Previously: On Car Seats as Contraception [Editor’s Note: This post assumes the perspective that more people having more children is good, actually. I will not be engaging with any of the arguments against this, of any quality, whether they be ‘AI or climate change is going to kill everyone’ or ‘people are bad actually,’ other than to state here that I strongly disagree. AI content will continue later this week.]
In a country with the political stability of Hungary (annual inflation rate this January: 25.7 %) it is quite possible that the next government, or even the same government, will later reverse course and cancel the tax break.
"It is simply that no one has done anything remotely like the reverse of the one child policy in China, or Iran’s widespread push to discourage births."
I think Ceaușescu's Romania was something like this.
Just because it needs to be said, and definitely not an argument against trying at all: selection effects are a thing.
For example flat payments have a higher effect for below average earners. This may mean younger people (which can be good, bad or neutral, depending on your goals), due to bad luck (compensating for which is definitely good), and also genetics. I think it's acceptable to say out loud that we don't want to do a whole lot of actual selection for negative traits.
Dependency ratios explain everything- that is the cudgel, unintentional most of the time, that governments used to drive down fertility rates. Young people don't just support the children they have- they have been increasingly supporting retirees who are complete strangers, government workers, and welfare beneficiaries of all types.
What is “ITT” in this context?
"Requiring a college degree to provide child care is one of those places I fail the ITT."
Children are important and precious. They deserve the highest-quality care. College-educated people are higher-quality. They will know more of The Science about childcare and therefore make better decisions, meaning your children are less likely to DIE or be TRAUMATIZED. Isn't it worth paying a little more for that?
Not endorsed, just trying to imagine the thinking behind this insane rule.
I suspect a UBI would be a good plan for increasing children. It's Universal, meaning no age requirements. A flat rate per person payment. So if a single unemployed woman has a baby, their UBI payment instantly doubles.
Replace "fit" with "foot" https://english.stackexchange.com/a/17136/86519
Government subsidizing children could have rather concerning effects tho. It further reduces incentives for people to pair up. I mean, just look at these articles:
"Why a shortage of Mr Rights means single mothers hold the key to the falling birthrate": https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/feb/11/why-a-shortage-of-mr-rights-means-single-mothers-hold-the-key-to-the-falling-birthrate
Article claims that fertility is low because there are no "good men", and the solution is to make being a single mother more viable financially.
I mean, it would work, probably. But that policy is making single men indirectly pay for child support - while also pumping up amount of single men. This comment on Reddit illustrates it pretty well: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskFeminists/comments/1132m36/birth_rates_are_plummeting_in_the_west_a_guardian/j8ou30d/
> TBF **if women have enough power to not need a male provider they may decide to do without**. It might be the real reason conservatives are making sure there is no universal childcare and good maternity leave and so on, it results in too much independence.
> Iceland has shown that a good support system for women leads them to not marry men nor wait for a marriage to have children of their own. In 2017, over 2/3s of babies were born to mothers who were not married.
> It seems if you give women the social support they need to have families, they will just have them without waiting for someone to put a ring on it. Some women have children from multiple fathers. And we see none of the hand-wringing we hear about someone getting pregnant and the father is crap and what to do. Icelandic women just have the children they want when they want them. I am sure it is easy to sign men up for that when there is little to no requirement to personally support these children. **Men could become drones in this scenario.**
And a NYT article: "Are Men the Overlooked Reason for the Fertility Decline?": https://archive.is/20230215143702/https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/15/opinion/fertility-decline.html
"Skirbekk argues, in part, that it’s because of a lack of “‘suitable’ men, as women have become increasingly selective.”
"That men are increasingly living lives in which they feel they are unable to fully flourish, causing women to not want to have children with them, is a problem(...)"
Any policy which makes having children without a partner more financially viable will just make things worse, ultimately. Sure, you can boost fertility rate—but also, such society won't be stable. As I responded to that Reddit comment:
> If you structure things that way, there's absolutely no reason to not reproduce with the most attractive willing man availalble. Since a single man could (& would, if it doesn't cost him anything personally) impregnate a large amount of women, vast majority (90%?) of men won't. Yet they would, for some reason, be expected to provide for all of this.
According to a friend who lives in Hungary, there's been a large exodus of highly educated women (and men) due to dislike of Orbán's policies and this is a large confounding factor in any attempts to look at the changes in fertility rate (as obviously the fertility rate is going to increase if you change the population's composition like that, educated people largely have less children) - did you have a chance to research the intricacies involved here?
Subsidizing fertility treatments seems like low-hanging fruit to increase reproduction by people who want to have children but are limited by a combination of biology and wealth. I have many friends who would like to have children or more children, but who can't afford to do so because of the costs of fertility treatments/surrogacy/adoption. While subsidies for fertility treatments, surrogacy, etc. would partially go to people who would have chosen to spend the money anyway, it would pretty clearly move the needle at the margin, and for people who very much want to have children (or more children).
In Hungary, mothers under 30 don't get tax exemption for life, only until their 30th birthday. This is very clear from Hungarian sources (I am Hungarian), but it's also how most of the English language media reports it. https://www.hungarianconservative.com/articles/current/hungarian-family-policy-in-action-no-income-tax-for-young-mothers/
Business Insider just misunderstood one of their sources, if you click on their linked source, there is an ambiguous sentence about mother under 30 and mothers with 4 children, which the journalist apparently misunderstood.
This makes this policy much less of a big deal than the post suggests, changing many of the conclusions.
On the other hand, the preferential mortgages are under-emphasized in the post, anecdotally this seems to be maybe the biggest deal for people, and the mechanism is pretty interesting.
Married couples can apply for $30,000 mortgage, which they don't have to repay at all if they have 3 children in the next 10 years. If they have 1 or 2 children, they get favorable interest rates, but if they don't have any children, they have to repay it in full with worse than the market interest rates on loans. Couples who already have 3 children they are currently raising can also apply and just get the $30,000 for buying a new home. The bad part is that this mortgage can only be used for newly-built apartments (with 3 children, you can also get a $7,000 subsidy for buying any apartment, but that's much less money). This is partially probably because of the lobbying of the construction industry, and partially for excluding poor people (a subsidy that can be interpreted as subsidizing the Roma to reproduce would be unpopular), as a newly-built apartment is expensive, so a poor couple can't buy one even with the subsidy. Unfortunately, newly-built apartments are often really expensive, so this implementation of the mortgage often exclude middle-class people too and creates various perverse incentives, also driving up apartment-prices (I can't assess how bad Hungary is in NIMBYism, but it's not particularly good).
Is China doing more than is generally being reported?
If not, it seems strange how subdued the CPC's response to this is. They'll go to the ends of the earth to increase GDP growth, even if this is done in a largely unproductive way (e.g. malinvestment in worthless infrastructure/housing), but this huge, ticking time bomb that will unravel so many of their long-term ambitions apaprently isn't enough of a kick in the ass to even scrap restrictions of the number of children people can have (the limit was increased but there is still a limit), let alone going all out and fixing it in a characteristically CPC brute force way.
You might get me to support payments for having kids, but I see this going over like a lead balloon with my right leaning friends. They already complain about 'welfare mothers', taking their tax money. As a way to incentivize two parent families, you could pay a little for the parent staying home with the kids and give 'nice' tax breaks to the parent who is working.