Does the Office on Women's Health Belong in the Pentagon?

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In my recent piece on fertility panics, I write:

The more relevant question, and the one rarely broached, is whether women who choose not to have children should be forced to subsidize those who do.

In a long and thoughtful response, Rod Dreher ponders this question and writes:

Well, should people who choose not to go into the armed services be forced to subsidize those who do?

I'll confess to feeling slightly uncomfortable with the idea that American uteri are a national resource to be cultivated for the greater glory of the nation state. But I do think Dreher has hit upon a fundamental disagreement central to the debate over fertility policy. If you think we're all involved in a collective project, the object of which is the reproduction of the genetic constitution of our current population, there is really nothing to do but to subsidize zygote production. Inevitably, such burdens will fall hardest on women, and so it will seem just—progressive, even—to compensate them. Where "survival," means replication, underutilized uteri are the equivalent of unmanned guard posts.

You might think that our current genetic composition is trivial, but the furtherance of our culture is crucial. And if you're skeptical that our culture can be transmitted successfully to out-groups, you will again turn to fertility. But only drastic changes are going to change the birth rate dramatically. Mere $4000 baby bonuses—state-sponsored push presents—won't get you there. And if you lurch dramatically in the direction of treating half the population as hired breeders, you're quite obviously changing the culture. So what, exactly, is being preserved?

NEXT: The Center for Disaster Economics

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  1. If you have no children then you probably could care less about the future culture.

  2. Did the Cylons bomb the shit out of our planet and I just wasn’t paying attention? Because I had no idea humanity was in any imminent danger of winking out of existence due to insufficient baby production.

    If you have no children then you probably could care less about the future culture.

    Mike, if you personally are incapable of giving a shit about young people unless they share your DNA, that is indeed a sad state of affairs, but kindly refrain from projecting your sociopathic tendencies onto me.

  3. Because the armed services provide a public good, women do not.

  4. But if you do have children isn’t it possible that taking care of them is going to distract you from contributing to American culture?

    BREEDERS!!!!

  5. Jerry:

    Yo mama provides a public good! Daammmnn.

  6. Kerry,
    I don’t really have time to draft this response any further but I will say good rebuttal. I think it gets to the heart of the matter with regards to “communal” vs “private” property, needs, objectives, etc.

  7. This post highlights the fundamental moral quandary of government force.


  8. Mike, if you personally are incapable of giving a shit about young people unless they share your DNA, that is indeed a sad state of affairs, but kindly refrain from projecting your sociopathic tendencies onto me.

    Jennifer, I said “probably”, which is not all inclusive. You can consider yourself excluded by my imperial fiat.

    Honestly, do you really care if the US is a spanish speaking country by 2100?

  9. not even: it brings up an even more base point – to whom do citizens in a country belong? each other? the state? their families? themselves?

  10. Because the armed services provide a public good,

    Debatable. Very debatable.

    My answer to Dreher’s question is: no, they shouldn’t. But I appreciate that there are moderates out there like Kerry who are willing to take the Drehers of the world on their own terms. Turning the debate into a question about the value of coerced military spending probably won’t be terribly persuasive to as many people.

  11. “Well, should people who choose not to go into the armed services be forced to subsidize those who do?”

    No, they shouldn’t. I personally don’t perceive any benefit from the armed services, and I’d rather not pay for them. More to the point though, it’s the person who decides on a course of action that will cost money that should pay for it (in this case the parents who are deciding to have children should pay). And that’s true regardless of whether that decision benefits society as a whole. For another example, if I decide to improve my yard by planting flowers etc, and that increases my neighbor’s property value, should he have to pay me? I think not.

    Also from Dreher’s response:
    “But if that’s your view, then you should also sign on to the view that the working population should not have to subsidize the retired. Do we really want to live in that kind of society? I don’t.”

    I do. How about taking some personal responsibility and planning for your own retirement? I wish I could start my own society. Seasteading (https://www.reason.com/news/show/126198.html) is looking better and better all the time.

  12. to whom do citizens in a country belong? each other? the state? their families? themselves?

    Me.

  13. OH BABY, OH BABY, OH BABY.

  14. Armed services being a public good is exactly the issue. The (positive) benefits provided by a (properly utilized) national defense cannot be contained to a presubscribed set of individuals.

    The benefits of a child, on the other hand, accrue far and away mostly to the child himself and then to his family. Children are private goods. They should not be subsidized by the public weal.

  15. The best thing about kids…is making them.

  16. Incidentally, I too will join the chorus that questions whether armed services are indeed a public good — especially considering what a public bad they have lately turned out to be.

    But, accepting that Rod Dreher apparently thinks they are, his argument still fails because children aren’t.

  17. Armed services are a public good. They prevent us from being ruled by a group or country even more corrupt and liberty-hating than ourselves (which is to say, the rest of the world with partial exemptions for New Zealand and Estonia).

    The fact that we use that group to do a bunch of stupid shit that we shouldn’t be (invading Somalia, invading Iraq, etc.) doesn’t mean that they don’t provide a public good in addition.

  18. In 1950 U.S. population was ~152 billion.
    U.S. population is ~304 million today.

    In 1950 world population was ~2.6 billion.
    World population is ~6.7 billion today.

    Y’all can do the math.

    I humbly suggest confidently assert that different cultures attempting to outbreed each other is just fucking bat shit insane.

    Your thoughts?

  19. Does the Office on Women’s Health Belong in the Pentagon?

    I think that office is between corridor 2 & 3 on the A ring. Maybe between 4&5. Can’t look today because I am working from a secret undesclosed location on Crystal Drive.

    More to your point, I would prefer they move that office out near the Office of Naval Research, or anyplace in DC or Maryland. Never see any hotties coming in or out of there and that space could be better utilized for hotties.

  20. JsD,

    I had no idea we had such a massive population decline since the 1950s.

    Those ZPG folk of the 1960s and 1970s certainly kept there success a secret!

  21. If you have no children then you probably could care less about the future culture.

    I’ll assume you’re joking and refrain from calling you an imbecile.

  22. The whole point of government is to prevent people from using force or fraud to harm others. We handle this task collectively, because a system of individual vendettas favors ever increasing violence. Keeping the society going via births is not its concern any more than mainataining a food supply or building homes. It is fine to leave these tasks to individuals.

  23. I got’cher culture right here, honey.

    If the kultur needs babies, the only sensible plan is governmental breeding and indoctrination plans. Careful screening and and manipulation of genetic material, and cradle-to-grave Christian education and citizenship training will put OurGreatNation back on the path to righteousness.

    That, or the mineshaft option.

  24. Mike, if you personally are incapable of giving a shit about young people unless they share your DNA, that is indeed a sad state of affairs, but kindly refrain from projecting your sociopathic tendencies onto me.

    Maybe MikeB is a Pak descendent.

  25. TTB,

    Don’t forget the 10:1 optimum ratio of women to men for the project.

    I suggest a government progrem be started immediatly.

  26. If I ever have kids, I still wont care about the future (meaning after I am dead) culture. That will be their problem, not mine.

  27. If you think we’re all involved in a collective project

    And if you think that, GFY.

  28. The more relevant question, and the one rarely broached, is whether women who choose not to have children should be forced to subsidize those who do.

    And, as mentioned before, a relevant question is whether that’s even true with the current setup. The structure of most social insurance programs is that that people who choose not to have children are subsidized by other people’s children. It’s part and parcel of the whole thing, and determining exactly where the subsidy lies is a difficult task.

  29. “Well, should people who choose not to go into the armed services be forced to subsidize those who do?”

    No, they shouldn’t. I personally don’t perceive any benefit from the armed services, and I’d rather not pay for them. More to the point though, it’s the person who decides on a course of action that will cost money that should pay for it (in this case the parents who are deciding to have children should pay). And that’s true regardless of whether that decision benefits society as a whole. For another example, if I decide to improve my yard by planting flowers etc, and that increases my neighbor’s property value, should he have to pay me? I think not.

    I’ll try to make this simple enough for you to understand. Armies have historically been able to raise their own funds unless opposed by other armies. Those who refuse to wield a sword can still die by one.

  30. I’ll confess to feeling slightly uncomfortable with the idea that American uteri are a national resource to be cultivated for the greater glory of the nation state.

    That should be a line in America the Beautiful. “Her bountiful uteri” or something. I mean, we’ve already got “purple mountain’s majesty” and we all know what THAT means.

  31. Maintaining a military is the cost of having a foreign policy. It’s fine to make people who choose the foreign policiy (directly or via representatives) pay the costs of that foreign policy. Hence the link between taxation and representation.

  32. I’ll wield my own sword, thank you very much.

  33. Don’t forget the 10:1 optimum ratio of women to men for the project.

    I suggest a government progrem be started immediately.

    Finally, socialism I can get behind. And beneath. And on top of. Preferably all at once.

  34. Thanks for catching the typo, Guy. U.S. population figures are in the millions. World figures in the billions.

  35. I personally don’t perceive any benefit from the armed services, and I’d rather not pay for them.

    Ah, a touching sentiment from another great American.

    I’ll be sure to pass that along to the Coast Guardsmen who rescued people off their rooftops in post-Katrina New Orleans, as well as the National Guardsmen who are piling up sandbags desperately trying to save the small towns near the Mississippi.

  36. I’ll wield my own sword, thank you very much.

    I guess I didn’t make it simple enough. Oh well.

  37. Mike M.

    Shouldn’t those collectives be piling their own sandbags rather than leaching the labor that could be better used in eliminating counterrevolutionary elements of our society?

  38. MikeP,

    Armed services being a public good is exactly the issue. The (positive) benefits provided by a (properly utilized) national defense cannot be contained to a presubscribed set of individuals.

    Let’s not forget, though, that maintaining a well-functioning electoral democracy is also a public good in this sense. The positive benefits provided by a well-functioning electoral democracy (such as: electing politicians who use military power wisely) cannot be contained to a presubscribed set of individuals. And if we can solve the latter problem of providing the public good of a well-functioning electoral democracy using noncoercive means (e.g. education, persuasion, public shaming, etc,), perhaps there is reason to think we can solve the former problem of providing the public good of national defense using noncoercive means.

  39. JsD,

    YW, sorry for forgetting the smilie at the end of my comment.

  40. I’ll be sure to pass that along to the Coast Guardsmen who rescued people off their rooftops in post-Katrina New Orleans, as well as the National Guardsmen who are piling up sandbags desperately trying to save the small towns near the Mississippi.

    What will you say to the Army Corps of Engineers, whose handiwork made those situations worse than they might otherwise have been?

    “Win some, lose some,” maybe?

  41. Guy,
    You may be a fuckhead difficult sometimes but I know you don’t get pedantic about typos. 😉

  42. Honestly, do you really care if the US is a spanish speaking country by 2100?

    No, why would I?

    Not only will I be dead, but any children of mine will probably be dead. Maybe even any grandchildren.

    Any grandchildren who survive have a fucking century to learn how to speak Spanish. That’s not exactly a pop quiz coming up on Monday.

    What’s the big deal if people in the US speak English or Spanish or Cambodian or Esperanto a century from now, anyway? Do you have novels you’ve written in English that you think won’t translate well or something?

    Besides, any language shift in the US is likely to produce a Creole tongue anyway. And I hate to break it to you, but that’s what we’ve already got. Exchanging one hybrid tongue for another one is not a big deal. Especially considering the fact that neologisms would change English over the course of a century even if there was no Spanish influence at all.

  43. P Brooks,

    The Army Corps of Engineers is really about as closely associated to the Army as the Public Health service is.

  44. But more closely than The Salvation Army, if that helps.

  45. Honestly, do you really care if the US is a spanish speaking country by 2100?

    As long as we have individual rights, we can speak in binary for all I care.

  46. I’ll wield my own sword, thank you very much.

    Sounds like you won’t be part of Guy’s new program, then.

  47. TD,

    Someone else came up with the program, or should we spelli ti the enlightened way, programme, I only enhansed it.

  48. What will you say to the Army Corps of Engineers, whose handiwork made those situations worse than they might otherwise have been?

    You mean the Army Corps of Engineers that wanted to start major upgrades to the levees and floodwalls back in the ’70s, but was stopped by a federal judge at the behest of environmental groups such as “Save Our Wetlands”?

  49. The funny thing is that Mexico is unlikely to be a Spanish speaking country in a century. Probably some kind of spanglish creole with random Chinese curses, like in ‘Firefly.’

  50. Ur, the most-mentioned city of the 21st Century.

  51. As long as we have individual rights, we can speak in binary for all I care.

    Well, maybe that’s taking it a bit too far. I don’t give a damn if Americans in a hundred years speak English or Spanish, but if there’s a serious chance we’ll all be forced to communicate exclusively via R2-D2 binary beeps I’ll push out as many young’uns as it takes to prevent this horror from befalling America.

    If the government agrees to subsidize me.
    Heavily.
    With your tax dollars.
    But not mine.

    Otherwise I don’t give a shit because, as MikeB explained already, it’s impossible to care about the future of humanity unless you’ve birthed some babies. The hormonal changes flip on the empathy switch. I don’t have kids, so the fucking Nazis can take over the country for all I care.

  52. Isn’t this where we begin the debate about giving the Western USA to it’s rightful owners?

  53. Guy, why should I give a damn who owns the Western USA? It’s not like any descendants of mine will be around to think it matters.

  54. Children are private goods. They should not be subsidized by the public weal.

    Who do you think will pay for old people? That’s right, children. If you don’t have any, then it will be other peoples children. If they don’t have any, well, Logan’s Run.

  55. I just thought of a great “fictionalized” acronym for the Pentagon. G.E.M., or “Giant Euclidean Mass”. You’re welcome.

  56. The fact is there is a government forced transfer of wealth from young to old. As long as that is true, young people are a public good.

  57. “I guess I didn’t make it simple enough.”
    No you didn’t. Did you mean unable instead of able? Either way, it doesn’t matter. A well armed and trained militia is better suited for defending the country against foreign attacks than any professional standing army, and also can’t be used for illegal wars overseas.

    “I’ll be sure to pass that along to the Coast Guardsmen who rescued people off their rooftops in post-Katrina New Orleans, as well as the National Guardsmen who are piling up sandbags desperately trying to save the small towns near the Mississippi.”
    It may sound cruel to you, but I’m against those uses of the armed forces too. It’s simply not the federal government’s responsibility, nor is it within their authority. If you want to live below sea level in an area prone to hurricanes and flooding, that’s fine. But I shouldn’t be forced to bail you out when things go wrong. Now if anyone wants to volunteer their time and money and money for these kinds of activities, that’s fine with me (and if I didn’t have to pay so much in taxes to support the armed services I might be inclined to donate a little more myself). But I don’t get the benefits of living near the ocean, so why should I have to pay the costs?

  58. Who do you think will pay for old people?

    Since old people are the wealthiest of any age cohort, I suggest to a first order that they pay for themselves. Social Security and Medicare need to be retired, and the poor elderly taken care of as poor people rather than elderly people.

    If they don’t have any, well, Logan’s Run.

    I’m not sure I like the idea of all the elderly wearing those skimpy outfits.

  59. Jennifer, the point is not if we care, the point is that this thread is not following the pattern of wacky tangents present in a majority of the other threads that could result in the immediate destruction of the universe while WE are still alive in it!

    Stop pretending to be obtuse.

  60. Where do I go stand in line to do my insemination duty?

  61. Since old people are the wealthiest of any age cohort, I suggest to a first order that they pay for themselves.

    If there aren’t any people capable of doing work(i.e. young people), who will they pay their money to?

  62. The fact is there is a government forced transfer of wealth from young to old. As long as that is true, young people are a public good.

    I suggest you look up what “public good” means. Young people are not public goods.

    What you are describing is better termed “slavery”.

  63. If there aren’t any people capable of doing work(i.e. young people), who will they pay their money to?

    Is there really so little difference between “fewer” and “none” in your thinking?

  64. Either way, it doesn’t matter. A well armed and trained militia is better suited for defending the country against foreign attacks than any professional standing army, and also can’t be used for illegal wars overseas.

    That is delusional thinking.

  65. Is there really so little difference between “fewer” and “none” in your thinking?

    There is a difference between fewer and too few.

  66. There is a difference between fewer and too few.

    Maybe you should join the Post Apocalyptic Club.

  67. Young people are not public goods.

    Not even the big fat ones covered by Time and Newsweek?

  68. @z

    The fact is there is a government forced transfer of wealth from young to old. As long as that is true, young people are a public good.

    And if that were stopped, then you wouldn’t need any further government incentive to reproduce: children have been recognized as a retirement plan from time immemorable. As usual, this argument is being mis-characterized – the government doesn’t need to subsidize people to have children – it merely needs to stop subsidizing those don’t.

    @MikeP

    Since old people are the wealthiest of any age cohort, I suggest to a first order that they pay for themselves.

    If you’re defining old people generically as all those over 65, yes, certainly. OTOH, not many old people stay wealthy in the last year or two of their lives, when they tend to suffer from expensive medical conditions, and need the assistance of pricey care-takers.

    I’d be more interested in seeing a study telling us the average wealth of people in the last years of their lives, rather than merely lumping everyone in a certain age-group together. Elderly is generally defined as over 65. Given that the average life-span is somewhere around 77 now, it’s not clear how useful it is to lump together people who are elderly, but able and healthy, and those who are engaged in the rather expensive process of dying.

  69. Pig Mannix,

    Consider for lots of people, the process of dying is pretty cheap and instantaneous, I think they would pull up the average wealth to a pretty decent number. Although, for say those high school kids wrapping their new car around a tree, are we going with their wealth or household wealth?

  70. I get it: Kerry doesn’t want to have kids. Great. But what does that have to do with libertarianism?

    And why does Kerry aggressively misread Rod? The important bit of the question, not quoted:

    “In Europe and the US, there’s an enormous problem right around the corner, as the Boomers age and expect Social Security and Medicare paid for by a generation smaller than their own. It’s a nice, tidy libertarian point, that the childless shouldn’t have to subsidize the childbearing. But if that’s your view, then you should also sign on to the view that the working population should not have to subsidize the retired. Do we really want to live in that kind of society? I don’t.”

    This subject, some will recall, is exactly the subject that Kerry left out of her recent article. It seems to me that someone so interested in these questions would address the role of the welfare state, and then would, in light of that role, help us understand what counts as a subsidy. My take: we don’t come anywhere close to subsidizing natalism in the US.

  71. Consider for lots of people, the process of dying is pretty cheap and instantaneous, I think they would pull up the average wealth to a pretty decent number. Although, for say those high school kids wrapping their new car around a tree, are we going with their wealth or household wealth?

    Just because it’s instantaneous, doesn’t mean it’s cheap. My personal experience is that a high-school kid getting killed wrapping their car around a tree is still around $60k.

  72. Rod Dreher says:

    But if that’s your view, then you should also sign on to the view that the working population should not have to subsidize the retired.

    Sign me up!

  73. “The more relevant question, and the one rarely broached, is whether women who choose not to have children should be forced to subsidize those who do.”

    Everyone who chooses not to have children is already being forced to subsidize those who do in all sorts of ways – through the federal tax code, through property taxes that pay for public schools, etc.

  74. MP, great. Can you talk to Kerry and see if you can get her to sign up?

  75. Gilbert, I’m afraid you’re going to need to explain why you think those things are subsidies. It isn’t obvious at all.

  76. If you think we’re all involved in a collective project,

    … then, F*CK YOU! Because my freedom is more important than your stupid idea.

  77. In a long and thoughtful response, Rod Dreher ponders this question and writes:

    Well, should people who choose not to go into the armed services be forced to subsidize those who do?

    The answer to both is: NO. Nobody should be forced to do anything – the question answers itself if you believe coercion is evil.

    If women decide NOT to reproduce, they will simply be replaced by younger generations of women who grew up in large families, bred by cultures that reward fertility. Feminists will simply be bred out of existence by beautiful Latinas.

  78. Feminists will simply be bred out of existence by beautiful Latinas.

    WOW, that is the most beautiful thing I have read in weeks.

    Little known fact, lots of Latinas know how to weld too! At least in my fantasies anyway.

  79. You have welding fantasies? Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    Or was this a Rosie the Riveter reference? Fetish porn at the link.

  80. The US tax breaks for children are not really subsidues. The tax code is regressive so that you are taxed at a rate related to your income level. I get a huge tax break for having a stay at home wife becuase the fact that I feed 2 mouths with my income means I am less “wealthy” then a single guy, therefore I am taxed at a lower rate. Same for kids. If we had a flat tax then it would be an other story.

  81. becuase the fact that I feed 2 mouths with my income means I am less “wealthy” then a single guy

    Ah yes…so when I single guy spends his money on a snowmobile, he’s simply disposing of his income. But when you’re feeding your wife & kids, that’s special.

    BTW, did a government agent force you to get married and have kids?

  82. Honestly, do you really care if the US is a spanish speaking country by 2100?

    Oh, for the halcyon days of yore when people actually had existential concerns about their children, fearing that they wouldn’t have the chance to grow up before humanity was destroyed in a thermonuclear war.

    Now people are worried that their children’s children’s children’s children’s children might grow up speaking Spanish.

  83. I get it: Kerry doesn’t want to have kids. Great. But what does that have to do with libertarianism?

    In an ideal world, nothing. But we live ina far-less-than-ideal world where many people think a woman’s childbearing activities or lack thereof are Matters Of The State.

  84. “Gilbert, I’m afraid you’re going to need to explain why you think those things are subsidies. It isn’t obvious at all.”

    A single person having to pay for the education of someone else’s children isn’t a subsidy?

    That most certainly is obvious. If you don’t think so, then you are the one who needs to explain why it isn’t.

  85. “The US tax breaks for children are not really subsidues. The tax code is regressive so that you are taxed at a rate related to your income level. I get a huge tax break for having a stay at home wife becuase the fact that I feed 2 mouths with my income means I am less “wealthy” then a single guy, therefore I am taxed at a lower rate. Same for kids. If we had a flat tax then it would be an other story.”

    Let me simplify it for you.

    Anyone whose total dollar amount of tax payments exceeds the total dollar value of government services that is being provided personally and directly to that specific individual in exchange for his money is subidizing someone else.

    Anyone paying less than that amount is being subsidized by somebody else.

    What anyone’s tax bracket is or how many mouths you have to feed has nothing to do with it.

    No one’s income or wealth level is a “service’ provided to them by the government. And no one who chooses to have children is providing any “service” to anyone else who chooses not to.

  86. Concerning subsidies: in the small city/large town of West Hartford, Connecticut, the average homeowner’s property-tax bill for this year is just over $600 per month, or $7,200 per year. Meanwhile, the school system’s per-pupil spending is just over $11,000 per year. So the average two-child family paying their average $7,200 a year in taxes is getting $22,000 per year in educational “services” alone; there’s a subsidy to the tune of $15,000 per year.

  87. If I can be drafted and be required to kill people, can women be drafted and required to give birth so to replace all the people I killed?

  88. No one’s income or wealth level is a “service’ provided to them by the government. And no one who chooses to have children is providing any “service” to anyone else who chooses not to.

    Well, there are a couple of ways of looking at that – when I’m 93, senile, and in need of open-heart surgery, I certainly hope someone’s around who *isn’t* 93 and senile to perform it…

    And if you don’t have children, who’s going to be paying taxes to subsidize your medicare, social security payments, etc.?

    Yup. Someone who was somebody else’s child, of course…

    Which side comes out ahead in this shell game is anyone’s guess. But it’s not quite as one-sided as some people would have you believe…

  89. You could make an argument that investing in kids is like investing in infrastructure — the alternative is living in a country with crappy infrastructure and retarded, unhealthy kids.

    Look at the recent research regarding lead poisoning and the crime rate to see how child health can touch on all sorts of seemingly unrelated areas.

  90. You could make an argument that investing in kids is like investing in infrastructure — the alternative is living in a country with crappy infrastructure and retarded, unhealthy kids.

    Yeah, wouldn’t it suck if America were the sort of nation where, say, major Interstate bridges collapsed for no reason, and our schools churned out large numbers of illiterate graduates because they were too busy giving self-esteem lessons?

    Well, okay, we already ARE that kind of nation.

  91. Well, okay, we already ARE that kind of nation.

    True enough, but if I remember your stance on this issue (which seemed to line up with mine), it’s the case that many parents are not holding up their ends of the bargain as far as investing time and energy into their kids, getting their kids more involved in the learning process. And if what you say is true (I have no reason to doubt it), and a lot of teachers have to spend time teaching t3h self esteem to kids, that is an epic fail on the part of many parents.

  92. “Ah yes…so when I single guy spends his money on a snowmobile, he’s simply disposing of his income. But when you’re feeding your wife & kids, that’s special.”

    No, but that’s the way a progressive tax works. The more income you supposedly have the higher your tax rate. It is no different then a single person claiming the personal exemption. I was pointing out that the deductions and credits for children and spouse are designed as progressive tax features, not explictly to encourage having kids.

  93. Jennifer, that may describe the world, but it doesn’t describe the US, among other places.

    Gilbert, what makes you think that educating children is a responsibility of parents? The state requires children to go to school. Do you favor or oppose that requirement? If you oppose it, I suppose it’s fair enough for you to complain about the state expense implementing it, but if you favor it (as Kerry no doubt does), then there’s no reason to think that the parents should pay. Make the argument if you’d like, but it seems to me you’re going to have a hard time make a libertarian case there.

  94. Jennifer, that may describe the world, but it doesn’t describe the US, among other places.

    So I simply imagined that story about the Minneapolis bridge collapse? And those stories about American students’ abysmal performance rates compared to other countries is just al-Qaeda propaganda? I’m sure the nation’s colleges will be glad to learn they can save big bucks by dismantling their remedial-reading programs, because (test scores notwithstanding) we do NOT live in a country where high school graduates need remedial-reading instruction.

  95. This was the bit I was responding to: “But we live ina far-less-than-ideal world where many people think a woman’s childbearing activities or lack thereof are Matters Of The State.”

  96. “Well, there are a couple of ways of looking at that – when I’m 93, senile, and in need of open-heart surgery, I certainly hope someone’s around who *isn’t* 93 and senile to perform it…”

    Plenty of people were having children long before any governments existed at all, much less government policies aimed at subsidizing child rearing. If you have enough money, there will be somebody to provide you with services when you are old. That’s the way the market works.

    “And if you don’t have children, who’s going to be paying taxes to subsidize your medicare, social security payments, etc.?”

    I’d be much more likely to have enough money to finance my own retirement and healthcare if I weren’t be required to pay for a bunch of other people’s my entire working life.

    “Yup. Someone who was somebody else’s child, of course…”

    Everyone who ever lived was somebody else’s child. That doesn’t prove the existence of any obligation to finance someone else’s childrearing.

  97. “Gilbert, what makes you think that educating children is a responsibility of parents? ”

    Because children are the responsibility of their parents and no one else.

    “The state requires children to go to school. Do you favor or oppose that requirement?”

    I oppose it.

  98. Gilbert, is it your view that the state should make parents educate their children? Make parents care for their children? Feed them? Clothe them? I’m curious how far you are willing to go.

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