The PJ Tatler

'Forgot' To Have Kids? Then Kiss Your Social Safety Net Auf Wiedersehen

Germany’s finding out the hard way that a woman’s right to choose not to have children might have far-reaching consequences:

Germany’s birth rate has collapsed to the lowest level in the world and its workforce will start plunging at a faster rate than Japan’s by the early 2020s, seriously threatening the long-term viability of Europe’s leading economy. A study by the World Economy Institute in Hamburg (HWWI) found that the average number of births per 1,000 population dropped to 8.2 over the five years from 2008 to 2013, further compounding a demographic crisis already in the pipeline. Even Japan did slightly better at 8.4.

“No other industrial country is deteriorating at this speed despite the strong influx of young migrant workers. Germany cannot continue to be a dynamic business hub in the long-run without a strong jobs market,” warned the institute. The crunch is aggravated by the double effect of a powerful post-war baby boom followed by a countervailing baby bust – the so-called “Pillenknick”. The picture in Portugal (nine) and Italy (9.2) is almost as bad.

The German government expects the population to shrink from 81m to 67m by 2060 as depressed pockets of the former East Germany go into “decline spirals” where shops, doctors’ practices, and public transport start to shut down, causing yet more people to leave in a vicious circle… Chancellor Angela Merkel warned in a speech in Davos earlier this year that Germany will lose a net 6m workers over the next 15 years, shrinking gradually over the rest of this decade before going into free-fall.

When whoever inherits the lands of western Europe and the USA filters through the debris, he’s going to be wondering: what the hell were they thinking? Was the “empowerment” of women worth destroying the very societies that made such “empowerment” possible in the first place?

I have an easy fix for this here in the U.S., for both men and women: if you voluntarily choose not to have children, you forfeit your Social Security and Medicare benefits. Because your unborn children — right now — are who’s going to be paying for them. Don’t want to bring a child into this world, fine — there’s the exit. But you’re on your own.