Smaller cars will lead to smaller families
posted at 6:35 pm on May 20, 2009 by Pundette
And smaller families will lead to demographic decline which will eventually lead to a Euro-style death spiral.
As Mark Steyn said earlier today, “not to be gloomy, but. . . .” Well, these are gloomy days.
Europeans often ask, “Why do Americans need those big cars?” The short answer is: Because Americans have kids and Europeans don’t. So Italians and Spaniards and Germans (and Japanese) can drive around in things the size of a Chevy Suburban’s cupholder because they’ve got nothing to put in them.
If you’re a soccer mom schlepping three kids plus little Jimmy from next door around, you need a vehicle of a certain size. In the old days, you could just toss ’em all in there and they’d roll around as you took the hairpin bends in fourth gear. But now you can’t stick kids in the front and you need baby seats for the youngest and booster seats for the oldest and soon nanny-state regulation will require every American under 37 to be in a rear-facing child seat, which is a pretty good metaphor for where the country’s going.
And, if you mandate small cars and child-seat regulations, don’t be surprised if the size of the American family starts heading south, too. The difference between U.S. and European vehicles isn’t an emblem of environmental irresponsibility or American corpulence but of something more basic and important.
The Foundry calls the new emissions standards Obama’s Ban on Soccer Moms. It’s also a “ban” on large- and even medium-sized families. When the typical car comes equipped with four seat belts it conveys the message that two children is the default option of family size. Independent-minded Americans will continue to act and think for themselves. But the sheep among us will limit themselves by accepting the implied default option as the more popular, and therefore better, course of action.
The US birthrate is just at replacement level. To implement policies that discourage families from having children will push us ever closer toward Euro-blivion.