If a one-child policy comes to America, what will it look like?

I've long believed that at some point in the  not-too-distant future, the population control movement will become a force in American politics. We haven't seen any serious policy proposals for this yet, but it seems likely that we will in the years to come.

That's led me to contemplate what coercive population control would look like in America. I doubt it would look like China's one-child policy of forced abortion and sterilization. "Softer" forms coercion are a little bit more palatable to the electorate. Here's how a vigorous population control campaign might look:
  1. The campaign to implement population control will begin with a crisis.
    Remember when the Newtown shooting tragedy of last December was shamelessly used by gun confiscation advocates to promote gun control policy under the slogan, "If it saves even one life, it's worth it!"?

    Imagine a freak category five hurricane that tears through Miami before crossing the Gulf of Mexico and slamming into Houston. It isn't too hard to envision politicians tripping over each other to blame carbon emissions and calling for climate change policy that can "save even one life." A few years ago, Financial Post writer Diane Francis offered her prescription for offsetting carbon emissions: "A planetary law, such as China's one-child policy, is the only way to reverse the disastrous global birthrate."
  2.  The state will continue to try to erode the dignity and the integrity of the natural family.
    The Scottish government has been pushing a proposal to assign a state guardian in the interest of "preventing child abuse." Now as creepy as this is, what does it have to do with coercive population control?

    Establishing the notion that children belong to the state or to society erodes the truth that authority over children properly and naturally belongs to their parents. And if children belong to the state, it's the state that has the power to determine whether they come into existence. This mentality to raising children explains why some academics and policy analysts espouse the opinion that there is no right to have children, except under license of the state.

    "[W]e have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to their communities." --MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry

  3. There will be heavy economic incentives to limit children.Families with children--particularly many children--benefit from the $1,000 per child tax credit. Rather than cutting wasteful government spending, we could inch closer to covering the deficit by ending the child tax credit for any children after two. For a family of six, that could mean a loss of $4,000--a significant hit.

    Taxes aren't the only way to discourage having children. Earlier, I cited concern for the environment as a pretext for population control. As policymakers deliberate the implementation of carbon credits that can be bought, sold or traded, the idea has been floated to offer financial incentives families that choose to have fewer children. It might also be possible to impose confiscatory taxes for each subsequent child after one or two. 

  4.  Your insurance won't pay for more than two babies.Of course your Obamacare insurance plan will cover birth control, sterilization and abortion. All of these services supposedly benefit the state by reducing federal spending. But next year, when we're required by law to purchase government-dictated insurance plans that are already going to cost the government a fortune, there's going to be pressure for cost control.

    One way to save money is to limit the number of births covered by insurance plans--especially when a C-section can easily run $30,000. I could see the government agreeing to cover two births. After that, you're still technically allowed to have kids. But if you need a C-section or have any complications, you had better be prepared to declare bankruptcy.
Do all of these points sound absurd? Absolutely. But only a few short years ago, who'd have thought that the government would levy crippling fines to businesses that refuse to pay for their employees' birth control?

Note: This post was edited to reflect the first commenter below--who pointed out that the costs of Obamacare are not projected to double the original estimates over the first ten years of the law. For additional information, see my comment below.


  1. Obamacare costs didn't double. That is sensationalist red meat for the base, not based in reality.


  2. Thank you, Anonymous 9:31. Your point was correct, and I have changed the post to reflect that.

    I would dispute, however, the notion that cost estimates are "sensationalist" or "red meat for the base." (There seems to be some contingent of Badger Catholic visitors who believe I'm a partisan hack, which is odd given that I am politically unaffiliated.)

    Sure, the estimate didn't double for the first ten years. But the CBO's projected cost for the first decade was always a misleading figure from the start. As the article you posted noted:

    "...the supposed ten-year gross costs of the plan reflected only six years of coverage costs from full implementation..."

    Taxes for this legislation began revenue well before "full" coverage begins next year.

    Again, you're right in the facts you present, but if you're accusing critics of the law's costs for politicizing the discussion, I think it's a two-way street.

  3. All well and good, but "costs" are not limited to "direct costs paid by Gummint."

    A comprehensive "cost" figure should include the cost of reducing part-time work from >30 hours/week but <40 hours/week to merely 30 (or less.)

    Ask anyone who now must find a SECOND part-time job.


Please contact matt@badgercatholic.com if you have issues commenting.