Friday, March 11, 2005

These guys really miss the old days

Josh Marshall points to this essay as the "New pencil-neck line of attack: Social Security contributes to free love and the decline of marriage. " But it's actually more noisome that that:

Policymakers and citizens pondering the merits of Social Security reform should consider new evidence showing that "social security" adversely affects decisions to marry and have children.

A new University at Buffalo study, examining the experience of 57 countries over a 32-year period, concludes that in the U.S. and other countries where social security is instituted as a defined-benefits, pay-as-you-go system, marriage and fertility rates fell sharply over time -- partly as a result of social security itself.


"Current Social Security systems in the U.S. and elsewhere have some unintended consequences, which include disincentives to form families and have children," explains Ehrlich, who also is Melvin H. Baker Professor of American Enterprise in UB School of Management. [emphasis mine]


Prior to the establishment of current form of Social Security in the U.S., the family was the main form of social security, Ehrlich points out. "Working children took care of retired parents as they aged, and so there was an incentive for parents to have large families," he says.

No, Professor Ehrlich, SS doesn't include disincentives, it simply removes the necessity (incentive) of having children to support your old age. Is it now our national position that excess children, conceived and raised solely for their parents' future financial security, is a good thing? It would certainly seem to me that people who have children because they want them, rather than as a means to support themselves in their old age, are probably going to be better parents.

But I forget - the war machine needs fodder.


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