Skip to comments.The Last Generation (America's Coming Demographic Disaster)
Posted on 02/07/2013 7:05:47 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Are childrens’ car seats driving down the fertility rate in America?
Jonathan V. Last sees car seats as part of a huge constellation of factors in modern life that nudge people toward having fewer children, he said during an interview about his book, What to Expect When No Ones Expecting: Americas Coming Demographic Disaster.
Last said car seats effectively create a small tax on people who want to have more than two kids by making it harder to fit three kids into a normal sedan, which encourages parents to buy a larger car. This penalty may not dissuade people who already want more children from having them but it makes it slightly harder to have big families.
Last also noted there are other factors that have a measurable impact on fertility. Social Security and Medicare have dropped Americas fertility by about 0.5 births per woman, Last said. The safety net for the elderly has set up a competing system with the traditional role of families, where children take care of their elderly parents. Womens education level measurably affects their fertility rates as well, he said.
I am so not trying to tell people to have kids, its not even funny, said Last, who has three children under 5 (and who drives a minivan). He also said he is not scapegoating women for the drop in fertility rate.
However, you have to honestly talk about what the consequences are of modern life, Last argued.
He said a major effect of the decline in Americas fertility rate will be an inversion of what he called the age pyramid: The elderly will outnumber the young. This inversion will cause economic stagnation, a loss of innovation, and a reduced defense budget to pay for entitlements.
Last cited an example from Japan, which he said is 30 years ahead of us demographically, in which the finance minister said the elderly should hurry up and die to relieve pressure on the countrys entitlement programs.
The finance minister, Last noted, did not lose his job.
Last said Americas debt is tied up in entitlements and pointed to problems in the assumptions governing the projections of the entitlements future.
The government is projecting fertility will stay at 2.0 births per woman, Last saidslightly higher than Americas current rate. The high variant in the governments projections is 2.3, while the low is 1.7, Last said.
It seems strange for demographers to assume that we cant go below 1.7, because thats a real possibility, he said. Japans fertility rate is about 1.4.
When asked what society can do to combat the declining fertility rate and the consequent demographic shift, Lasts initial reaction was simple.
Put on some Barry White, get really drunk, and make some really bad decisions, he quipped.
He then gave a more sober response. It is very, very difficult for government to achieve much change in the fertility rate at all except on the margins, Last said.
He said for every 25 percent the government increases its spending on pro-natalist programs, the fertility rate increases by 0.05. He also noted that while he opposes abortion, eliminating it through government fiat likely would not increase the fertility rate by very much.
He instead advocated for policies that remove impediments so the culture can rejuvenate itself.
Lasts book, released on Tuesday, has already garnered attention. National Review posted a review of his book while the Wall Street Journal ran an essay by Last adapted from his book. Slate ran a feminist critique of the essay, which Last responded to on his blog.
Last is also giving a Bradley Lecture at the American Enterprise Institute on Feb. 11.
Last said he hopes the books sells wella bazillion copies in his wordsbut he also said the potential attention did not drive him to write it.
I didnt write the book because I wanted it to have a big impact. I wrote it because I think its really interesting, he said.
What I found most difficult about raising children was battling the depraved culture throughout the years. Couldn’t let them out to play because we tend to allow pedophiles to roam the streets. Also had to fend off the public school rot by homeschooling and sacrificing to send them to private schools. Had to battle the carseats, yes, and the general preschool legions who set rules and regs for everything a mother ever did.
What I feel kept our family smaller was a lack of general extended family cohesiveness most of all. No one living nearby to help ...made child rearing a lot harder, made us less likely to want a huge brood. Just would have killed me to raise more than 3 all alone. Hubby also working way too hard and gone too much ...
I think it goes even deeper than they think.
Don’t read the “feminist critique” shown above unless you have a strong stomach. She’s right of course. This whole misogynistic article has as it’s sole purpose the enslavement of middle class women. Right. The comments afterword are equally obnoxious.
Dont read the feminist critique shown above unless you have a strong stomach. Shes right of course. This whole misogynistic article has as its sole purpose the enslavement of middle class women. Right. The comments afterword are equally obnoxious.
These are liberals. They worship at the altar of death. What do you expect?
They like their newly derived economic power and sexual freedom, which they get from the existence of birth control. They aren’t going to give it up easily. This is what they value: freedom to do as they wish. Screw family values or a strong society. They do not care.
Definitely the culture has to change — family friendly, values-driven. What worries me is the lack of maturity and direction among the young. They will want to avoid ALL responsibility — finding a career, caring for parents, etc. Even if they had children, they would not know how to be effective role models. I predict a lot of early deaths — suicides, self-destruction (i.e. drugs, AIDS, etc.). The current generation will not age gracefully.
One for your list?
God I’m glad I raised three boys, even though the cards are stacked against them today’s society. The are perfectly capable of fending for themselves, thanks to an education in how to get by without outside help.
“Who can have kids when liberals have destroyed public schools and private schools are 10k+ a year?”
A lot of people making average salaries are finding a way to do it. I don’t mind people who don’t want kids (for whatever reason they opt to do so); I do mind when they complain about the number of foreigners surrounding them.
“Definitely the culture has to change family friendly, values-driven. What worries me is the lack of maturity and direction among the young. They will want to avoid ALL responsibility finding a career, caring for parents, etc. Even if they had children, they would not know how to be effective role models. I predict a lot of early deaths suicides, self-destruction (i.e. drugs, AIDS, etc.). The current generation will not age gracefully.”
What you are predicting is already happening. On a positive note, the culture is changing to amore family-friendly one - but it isn’t Americans changing it. It is the “replacement Americans” from Asia & Latin America that are changing it; they are inheriting the Earth.
The stringy-haired femi-lesbos will have gone the way of the dodo while America’s under-20 population will look like the rest of the Third World.
“I think it goes even deeper than they think.”
While I can certainly understand the challenges you faced, one thing that is stopping child-rearing dead in its tracks is a legal system that would deter any smart man from marriage itself (never mind children).
For the right woman it’s worth it. The problem is finding one and finding one that’s not taken and interested in you.
Doesn’t matter unless they are interested in you and not someone else.
but getting back to car seats.....the govt has made having a child an emotionally draining, worrisome job, not to even mention the money needed to do all the "right" things.....
member when we would all ride in a station wagon to go to the drive in movies....not a seat belt among us..kids piled up in the back....raising kids was easier and a lot more fun for we kids in the good ol days...
they get their sexual release from magazines and online porn....they can't connect with real women....
I sort of agree with the article, the government is purposely making it difficult and expensive to have children, especially a lot of them.
But at the same time it seems to be trying to help with things like the child tax credits. It’s like it can’t make up it’s mind on the children issue, so all it’s policies are working against each other.
“For the right woman its worth it. The problem is finding one and finding one thats not taken and interested in you.”
I agree; I’ve been married over 15 years (but she’s an import; came here as a kid, still a foreign national). Gave me a family!
“and the silly, shallow, limp wristed,video game playing “men” that we seem to be producing in this country...they get their sexual release from magazines and online porn....they can’t connect with real women...”
I can go with that, though the ones I know connect with real women all the time; they just don’t marry/breed with them. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
“But at the same time it seems to be trying to help with things like the child tax credits. Its like it cant make up its mind on the children issue, so all its policies are working against each other.”
Even the child tax credits (which are a big help) can’t reduce the impact of the legal environment, where many men stand a good chance of paying for a house they don’t live in for kids they don’t see as soon as their wife gets bored. Raising a family in today’s economy is a lot of work, and working hard on the financial issues often contributes to the demise of a marriage.