Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ah, those women-loving, progressive Russians!

By Donald Sensing

Paid Maternity Leave Around the World




Naturally, the Left is trumpeting how progressive other nations are - like Russia, which gives women a year of paid maternity leave. And just as naturally, they think that Russia and other nations with long paid leaves support them because they are just so darn pro-woman.

Wrong.

Every nation in dark blue on the map has a birth rate that is catastrophically low or nearly so. Those governments pay for a year of maternity leave to get women to bear babies. In almost none of those nations (maybe none, period) is the present birth rate high enough to replace the people dying every year.

Take Russia.  Russia's birth rate fell off a cliff about 40 years ago (maybe more, the birth rate was a state secret under the communists) and Russia's population has been steadily declining a lot since at least the 1960s. That may be one reason that Putin is so expansionist now - if he waits 20 years he won't have enough men of military age to do it with. The year-long maternity leave is just one of the inducements the Russian government has in place to get women to bear children. They used to (and maybe still do) also pay a woman several thousand tax-free dollars (in rubles, of course) for every live birth.

It also doesn't bode well for Russia's future that not only is its birth rate bottoming, its death rate is one of the highest "among all countries with at least moderate levels of economic development," and the present life expectancy of Russian men is only about 58 years, lower than 30 years ago.
Russia has the highest death rates among all countries with at least moderate levels of economic development. The present life expectancy for a typical male is about 58 years, below what it was 20 years ago in Russia. ... Even more worrisome to many Russians are the very low birth rates during the past couple of decades. The total fertility rate- the number of children born to the average woman over her lifetime- is expected to be just 1.28 in 2006, or just a little more than one per couple. Russian fertility is among the lowest in the world. ... The Russian decline is currently about 700,000 persons per year, but the rate of decline will accelerate as the number of women in childbearing ages continues to fall. A World Bank report projects that with unchanged birth and death rates, Russia's population would fall from its present level of about 140 million persons to under 100 million by the year 2050. If this happens, such a huge nation would then be largely empty of people.
The old Soviet government "offered Medals of Glory to mothers who had many children," but the Russian government 
has proposed a ten-year program with very generous benefits for Russian women who have a second child- about 70 per cent of Russian women of child-bearing ages presently either have no children or only one child. Under his plan, women who do have a second child will get up to $110 more per month in child allowances, they would be able to take leave from work for up to eighteen months while receiving 40 per cent of their salaries, and they would get larger subsidies for child care. But the most novel aspect of Putin's proposal is to give a cash bonus of over $9000 to women who have a second child. This bonus is considerably larger than the annual earnings of a typical Russian worker, men or women, and it could be used for mortgage payments and for many other large outlays. Putin acknowledges that this program would require lots of money (perhaps 1 per cent of Russian GDP), but he claims that it is necessary in order to "change the attitude of the whole society to the family and its values".
China, OTOH, has the opposite problem. Because of its one-child policy, Chinese parents overwhelmingly abort unborn girls because Chinese society is still heavily patriarchal. That means that today there are about 20 million Chinese men reaching adulthood who have absolutely no hope of marriage; there just aren't enough women to go round. By 2030 the number of such men may reach 50 million.

What do do with tens of millions of young, virile, horny men whose lonely state is 100 percent the fault of the government? Why, kill them, of course. But not in death camps. Get ready for Chinese-expansionist wars the likes that history has never seen.

I'm not saying that is certain, but it is definitely one very real possibility that American strategists are thinking about.

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