Saturday, April 02, 2005

Married Americans: Do Your Duty

The birth rate in America has fallen to an all time low, just slightly above the replacement rate of 2.1 children per family. Such irresponsible behavior cannot be tolerated! (Hint to all thirty-something men named John.) With the number of workers per retiree falling from 16 in the 1940s to just above 3 today, we are in desperate need of workers to pay our Social Security benefits. Our forefathers did their duty. On the Lama side of my family, Grandmother Josephine gave birth to 11 of Grandpa John’s “favors.” That couple deserved their Social Security checks!

President Bush has been campaigning for marriage, but he needs to do more. The US should adopt the Australia plan. “Concerned about a paucity of little Australians, the government offered women a bounty of $2,319 for every baby born after July 1. The good citizens responded with 133,400 babies, the most born in a six-month period in 14 years. In announcing the program, Peter Costello, Australia's equivalent of our treasury secretary, urged his fellow citizens, ‘You go home and do your patriotic duty tonight.’ Clearly having done his math about the future of the tax base, he announced that two was not enough. ‘You should have ... one for your husband, one for your wife, and one for your country.’ Have a baby, save Social Security.”

Now babies take around 25 years to become taxpayers. Is there anything we can do in the meantime? The answer is immigration, which we seem to be doing quite well. But the key to the benefits program is jobs and, as every conservative knows, the key to jobs is a growing economy. The Republican approach to economic growth relies on five factors: reduced government spending, reduced taxes, reduced government regulations, free trade and innovation. Democrats and liberals have a different formula that is more European.

The best thing about the European Union is that it provides a living laboratory for modern socialist policies. Europe is the test case for big government, bigger regulation and the biggest social programs in the developed world. So how is it doing? A recent report by Workforall the independent European think tank compares the economic performance of the European countries with special emphasis on Belgium and Ireland. Over the years 1984 to 2002, the GNP per capita of Belgium grew 42% while Ireland achieved 167% GNP growth.

The secret to Ireland’s success: reduced government spending and taxation. From 1960 through 1985, government spending in both countries grew from 30% to 50% of GDP while economic growth was feeble. Ireland’s economy was in a shambles with an unemployment rate of 17%. Then in 1985 Ireland did an about face. It reduced government spending and taxation by 20% over three years and its GNP exploded, averaging 5.6% growth from 1985 until 2002. Meanwhile Belgium’s government spending stayed above 50% of GNP and its economic growth remained below 2% per year. Most other EU countries share Belgium’s dismal fate.

The conclusion is obvious: Reduction of government spending and taxes is conducive to economic growth. That is one reason why we should adopt personal retirement accounts. The government has been using excess Social Security taxes as a slush fund for new and expanded programs. But private accounts will not belong to the government and no longer be available to pay for pork.

Americans need to get busy. Have more babies, regularize immigration so that all working immigrants pay taxes and cut government spending. America, Australia and Ireland will show the way.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. Malthus has done almost as much damage to our common sense and economic thinking as Marx. We had an only child for 8 years, but I'm proud and happy to report that we added another two years ago. :-)


9:26 AM  
Blogger Ralph said...

Good post. All 20 somethings named Nick take notice.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now I understand why they wanted to ban gay marriages so badly. It's all making sense to me. It's the heterosexual agenda.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Ralph said...

I don't seek the connection. Please connect the dots.

11:58 AM  

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