David Paul Deavel, a regular contributor to Catholic World Report, has penned an apologia for the oft-discussed "1 percent":
My wife and I are part of the 1 percent so we’re used to criticism.
We’ve made a bundle heck, a number of bundles and while the rest of
the nation seems to be in a slump, we’re just making more. We’re part
of the false cult of quantity at the expense of quality. Our consumption
hurts the environment. Our ridiculous tax breaks reward our selfishness
at others’ expense. To give us larger breaks is so ridiculous a
suggestion even the Wall Street Journal calls us tax “gangsters.” But
we, I reply, are the makers. It’s right that our tax burden is lower,
since we ultimately provide the raw material for jobs, innovation and
future tax revenue.
Of course, when I say we’re in the top 1 percent, I mean
kids. I can’t prove conclusively that we’re 1-percenters, but given that
2010 census data showed that only 1.9 percent of American homes had
seven or more members, I think it’s likely. Many seven-plus households
are surely multigenerational, and 2012 census data shows the average
number of children under 18 per household living with parents was 1.88.
We ended 2012 with five. No. 6, God willing, will emerge from the womb in late summer.
Read his entire column on the StarTribune.com site. Deavel writes of the disparaging comments often made to large families. Of course, more than 1.8 kids is now considered "too many" by the supposedly smart set; I have a friend here in Eugene, Oregon, who was called a "breeder" when she was out with her three children.
Deavel also mentions the new book, What to Expect When Nobody's Expecting, by Jonathan V. Last, who is also Catholic. In a recent interview with NRO, Last talked to Kathryn Jean Lopez about the serious demographic, cultural, and economic challenges facing the United States:
LOPEZ: Whose fertility do you worry about the most?
The people who want babies. For all the fashionable talk about how
family life has gone out of style and how people don’t want kids
anymore, the research is pretty clear: When demographers calculate
America’s “ideal fertility rate” that is, the number of children
people say they’d like in a perfect world that figure has been a
pretty constant 2.5 for almost two generations.
Put that 2.5
ideal rate next to our 1.9 actual rate, and what you see is that while
many people may not want children which is fine! we celebrate your
choice! that is not the median American experience.
So what we
have here is a persistent, generations-long gap between ideal and
achieved fertility. This suggests to me that the solution isn’t arguing
or trying to bribe people who don’t want kids leave those nice folks
alone! No, the solution is finding ways to help the people who do want
kids achieve the families they desire.
... Look, capitalism
is the least bad system of economic organization and it has been
responsible over the long haul for an amazing array of good
outcomes. It has lifted masses of people out of poverty and into freedom
and made their lives better in ways that are, literally, innumerable.
the fact that capitalism has, on balance, good outcomes in the very
long term shouldn’t blind us to capitalism’s short-term failures which
are often quite spectacular.
Take parenting, for instance. We
have a system right now in which children could reasonably be construed
as a marker of social failure. On average, people with higher levels of
education and higher incomes have fewer children. And the costs of
children it’ll run you about $1.1 million to raise a middle-class kid
through college are such that to some degree, people become more
economically successful by not having them.
If we were all Homo economicus,
rational capitalism would never be able to suffice as an argument for
having children. Yet, as we said up top, children remain both private
and public goods. Here, then, I would suggest, capitalism fails us when
it comes to providing right reason for pursuing the particular good of
children. To cross that bridge, you need something else. Something I
would suggest supersedes even capitalism as a guiding precept.
then I already told you I was a good Catholic boy, and I don’t want to
belabor the point. I’ll just say that there are greater things in heaven
and earth than the free market.
Read the entire interview on the NRO site.