Kids R Us

I was flipping through our weekly delivery of six or eight hundred store flyers when I came across one for a well known store that sells “Toys,” and who “R” always there for “Us.” As I was flipping through the flyer marvelling at all the wondrous toys available for good girls and boys, I came across some pages in the middle of the flyer for a newly spawned store that sells items for Babies called, get ready, “Babies ‘R’ Us.”

Now what struck me about the items for sale in the Baby flyer is that we, the human race, are in serious trouble when it comes to matters concerning procreation, of which babies are the product. What caught my eye was an advertisement for a “tour travel system,” or what we in the real world refer to as a baby stroller. The ad highlighted the fact that you could save $50 on this stroller whose regular retail price was $389.99!

“Hmmm,” I thought to myself, “$50 is about what my in-laws I paid for our stroller over 15 years ago. It seems that we have advanced to such a technological state that a new baby stroller costs about what we might have paid for semi-decent used car 15 years ago.”

What really gets my goat is that the stroller we bought all those years ago made the strollers, or perambulators as they were then known, of my parents’ age look like the sort of stone age strollers you would expect to see Pebbles Flintstone riding around in. Our new baby stroller had cool rubber wheels, and soft cushioned padding everywhere, and safety locks, and folded up into a convenient storage size so long as the place you wanted to store it was at least the size of a modern refrigerator.

As I stare at the photo of the latest “baby transport system,” I see that it is equipped with really really cool wheels with hubcaps, what appears to be hi-tech ultra-lite dura-titanium tubular frame construction, converts into 18 different configurations, and has padding so luxurious and thick that when you place your baby into the stroller, the padding absorbs your child such that all you can see of your baby are their little eyes, nose and mouth.

So much for the stroller. You should have seen the incredible amounts that you could save on other baby items like a crib, highchair, and car seat. This is what got me all concerned about the future of the human race. Presently, it takes as much money to purchase the fundamental necessities of child rearing as our parents paid for their first house. So how are we to expect our children to finance these purchases in the future when the cost is likely to be in the arena of purchasing an NHL hockey franchise? Even one in Minnesota! If we don’t do something soon, our children will not be able to afford to have children and then where will be? Grandparentless! That’s where. Surely it is in the best interests of our government to encourage and support families. To do otherwise would be irrational wouldn’t it? Then where would the government be? Taxless! That’s where.

When confronted with an insurmountable problem, I always try to put forward a surmountable solution. For years our government (the one in Canada) has provided various financial incentives to achieving certain goals. Years ago, you had your Registered Home Ownership Savings Plan to allow people to afford houses. Today, we have our Registered Education Savings Plan to allow people to afford higher education for their children. We also have our Registered Retirement Savings Plan to allow people to be able to retire comfortably and dine on fine cuisine other than Kraft Dinners. What we need to introduce right away is a Registered Child Rearing Savings Plan that will allow our children to have children.

The RCRSP would be tax sheltered savings that our children could draw upon to finance the purchase of necessary child rearing items like the aforementioned “travel transportation device” and high-tech items that will no doubt be developed in the foreseeable future like self-changing diapers.

The added benefit of the RCRSP is that it has the potential to solve our procreation crisis through the advantages of dollar cost averaging. Let’s face it: if our children are faced with spending thousands of tax-sheltered dollars on a high-tech high chair, they may as well have a passel of children to make the investment worthwhile on a per child basis.

Then, as successful grandparents, we can regale our grand kiddies with stories of how we had to use primitive strollers with non-radial tires to transport our children to the park uphill both ways in ten feet of snow in bare feet.

Nick Burn is a freelance writer, husband, father of three, engineer, teacher, and webmaster for the Canadian Catholic Information Network. In his spare time (hah!), he enjoys camping, skiing and reading.

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