Welcome to the Baby Bust

When House Speaker Paul Ryan urged U.S. women to have more children, and Ross Douthat requested “More babies, please,” in a New York Times column, they openly expressed what U.S. policymakers have been discussing for decades with greater discretion.  Using technical language like “age structure,” “dependency ratio,” and “entitlement crisis,” establishment think tanks are raising the alarm: if U.S. women don’t get busy having more children, we’ll face an aging workforce, slack consumer demand, and a stagnant economy.

1-US-Birthrate-1900-2018-SOURCE-v2Feminists generally believe that a prudish religious bloc is responsible for the protracted fight over reproductive freedom in the U.S., and that politicians only attack abortion and birth control to appeal to those “values voters.”  But hidden behind this conventional explanation is a dramatic fight over women’s reproductive labor.  Continue reading “Welcome to the Baby Bust”