bookmark_borderChildcare from a macroeconomic perspective

Ut p? tur med barnehagen
Originally uploaded by aregh

Phyllis had a good rant recently about how unaffordable childcare is in the UK.

Her focus was on how it looks from a family’s point of view. However, even from a macroeconomic perspective, the British solution is horrible.

Basically, if childcare becomes too expensive, mothers will stop working till the kids are out of the way. That means no income for her, and thus no income taxes.

On the other hand, have a look at the sums as they would look if the state paid for the nursery:

Cost of nursery £9000
Income tax for typical salary £8000
Income tax for 1/6 nursery worker £1000
Other taxes etc. £1000
Net gain for the state £1000

All of these figures are very rough estimates, of course. The last column is for things like VAT on products spent using the extra income, and taxes paid by the nursery.

So basically it would pay off for the state to provide free full-time nursery places in the same way as schools.

Of course, most parents would be happy to pay some money for childcare, so the state could for instance decide only to pay 2/3 of the cost, which would lead to even bigger economic benefits.

The trick is to set the subsidy at a level where people (mothers) prefer to work rather than staying at home.

All of this is seen from an economic perspective. One should of course also think about what’s best for the children, and perhaps for that reason decide only to subsidise half-time nursery places rather than full-time ones.

bookmark_borderIce-cream makers

Years ago, I had one of those ice-cream makers where you had to freeze part of the bowl, and it would then stir it. Unfortunately, my freezer cannot have been cold enough, because I normally ended up with something the consistency of slush ice. 🙁

So for a long time, I thought the only good alternative was to buy one of the expensive machines that includes a freezer (upwards of £200).

However, I just realised that in the US, you can still buy the old-fashioned models that freeze the ice-cream by immersing it in a mixture of salt and ice. My dad has described how they used these for picnics in his youth.

If you’re really nostalgic, you can get them with a handle, or you can pay a bit more and get them with an electric motor.

Unfortunately, they don’t publish shipping costs for Europe, and I haven’t found a distributor here, so I don’t know how much it’d cost me to get hold of one.

Update: I just got an email from the shop in the US. They’re unwilling to sell the electrical model, and the shipping for the manual model (which costs $139.99) is $69.14, so it would end up costing £106 (DKK1000). Perhaps too much for something the kids would no doubt regard as a torture instrument…