The Baby Boon: How Family-Friendly America Cheats the Childless

Overview

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 their 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...

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Overview

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 their 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Ann Coulter author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors It has been said that people never notice the prejudices of their own time. Just as fish can't describe water, humans can't see the biases, mores, and conventions of their own little worlds. Elinor Burkett is one of the rare flying fish who can discern the prejudices of our own era and describe them in colorful, often hilarious, detail. This amazing and important book will shake up today's class of favored citizens.

Michelangelo Signorile author of Life Outside and Queer in America Finally, someone's got the guts to point to the elephant in the room: that America discriminates, sometimes quite shamelessly, against those who do not have children. No one better could be making this clarion call than the compelling, relentless truth-teller, Elinor Burkett. The Baby Boon speaks for so many of us who stay silent, fearful of being tarred as "anti-family." But Burkett's is not a book that is "anti" anything. The Baby Boon is about inclusivity and fairness, about the American values of equality and justice. A meticulous journalist with facts and figures in hand, she makes a case that simply cannot be dismissed.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743242646
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 4/5/2002
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

All Animals Are Equal

PART ONE
America's New Family-Friendly Face
In the Workplace and in Public Policy

1. Unequal Work for Unequal Pay
2. Pregnant Payoffs

PART TWO
For the Children?
Hardly -- Pure Politics Are Driving This Train

3. For the Sake of Which Children?
4. Family Frenzy
5. The Maternal Mystique

PART THREE
Balancing Act

6. No Kidding
7. When the Bough Breaks

Notes
Bibliography
Acknowledgments
Index

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2005

    Child-free Revolution

    What a great book! It is interesting to read some of the comments posted about this title. Those who call the child-free selfish need consider the following: Is it selfish for child-free couples to want fair tax treatment? Is it selfish for child-free couples to want an enjoyable night at the theater without hearing a child scream in a rated-R movie? Is it selfish for child-free couples to expect parents to teach their children to respect property rights? Choosing to have a baby is a personal decision. However, a parent's decision to conceive shouldn't have any negative impact on child-free couples' lives. Want to give birth? Fine. I wish you all the best. However, because you give birth, should my taxes subsidize your child's medical benefits, education, even clothing and food? Don't try the old, '...children don't ask to be born and all children deserve a basic level of substinance and education...' If I buy a dog, do I ask all of my neighbors in my subdivision to pay for its food (even though the dog didn't ask to be bought)? How about the other great breeder's argument, 'Bringing children into the world benefits all of society, so the whole society should pay.' Yeah... as if a child is like a new highway everyone gets to enjoy, and rightly should equally fund. I guess I would agree with this arguement if there were a government body overseeing all childbirths to decide just how useful each birth would be - similar to our state's Department of Transportation overseeing the allocation of our tax dollars to highway construction. If such a body existing, I got a feeling there would be fewer babies born each year, what do you think? Parents and the elected officials who pander to parents take, take, and take from the child-free, and we get called selfish. That is truly sad. However, even more sad is the fact that the parents making such ridiculous claims are ones who will fill their childrens' heads with such false logic. Attention parents: As a child-free husband, I don't expect or ask for anything from you. Do NOT expect or ask anything from me. It is just that simple. Read this book!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2010

    Wow

    I'll keep it short and sweet here - this book opened my eyes to a lot of practices I was previously unaware of. As a childfree couple, my fellow and I were shocked to read just how much we're ... well, getting "screwed over", to put it lightly. Of course, we had some idea, but this book details many ways that most people might never give much thought to. Great read for those who are on the fence about childfreedom.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2006

    Authors sister-in-law misrepresented

    Elinor Burkett is my sister in law. Her characterization of my wife, Michele Gaboury, and our home is innacurate in the extreme. We became aware of the contents of the book only after it hit the bookstands. At that time, we sent a letter to the publisher to correct the misrepresentations made. We did not receive a response. We had a choice to sue. For family considerations, we did not. Now we find references to my wife in the internet which was brought to our attention by a member of our family. Finally, and again, the characterizations of Michele Gaboury, my wife and the author's sister-in-law are innaccurate in the extreme. They end up acheiving extreme polarizing views which perhaps help strengthen Ms. Burkett's premise. But they also damage my wife's reputation severely when anyone, including her clients and professional associates can google her name and view this book. Paul Gaboury

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2010

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