Meanwhile, Ross Douthat is putting his big forehead to use by dreaming up fun ways to eliminate Social Security via the payroll tax. His two recent posts on the matter reveal his fundamental, very un-Christian disregard for anyone without a six-figure income and extensive benefits. Douthat doesn't try very hard to convince others of his cute little idea; he didn't get where he is today by thinking and he obviously sees no reason why he should start now.
But before we dive into the dry matter of taxes and Douthat's continuing effort to give his masters a minimum of value for their inexplicably generous pay, let us detour to the Douthat corner of SexyTown, population of one. TBogg has already covered Douthat's musings on how to get Americans to take one for the team by bearing more children then foreigners because civilization demands it but such a fascinating subject demands more examination.
The retreat from child rearing is, at some level, a symptom of late-modern exhaustion — a decadence that first arose in the West but now haunts rich societies around the globe. It’s a spirit that privileges the present over the future, chooses stagnation over innovation, prefers what already exists over what might be. It embraces the comforts and pleasures of modernity, while shrugging off the basic sacrifices that built our civilization in the first place.
This charming passage is an excellent example of the incoherence of Douthat's supposed philosophy. He wants to cut the payroll tax to give people more money now while saying that people are supposed to sacrifice their current financial well-being for the sake of the needs of future populations. If we are not supposed to put aside money for our own use in the future via Social Security, why on earth would we choose to spend thousands of more money now by having more children? How selfish can Douthat be?
Three thousand for pre-natal care, another three thousand for delivery (in 1990s dollars), hundreds more on clothing, furniture, bedding, diapers, other medical bills. And that's just for the baby. Lost wages, school expenses, extracurricular activity expenses, more clothing, more food, a bigger house, a better neighborhood, a car, insurance, car repairs, gas, entertainment expenses. And God forbid there should be a problem and the parents would have to spend tens of thousands more on doctors, therapies, and drugs.
As we shall soon see, Douthat wants a consumption tax to make up for the trillions lost if the payroll tax is eliminated. That would make having a baby even more onerous. But most of all, as TBogg points out, Douthat himself is not willing to do what he demands of everyone else. Douthat's wife is (gasp!) a working woman and as far as we know she has not stopped working to raise little Salome Jezebel Douthat and pump out many more little Douthats. How decadent! How selfish! How un-Godly! Why do people refuse to embrace innovation by controlling fertility? Why do they insist on standing athwart history yelling Stop! when they could be embracing the future instead? Don't they know that past generations, who had no choice in the matter regarding fertility, sacrificed by having children to build our civilization?
Since we all know that Douthat is a conservative Catholic who would never interfere with God's Plan for his Sacred sperm by refusing to accept God's Gift of a dozen or so children, we are forced to conclude that either Douthat has had sex but once in his life, or that in his ultimate arrogance Douthat has decided that he, not God, should determine how and when his
Just look at the cuteness of Mrs. Douthat! How could Ross not want to force her to overbear?
The next time you run into her on the street, you be sure to ask Mrs. Douthat why she's not obeying her husband and popping out more babies for God and Christendom. It's not like our sexuality is a personal matter between ourselves, our partners, and our gods and goddesses. It's a matter of public record and must be discussed at every opportunity, the better to shame and control our neighbors.