Friday, October 20, 2006

Making Moms: France's Baby Boom

In one thing I'm jealous of the French: they treat moms right.

But the propensity of women here to have more babies has little to do with notions of French romance or the population's formerly strong religious ties to the Roman Catholic Church.

France heavily subsidizes children and families from pregnancy to young adulthood with liberal maternity leaves and part-time work laws for women. The government also covers some child-care costs of toddlers up to 3 years old and offers free child-care centers from age 3 to kindergarten, in addition to tax breaks and discounts on transportation, cultural events and shopping.
A lot of press lately has focused on sustainability of the population. Educated European women are not having babies, or not many of them. How can a career woman work the fifty to seventy hours a week necessary to climb the corporate ranks and birth and care for children? How can they maintain their materialistic dreams or in Europe just basic necessities, when their money goes to kids?

They can't.

Women in America run around trying to be all things to all people big and small. Often, the big people are angry or the little people are angry, or both.

The feminist movement decries intelligent working women leaving the workplace to procreate. What a waste of their talent! What a mockery of the movement! Many women agree. Many of these women choose to not replace the population. They leave that menial work to the other classes.

Besides the fact that I am all for small government, isn't it in the government's interest to have women of all social stratas reproducing? Since we subsidize everything from unneeded drugs to unneeded bridges, why not subsidize parents?

Unintended consequences.... I know. I know. Just sayin'.

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