Let's Talk About Sex

Mark Steyn made me think about Salt-N-Pepa:

Headline: Brokest Nation In History Fusses Instead About Sex...

The U.S. economy shuts down in 2027? Had you heard about that? It's like the ultimate President's Day Sale: Everything must go — literally!

At such a moment, it may seem odd to find the political class embroiled in a bitter argument about the Obama administration's determination to force Catholic institutions (and, indeed, my company and your company, if you're foolish enough still to be in business in the United States) to provide free prophylactics to its employees.

The received wisdom among media cynics is that Obama has engaged in an ingenious bit of misdirection by seizing on a pop-culture caricature of Republicans and inviting them to live up to it: Those uptight squares with the hang-ups about fornication have decided to force you to lead the same cheerless sex lives as them.

But perhaps now is the time to obsess about sex:

Ten thousand Americans retire every day, and leave insufficient progeny to pick up the slack. In effect, Nancy has rolled a giant condom over the entire American economy.

Testifying before Congress, Timmy Geithner referred only to "demographic challenges" — an oblique allusion to the fact that the U.S. economy is about to be terminally clobbered by 100 trillion dollars of entitlement obligations it can never meet...

Not to worry, says Barry Antoinette. Let them eat condoms.

This is a very curious priority for a dying republic. "Birth control" is accessible, indeed ubiquitous, and, by comparison with anything from a gallon of gas to basic cable, one of the cheapest expenses in the average budget. Not even Rick Santorum, that notorious scourge of the sexually liberated, wishes to restrain the individual right to contraception.

But where is the compelling societal interest in the state prioritizing and subsidizing it? Especially when you're already the Brokest Nation in History. Elsewhere around the developed world, prudent politicians are advocating natalist policies designed to restock their empty maternity wards.


  1. .

    "Mark Steyn made me think ..."

    Well back to class with this one, ain't ready for prime time.

    "... the Brokest Nation in History."?
    Really? You have serious reading comprehension issues. The economy is improving according to the economic trend indicators.

    Maybe you should try to find someone beside Mark Steyn to listen to. Mark Steyn has been playing 'chicken little' for so long that he has become a real hen for laying so many eggs of doom and gloom.

    Ema Nymton

  2. I am notably uncomfortable finding myself in agreement with Ema, but that article was kinda... stretching credulity. The referenced facts were valid enough (such as the official "optimistic" view of the current debt path projecting national insolvency around 2075, and the "more realistic" view projecting 2027), but all the editorial content was obviously distorted. For example, the Democrats are not forcing people to use contraceptives, rather just effectively taxing everyone to pay for them; I may not agree with the mandate, but that doesn't make the exaggerated characterization any more accurate.

    Further, we may have the largest debt in history in pure money amounts, but the nature of relative sovereign currency and global wealth makes that point dubious. We certainly don't have the largest debt relative to GDP (or even GDP minus government spending, which is a vastly more relevant measure of actual domestic product), so it's probably inaccurate to say we're the "brokest".

    Moreover, the underlying point of the article is not valid: we can't fix our economic woes (at all) by simply having more children. In the age where our production economy is largely outsourced or dismantled in the name of high overhead and regulation, more bodies in the workforce would just mean more unemployed people needing subsidies and entitlements. We have an entitlement program disaster looming because of the pyramid nature of the schemes, not a lack of progeny: the programs were unfunded and unsustainable long before we (as a society) decided breeding was bad.

    As someone who recently had a child, I can tell you that it's certainly an uphill struggle. I get virtually no tax breaks of financial relief to offset the additional costs, and the parental leave is barely enough to recover from the birth process. In Los Angeles, the public schools are terrible, and the LAUSD is doing everything possible to make them even worse (see recent proposal to allow application to any school, to eliminate even small pockets of relative decency). The government is insisting on keeping housing unaffordable to people who try to live within their means, so we'll likely never have a solid "home" environment to raise children in. Private school is prohibitively expensive, as is day care, although the latter is necessary because the cost of living prohibits single income parents in the city. All in all, it's a horrible financial decision to have children in our current society, and I can tell you from experience that you certainly feel like everything the government does is designed to discourage you from doing so.

    America, like several other first-world countries, does have a demographics problem. The population is shrinking, and the gene pool is mainly breeding on the shallow end, while draining the deep end. Is that the [primary] cause of the unfunded entitlement pyramid scheme crisis? No. Is the government making it worse by providing free contraception to people who want it? No, not really. Is it still a bad problem? Very much, yes.


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