lobal think tanks that help craft public policy perpetually press the theory that western nations need more migration to prop up sagging birth rates. Problem is, it just isn’t true. In the United States, for example, more than $100 billion per year is spent to support illegal aliens and their children on welfare programs and subsidies. This huge sum of money could be redirected to young working-class couples so they can actually afford to bear children, which I covered in an earlier article, Why Millennials Aren’t Procreating.
With the border wall fight heating up, the mainstream media is already turning up the volume on the lie that migration is the answer to low U.S. birth rates, much the same way as it is publishing doomsday stories of the federal government shutdown.
Cue The Daily Mail’s article yesterday with the big headline, “Fertility rate for white women plummets BELOW the limit needed to maintain the population in every single US state.” From NBC: “Americans aren’t making enough babies to replace ourselves.” Notice how the Daily Mail’s headline wants us to know that it is white women who need a boost from migrants because, well they must not be fertile, or something. The headline by ABC wants us to know that we can’t replace ourselves at all, implying we are going to need help so we might want to rethink that wall idea.
MIT economist Peter Temin and author of the book, The Vanishing Middle Class, says the United States has regressed to a developing nation status, but he isn’t blaming it on a low birth rate—at least not directly. Rather, Temin says 80 percent of Americans are burdened with debt and concerned about their job security.
Temin recently applied a model created by Nobel Prize winner Arthur Lewis that was designed to understand developing nations, to measure the United States. He found that, “much of the low-wage sector had little influence over public policy, the high-income sector was keeping wages down to provide cheap labor, social control was used to prevent subsistence workers from challenging existing policies and social mobility was low.”
The rich have historically benefited by importing cheap labor. It’s also the main reason the Koch brothers support open borders or, failing that, want increased work visas at the expense of low and middle-class Americans. Rich Republicans and Democrats are addicted to providing cheap labor for corporate interests they are beholden to. As a consequence, U.S. immigration policies do not support working, middle-class families or reflect the type of nation most Americans want to live in.
According to Temin, “We have a structure that predetermines winners and losers. We are not getting the benefits of all the people who could contribute to the growth of the economy, to advances in medicine or science which could improve the quality of life for everyone—including some of the rich people.”
So if it is government that has played the leading role in tearing apart the American family, particularly black families, through the massive expansion of its welfare programs and giving its jobs away to illegal aliens, it can do the same in repairing the social costs it has exacted on middle-class Americans. We can shut the back door and divert dollars now being spent on illegal aliens to increasing the birth rate of American citizens by making having families more affordable.
Conservative purists would argue that government shouldn’t provide subsidies of any type to any one group of Americans, but the truth is that we already do this as a matter of public policy. As much as we’d all like to see less government, the hands of time will not turn back. Policies that support illegal aliens, minority small business owners, federal grants for affirmative action and programs such as Head Start, etc. are all designed to level the playing field and give a handout to a select group chosen by these same elite think tank members found in our government. And the goody bags being handed out are not extended to the middle class.
This idea may rankle conservatives, but they should be careful not to be so dogmatic in their approach to federal dollars being used to affect enormous social and cultural changes. In fact, this blind spot is one of the Democrats major criticisms against the right. Conservatives would do well to understand that the dollars are already flowing from the tap—and have been for decades.
Rather than terminating social policies under the unalterable doctrine of individual responsibility, conservatives should understand, as Temin does, that winners and losers are predetermined in our current system. We all inherently know this anyway. Conservatives must become more proactive in using government dollars already being spent to enact and influence policies that support middle America.
By remaining inflexible to the idea of big government spending, conservatives have missed the boat on who should receive fiscal dollars. By continuing to argue that government should not be spending money on social issues at all, the right has been left with its head in the sand as Democratic policymakers spent like drunken sailors on shore leave on illegal aliens and welfare mothers.
Turning around the low birth rate in the United States could be remedied by simply redirecting federal dollars currently being spent to support illegal aliens and bad public policy that perpetuates single motherhood to help the middle class. Programs such as Head Start, which was created to prepare minority children for education and has been proven to be a massive failure in achieving its long-term educational goals, could be revised to include married, working poor Americans rather than the current low-income threshold used now to participate, which almost always excludes two-parent, working households.
Adjusting the low-income threshold, which is set by the federal government, to include two-parent working households would go a long way in increasing the birth rate for young families that cannot afford the high cost of daycare. Head Start is already directly subsidizing preschools and daycare somewhere in excess of $10 billion per year. The question is, why are these benefiting almost exclusively minorities, illegal aliens and single mothers at the expense of middle-class Americans?
Another area rife for reform is tax rates. Rather than providing a tax incentive for single head of households, tax incentives should be given to married couples for the first five years of a newborn’s life, enough to cover the exorbitant cost of day care. Parents with children up to age 5 should receive a tax break that would amount to the median rate of day care in their state for one year. Two-income households earning more than say, $100,000 annually, would be exempted.
Don’t think day care is a conservative issue? Consider the data Care.com released for child care expenses in 2018. “Child care costs rose for the fifth year in row, according to the fifth annual Care.com Cost of Care Survey, which showed that the average weekly cost for an infant child is $211 for a day-care center, $195 for a family care center and $580 for a nanny. The survey compiles in-depth insights from more than 1,000 parents nationwide about their child care spending habits, including the rising costs of after-school sitters, day care, and nannies.
The survey found that one in three families (33 percent) now spend 20 percent or more of their annual household income on child care. Seven in 10 families report paying rates higher than the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ definition of affordable care, while nearly one in five families spends a quarter or more of their household income on child care. And 60 percent say child care costs have increased in the past year. In a year that saw the U.S. fertility rate hit a record low, the survey shows that one in three families (33 percent) say the cost of child care influenced their family planning.”
Conservatives must do more to increase the low birth rate and redirect dollars now going to support illegal aliens and single mothers. Building a wall is not going to be enough to fix the collateral damage Democrats have wreaked on our nation over the last 50 years. Building strong families is a cause the right can get behind.
Federal dollars are also supporting fatherless homes and are culpable in the number of births by single women, none of which helps to build strong families and, ultimately, a strong nation. In Isabel V. Sawhill’s book, Generation Unbound, she points to the high rates of nonmarital and unintended pregnancies in the United States and says that more than 40 percent of children are now born outside of marriage. Six out of ten births to single women under age 30 are unplanned.
This isn’t a difficult problem to fix, but it will require that conservatives stop denying that we are already spending on bad social and cultural policies because we have been too afraid to address them. After all, someone is paying the bills for these single women.
Conservatives must understand that we will not be returning to a limited government any time soon. In fact, recent surveys have shown that most Millennials favor socialism over capitalism. If we are to save the west, we must make social and cultural changes now that will support the next generation. This is not to say that we shouldn’t help single mothers, but that we should have more influence in culture.
Current government policies are rewarding unmarried women giving birth outside of marriage by granting them and their unborn child prenatal care via Medicaid, Head Start, Section 8 housing subsidies, WIC and SNAP dollars and tax incentives as single head of household status over working poor married couples. Many children born by single mothers also benefit from free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs. In other words, misplaced compassion has encouraged single women to have children outside of marriage and non-citizens to dip into American coffers they neither earned nor are entitled to.
Through these disastrous policies, government has replaced parental providers with handouts. And the high cost to American women having children outside of marriage doesn’t even include the high cost of growing up in poverty, the mental and behavioral issues fatherless children experience or address the higher incarceration rates of children raised by single women. Single women with children are almost always mired in poverty, which I discuss in my article, If You Want to Escape Poverty Do This: What the Elites Know that You Don’t.
Rearranging government policies to support two-parent families would go a long way in increasing birth rates, but the stigma that once existed for unwed mothers must also be resurrected in our culture to include some personal responsibility for all of these unplanned pregnancies, the type that Sawhill addresses in her book, for both men and women. Without conservatives tackling hard cultural issues such as self-control, the importance of marriage before childbirth and the importance of education, nothing will change.
Finally, government must get out of the business of funding Planned Parenthood, and three Republican women have just introduced legislation to do just that. Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Vicky Hartzler of Missouri have all taken aim at stripping taxpayer funds from Planned Parenthood. Hartzler said, “Abortion is not healthcare, yet it is the foundation of Planned Parenthood’s mission. In its latest annual report, Planned Parenthood boasts performing more than 321,000 abortions while receiving over half a billion dollars a year from the taxpayer. These staggering numbers represent the lives of children who no longer are with us, and Americans are forced to support it.”
Planned Parenthood has long-denied that the main service they provide women is healthcare, not abortion, however, Dr. Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood, has finally put this thinly disguised notion to bed in a series of tweets she posted following her recent interview with buzzfeed. “First, our core mission is providing, protecting and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care. We will never back down from that fight—it’s a fundamental human right and women’s lives are at stake.”
Although Ivanka Trump has taken much flak from the right for her work on family leave, she is absolutely right to talk about it, which is more than I can say for most conservatives in Congress. Ivanka’s policy ideas aren’t really just about paid leave, however, but the type of country we want to create for future generations and how we can best restore the family unit in a society that believes there are more than two genders and that their harmful lifestyle choices are just a matter of individual decisions that do not affect the whole.
Ivanka Trump was not wrong when she said, “Currently, only 6 percent of workers in the bottom income quartile have access to paid family leave. Studies show that these individuals—particularly women without a college degree—are far more likely to lose or quit their jobs in the event of childbirth, resulting in a far greater cost to society over the long term.”
In 2017, the Daily Mail reported that the United States had been named the worst country to parent in according to an Expert Market report. As one of the world’s most powerful nations, our failure to build a country in which to raise children in was followed only by Mexico, Costa Rica, and Canada.
While conservatives recoil at paid family leave plans, consider that under current law, a Social Security number (SSN) is required to qualify for any federal public benefit. Green card holders, refugees and those granted asylum receive SSNs. But workers without a SSN can still file taxes—and apply for certain tax credits–with just an individual tax identification number (ITIN) created for tax filers without SSNs.
Today, an illegal alien, even with a shaky SSN or an ITIN, can claim the child tax credit and receive up to $1,000 per child, even though the child may only have an ITIN, which is not proof of legal residence as are SSNs. Unlike the earned income tax credit, which requires a SSN to qualify, the child tax credit is a cash program that does not. You can read more about this in my article The Great Giveaway for Illegal Immigrants.
While Democrats are pushing for open borders that will effectively bring more uneducated and unskilled labor to the United States, they are continuing to ignore the huge social issues we already have with an under-educated and poor working class. The skills that will be required now and in the future that will pay people a decent living wage, are not going to be filled with high school dropouts and under-educated single mothers or illegal aliens who do not want to assimilate, but with highly trained and educated Americans. Even manufacturing jobs, which are roaring back to life under the Trump administration’s trade policies, will need to be staffed with a workforce that understands robotics, electronics and digital programming.
Open immigration and increasing work visas are not the answer to our population problem. The answer to our low birth rate is to use the money we are already spending on those Americans who need it most and to be brave enough to stand up to the social justice warriors who want to make identity politics the sole aim of public policy. I want my wall, but I also want to see conservatives start standing up to the social and cultural bullies and begin to enact policy that actually benefits middle-class Americans. #Reignwell