"The Family in America"    Online Edition    [SwanSearch] 

Volume 19  Number 04


April 2005




By Allan C. Carlson, Ph.D.*

* Allan Carlson is Distinguished Fellow in Family Policy Studies at The Family Research Council and President of The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society in Rockford, IL. His latest book is Fractured Generations: Crafting a Family Policy for Twenty-First Century America, published this month by Transaction (Rutgers University). This essay began as a lecture presented February 23, 2005, to the Family Research Council, Washington, DC. It appears here with permission.

This is the graph [see Graph 1] which is causing so much anxiety in Washington this winter.  It shows the assets held in the Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Trust Fund as a percentage of annual cost.  Alternative # II is the Social Security Administration's intermediate estimate for the future, showing a 300 percent surplus in the Trust Fund as of 2005, rising to 450 percent in 2018, plummeting to zero in 2042, and falling thereafter into deficit.

Graph 1: Long-Range OASDI Trust Fund Ratios Under Alternative Assumption

[Assets as a percentage of annual cost]


Table 1: Ultimate Values1 of Key Demographic and Economic Assumptions

Ultimate Assumptions

Intermediate Low Cost High Cost

Total fertility rate (children per woman)

1.95 2.2 1.7

Average annual percentage reduction in
total age-sex-adjusted death rates from
2028 to 2078

.71 .33 1.24

Annual net immigration (in thousands)

900 1,300 672.5
Annual percentage change in:

Productivity (total U.S. economy)

1.6 1.9 1.3

Average wage in covered employment

3.9 3.4 4.4

Consumer Price Index (CPI)

2.8 1.8 3.8

Real-wage differential (percent)

1.1 1.6 .6

Unemployment rate (percent)

5.5 4.5 6.5

Annual trust fund interest rate (percent)

5.8 5.5 6.0

1Ultimate values are assumed to be reached within 5 to 25 years.

It is important to remember that these numbers represent projections by government actuaries seventy-five years into the future [see Table 1].

They base these projections on eight variables: the total fertility rate (or the average number of children born per woman over her reproductive lifespan); the average annual change in age- and sex-adjusted death rates; annual net immigration; annual productivity changes; shifts in the average wage; the consumer price index; the unemployment rate; and the annual trust fund interest rate.  Again, the assumptions used to produce the claim of “bankruptcy” by 2042 are the “Intermediate” list found here.  In making these assumptions, the actuaries largely relied on recent experience and then more or less assumed that what has recently been, will continue to be.

On the one hand, this seems altogether reasonable.  On the other hand, the one thing I can guarantee is that this “intermediate” projection will be wrong.  It assumes stasis — no change.  Over seventy-five years, the odds of a “shock” — or unexpected disturbance — in one or more of these variables are almost certain.  The problem, of course, is that the nature and timing of such “shocks” cannot be predicted.  To choose one relevant example, during the 1930's the architects of the Social Security system assumed that the nation's total fertility rate, which had fallen to 2.2 in 1935, would remain at that low level, just enough to replace the population.  They completely failed to foresee the Baby Boom, which commenced in the early 1940's and raised the Total Fertility Rate to 3.8 by 1957. 

Similarly, when Congress passed the Social Security Amendments of 1972, immediately raising pension benefits by 20 percent and indexing all future payments to increases in the average wage, it built its projections on the Total Fertility Rate experienced in 1960-63, the tail end of the Baby Boom, namely 3.6.  In fact, the TFR had already fallen below 2.1 in 1971; and Congress was aggressively pursuing new population control measures — such as the Title X birth control program — designed to reduce that number still further.  Indeed, Senator Paul Fannin of Arizona blasted his colleagues of the time who promoted this “extravagant” pension “spending scheme” based on assumptions of rapid growth, while also advocating “zero population growth and even zero economic growth in the name of ecology.”[1]  All the same, this popular, bipartisan measure passed almost unanimously.

Now it is true that the Social Security Administration does build in possible variations.  Note on this chart the so-called “Low Cost” and “High Cost” projections, involving only modest changes from the Intermediate numbers.  Even so, the possible effects are large.  For example, the “Low Cost” fertility projection of 2.2 children born per woman is just as close as the “Intermediate” number to recent American experience, where the TFR has been as high as 2.08.  And the U.S. Census Bureau actually projects a TFR for 2010 of 2.123.[2]  If just this 2.2 figure is used, about 15 percent of the looming Social Security deficit disappears.  If somewhat more flexible variations are used, as recommended by the Congressional Budget Office, a TFR of 2.31 would eliminate a third of the projected shortfall.[3]   More broadly, if all of the “Low Cost” variables occurred — a total fertility rate of 2.2 instead of 1.95; a slowdown in longevity increases; 1.3 million annual immigrants instead of 900,000; slightly lower wage increases, inflation, and unemployment — the result is spectacular.  Indeed, the Social Security funding crisis disappears (as seen by line #I on Graph 1): the Trust Fund is fat through 2080 and there is no need for benefit cuts, higher taxes, or new debt.  However, for the same reason cited before, I can also guarantee we will not achieve this result, either. 

The more interesting question is the degree to which we might be able to influence one or more of these variables.  Perhaps we are not helpless before these great material forces.  Of still greater interest is the possibility that the Social Security system itself influences these variables, creating incentives that either strengthen or weaken the public pension system as a whole. 

My argument is that fertility is just such a variable.  Specifically, I will show that the New Deal architects of Social Security crafted a system that favored a very traditional model of the family, which in turn helped to create the conditions which spawned the “Marriage Boom” and “Baby Boom” of the 1944-64 era.  I will then explain how and why this system turned on its head after 1965, generating incentives that discouraged the birth of children.  Third, I will assess whether existing reform proposals would counter this systemic problem.  And finally, I will suggest alternatives that could make a difference.

A “Family-Friendly” System  

The New Deal still sparks political passions.  Conservatives tend to see it as creating a legacy of big government and dependency.  Liberals see the New Deal as perhaps their finest hour.  Largely unappreciated today is the strong social conservatism found in the New Deal. 

This political program was, in fact, decidedly pro-family.  Some of this emphasis came from the Roman Catholic wing of the old Democratic Party, represented by Father John Ryan.  Author of the books, The Living Wage (1910) and Social Reconstruction (1920), he served on the Advisory Board to the Committee on Economic Security, which crafted the Social Security system.  He argued for promotion and defense of the breadwinner/homemaker/child-rich family, as outlined in the 1930 Papal encyclical, Quadragesimo Anno.  Part of this pro-family influence also came from the New Deal women called Maternalists: Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins; Grace Abbott and Katherine Lenroot at the U.S. Children's Bureau; Mary Anderson at the Labor Department's Women's Bureau; Molly Dewson on the Social Security Board; and even Eleanor Roosevelt, herself.  These women all favored a family wage for fathers sufficient to support a wife and children in dignity; opposed working mothers; favored mandatory training in homemaking for girls; denounced day-care schemes as assaults on childhood; favored mothers' pensions for widows; and repeatedly attacked and thwarted the proposed Equal Rights Amendment.[4]

These assumptions shaped the whole New Deal domestic program, from the National Industrial Recovery Act to the Works Progress Administration to the Social Security Act of 1935.  Regarding the latter, Abraham Epstein — a member of the Committee on Economic Security — laid out the new system's guiding assumptions regarding family:

[T]he American Standard assumes a normal family of man, wife, and two or three children, with the father fully able to provide for them out of his own income.  This standard presupposes no supplementary earnings from either the wife or young children.[5]

Testifying before Congress on the proposed Social Security Act, Grace Abbott reported:

[T]he mother's services are worth more in the home than they are in the outside labor market and...she should be enabled to stay home and care for the children.[6]

As contemporary feminist historians frequently complain, women gained benefits under the new Social Security Act primarily through their ability to conceive and bear children.  Title V provided funds for prenatal, maternal, and infant care education.  The new Aid to Dependent Children program provided mothers' pensions to women who had lost a male breadwinner.[7]

Even Old Age Insurance, which seemed to be relatively individualistic and gender-neutral on the surface, favored working men. The system covered only industrial workers, overwhelmingly male.  Most working women in fact were in jobs then exempted from the system: clerical work; sales; teaching; nursing; domestic service; farm labor; and charitable work.

The Social Security Amendments of 1939 strongly reinforced this orientation toward the breadwinner/ homemaker family.  Specifically, these Amendments incorporated the family responsibilities of men into the 1935 system.  Molly Dewson, a key architect of this measure, explained the guiding principle:

Men who can afford it always consider it their first duty to provide insurance protection for their wives and children. Survivor benefits extend the same kind of protection to families who need it most and can afford it least.[8]

Specifics of the 1939 Amendments included introduction of the “Pay as You Go” principle of financing.  Other changes included:

  • Aged women married for at least five years to eligible men would receive an extra pension equal to 50 percent of their husbands' benefits.  Neither work nor prior contributions would be necessary and divorced women were excluded.  This is the so-called “homemakers” pension.

  • Widowed mothers with children in the home were moved off of ADC, receiving instead a monthly survivors benefit equal to 75 percent of the pension her husband would have received, so long as she earned no more than $15 per month and did not remarry.

  • Surviving children received a benefit equal to half that which their father would have received.

The 1939 Amendments were a bipartisan measure: Republicans were as enthusiastic as Democrats.  Historians agree that these reforms were overwhelmingly popular, and that they saved the fledgling Social Security system from repeal.  They grafted onto Social Security the core “family values” of the American people at mid-century:  marriage; the “family wage;” the mother-at-home; a flock of children.  Deviations from these norms — divorce, illegitimacy, working mothers, deliberate childlessness — faced significant financial disincentives.

And this system, I would maintain, helped to create what came after.  Starting in the late 1930's, both the U.S. marriage and fertility rates began climbing again.  By the late 1940's, America had entered an extraordinary time of family renewal.  The average age of first marriage fell to 22 for men; 20 for women.  By age 40, over 95 percent of adults had been married.  Following a war-induced spike in 1946, the divorce rate fell steadily.  As noted earlier, the total fertility rate climbed from 2.2 children per woman in 1935 to 3.8 by 1957 and remained high through 1964.  A Social Security system focused on “family protection” combined with a “family-friendly” income tax and housing programs focused on young married couples to create a remarkably family-centered climate.

Moreover, there is econometric evidence pointing to the role of Social Security in this change.  Writing in the Journal of Population Economics, the German scholar Berthold Wigger marshalls evidence to show that moderate-sized public pensions actually have a positive effect on fertility.  Indeed, until 1965, the American system was modest in size and scope.  Many American workers remained outside the system.  In 1947, the maximum payroll tax was only $30 per year, one percent of average income; and in 1965, only $174 per year, about two percent of income.  As late as 1957, 52 percent of the elderly still reported receiving some support from their children, compared to only 42 percent receiving some support from Social Security.  In 1960, two-thirds of widowed women 75 years and older still lived with relatives.[9]  As Wigger's calculations show: “median-sized public pensions...may stimulate fertility,” a conclusion reinforced by the American experience between 1940 and 1965.[10]

The True Social Security Crisis  

However, this healthy balance did not last.  One possible explanation is that American political leaders lacked the self-discipline to maintain a median-sized public pension system.  From 1940 until 1965, Congress did keep increases in pension payments modest, largely in line with the cost-of-living.  Then came the Great Society, when money seemed limitless and all things possible.  And, as already noted, Congress tossed reason and caution to the wind in 1972, in an open, bipartisan act of pandering to the elderly vote.

Another possible explanation is that a combination of ideologies brought the system down.  The new feminism of the 1960's looked with disgust at the “breadwinner/homemaker” model enshrined in the Social Security system.  They objected to the assumption of traditional gender roles, and particularly to the homemaker's pension, which rewarded women who gave full-time care to their children.  The neo-Malthusians, or population control advocates, also roared back with force in the 1960's, appalled by public policies that favored families with more than one or two children.  And the Grey Panthers were on the march, too, elderly Americans claiming that they were the victims of “ageism,” and demanding more money and programs. 

A third possible explanation is that our Social Security system actually contained the seeds of its own destruction.  America received its first warning of this problem back in 1940.  The Cassandra in question was Gunnar Myrdal, a Social Demo-cratic economist from Sweden.  The venue was the Godkin Lectures at Harvard University.  His title: Population: A Problem for Democracy.

Myrdal argued that all pay-as-you-go public pension systems rested on a fundamental contradiction.  Before the creation of such systems, parents depended on their own children as their ultimate “safety net,” their true insurance.  If other forms of savings and asset accumulation failed, the adult children would be there to provide financial support, shelter, or care.  This created a strong incentive for having children.

However, a public pay-as-you-go system reversed the incentives.  Pensions were now provided by the government as a right.  Children were still needed to make the system work in the future.  However, Social Security represented the socialization of the private insurance value of children.  Pension benefits were now tied to work and salary; not family size.  Childless workers received the same pensions as workers who had spent much of their income to raise large families.  This created a perverse incentive: the rational, income-maximizing individual would now have no children at all.  As he or she would reason: Let others spend money on raising children who will grow up to be taxed to pay for my retirement.  Economists label this the “free rider” problem.  Myrdal called this contradiction “the burning core” of the population problem.[11]

This “Social Security-Fertility Hypothesis” has been repeatedly confirmed by other, decidedly non-socialist researchers.  Looking at developing countries, B. Entwisle and C.R. Winegarden report in Economic Development and Cultural Change that:

[Our] results suggest that increased pension expenditures... lead to lower fertility levels five or so years later.  This lower fertility in turn implies increased pension expenditure....”[12]

Studying the experience of 81 nations, both developed and developing, Charles Hohm and his research team report in The Social Science Journal:

...that after controlling for relevant developmental effects, the level and scope of a country's social security program is causally and inversely related to fertility levels.

Moreover, the reverse hypothesis also proves true:

...reduced fertility levels result in subsequent increases in social security expenditures.

The researchers emphasize the “robust” nature of their results.  From Australia to Zambia, higher pension benefits result in fewer babies, while fewer babies result in higher benefits, as each system more or less consumes itself.[13]

Writing in Economic Inquiry, Isaac Ehrlich and Francis Lui are more blunt:

Regardless of any potential welfare implications of social security, our analysis shows that a proportional tax, under the defined benefits, PAYG system operating in many countries, will adversely affect fertility, savings, or investment in human capital [that is, in children]....The specter of financial collapse...is an inevitable outcome of persistent secular reductions in fertility, labor productivity, and the aging of the population, given the mechanics of the PAYG scheme.[14]

This is, I suggest, the real Social Security crisis facing America.  We can see this process at work in the United States during the 1960's and 1970's with potential children consumed by rising expenditures for social insurance directed primarily to the elderly (See Table 2).

Table 2:


U.S. Total
Fertility Rate
U.S. Expenditures
Social Insurance
As % of GDP
1960 3.7 $19.3 Billion 3.8%
1965 2.9 $28.1 Billion 4.0%
1970 2.5 $54.7 Billion 5.3%
1975 1.8 $123.0 Billion 7.0%

Note how the fall of the U.S. Total Fertility Rate by 50 percent occurred in inverse relationship to an 85 percent increase in the scope of public expenditures for social insurance, precisely as predicted by Dr. Myrdal.  Moreover, this same time period saw the near disappearance of family-centered solutions to old-age security.  As example, the percentage of the elderly receiving aid from their grown children fell from 52.5 percent in 1957 to only 4 percent by 1980.

On top of this apparent innate dilemma of social insurance looms another problem with adverse fertility effects: let us call it the “Generation X Syndrome.”  A team of Dutch scholars at Tilburg University has shown that a pay-as-you-go pension scheme has a positive fertility effect on the first generation being taxed, possibly due both to the low tax rates involved and the certainty of a new retirement benefit.  In contrast, young adults of the early 21st Century — such as Generation X — already face almost unprecedented overall taxes and — as surveys repeatedly show — express doubt that they will ever gain much of a return from Social Security.  In the absence of high taxes, this cynicism toward “the generational contract” might have led these young adults back to a family-centered solution: having more children.  But in the real world context of already high taxes, the actual effect is for them to invest more in private savings, rather than in children.  In short, children — living and potential — are still seen primarily as already socialized “public” goods.  Better to save than create a baby.[15] 

All of these results point to one conclusion: fertility is at least partially a function of public policy.  The crisis of Social Security that we now face is, in part, the result of perverse incentives built into the very system.  This also suggests that fertility is a variable that we can effect.  If past policy actions drove it down, perhaps future policy actions might allow fertility to rise again. 

Work by the Congressional Budget Office is helpful here.  In its 1999 Report on Uncertainty in Social Security's Long-Term Finances, the CBO uses a far wider range of possible future fertility rates, varying from a minimum TFR of 0.5 to a maximum of 3.5 in any given year, and a low of 1.0 and a high of 3.0 over time.  The CBO reasons:

Another way to view the uncertainty about fertility is to look at other factors that may have caused fluctuations over time.  The Depression, World War II, the great postwar economic expansion, the discovery of cheap and effective birth control — all of those events had unpredictable and dramatic effects on the fertility rate.  By predicting uncertainty that is consistent with past variation, CBO is implicitly assuming that such events could happen again.[16]

This strikes me as both reasonable, and hopeful. 

Family Tests  

How, then, should a pro-family advocate judge rival reform plans for Social Security?  I suggest four tests:

  1. The anti-natalist incentives of a pay-as-you-go pension system weaken and discourage families and the birth of children.  Does the proposal reduce or reverse these incentives?

  2. Even in 2005, there remain some pro-family components of the social security system, including the homemakers' pension (one of the few remaining public recognitions given to the work of a parent at home) and survivors' insurance.  Does the proposed reform protect or enhance these components?

  3. The broad effect of social insurance has been to substitute state programs for natural family bonds.  Does the proposal do anything to strengthen inter-generational bonds within families? And...

  4. Funding current reforms with new debt will only add to the already heavy future tax burden of the young, and enhance the state-induced negative effects on fertility.  Does the proposal avoid massive new public debt?

Using these principals, let us consider various reform proposals.  One approach is simply to defend the system as it is, tied to some increase in the retirement age and/or a rise in or extension of the payroll tax.  This alternative would preserve the homemaker's and survivors' benefits and avoid new debt.  However, it would leave in place existing incentives against the birth of children and would do nothing to rebind the generations of a family.  The “true” crisis would remain.

What about the creation of individual accounts?  Here, under one popular scenario, younger workers could divert two-thirds of their individual payroll tax payment into a mutual-fund-like account.  Alas, while I want to believe in the magic of these accounts, I face certain difficulties here.  Relative to the fertility issue, I think economist John Mueller is right: “compulsory individual financial accounts ... would worsen the demographic problem.”  He quotes Martin Feldstein to the effect that the whole plan rests on forcing “reduced consumption” on young adults while also pushing them toward the accumulation of a “dedicated capital stock.”[17]  Translated from “economese,” this means less money for young adults to invest in children; and — as a probable result — fewer children.  Since individual accounts would also be tied to reduced benefits, the homemaker's pension would shrink, as would survivors' insurance.  On a more positive note, if funds in individual accounts were made fully transferable to heirs at the insured's time of death, they could serve as a kind of patrimony and help rebind the generations; however, if not fully transferable, there would be no real gain here.  Finally, most “individual account” plans assume borrowing up to $2 trillion to finance the transition, a debt which would fall on young adults and further discourage them from family formation and children. 

Writing in The Weekly Standard last November, Mr. Mueller proposes an alternative.  Allow young workers to cut their payroll taxes now, in exchange for a reduced level of future benefits.  Relative to fertility, this would let young adults keep more of what they earn, which could be invested in children.  However, this plan does not take into account the “Generation X Syndrome,” and the probability that the money retained would — if not immediately consumed — simply be put into another form of savings, rather than invested in children.  Moreover, the Mueller plan would reduce the homemaker's and survivors' benefits, as well.  On the plus side, it apparently would not require direct new debt; merely the early spending down of the existing Trust Fund surplus.

Another provocative idea comes from Phillip Longman, of the New American Foundation.  Writing this January in The Washington Post, he proposes giving payroll tax relief to married parents who successfully raise their children:

For example, have one child, and the payroll tax you pay (and that your employer normally pays) drops by one third.  A second child would be worth a two-thirds reduction in payroll taxes.  Have three or more children and you wouldn't have any payroll taxes again until your youngest child turned 18.[18]

Parents would still receive full benefits on retirement, provided that all their children had graduated from high school.  However, non-parents would face a reduction in benefits to pay for the change, “at least until birthrates rose sufficiently to increase the system's tax base and avoid rapid population aging.”  Well, this approach would probably solve the system's fertility problem:  babies would become a very valuable tax shelter.  It would clearly preserve, and even enhance, the homemaker's and survivors' benefits, for those with three children.  And it seems to avoid new debt.  However, its effects on family intergenerational bonds are unclear.

Another Way  

My own preference would be for a modified version of this approach.  There is still enough of the “libertarian” in me to want to reduce the overall scope of the welfare state, so that natural family bonds might recover.  Specifically, for “Generation X” and younger, I propose linking a 20 percent reduction in future OASDI benefits (perhaps achieved by fixing future benefit increases half-way between the CPI and the wage index) to a series of credits:

Taxpayers should be granted a credit of 25 percent against their total FICA tax (employer's and employee's portions) for each child born or adopted, a credit to be continued until the child reaches age thirteen.  This would mean that a family with four children, ages twelve and under, would pay no FICA tax in that year (but would still receive all due employment credit).

Second, taxpayers should also be granted a 25 percent credit against their total FICA tax for each elderly parent or grandparent residing in the taxpayer's home.

Third, for each child born, a mother should receive three years (or 12 quarters) of employment credits (calculated at the median fulltime income) toward her future Social Security pension.

Fourth, a person should also receive one year's employment credit toward Social Security, at the same median income level, if he or she served as the primary care giver for an elderly relative residing in his or her home. 

This approach would also give a strong incentive toward bearing and rearing children.  It would strengthen the pension claims of homemakers and parents-at-home, by preserving their net value and making them more direct and visible.  It would encourage stronger inter-generational bonds within families.  It calls for no new debt.  This plan also builds on recent econometric findings, namely that:

...[state] [p]ensions and child allowances [or in the American system, tax credits] are like Siamese twins: you should see neither of them or both together, but never one without the other.[19]

If lost revenue from the credits exceeds benefit reductions, I would favor either raising the cap on taxable income or widening the definition of income subject to the payroll tax.

So much for my private policy fantasy.  Is there any way to rescue the idea of individual accounts, which is the real innovation on the table this political season?  Yes, there is.  The key here, as just hinted at, is to link any benefit reduction to a substantial new child benefit.  As econometric analysis shows, this is the only way to prevent the change from aggravating the fertility problem: “downsizing the PAYG-scheme can bring about an...improvement [only] if it is combined with the introduction of a [new] child allowance scheme.”[20]  In America, this benefit could be delivered either through a new child credit against payroll taxes, such as suggested by Mr. Longman or myself, or through a substantive increase in the existing Child Tax Credit in the income tax: say, to $2,000 per child; tied to an elimination of existing income limits on eligibility and extended to dependent children through age 18.  This would blunt, even reverse, the system's incentives against children.  Any reduction in the homemaker benefit would be compensated for by this favorable tax recognition of dependent children, particularly for larger families.  If the credit is against the income tax, how could we cover the lost revenue?  Perhaps a “family support” surtax of from 1 to 2 percent on incomes over $150,000 (some of which would come back to the relatively well-off with children through the expanded child tax credit).  Only persons both well-off and childless would pay significantly more tax under this approach.  This group can afford it, and — as “free riders” relative to children — they owe it to their nation.

Some in this audience, I suspect, were put off by my initial description of the Social Security system of 1939: its commitment to a very traditional family order; its assumption of rigid gender roles.  Even so, I urge you to consider that it was this vision of family life that gave moral coherence and popular support to the program of social insurance.  It was something more than a mere insurance plan; it embodied the values and virtues of the American nation.  And it helped produce a new flowering of family life in mid-20th Century America.

In this new century, I believe, any vision of Social Security — including one resting on individual accounts — must build on a similar moral grounding.  The details need not be the same.  However, I do predict that only a commitment to children, to family living, and to a rebinding of the generations will be up to the task.



1   Congressional Record, 94th Congress, 2nd Session (June 29, 1972): S23320; and (July 31, 1972): S26029.

2   Table 89, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2003.

3   Uncertainty in Social Security's Long-Term Finances: A Stochastic Analysis (Washington, DC: Congressional Budget Office, 2001): Chapters III and IV.

4   See: Allan Carlson, The ÔAmerican Way”: Family and Community in the Shaping of the American Identity (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2003): Chapter 3.

5   Abraham Epstein, Insecurity: A Challenge to America (New York: Harrison Smith and Robert Haas, 1933): 101-02.

6   Grace Abbott, From Relief to Social Security (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1941): 211.

7   See: Suzanne Mettler, Dividing Citizens: Gender and Federalism in New Deal Public Policy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998): 132.

8   Quoted in Mettler, Dividing Citizens, p. 100.

9   Hugh Heclo, “The Political Foundations of Anti-Poverty Policy.”  Paper presented at the conference, “Poverty and Policy: Retrospect and Prospects,” sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, December 6-8, 1984: 27-28.

10  Berthold U. Wigger, “Pay-as-you-go financed public pensions in a model of endogenous growth and fertility,” Journal of Population Economics 12 (1999): 625.

11   See: Gunnar Myrdal, Population: A Problem for Democracy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1940): 197-200.

12   B. Entwisle and C.R. Winegarden, “Fertility and Pension Programs in LDCs: A Model of Mutual Reinforcement,” Economic Development and Cultural Change 32 (1984): 332-32, 348.

13   Charles F. Hohm, et al., “A Reappraisal of the Social Security-Fertility Hypothesis: A Bidirectional Approach,” The Social Science Journal 23 (1986): 163.

14   Isaac Ehrlich and Francis T. Lui, “Social Security, the Family, and Economic Growth,” Economic Inquiry 36 (July 1998): 404.

15   Bas van Groezen, et al, “Family Size, Looming Demographic Changes and the Efficiency of Social Security Reform.”  Paper prepared at the Department of Economics, Tilburg University, March 9, 2000: pp. 12-13.  At http://greywww.kub.nl:2080/greyfiles/center/2000/doc/27.pdf  (2/12/05).

16    Uncertainty in Social Security's Long-Term Finances, Chapter IV, p. 6.

17   John Mueller, “Taxes, Social Security and the Politics of Reform,” The Weekly Standard (November 29, 2004).

18   Phillip Longman, “Give More Credit to Prolific Parents,” The Washington Post (January 9, 2005): B7.

19   Van Groezen, “Family Size, Looming Demographic Changes and the Efficiency of Social Security Reform,” p. 24.

20   Ibid., p. 7.


On The March 2005 Special Edition of The Family in America



•  “This family Manifesto is nothing short of a blueprint for western survival.  The durability of our culture and of its peace and prosperity will never be seriously jeopardized by outside threats.  The only real perils our future faces are the forces eroding the foundations of marriage and family.  The safety of our women, the security of our children, and the sturdiness of our civic institutions all depend on sculpting the raw rock of masculine aggressiveness and sexuality into the work of art we call marriage. Prudent people protect it.  The family Manifestois not only a blueprint for survival, it is a bugle call.”

   ~ Rabbi Daniel Lapin, President, Toward Tradition


•  “Eagle Forum is happy to endorse and support the family Manifesto.  The breakdown of the traditional family in America is the principal cause of most of our social problems: school dropouts, crime, drugs, bankruptcy, out-of-wedlock births, and children growing up without their fathers in the home.  It's time that we address the cause of these problems — the failure of millions of Americans to form and maintain faithfulness to the traditional family — instead of merely paying taxes to cover some of the heavy costs of the symptoms.  While there are many causes for the decline in respect for the traditional family, a great deal of the blame must be assigned to unwise and unjust government policies and appropriations.  I hope that this family Manifesto will start us on the path to constructive policies at every level of government.”

   ~ Phyllis Schlafly, President, Eagle Forum


•  “The pro-family movement has long needed a work that provides a broad philosophical overview of the traditional family.  The Natural Family: A Manifesto fills that need admirably.  Beautifully written, cogently argued.”

   ~ Gary Bauer, President, American Values


•  “We have needed an unambiguous statement about the family that explains: family structure makes a difference; that the traditional family with a faithful, married mother and a father is essential to the well-being of women and men, as well as vital to the well-being of children.”  

   ~ Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D. Senior Fellow, Concerned Women for America


•  “In every developed nation of the world, low birthrates are leading to rapid population aging and often to steep population loss.  On current trends, secular societies that don't embrace the pro-natal, pro-family values championed by this Manifestowill fade away, while societies that learn how to restore the natural fertility of the natural family will inherit the Earth.”

   ~ Phillip Longman, Senior Fellow, New America Foundation; author, The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity

•  “The Natural Family: A Manifesto is brilliant — the most important manifesto of the last one hundred years.  Every person should read it, especially those in government and the mass media.  In clear, concise, winsome language, it argues the critical importance of the role of the family in society and what needs to be done to create a better world.  This manifesto is for the United States and the world.  I, for one, will do my best to send it to as many opinion leaders as possible and follow up with a conversation to help them understand its significance.”

   ~ Ted Baehr, President, Christian Film and Television Commission; Editor, Movieguide


•  “I am pleased to offer my full support to Dr. Allan Carlson and Paul Mero for their excellent work in creating The Natural Family: A ManifestoI have been privileged to work with Dr. Carlson in creating tax legislation to support parents who make the sacrifice to stay at home and raise their children, as well as to increase flexible employment opportunities such as telecommuting to help parents spend more time with their children.  The continued strength of our nation directly depends upon the strength of the natural family unit.  Mothers and fathers must be supported in raising children of courage and character, and I am proud of the work Dr. Carlson and Paul Mero have done to advance this most urgent and necessary of causes.” 

   ~ Congressman Lee R. Terry, Nebraska


•  “I wholeheartedly endorse The Natural Family: A Manifesto.  I agree with their commitment to defend our family systems against common foes who would attempt to undermine marriage, the traditional family and basic family values.”

   ~ Dr. Jerry Falwell, Founder and Chancellor, Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia


•  “A concise yet penetrating treatise that ties history with contemporary issues facing the natural family.  The Manifesto is at once a provocative social critique ... a profound call to service ... a prophetic vision of the Creator's intention concerning society's lowest common denominator — the natural family.  The authors present us with a commitment that is relevant and universal.  I will use it as a primer for congregational life in our movement and beyond.

   ~ John Kie Vining, D. Min., Director, Family Ministries Church of God


•  “The Natural Family: A Manifesto is not only the clearest, easy-to-read summary of the historical and contemporary plight of the family I have seen, it also presents a bold agenda for action.  It's rare to find a document that genuinely excites the heart and engages the mind towards a vision for the family.  Well done!

~ Paul Russell, Australian Family Association - South Australian Branch


•  “This [family Manifesto] is great.”

   ~ Rick Warren, Author, The Purpose Driven Life and Pastor, Saddleback Church





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