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I found a post in my RSS feed about a remark made by the Australian prime minister about women who ought to be having babies. (The article is here: "Women Owe Society Neither Babies Nor Excuses.") Chally writes about a "problem" they're having in Australia:

"Prime Minister Kevin Rudd gave a speech ‘about the ”crisis” of Australia’s ageing population and the various economic challenges we will face as a result.’ For context, Australia's birth rate has been below the replacement rate of 2.1 since the 1970s and Australia is strict on immigration."

I just can't get my head around this. Last night I got together with a bunch of moms and we griped about our problems of overcrowding in the elementary school system. The Seattle School District is struggling simply to find seats for all its kids - a problem exacerbated by school segregation, lack of funding for basic school services in poorer neighborhoods, and the phenomenon of families actually MOVING to get into "the good schools." In general, the people I talk to on a daily basis, here in liberal, middle-class America, are all worried about climate change, overcrowding, and so forth.

Now here, Australia has solved this problem. However they did it, they got the birth rate down. Good news for women! Families! The environment.

But . . . bad news for capitalism, business, development. So it's got to go. Australia, apparently, needs more people. But for some inexplicable reason, the problem cited in the quote (low birth rate) can't be solved with the solution staring me in the face (loosen immigration requirements). No, the prime minister has to go to women and ask them to have more kids.

Is there anything more frustrating than to see a solution to a problem that plagues you daily, and then see an official government figure undercut it - by insulting women, no less?

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