Babies ‘R’ U.S.?
By Tony Perkins
It’s not just winter in America, it’s demographic winter. The baby boom has given way to a baby bust — as fertility rates fall through floor in a country that hasn’t exactly been thriving economically. At the beginning of the Obama administration, the recession may have been the most effective form of birth control of all, as more Americans held off having children to save money.
“Economists say the recession ended in 2009, but nobody told American women,” Kenneth Johnson explained as news of fewer U.S. births hit the wires. Amazingly, the fertility rate ticked down to its lowest level last year, with just 62.5 births for every 1,000 women of child bearing age.
Of course, it’s no coincidence that as the fertility rate drops, the poverty rate skyrockets. As FRC’s research bears out, the intact married family is the most powerful economic engine there is. But lately, as our own Dr. Henry Potrykus found, there’s been an erosion of the openness to children — which is driven by at least two things: the radical sexual revolution we’re experiencing and government policies that deemphasize family and increase dependency. In a country where abortion, welfare programs, and marriage tax penalties take the incentive out of family-formation, most couples are either putting off marriage and children — or forgoing them all together.
Right now, the median age for first marriages is higher than it’s ever been, and instead of making it easier for people to marry, Washington is saddling couples with extra financial burdens. As FRC’s Pat Fagan points out, that doesn’t help the economy — it hurts it. Marriage is the biggest producer of human capital in the world, and when the government encourages non-married and fewer child-centered families, it undermines the economy. “Married families are the essential contributors to the wealth generation. Their income and savings immediately translate into revenue for government and capital for the economy…”
We can’t wait for the economy to get better to focus on the family, we need to focus on the family to get the economy healthy. The world is on the verge of reaping the long-term consequences of the mentality that children are a drain on our resources rather than a blessing from the Lord. Just look at Scripture. Nowhere in it does God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” have an expiration date. As Americans, we should be extremely cautious in embracing the radical ideas that contradict the Christian principles Western civilization was founded upon.
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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