2016-05-12 (1)

Maryland Is Subsidizing People To Not Have Children. Where’s the “Equality” in That?

At a time when we are heading into a demographic winter, Maryland provides free birth control because equality.

By controlling insurance companies, Maryland provides free birth control for both men and women. Why?

Apparently it is a matter of social justice that both men and women get free IUDs (abortifacient implants) and vasectomies.

But having sex is an elective activity. Why not mandate that insurance cover breast implants and hair replacement surgery?

More importantly, why is Maryland making it so easy to be sexually active and childless but expensive to have children? I realize there is some help available to parents, but the state is supposedly making it entirely free to not be a parent. If they are after equality, then they ought to make it just as free for people to have children. Why should parents pay higher insurance rates to fund other people’s contraceptives, sterilizing procedures, and abortifacients (leaving aside the ethical outrage of abortion for the moment)?

Beyond the slogans for equality, we ought to consider what it means to have a state force businesses to make it free to prevent children and having children remains expensive. Is promoting childlessness a good idea?

A few days ago the Portland Press Herald ran an editorial defending letting out-of-state students pay in-state tuition:

Maine is old and getting older. As deaths outpace births every year and more Mainers reach their 65th birthday than graduate from high school, the state enters a “demographic winter” that affects every aspect of our economy.

We collectively get older and the workforce shrinks, demand for goods and services drops, and entrepreneurs look elsewhere to start their businesses. Young people are forced to chase opportunity across state lines, making the problem even worse.

Nowhere is it more evident than the state’s public university system, which has struggled for years with declining enrollments and loss of tuition revenue as a result of these trends. There just aren’t enough kids.

Maine is not alone. The whole Midwest is facing difficulties getting enough college students. Maryland may not be feeling it yet, but the whole nation is getting old. As we’re seeing in Europe and Japan already, there are going to be a dwindling number of working young people supporting an increasing number of old people. In this context, providing more incentives to be childless is insane and suicidal policy.

Seriously, politicians should worry about the general economy more and people’s lifestyle choices less. When politicians say they want to “help” you by subsidizing certain behavior, they are merely being manipulative. If everyone was more prosperous then they could afford birth control or children or whatever else they highly prioritized. By “helping” with birth control, politicians are encouraging you to act according to their priorities for you. It is like getting a gift card to a health food store for your birthday from the aunt who tells you that you need to eat better. You don’t feel thankful for her generosity; you resent her attempt to control you.

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Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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