Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman, who is endorsed by Texas Right to Life, spoke to the State Republican Executive Committee last week and outlined America’s pursuit of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” “These seven words,” said Smitherman, “may be the most powerful English language sentence ever written, and give us the roadmap for successful living.” On “life,” the commissioner had some refreshing points to make, addressing the shocking statistic in America that brings China’s one-child policy much closer to home than we may have imagined.
Smitherman shared how the Chinese one-child policy has “prevented,” as the Chinese government puts it, 400 million births. “The one-child policy,” he said, “has resulted in dramatically increased abortions (almost all female babies), female infanticide, female abandonment, females disproportionately found in orphanages, fines for couples who dare to have more than one child, and China’s dramatic sex imbalance, which is now approaching 120 males for 100 females.”
China’s birth policy touts the slogan “late, long, and few” to indicate that for the government, the ideal Chinese family should be delayed and kept to a minimum number of members. Today, Commissioner Smitherman pointed out, China’s total fertility rate is only 1.5, (for each couple, approximately 1.5 children are born). According to demographers, a society needs to have 2.1 fertility just to be at replacement level, having enough members of a younger generation to take the place of its predecessor.
Not surprisingly, China now faces a demographic nightmare. Its generations are stacked like an inverted triangle, with the one millennial child faced with the responsibility for caring for his two parents and four grandparents. To compound the difficulty, the one-child policy has resulted in extreme social problems due to being overly spoiled and never having to learn to share or adapt. The inverted triangle demographic combined with the social ineptitude of the “one child” converge to create a possible catastrophe for China’s future.
The bombshell, however, is Smitherman’s comparison of China’s situation with our own here in America. “I am increasingly concerned,” he said, “that in America we are developing our own ‘late, long and few’ version of the one child policy, and we have chosen it without governmental mandate, and it will result in equally disastrous consequences.” He pointed out that today in America, the fertility rate is 1.9. Among white college-educated women, it is 1.6. The result? “[W]e are not making enough babies to replace Americans that are dying and as the ‘baby boom’ generation ages.” Smitherman cited a recent WSJ article, which says: “Human ingenuity, which requires humans, is the most precious of all resources.” A dwindling fertility rate in America forebodes problems to carrying on this ingenuity. “Inverse Pyramid societies,” Smitherman concluded, “like China and increasingly like ours, don’t invest, innovate or project power around the globe – young people either spend to take care of the elderly, or they save money for when they become old.”
The commissioner went on to cite how Japan, which has a fertility rate of only 1.3, is headed for a catastrophic decline of 50% within the next one hundred years. “While life is a fundamental, inalienable right given by God,” he said, “it also turns out to be good economic policy. Healthy birth rates equal a healthy economy. Anemic birth rates equal a bad economy. This dynamic is made even worse as poor future economic prospects lead to later marriage and few children, further compounding our economic problems. Late, long, and few. It’s a vicious cycle with no end in sight.”