Mark Steyn has been raving on and on for years about the shrinking birth rate in Europe, which by all accounts is below replacement. In two generations there won't be any Frogs left in France or Germans in Germany. It will be all immigrants. Kind of like Toronto, only bigger.
Well, it would appear that the Euroweenie governments have figured this out, and have also, wonder of wonders, figured out the reason: Kids cost a frickin' fortune. Between taxes, housing costs and the moribund job market, nobody has the income to feed, clothe and care for more than one or two kids. They have to wait until much later in life than normal to have them, they can't stand to have more than two in the tiny apartment, etc. Bottom line, the children born to people who are little kids now will have no grandparents, and no inheritance either.
Well, faced with a problem like that a freedom oriented conservative type would try to eliminate the tax burden and the imbecilic regulations that keep people poor and decent housing scarce, and maybe grow the economy so there are some jobs for Mum and Dad. As in, what the Americans are trying to do.
Here's what the Eurosocialists decided:
Welfare! Tax the rich (if any) and give to the poor! Its GENIUS, I love it!
As they relaxed with their two children in their small Paris apartment the other night, Odile and Gregoire Jarrosson wrestled with a question that is troubling countless French families today: Would they have a third child in exchange for an extra $1,400 a month?
"It certainly sounds tempting to people like us," said Mr. Jarrosson, 41, an unemployed caterer. "Before, a lot of Parisians like us were refraining from having another child because you don't want to put three kids in one room in your apartment.
"But that's enough money to get another room."
Yep, Mum and Dad can score an extra chunk of change for Baby #3, awsome idea. Poor but happy. Another great concept. Work the old people until they drop in the traces, start the kids at 14, keep them all barely scraping by through tax and spend welfare plans and everything will just be rosy and awesome. Because People Are Stupid y'know, if they didn't have the Welfare Department to look after them they'd just go bonkers and wreck everything.
Still, most countries are beginning to realize that retirement ages will have to be raised to 70, that teenagers and young adults will have to be better integrated into the work force, and that incentives will have to be provided to make the young and old work, all so that a shrinking population can be as productive as a growing one. Some governments are beginning to realize that depopulation is inevitable. "In Sweden, our new development policies have dropped the population-growth goal; instead, the policy is aimed toward creating a good life: We call it 'civilized depopulation,''' Mr. Johansson said.
"You make sure the older people are cared for, and you make everyone comfortable with the idea of a lower standard of living in the future."There is a stark sense of ambivalence here between a widespread European desire for a slower — albeit poorer — lifestyle, and an equally strong desire to avoid losing the standard of living that has made Western Europe the world leader in prosperity and equality. You can sense that ambivalence in Odile and Gregroire, as they discuss the temptation of a richer life with three children.
And these socialists call Conservatives cold and unfeeling.
The Cold, Unfeeling Phantom