Why Italy's facing a birth rate apocalypse
This article may be well meaning but it gets pretty much everything wrong.
More after the jump.
"Italian women give birth to 1.39 children on average, compared the 1.58 average across the EU."
The EU average of 1.58 is apocalypse, and Italy is worse.
The idea that the problem is too little state welfare, is also ridiculous. The problem is the state takes too much money from the average citizen, and the state regulates the employer/employee relationship too much, and the state is too deeply entrenched in the lives and work of the people.
In Europe, the average citizen is little more than a tax slave. They work for a modest income, the government take the majority of it, the government taxes and regulates every industry, and commodity to near extinction, causing the costs of living to be astronomical. The costs of energy, fuel, food, transportation, transit, and everything else is silly expensive. All to feed the gargantuan appetite of government.
The choice for the average person is to have one child and be cash strapped, have two and be cash poor, or have no children and live like an American lower middle to middle class.
The cost of living cost is so high for each child, there is very little incentive to have them. The idea that this will be assuaged by a few hundred Euros per month is absurd.
Equally absurd is the idea that the people of Italy will change their government to lessen the security element. These are the descendants of the people who chose to not emigrate to the US because they liked the high security, low responsibility factors of the dying ancient Italian/European economic system circa 1850-1900.
Today these descendants will do anything to continue the high security, safety net economy, even if it means cultural suicide. Perhaps this will change, and the new younger generation will help revitalize the Italian/European economy, but we see little evidence of this. Instead we see doubling down at every turn.
"One of the main things stopping them from having more is the drastically low rate of participation of women in the workforce.
“It’s 37 percent in Italy – the lowest in the EU other than Malta,” said Addis.
“The EU average is about 67-70 percent, while the target for all states is 60 percent."
Huh? Women need time to take care of children, so stay at home mothers is optimum. But the couple cannot afford a child if the mother does not work, since the state takes so much of the income.
The solution is for the state to take less income. Or commit cultural suicide. So, they select the latter.
"Higher-income families, those with taxable earnings of more than €25,000 per year, are not eligible for the scheme, excluding about a third of parents.
The allowances are paid at higher rates for the poorest — those declaring less than €7,000 a year to the taxman."
This is a joke, right? No. In the US a family earning 10,000 is a family in poverty, they receive substantial state assistance for housing, food, healthcare, and a large EITC rebatable refund. They would pay zero in income taxes. A family earring 30,000 would be considered lower class or working class, but at the low end, they also would likely receive food assistance, subsidies for health care, housing assistance, and a substantial EITC rebatable refund. They would pay less than 10% in taxes income taxes, and likely zero.
In the US, the lower 50% of the income pool pays less then 3% of the total income tax. While that leaves the payroll tax, this is nothing compared to the tax rates Italians/Europeans pay on these tiny incomes.
Lastly, the jobs problem is directly attributable to socialism, and its cloying suffocation of businesses, and jobs.
The solution is kill off the socialism.
This they will not do.
If you would like to see Italy still with a few Italians, you should visit soon. The country will be there in the future but the Italians won't be unless they make some serious changes.
Good bye Italy, we enjoyed our many visits.
Deep down we have a nagging suspicion that we are missing the cultural elephant in the room, and the birth rate problem is not due to economics directly but the reality that the Italians simply want to live an easy, simply life, and a life as decadent as possible on their salary, and kids would crimp that lifestyle choice.
But that is so ugly, we will stick with economics.