Thursday, August 12, 2010
Children not encouraged in modern societies
A recipe for general decline
Our society does not -- despite rhetoric to the contrary -- put much value on raising children. Present budget policies punish parents, who are taxed heavily to support the elderly. Meanwhile, tax breaks for children are modest. If deficit reduction aggravates these biases, more Americans may choose not to have children or to have fewer children. Down that path lies economic decline.
Societies that cannot replace their populations discourage investment and innovation. They have stagnant or shrinking markets for goods and services. With older populations, they resist change. For a country to stabilize its population -- discounting immigration -- women must have an average of about two children. That's a "fertility rate" of two. Many countries with struggling economies are well below that. Japan's fertility rate is 1.2. Italy's is 1.3, as is Spain's. These countries are having about one child for every two adults.
The U.S. fertility rate isn't yet close to these dismal levels. In 2007, it was at the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman, reports the National Center for Health Statistics. Hispanics were at 3.0, and other groups clustered near replacement: 1.9 for non-Hispanic whites, 2.1 for non-Hispanic blacks and 2.0 for Asian Americans. (Not all the news is good. About 40 percent of births are to unmarried mothers; many children are entering poor or unstable homes.)
While having a child is a deeply personal decision, it's also shaped by culture, religion, economics and government policy. "No one has a good answer" as to why fertility varies among countries, says sociologist Andrew Cherlin of Johns Hopkins University. Eroding religious belief in Europe may partly explain lowered birth rates. In Japan, young women may be rebelling against their mothers' isolated lives of child-rearing. General optimism and pessimism count. Hopefulness fueled America's baby boom. After the Soviet Union's collapse, says Cherlin, "anxiety for the future" depressed birth rates in Russia and Eastern Europe.
In poor societies, people have children to improve their economic well-being by increasing the number of family workers and providing support for parents in their old age. In wealthy societies, the logic often reverses. Government now supports the elderly, diminishing the need for children. By some studies, the safety nets for retirees have reduced fertility rates by 0.5 children in the United States and almost 1.0 in Western Europe, reports economist Robert Stein in the journal National Affairs. Similarly, some couples don't have children because they don't want to sacrifice their lifestyles to the time and expense of a family.
We need to avoid Western Europe's mix of high taxes, low birth rates and feeble economic growth. Young Americans already face a bleak labor market that cannot instill confidence about having children. Piling on higher taxes won't help. "If higher taxes make it more expensive to raise children," says demographer Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute, "people will think more about having another child." That seems common sense, despite the multiple influences on becoming parents.
Breastfeeding British mother told 'put them away or get off' the bus
A BUS company has been scolded after one its driver allegedly told a breastfeeding mother to them "put them away or get off". Lauren McKenna, 22, was forced to walk more than kilometre home with her six-week-old baby D'Marion after the incident on a bus service in Manchester, northern England, The Daily Mail reported.
"I started to feed D'Marion and like normal I lifted up my jumper, pulled my t-shirt down and put a blanket over his head so nobody could see anything," she said. "I noticed the driver kept looking in his mirror at me and turning around and when we got to [local stop] Ancoats he stopped and said, 'Are you breastfeeding?'
"When I said yes he said, 'You can't do that on here.' He said you can either 'put them away', which didn't make sense because he couldn't see anything, or 'get off the bus'. I was fuming so I got off the bus."
Ms McKenna later called the bus firm, Stagecoach, to complain, but a female operator told her: "You shouldn't be doing it should you."
When contacted by the Mail, a spokesman for Stagecoach said: "We fully support mothers who wish to breastfeed their babies. "We are taking this matter extremely seriously and are carrying out a thorough investigation into this case, including a review of CCTV evidence from our buses."
In March this year, new mother Amy Wootten sparked outrage by claiming she was thrown off a bus in southwestern England while breastfeeding her daughter, following a passenger complaint about her "indecent exposure." However, after reviewing CCTV footage, the bus operator said it could find no evidence of the incident and accused her of making the story up.
A senior citizen lies down to stop "travellers" invading a park. Guess whom the police move in on?
A pensioner who tried to stop travellers trespassing on a park in a conservation area was ordered to move by police - only for around 30 caravans [trailers] to then colonise the site.
At one point the 70-year-old man was on the ground with his face almost touching the wheels of a truck towing a caravan which had stopped with its bumper over his head.
The drama unfolded when seven caravans moved on to the historic site in the shadow of a 13th century church under cover of darkness after removing part of a wooden fence rail at its boundary.
The pensioner lay down across the missing section as five more caravans arrived at the site yards from his home.
The man, who didn't want to be identified for fear of reprisals, said: 'The police arrived and told me to move. I asked them for their inspector's name and they refused. 'Meanwhile, the travellers were threatening to come back and "sort me out" but the police did not act on that. I was so disgusted I went home.'
The caravans moved a short distance away while police guarded Yardley Old Park in Yardley, Birmingham. But after 30 minutes officers left, allowing the mainly Irish travellers access to the beauty spot which is bordered by the medieval Old Grammar School and Grade I listed St Edburgha's Church, which dates back some 800 years.
Tim Moon, 28, whose family home overlooks the 30-acre park, said police seemed 'more interested in keeping the traffic moving' than stopping more travellers from getting in. He said: 'We heard a commotion and I saw this man lying across the pavement where the travellers had removed the fencing. Travellers were standing over him and gesturing for him to move. One man tried to drag him away by the feet. 'The caravans were blocking the road and traffic was backed up in both directions - the police seemed to just want to get the cars moving again.'
The first travellers arrived on Thursday night. Since the second convoy was confronted by the pensioner on Sunday, more caravans have arrived on a daily basis.
Suzanne Lyons, 56, whose home overlooks the park, said: 'We needed help from the police but whilst there was a lot of finger wagging going on, there hasn't been much action.'
Yesterday the travellers could be seen reclining on patio furniture in the sunshine. Bags of rubbish were piled up by an oak tree but there was no evidence that the trespassers had begun moving earth or laying hardcore.
One traveller said they were from three distinct groups who had been staying locally at other illegal sites. They said they planned to leave by tomorrow, when an eviction notice served on them by Tory-run Birmingham City Council runs out. Bailiffs can remove them if they remain beyond 6pm tomorrow.
Liberal Democrat councillor Neil Eustace said the council had asked police to immediately remove the travellers as soon as it became aware of the problem last Friday, using powers to tackle trespassers, but officers had refused because in most instances it is considered a civil, rather than criminal offence.
Superintendent Mick Gillick from West Midlands Police said officers advised the pensioner to move 'for his own safety'. He added: 'The police have no powers to enforce civil law, but are supporting the landlords ( Birmingham City Council). 'No criminal offences have been reported to the police.
'Local officers are listening to residents and other stakeholders to ensure their concerns are recorded and investigated where necessary.'
He said around six caravans had entered the park from a second entrance before the pensioner's protest. But residents said all caravans entered from the spot the man was attempting to guard.
White couple face discrimination probe after 'refusing to sell Chicago home to black family'
Not much left of private property rights in America
A white couple are facing a discrimination probe after they allegedly refused to sell their house to a black family because of their race. Daniel and Adrienne Sabbia are said to have taken their home off the market even though the £1.1million offer from George Willborn and wife Peytyn was the highest they had received.
When an investigation began they claimed they changed their mind and wanted to keep their children in their current schools. But their estate agent Jeffrey Lowe blew their cover when he told officials that Mr Sabbia had expressed a preference not to sell his home to an African-American, it is said.
Two months after the row erupted the house in Chicago was quietly relisted by Mr Lowe, with all its furniture, for £1.1million.
The Willborns have now made a complaint to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Sabbias and Mr Lowe face federal discrimination charges. The matter will now be heard by an administrative judge although it could end up in the higher jurisdiction of a U.S. District Court. If the court finds that discrimination had taken place then damages could be awarded to the Willborns.
The issue of injunctive relief may also come up to deter further discrimination and fines up to £10,000 and legal costs. Should the case end up in the federal court, punitive damages may also be imposed as well.
'It's unacceptable,' said radio show host Mr Willborn. 'People who do this and companies who allow it should be held accountable.'
The Sabbia's 8,000sq ft house was listed for £1.3million but was dropped to £1.1million when it failed to sell. The offer from the Willborns was the highest in the two years it had been on the market.
John Trasviña, HUD assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity said: 'Racial fairness is important at all income levels. 'Civil rights enforcement must be the effective shield against housing discrimination that in this case wealth was not.'
SOURCE (See the original for links)
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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