Monday, February 20, 2012

Contraception and economic collapse

Having written yet another post on the HHS mandate — think this issue’s gonna go away soon? Fuhgeddaboudit! — I thought I could actually relax and write about something more congenial and directly religious, such as the upcoming Ash Wednesday celebration.

Then Tina Korbe tweeted a link to Mark Steyn’s “Contraception Misdirection”.  The first two paragraphs were enough to make me reach for my hypertension meds, as Steyn described the future of the national debt as illustrated by charts from the Office of Management and Budget:

My favorite bit is Chart 5-1 on page 58 of their 500-page appendix on “Analytical Perspectives” [faithfully reprinted above].  This is entitled “Publicly Held Debt Under 2013 Budget Policy Projections.”  …  Just to emphasize, this isn’t the doom-laden dystopian fancy of a right-wing apocalyptic loon like me; it’s the official Oval Office version of where America’s headed.  In the New York Times–approved “responsible budget” there is no attempt even to pretend to bend the debt curve into something approaching reentry with reality.

The one presented to the budget committee was even worse: “an even steeper straight line showing debt rising to 900 percent of GDP and rocketing off the graph circa 2075.”  According to House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, “We cut it off at the end of the century because the economy, according to the CBO, shuts down in 2027 on this path.”


How is this even remotely related to the contraceptive mandate?  Steyn is engaging in an exercise I like to call “connecting the dots”.  I’ve written about the looming debt crisis before, as I have about contraception’s false promises.  Steyn’s article completes the picture.

The dots to be connected, in this case, are the declining birth rate and the increasing national debt, the interest payments of which will on this present course have increased beyond federal receipts by 2050.  While this occurs, the increasing proportion of the budget taken up by the debt service is even now beginning to squeeze the social safety-net programs at a time when seniors are becoming a larger segment of society — 33% by 2050 at current rates. (Population Reference Bureau, 2010)

Well, it was bound to happen, wasn’t it?  Increased longevity + reduced birth rates = a population growing steadily older, stretching the ability of its workforce to support its elderly.  In 1950, there were over 10 workers for every person over 65.  That ratio is expected to drop to 4:1 by 2050 (it’s roughly about 5:1 in the US right now), and about 2 over-60s for every child. (Santoro, 2011)

So of course the Obama Administration’s solution to this burgeoning crisis is … contraception.

Elsewhere around the developed world [Steyn writes], prudent politicians are advocating natalist policies designed to restock their empty maternity wards.  A few years ago, announcing tax incentives for three-child families, Peter Costello, formerly Timmy Geithner’s counterpart Down Under, put it this way: “Have one for Mum, one for Dad, and one for Australia.”  But in America an oblivious political class, led by a president who characterizes young motherhood as a “punishment,” prefers to offer solutions to problems that don’t exist rather than the ones that are all too real.  I think this is what they call handing out condoms on the Titanic.

Oh, we are giving birth … but over a third of those births are to single mothers, especially black and Hispanic women, and that number has been increasing despite near-universal access to birth controlResearcher Kay S. Hymowitz argues:

We are becoming a nation of separate and unequal families that threatens to last into the foreseeable future.  On the one hand, well-educated women make more money.  They get married, only then have their children, and raise them with their husbands.  Those children are more likely to grow up to be well-adjust­ed, to do well in school, to go to college, to marry and only then have children.  On the other hand, we have low-income women raising children alone who are more likely to be low-income, to drop out of school or, if they do make it to college, go to a less elite col­lege, and to become single parents themselves.

The Obamination’s answer: More contraception.  And encourage marriage — gay marriage, that is.  Jonathan V. Last sees it as all of a piece: “Compared with religious freedom and the First Amendment, the out-of-pocket expense of contraceptives might seem like a minor issue.  But for the left, it’s a matter of dogma.  And that dogma is sexual liberation.”

But while there’s some justice to that comment, it’s more than just “the Democrats [shrieking], Ooh, Republican prudes who can’t get any action want to shut down your sex life” (as Steyn put it).  It’s also pseudo-Malthusian doomsayers such as the Fishwrap’s Jamie L. Manson, the type who draw precisely the wrong lessons from the population congestion of the Philippines and apply them inaptly (and ineptly) to the United States.  It’s also a society so clean and medically proficient that, despite our patently unhealthy way of life, we have people regularly living 15-20 years beyond retirement age.

Above all, it’s the technocrats of the contraceptive industry who fail to look at the data and see that contraceptives not only do not solve any problems, they have directly and indirectly made some problems worse.  If the only tool you have is Maslow’s hammer ….

The irony is that the boomers who gave us contraception, abortion and no-fault divorce are now entering the ranks of the retirees, who must now be supported by a workforce missing at least 50 million workers, business owners, producers and investors — taxpayers all (or, rather, taxpayers none, since the dead pay no taxes). 

Is this the “success” the Obamination wishes to reinforce? Then perhaps it’s a good thing that “baby-happy conservatives are outbreeding liberals by a margin of some 20 to 40 percent.” (Morford, 2006)

Works Cited

Hymowitz, K. S. (2007, March 23). Marriage and Caste in America: Separate and Unequal Families in a Post-Marital Age. Retrieved February 18, 2012, from The Heritage Foundation: http://www.heritage.org/research/lecture/marriage-and-caste-in-america-separate-and-unequal-families-in-a-post-marital-age.
Last, J. V. (2012). The Sacred Dogma of the Left. The Weekly Standard , 17 (23).  Retrieved from The Weekly Standard: http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/sacred-dogma-left_630047.html.
Morford, M. (2006, September 9). A call for progressive breeders to bed down already. San Francisco Chronicle , p. E9. Retrieved February 18, 2012 from SFGate.com: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/09/29/DDGFELEA681.DTL.
Office of Management and Budget. (2012, February). Fiscal Year 2013 Budget of the U.S. Government: Analytical Perspectives. Retrieved February 18, 2012, from The White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/spec.pdf
Population Reference Bureau. (2010, July). 2010 World Population Data Sheet. Retrieved February 18, 2012, from Population Reference Bureau: http://www.prb.org/Publications/Datasheets/2010/2010wpds.aspx.
Santoro, V. (2011, February 28). The age of ageing. Retrieved February 18, 2012, from MercatorNet: http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/the_age_of_ageing/.
Steyn, M. (2012, February 18). Contraception Misdirection. Retrieved February 18, 2012, from National Review Online: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/291383/contraception-misdirection-mark-steyn.