Falling birthrates worldwide are impacting the economy of virtually every country in the world. In the United States, Social Security and Medicare depend on having young workers paying in to cover the benefits received by retirees. In 1980, roughly five workers were providing the taxes to support each retired beneficiary. By 2019, that number had dropped to 2.8 workers per retiree.
Countries have responded by paying citizens to have more children. Hungary is spending 5% of GDP on free fertility treatments for women under 40. That country is also giving upfront loans to newlyweds that they can write off with each child born. It even offers a lifetime exclusion from income tax for mothers with three or more kids. Poland is giving $140 per child per month. Russia is providing parents with two or more children one-time payments of $8100. South Korea has spent 130 billion dollars on similar programs. In the U.S., we are now seeing payments to families based on the number of children they have. For years, Alaska has been sharing oil revenues with families based on the number of kids they have.
Children are a blessing from God, but we don’t want to see more people on the planet merely to solve economic issues. Even more important to those who deal with disturbed children is the fear that some families may not be prepared to care for more children properly. Ephesians 6:1-4 talks about fathers not exasperating their children but bringing them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. The qualifications for elders and deacons in 1 Timothy 3:1-12 and Titus 1:5-9 involve a functional nuclear family. Having a baby for economic gain does not fit well with those commands.
With falling birthrates worldwide, perhaps it is time for governments to find new and more creative ways to meet the economic issues. Handing money to people who are not equipped psychologically or spiritually for the challenges of raising a child is not a good answer to the problems.
— John N. Clayton © 2021
Reference: The Week magazine (March 26, 2021, page 11)