed gender roles and holds back, rather than advances, the women's movement and many other civil rights issues in our country. The author's style, unfortunately, veers from academic into whiny in many places and takes away from her worthwhile ideas.
This was a difficult book for me to rate because I had times where I liked it and other times where I couldn't stand reading it! Elinor Burkett makes many wonderful points in this book that I had never considered before, specifically if we are offering so many benefits, tax breaks, and flex-time to people with children, isn't it then discrimination to not offer something similar to people without children. She notes that she feels that of course we should help families in need, but her real gripe is with middle to upper class families who don't really need financial help taking that help away from families living in poverty. Each chapter in the book had a different feel to it, some I found fascinating, but many I found VERY repetitive. What I really wanted to see was some sort of suggestions offered to help rectify this inequality, but that was made on a very limited basis and really only at the end of the book.
This is an amazing book about how Americans who do not choose to have children pay for those who do. I am not anti-family, but this book does raise some good points. Why should a person who does not have children be expected to be the first to pull overtime or work holidays? Is a childfree couple's life less important? This book raises many interesting and relevant questions.
The book was interesting, but the information contained within was not a complete surprise. Yes, I as a childless woman, subsidize everyone elses kids. But the book gets kind of repetitive and I didn't even finish it. If this book is a new concept for you, try searching for "childfree" on google and you'll run into some great communities to chat about the lifestyle.
Delos - reviewed The Baby Boon : How Family-Friendly America Cheats the Childless on
This is a really, really, intersting book - that you probably won't agree with. All the more reason you shuld read it though. It is well researched, with excellent examples (written by a Washington Post reporter). As a young woman I identified with a lot of the and workplaces examples that discriminate in favor of people with kids, and against those who chose never to have them (or don't have then, yet, whichever).
A lot of people get angry and defensive if they just read the whole title. BUT! This is not a book saying you SHOULDN'T have children, or that you're bad if you do - but just that there are a lot of policies we have that are skewed towards that being the only acceptable, or preferable, way to live. Interesting financial and tax information, as well as points of feminist theory (how society values women who don't have children differently) that I probably wouldn't have ever considered.
I did get tired of hearing the same basic point driven into the ground by the end, and I think towards then end some examples or leaps were just stretching it to make it fit her point, but overall I'm glad I read it. It exposed me to a viewpoint I hadn't considered (...and that's what books are for, right?! Isn't that why we're all here?) You should read it, too, even if you don't agree. I definitely think young women just entering the workforce should read this if they have a chance.