Sunday, June 18, 2006

United States better mixes child rearing and the job market than do other advanced societies.

The End of Motherhood?

Children are now usually a conscious choice—whereas they were once considered economic necessities or religious obligations. Somehow our society better mixes child rearing and jobs than other societies that provide greater child subsidies (government day care, family allowances). Indeed, generous welfare states may discourage having children. A study by economists at the University of Minnesota found that high Social Security payments and payroll taxes are associated with low fertility rates. People may feel they don't need children to care for them in old age. Or high taxes and poor economies may deter young people from starting families.

No one knows. But by not having children, people are voting against the future—their countries' and, perhaps, their own. It is easy to imagine the sacrifices and disappointments of raising children. It is hard, try as people might, to imagine the intense joys and selfish pleasures. People ignore Adam Smith's keen insight: "[The] chief part of human happiness arises from the consciousness of being beloved."
Apparently, being beloved has something to do with having applesauce spat on you, and thirteen years later being told "I hate you" on a daily basis.

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