I WANT thousands of pounds of your hard-earned cash starting next September, and that's just the start of it.
Sounds bad, doesn't it? Unless I put it the more conventional way, namely: I'm about to apply for a primary school place for my son, and I think his education (like all children's education) should be funded from everyone's taxes.
The looming threat of the Great Spending Axe falling this Wednesday set me thinking about what my family takes from the state - or more accurately what my son takes, since he's the spendthrift one (we consume public services most heavily when we're either fresh from the cradle or close to the grave).
From the minute he was born - expensively, if probably life-savingly, by Casearean - it can seem as if all he and I have done is hoover up perks. Health visitors, vaccinations, free prescriptions and dental treatment, child benefit, even free baby yoga at the local children's centre: then as he got older, free bookpacks, tax breaks for childcare via a salary sacrifice scheme, subsidised playgroups, swimming and library access, various over-anxious trips to the doctor, and a free part-time nursery place. For three years, we have been merrily spending your money. Were we worth it?
Hopefully, in decades to come his taxes will be funding your pensions. It is not impossible, I suppose, that he will discover a cure for cancer (though he currently wants to be a frog when he grows up). And of course, his parents paid their whack for decades, so you could argue we're just getting some of it back.
But to the one in five of our contemporaries who paid the same taxes and either didn't want or couldn't have children, that may seem (as the blogger Iain Dale suggests here) unfair. And while children are generally a good idea should one wish the human race to continue, the planet isn't exactly short of the blighters.
So as that axe descends and everyone feels the pain, I suspect a bigger debate may begin about what children contribute to the greater good, aside from ruining perfectly good restaurants by running round and shouting. Perhaps just as some childfree employees feel aggrieved (however unfairly) about parents' rights to time off and leave, as public money gets tight there will be a groundswell of indignation about spending on children. I certainly can't defend every single penny spent on mine.
Nonetheless, I still think there's a sound case for you subsidising my children, and me subsidising yours - and not just because early investment in infant health, nursery education, and family support saves millions being spent in adulthood on problems that could have been solved cheaply in the cradle.
It is a fundamental human instinct to protect and nurture the next generation, to hope for better times, to want more for them than we had for ourselves: it fosters longterm thinking, inspires human progress, drives us forward as a species. Let's just hope we are still going forwards after Wednesday.