Underpopulation is Taking America Over a Financial Cliff [Excerpts]
Social security is about to go belly up, financially speaking. And at the head of this crisis is a demographic disproportion: there are simply too few young people coming into the workforce to support the increasing numbers of elderly baby boomers who are retiring.
In “What’s Really Behind the Entitlement Crisis,” (Wall Street Journal, July 12th), Ben Wattenberg explains that “never-born babies are the root cause of the ‘social deficit’ that plagues nations across the world and threatens to break the bank in many.”
The math is simple. Birthrates have fallen so far and so fast that the thinning ranks of the young can no longer support the burgeoning numbers of retirees in country after country. Greece and Spain are already going over a demographic cliff, and there is not much they can do about it. Governments there and elsewhere can and do try to raise taxes or delay the age of retirement, but this will only delay by a few years the onset of the crisis. Ultimately and inevitably, there will be too few taxpayers to compensate for the deficit.
The problem, at root, is the birth dearth. There are a number of factors contributing to the strange barrenness of this generation of humans. According to Wattenberg, these include delayed marriages, wealth, divorce, legalized abortion, and accessible contraception.
It is clear that the myth of overpopulation has played a part, a big part, in driving down the birth rate. The vicious anti-people propaganda of the radical environmental movement has also played a part. When you teach young people that babies are vermin—as some of these groups do—you naturally discourage childbearing. When you teach them that the birth of a baby means the death of a whale, you encourage abortion. Children must be taught that they, and the children that they will one day have, are the ultimate resource, the one resource you cannot do without.
It is by now obvious to all countries with below-replacement birthrates that they have a serious problem. Most have tried to solve it by bribing parents with various kinds of governments subsidies. Their birthrates haven’t risen for the most part (with the exception of America). People are still avoiding having children. The programs are not lucrative enough to affect fertility behavior. Parents invest huge amounts of time, energy, and income on their children. A one-time baby bonus, or even a small monthly payment, hardly makes a dent in these costs.