For a long time, the only Republican solution to any problem has been tax cuts, tax cuts, and more tax cuts. Ronald Reagan initiated this policy poverty with his Economic Recovery Tax Act in 1981. He set off the current era of huge budget deficits and growing national debt, which Bill Clinton solved with a modest tax increase and careful governance, only to have George W. Bush push tax cuts in good, Republican fashion, even as he started two wars.
Barack Obama did his best to staunch the fiscal bleeding, over stiff resistance from Republicans. He was not able to reproduce Clinton’s feat of achieving a budget surplus, not least because he came into office during what we heard incessantly was the worst recession since the Great Depression.
Now, however, Republicans have come up with a new policy idea that looks appealing on the surface, but is actually just as stupid as tax cuts, tax cuts, and more tax cuts.
Babies! Babies and more babies!
In December 2017, Paul Ryan, noting the problem of a growing number of people retiring and historically low birth rates among American women, called on people in the U.S. to have more children.
Since then, Democrat Alexandria Ocasio Cortez has won election to the House of Representatives, as part of the Democrats retaking control of that House of Congress, and brought with her a package of ideas she refers to as the Green New Deal. Rep. Ocasio Cortez and a Democrat in the Senate introduced resolutions in their respective Houses generally articulating the ideas of the Green New Deal.
He said he was joking, but it can be hard to tell with Republicans, when their supposedly serious actions so often look like satire, but Senator Mike Lee (R, duh — UT) disparaged the Green New Deal in various ways, including, you guessed it, advocating having more babies. In a typical piece of “conservative” flummery, Lee said:
“Children are a mark of the kind of personal, communal and societal optimism that is the true prerequisite for meeting national and global challenges together. The courage needed to solve climate change is nothing compared with the courage needed to start a family.”
Whatever one’s position on that question, it is well to note that, in good “conservative” fashion, Lee wants to promote his “solution” to the problem, which puts all of the onus onto individuals and couples to have more babies as part of his speech disparaging legislative solutions. The problem with that argument is that climate change is plainly the result of collective human action, usually not deliberate in the sense of intending to change the climate, but focused on individual goals without regard to larger consequences.
There are good reasons to think that legislation is essential to solving the problem of climate change.
More babies, however, are not.