The age of the “fertility panic” arrives

posted at 12:31 pm on February 17, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

When we think of governments getting involved directly in the business of modulating population growth, one of the first – and most horrible – examples that comes to mind is China. But they’re looking to reduce the population. What about government programs which seek to invest in creating more people? Apparently it’s not a new idea, as explained in an essay by Doug Sanders, dealing with the “fertility panic.”

We have entered the age of the fertility panic. Country after country is discovering that smaller families are causing the population to shrink, which means more old people, and therefore higher government expenses and lower tax revenues. And many of those countries are then jumping to the wrong conclusion: that they should persuade people to have more kids.

The latest victim is the United States, which until recently was proud of its big, corn-fed families, but discovered last year that the economic crisis and constricted immigration have pushed its average family size down to 1.9 children, below the 2.1 needed for population stability.

This has led a number of American voices to propose what European countries have been doing for more than a decade and what Quebec has tried since the 1980s: attempting to create larger families through policy.

Apparently, Canada has an even lower birth rate, at 1.59. (A fact they currently offset by bringing in an average of 300,000 immigrants per year.) Germany spends 200 billion euros a year trying to get more people to have babies, but are still looking at an average of 1.39 children per family. It seems that France has been the only one to pull it off, getting to 2.1 children per family by giving $1,000 a month for a year to any mother willing to have a third child. That works out to a pretty hefty price tag.

But is this really the government’s job, and is it a sustainable solution going forward? It seems rather counter-intuitive that governments would be working to expand the population of a planet already hosting more than seven billion of us. Further, if the only purpose of creating succeeding generations which are larger than the last is to pay more money into the entitlement system to support them as they age, there’s got to be a point of diminishing returns down the line in that formula. (Not the least of which is the point where you begin running out of food to feed them all.)

If this is a new fad in government policy, I think I’ll pass. Simply producing larger raw numbers of people is no substitute for a society where families produce the children they can love and afford to raise. And the quality, talents and ambition of each generation seems far more important than their sheer tonnage. A fertility panic is probably like most “panic” events, and people who respond in panic mode rarely make good decisions.


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That’s why the abortion industry has the support it does.

listens2glenn on February 17, 2013 at 10:02 PM

30% of all black children are aborted. That’s an important fact to keep in mind.

unclesmrgol on February 18, 2013 at 2:50 AM

astonerii on February 17, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Rome died not because it spent too much on defense, but because it spent too little. It delegated its defense to lower paid provincials and in the end, relatives of those provincials sacked Rome.

unclesmrgol on February 18, 2013 at 2:53 AM

When people start becoming uncertain of how they’re going to survive when they’re old (and other people’s kids don’t want to wipe their behinds), then they’re more likely to invest in children. So the solution I prefer is to remove the safety-net for the elderly. Grandma will be fine if you care enough. People who didn’t make the investment, well maybe their chihuahuas can help.

VerbumSap on February 18, 2013 at 12:51 AM

Oh see… there you go. Trying to reconstitute the extended family thing. What is Gov Dayton going to do with all those unionized childcare workers to put out of business?

WryTrvllr on February 18, 2013 at 3:21 AM

“you” not “to”

WryTrvllr on February 18, 2013 at 3:22 AM

You know how everyone is worried about making their house appreciate? County commissions, planning boards, HOA’s, individuals? The rise in housing costs in Europe delayed marriage and caused people to have smaller families because they could not afford bigger houses to house the kids. Our rising home values did the same to us, since paying over $1,000 per month for housing on one average income is a big hit. Right now, in the Obama economy, people are slowing down even as housing prices are dropping, but we are living the world of “Idiocracy” as welfare trash get Section 8 housing to live in nice places for free, where they can breed like drunken rabbits.

We have to cut our cost of living for people to choose to have kids, not throw more money at things which will just raise taxes.

Spartacus on February 18, 2013 at 7:53 AM

This is a complex issue with a variety of angles to it. Ending abortion, as some here have suggested, is a good idea, but not a workable one. Not as long as half the population support the progs. We need a solution, which can be streamlined and implemented. Even if the Gubmint intervenes, it will inevitably fail. Its a degradation of culture problem. It almost seems hopeless. While they (muzzies) increase, we decrease. Change is coming allright, in a way that you won’t like.

tommy71 on February 18, 2013 at 7:56 AM

It is probably not “fertility”. It is probably “abortion”. Just think what our population would be with an additional 54 million babies over the years. Maybe we should deny any woman who has had an abortion access to social security, medicare, medicade.

Old Country Boy on February 18, 2013 at 9:19 AM

There is nothing wrong with a country’s population going down for some period of time. It will not be the end of the country. It is the death spiral that too many thoughtless people here think. At some point the population will increase again.
The solution is for the government not to spend like there is no tomorrow. But that is the solution for so many of our self-inflicted problems.

thuja on February 18, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Greyledge Gal on February 17, 2013 at 12:39 PM

My grandmother was one of two.
Both she and her older each had 1(My grandmother had med. probs so serious that socs were going to abort my mom(in late ’43) WITHOUT my grandmother’s knowledge, and tell her that she miscarried.) Ma cousin was/is? Homosexual and Ma had 2.
I had 1, and my brother has none….that he admits to.
My bro and his wife have serious medical issues that they don’t want to pass on. When I was younger I had zero maternal instinct.
Sometimes, not having kids is a GOOD thing.

annoyinglittletwerp on February 18, 2013 at 9:40 AM

54 Million aborted potential tax payers, and of course the abortion pushers won’t even acknowledge they are at fault in this regard.

One of the largest reasons my wife and I decided not to have children is the craptastic ObamaEconomy because we all live in Obamaville. The fact that either one of us could lose one or both of our jobs at any second. Couple that with the absolute certainty that we’re going to be paying a lot more in taxes as long as the socialists are in control.

Another couple of reasons are the fact that our public schools have become nothing but socialist indoctrination centers, and let’s not forget the absolute insanity that the federal government has brought down on the next THREE generations at LEAST, with the national debt.

So with this cheery outlook, we decided NOT to bring a child into this mess of a country. And I’m sure we’re one couple among many.

Meople on February 18, 2013 at 9:41 AM

tommy71 on February 18, 2013 at 7:56 AM

In my west Texas college town, the only people breeding are the muzzies and the Mennonites. *I have no issue with the Mennonites.*

annoyinglittletwerp on February 18, 2013 at 9:44 AM

@alt lol. Yep, its breeding alright.

tommy71 on February 18, 2013 at 9:59 AM

tommy71 on February 18, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Try being JEWISH around here. LoL

annoyinglittletwerp on February 18, 2013 at 10:06 AM

54 Million aborted potential tax payers, and of course the abortion pushers won’t even acknowledge they are at fault in this regard.

Meople on February 18, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Fault? We are absolutely delighted by this. We live on a finite planet on which many species are going extinct due to human population pressures. Abort on!

thuja on February 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM

thuja on February 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM

I see you’re being your usual cupid stunt self…

annoyinglittletwerp on February 18, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Fault? We are absolutely delighted by this. We live on a finite planet on which many species are going extinct due to human population pressures. Abort on!

thuja on February 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Now that I think of it, the vast majority of the women that get abortions are probably liberal or progressive, and if they had those babies, would no doubt raise them to also be progressive…hmm, you know maybe all those abortions weren’t so bad after all.

Meople on February 18, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Now that I think of it, the vast majority of the women that get abortions are probably liberal or progressive, and if they had those babies, would no doubt raise them to also be progressive…hmm, you know maybe all those abortions weren’t so bad after all.

Meople on February 18, 2013 at 10:14 AM

You would be right, but then our glorious leaders decided they wanted more cheap labor to replace those millions of aborted progressives, so now they are importing progressives instead.

The People decided traditional values were passé, so now they will get what they deserve.

fadetogray on February 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM

You would be right, but then our glorious leaders decided they wanted more cheap labor to replace those millions of aborted progressives, so now they are importing progressives instead.

The People decided traditional values were passé, so now they will get what they deserve.

fadetogray on February 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Indeed.

Meople on February 18, 2013 at 10:38 AM

I see you’re being your usual cupid stunt self…

annoyinglittletwerp on February 18, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Cupid? Like in Dalentine’s Vay?

thuja on February 18, 2013 at 10:41 AM

A nation of self-absorbed children can’t be bothered or inconvenienced to reproduce themselves, and why should they?

Play time has replace nature.

Speakup on February 18, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Meople on February 18, 2013 at 9:41 AM

I hope you and your wife will reconsider. Yes, children are expensive, and yes, things look bad right now. But if there’s one thing the world needs, it’s more good, moral children with two married parents in the home. Icing on the cake if they grow up conservative! :-)

Grace_is_sufficient on February 18, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Weren’t we going through an “overpopulation panic” just a few decades ago? I thought these Chicken Littles would be applauding the drop in people.

Anyway, be careful what you wish for. Restricting abortion I have no problem with… but panics like this have led to outlawing birth control and other unnecessary restrictions of sexual freedom in the past.

TMOverbeck on February 18, 2013 at 10:57 AM

A nation of self-absorbed children can’t be bothered or inconvenienced to reproduce themselves, and why should they?

Play time has replace nature.

Speakup on February 18, 2013 at 10:42 AM

.
That’s way better than how I said it. : )

listens2glenn on February 18, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Meople on February 18, 2013 at 9:41 AM

.
. . . . . . . We live on a finite planet on which many species are going extinct due to human population pressures. Abort on!

thuja on February 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM

.
Another shining example of the difference between atheists and Christians.

listens2glenn on February 18, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Immigration and open borders feels like quite an obvious solution, but as Milton Friedman pointed out, you can’t have open borders as long as you have a dependency state. If the governments of the world competed for the ultimate resource, manpower, and allowed people to move country to country at will, we’d see more accountability. As current laws stand, most citizens of most 1st world nations are essentially slaved into whatever country they’re born into, only able to choose another place to live if they’re willing to jump over great hurdles.

The industrial revolution would never have happened and America wouldn’t be the country it is today without that incredible influx of immigrants we once welcomed.

jimmy the notable on February 18, 2013 at 11:29 AM

That’s why the abortion industry has the support it does.

listens2glenn on February 17, 2013 at 10:02 PM

.
30% of all black children are aborted. That’s an important fact to keep in mind.

unclesmrgol on February 18, 2013 at 2:50 AM

.
I haven’t forgotten that.

But I still believe it predominantly exists today to serve middle-class and well-to-do white people, who want sexual pleasure without parental responsibility.

listens2glenn on February 18, 2013 at 11:36 AM

which until recently was proud of its big, corn-fed families

Typical urban elite slam on dumb hick flyover country. “Hey all you kids! Time to mosey on over to the feedin’ trough! SOOOOO-WEEEE!”

Marcola on February 18, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Ugh. How is this garbage post still the top Top Pick?

besser tot als rot on February 18, 2013 at 11:57 AM

thuja on February 18, 2013 at 10:41 AM
Cute. We’ve been goin’ ’round for years…so you know darn well what I meant.

annoyinglittletwerp on February 18, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Send in the clones.
There ought to be clones.

connertown on February 18, 2013 at 12:03 PM

How about we just demand government to GTFO of our lives. Novel concept, I know.

The Rogue Tomato on February 18, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Hmm…..I’m single. 42 years old, never married, never divorced, never had a child out of wedlock. And can’t find a conservative woman who’s not been infected with feminism. Lol. When I was younger, always planned to have 5 kids. Its just the way I am. But no go. Very few feminine women out there, and their all taken. Lol. A perennial bachelor.

tommy71 on February 18, 2013 at 12:17 PM

How about we just demand government to GTFO of our lives. Novel concept, I know.

The Rogue Tomato on February 18, 2013 at 12:16 PM

I’m looking for allies to start the movement to get rid of Social Security… So far the conservatives I know seem to like government destroying the family… They just refuse to admit it.

astonerii on February 18, 2013 at 12:17 PM

tommy71 on February 18, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Go over seas and find a non feminist!

astonerii on February 18, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Sorry, my emotions got the best of me. Just pontificating, thats all.

tommy71 on February 18, 2013 at 12:19 PM

@astonerii Dude, I’m well travelled. Come onto QOTD one of these days, and you’ll understand. I can easily pick and choose from abroad, but I choose not to do that. Call it a tommy syndrome. ;-)

tommy71 on February 18, 2013 at 12:25 PM

I’m looking for allies to start the movement to get rid of Social Security…

astonerii on February 18, 2013 at 12:17 PM

If anyone was serious about growing families again, this is how they’d do it.

besser tot als rot on February 18, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Rome died not because it spent too much on defense, but because it spent too little. It delegated its defense to lower paid provincials and in the end, relatives of those provincials sacked Rome.

But interestingly Rome had plenty of money to pay for petty bureaucrats and wasted “stimulus” type spending. At the end, Romans couldn’t afford the cost of government.

Heck, they even had their own version of Helicopter Bernake’s policies in place.

It all worked about as well as it will for us.

18-1 on February 18, 2013 at 1:02 PM

(Not the least of which is the point where you begin running out of food to feed them all.)

Aren’t you another NYC “conservative” posting @ Hotgas, Jazz?

“Running out of food” isn’t likely to happen in the foreseeable future- the problem of hunger tends to be economic, not productive capacity. Hence the relative attractiveness of ethanol from corn, etc. (Which has it’s own problems, but if we were actually worried about running out of corn, it wouldn’t be poured into our fuel supply…)

Conservative philosophers tend to understand that the path to prosperity is to GROW economies, populations, etc.

Malthusian tendencies are NOT conservative, they are the antithesis of it.

Therefore, I doubt your conservatism. FWIW.

cs89 on February 18, 2013 at 1:44 PM

That’s why the abortion industry has the support it does.

listens2glenn on February 17, 2013 at 10:02 PM
.
30% of all black children are aborted. That’s an important fact to keep in mind.

unclesmrgol on February 18, 2013 at 2:50 AM
.
I haven’t forgotten that.

But I still believe it predominantly exists today to serve middle-class and well-to-do white people, who want sexual pleasure without parental responsibility.
listens2glenn on February 18, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Uh… no…

Khun Joe on February 18, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Hmm…..I’m single. 42 years old, never married, never divorced, never had a child out of wedlock. And can’t find a conservative woman who’s not been infected with feminism. Lol. When I was younger, always planned to have 5 kids. Its just the way I am. But no go. Very few feminine women out there, and their all taken. Lol. A perennial bachelor.

tommy71 on February 18, 2013 at 12:17 PM

My wife is Thai Thai (from Thailand)… she has single friends over there, mid to late 30′s, who speak English, have Masters Degrees, good jobs, and own their own cars… and they have NO IDEA what feminism is, and if you EXPLAINED IT TO THEM, THEY WOULD JUST LAUGH OUT LOUD…

Come to the light, Tommy… come to the light…

Khun Joe on February 18, 2013 at 1:48 PM

We live on a finite planet on which many species are going extinct due to human population pressures. Abort on!

thuja on February 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Actually that particular meme has all but been destroyed by field research. If you would have bothered to educate yourself you would know that.

chemman on February 18, 2013 at 3:12 PM

Funny. They worry about the “fertility panic” but not the abortion facts.

Hint: Both have the exact same result, slower population growth.

PJ Emeritus on February 18, 2013 at 3:55 PM

No government intervention needed. Mormons and Catholics were able to produce large families without any government decree and they still do.

Conservative Samizdat on February 18, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Fault? We are absolutely delighted by this. We live on a finite planet on which many species are going extinct due to human population pressures. Abort on!

thuja on February 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM

What a crappy worldview.

You realize you are here b/c your mother decided to NOT abort you? Howdoya like that factoid?

Maybe you would have preferred that she had……in order to help the other species…..since you’re so concerned and all?

avagreen on February 18, 2013 at 6:30 PM

I’m looking for allies to start the movement to get rid of Social Security…

astonerii on February 18, 2013 at 12:17 PM

If anyone was serious about growing families again, this is how they’d do it.

besser tot als rot on February 18, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Hardly, and I say that as someone who hates SS. The system was heavily based on the ultra-conservative view of America where 6-8 kids was common and families were mostly rural, where there was plenty of room for your private baseball team to live without getting run over by cars or abducted.

SS is mathematically unsustainable, not to mention it utterly failed to account for the mechanics of a changing society or even economic shifts. It’s a total joke among my generation.

No, if you REALLY want to grow families, blow the bottom out from under the welfare system that subsidizes single ‘parent’hood. Make single mothers able to sue their sperm donors for child support and young men will suddenly be interested in sexual responsibility en masse.

MelonCollie on February 18, 2013 at 6:51 PM

No, if you REALLY want to grow families, blow the bottom out from under the welfare system that subsidizes single ‘parent’hood. Make single mothers able to sue their sperm donors for child support and young men will suddenly be interested in sexual responsibility en masse.

MelonCollie
on February 18, 2013 at 6:51 PM

I’d vote for that.

avagreen on February 18, 2013 at 7:21 PM

thuja

It’s never too late to help the species by aborting yourself. Consider it extremely late term.

teacherman on February 18, 2013 at 8:16 PM

MelonCollie on February 18, 2013 at 6:51 PM

All the welfare state is based on Social Security. All those things were created in the same bill.

astonerii on February 18, 2013 at 8:20 PM

All the welfare state is based on Social Security. All those things were created in the same bill.

astonerii on February 18, 2013 at 8:20 PM

No kidding? Well I’ll be! Then we can get it all in one go!

MelonCollie on February 18, 2013 at 8:26 PM

No kidding? Well I’ll be! Then we can get it all in one go!

MelonCollie on February 18, 2013 at 8:26 PM

I personally think there should be a constitutional amendment that prevents the federal government from making payments to individuals or for individuals for anything with the exception of providing products or services for functions of government which are expressly written in the constitution.
That should take care of it.

astonerii on February 18, 2013 at 8:45 PM

30% of all black children are aborted. That’s an important fact to keep in mind.

unclesmrgol on February 18, 2013 at 2:50 AM

A few years back, in New York, the statistics of black aborted babies was 58%. We call that a liberal success.

DannoJyd on February 18, 2013 at 10:42 PM

Hmm…..I’m single. 42 years old, never married, never divorced, never had a child out of wedlock. And can’t find a conservative woman who’s not been infected with feminism. Lol. When I was younger, always planned to have 5 kids. Its just the way I am. But no go. Very few feminine women out there, and their all taken. Lol. A perennial bachelor.
tommy71 on February 18, 2013 at 12:17 PM

It’s worse for the millennials, all our wymmns are idiots and fully self absorbed. It’s one of the many reasons why I call myself a rejectionist.

nobar on February 18, 2013 at 10:53 PM

Canada is bolstering its population with immigration…and has an immigration policy better suited to getting productive immigrants.

krome on February 19, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Maybe if I could afford to have kids I would. But I can’t. Wonder why…could it be because of the same people who are going to tell me to have them? Lol. They want to use my money to fund abortions and increase the population? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

RDE2010 on February 19, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Hmm…..I’m single. 42 years old, never married, never divorced, never had a child out of wedlock. And can’t find a conservative woman who’s not been infected with feminism. Lol.

tommy71 on February 18, 2013 at 12:17 PM

.
Simply replace the adjective “conservative” with “American”, in your preceding quote, Tommy’.
That’s why those Thai women were laughing.

If any of our resident ladies would like to take issue with me over this, then have at it.

This is something I’ve believed for a L O N G time, now.

listens2glenn on February 19, 2013 at 7:57 PM

Canada is bolstering its population with immigration…and has an immigration policy better suited to getting productive immigrants.

krome on February 19, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Let’s be honest. ANY country that knows it has to import immigrants to maintain itself (meaning their elite) has by definition a political class that is committing genocide, with it’s stupid policies, and treason.

They should be treated as such.

WryTrvllr on February 20, 2013 at 12:02 AM

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