Here in America, white, college-educated women—a good proxy for the middle class—have a fertility rate of 1.6. America has its very own one-child policy. And we have chosen it for ourselves.
Forget the debt ceiling. Forget the fiscal cliff, the sequestration cliff and the entitlement cliff. Those are all just symptoms. What America really faces is a demographic cliff: The root cause of most of our problems is our declining fertility rate.
Important note about this article: The author is coming from a significantly more conservative viewpoint than my own. I agree that America’s declining birth rate is a problem, but I don’t necessarily agree with what caused it or even the solution. But what he does well is to really examine why a low birth rate is a problem in the United States and other countries.
What do I think we can do about it? Subsidizing child care and making paid maternity/paternity leave a priority certainly wouldn’t hurt. I don’t think it would fix everything, but giving parents a support system is even more important now that most of us live far from our extended families. With our government being the complete clusterf*** that it is, however, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.