Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Birthrates Decline as Parenting Costs Increase

If it were merely measured by the number of government provided supports in place, raising a kid would be a lot cheaper than it has ever been.

The earned income tax credit, larger dependent deductions, state supported day care, family leave, food and housing allowances, job training, SCHIP, heat and energy credits, free cell phones, subsidized transportation, unprecedented college assistance, unemployment benefits that run undefined months into a mottled future, and a plethora of government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels, are all designed in large measure to ease the pain and costs of parenting.

With all of these and many more blessings of a benevolent government, how can it be that the US' and Michigan's birth rates are declining? If assistance programs from teary eyed bureaucrats were any indicator we ought to be chucking babies out of the womb faster than an unplugged President Obama can utter "uh, free health, uh, care for the, uh, millions of, uh, uninsured children." (Okay, bad example, but you know what I mean.)

The problem is, of course, that all of these government programs actually inflate the systemic cost of living in this country and consequently increase the costs of parenting. Through an intrusive slight of hand these caretakers simply place a grossly inefficient damper on the economy that does nothing more than rearrange who initially pays for what. The resultant higher direct costs are then heaped on fewer and fewer people who must keep their heads afloat by pushing these costs down hill.

The burden must be addressed by a smudged market that increases the overall price of doing business to those capable of investing in our economy, while it also forces consumers on the lower tiers of consumption to face the consequences of a struggling economy.

Those capable of investing respond in predictable ways. They reduce their consumption, maintain acceptable profitability levels by cutting back on staffs and compensation, take their businesses to locations where they can efficiently produce, or close up shop.

Those who are dependent on the jobs and wages and benefits provided for by business owners also adjust predictably. Those that are still employed stop having as many children while the unemployed stay home and watch The View in between calls to MARVIN.

Even young married adults with little business or real life experience know this much. Why can't bureaucrats figure it out?

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