Minor Note: How to make SWPLs make babies

I noticed an incoming link to Babies, Families, and Status-Signals. Rereading that note inspired the following thoughts:

  1. I still believe that the systematic problem with white fertility in America (although perhaps not the root of the fertility problem in Europe and Japan) is that an effective majority of whites (and East Asians, for that matter) have the discipline to delay family life for an arbitrarily long time in order to provide a “decent” life for their children; a “decent” life includes a community free of crime and other non-SWPL behavior; only communities free of low-IQ, low-trust minorities are free of crime and non-SWPL behavior; America has made the creation of such communities by any means other than price-discrimination illegal; so the 70% of the population that is white is engaged in an internal arms race to be able to afford to live in the most expensive 10% (or less) of the housing stock that is municipally and geographically insulated from vibrancy.
  2. However, the basic challenge of a natalist policy is that having a child is a really big commitment (in equilibrium, the mean woman will only have two!); therefore the sorts of incentives and rewards that the public can afford to offer for procreation are quite small relative to the total investment parents plan to make. Any policy that aims to reward or aid young mothers will be most valuable to the poorest parts of the population. Thus the final result of any policies which aid young mothers, whether for natalist or socialist reasons, will be to shift the class-composition of young mothers towards the poor and irresponsible. When having children young becomes an index and a symbol of low social status, then SWPL status-competitions will inevitably start to incorporate delaying childbirth indefinitely.
  3. Something similar can be said of paternal child support. I tend to think that MRA whining about the injustice of child-support laws is dull, but as a causal explanation of changing attitudes towards fertility and social status it must have had an important role. Historically, a man with a huge brood by several women was rich. If he wasn’t rich many of the kids would die, for one thing. But in TCY a man who has no concerns about impregnating a woman must be dirt broke, and must plan to remain so indefinitely. So again: reluctance to sire children becomes an index and a symbol of high status, willingness of low status.
  4. #2 and #3 together point to the abolition of orphanages as a feedback loop between status and family-formation. Whether or not the industrious parts of a community support the children of the poor and irresponsible may not matter nearly as much as whether that support is deliver in a way that encourages the irresponsible mother to keep her children together, or in one that forces her to give them up. The former associates poor mothers and large broods, the latter makes poverty a correlate of childlessness.

 

By the way, this is probably as good a time as any to mention that Quas Lacrimas will likely go into hibernation later this year. If this does come to pass, nothing is amiss, do not be alarmed; expect QL to emerge from hibernation in mid-2018.

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9 thoughts on “Minor Note: How to make SWPLs make babies

  1. Any policy that aims to reward or aid young mothers will be most valuable to the poorest parts of the population.

    Any politically feasible policy maybe. But not any policy imaginable. You could make the incentive flat with respect to income. You could say for every child you have, you (and your employer) get a 100 basis pt reduction in FICA taxation. Social security: 6.2% -> 5.2% -> 0.2% (at 6 kids). Then the fun begins: we start reducing medicare taxes (which have no income limits) for kid 7 and 8. Kid 7 would drop SS to 0 and drop medicare from 1.45% to 0.65%. At kid #8, medicare drops to zero. And it all makes perfect logical sense because if you have a big passel of kids, you’ve created a large number of potential future payers.

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    1. It’s true this would not be attractive to the very highest income earners (because SS cuts off around $127k-ish) But not unduly attractive (vis-a-vis welfare programs) to low earners. And doubly attractive to the self-employed (who are getting a royal shaft ordinarily).

      I still think income taxes are the worst kind of taxes anyway. Taxes should be regressive. Excise, sales, and VAT taxes accomplish this well.

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      1. In principle, I agree. In practice, federalism (and subsidiarity more generally) makes sales taxes onerous, because of the effects of jurisdiction-shopping. But if we could abolish all taxes but a single consumption tax (plus pigouvian taxes) and then do revenue-sharing back to local governments out of that pot, that would be optimal.

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      1. There is probably a great deal that could be done in the area of structuring policy around the necessity of marriage (or, more broadly, the necessity of people taking legal guardianship of others).

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    2. Tax credits are obviously going to be better-targeted in any case (since among the highly-fertile dregs, taxes are typically not an issue). The rhetorical association between supporting the pyramid scheme now and supporting it later makes this suggestion particularly valuable; but I have to wonder whether there is any reason for a society which likes your proposal not to follow out its logic all the way, and let everyone be supported in old age by their own children!

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