Happy Parents, Happy Kids

There is no utopia. I know that. Imma smart girl and realize everywhere there are humans there will be human problems. That being said, DAMN but if the Nordic Countries aren’t looking good.

Studies “conducted by Britain’s Child Poverty Action Group, the World Health Organization, and Unicef International have all reached unanimous conclusions” that Dutch children are the happiest kids in the world, knocking the ball out of the park in “three out of the five categories, namely- material well being, educational well being, and behavior and risks.”

Why are the tots in the Netherlands so well off? Simple: their government actually provides for the common good of their citizens via laws & policies that protect the parents. Seriously.

One of the simplest, yet best, things the Dutch government does for their minors is allowing their parents to see them more than a couple of minutes every night before bed yet can still have a career and interactions with adult humans. “A New York Times article “Working (Part-Time) in the 21st Century” highlights the Dutch culture of part-time work. By 1996 the Dutch government gave part-time employees equal status to that of full timers, paving the way for a more balanced work-life reality for its citizens.” A whopping 68% of Dutch women and 33% of Dutch men now work part time. They take time to be with their kids and to have happy lives outside of the daily grind. You know how they do that? Their government won’t let their employers scavenge every last drop of labor outta them like so many do here in the USA.

Americans would like to be able to work part time as well. If you read “Lisa Belkin’s Huffington Post article “What Mothers Really Want: To Opt Inbetween (Infographic)“, an overwhelming majority of moms would actually like to work part-time as an ideal balance between home and work.” Of course, being America no one thought to ask the dads. I guess dads aren’t parents the same way moms are? Yeah, that isn’t patriarchal sexism at work there.

Dutch kids are also freed from the “No Child Left Behind” mentality that school is for testing the living shit out of small children to “prove” their teachers are churning out “educated” units.

“Dutch elementary students under the age of ten usually do not have any homework and are simply encouraged to enjoy learning.Upon completion of primary school at the age of 12, Dutch pupils take a multiple choice CITO test which determines their relative intelligence level and heavily influences what corresponding high school they could attend. Thus, Dutch high school students also do not face the notorious pressure of taking the SATs or ACTs or ever attaining academic excellence. There is, for the most part, no formal competitive university application process.”

Imagine that.

Moreover, the Dutch have a fokking awesome social safety net. “Despite the looming economic crisis and various cuts in subsidies on this side of the pond, Dutch families will still continue to get money from the Dutch government. Specifically, Dutch families will continue to receive a child allowance, a child benefit stipend (an income-dependent allowance for the cost of children), the combination discount (a fiscal break for combining work and caring for children) and the childcare allowance.” If the parents aren’t stressed and miserable and freaking out about losing a day of work and going hungry – they are better able to nurture their children. Who knew?

When confronted with these facts, many Faux News dupes start spewing that of course the Netherlands can have a good social system because they are not “overrun with illegal immigrants” and they don’t have “large minority populations”. These are code words that allow people to be racist asshats yet still get offended if you point out they are racist asshats. Like almost everything that people think they “know” based on things they have heard on Faux News or the things they have NOT heard on the so-called Liberal Media, this is complete bullshit.

The Dutch statistics are that “in 2010 there were 1.8 million foreign-born residents in the Netherlands, corresponding to 11.1% of the total population” while those same statistics in America is that “In the most recent decade, the ten million legal immigrants that settled in the U.S. represent an annual growth of only about 0.3% as the U.S. population grew from 249 million to 281 million. By comparison, the highest previous decade was the 1900s, when 8.8 million people arrived, increasing the total U.S. population by one percent every year. Specifically, "nearly 15% of Americans were foreign-born in 1910, while in 1999, only about 10% were foreign-born”. In fact, America is still 77.9% white, so all racist arguments about our social ills are invalid as well as bullshit with anal sprinkles.

The bitter truth is that Dutch kids are doing so well because the Netherlands taxes its high earners at 52% (America taxes top earners at 39.6% but loopholes lower this considerably) and then plows that money back into social systems rather than a bloated military budget designed to enrich Halliburton by buying shit the military keeps saying they don’t want.

Want happy kids in America? Give them happy parents who aren’t working like dogs and schools that aren’t built on a factory model. There ya go.

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