Did you know that the Australian government is paying people to have babies? In an attempt to increase their birth rate, they’re paying mothers a one-time bonus of $4,000 following the birth of their children (the bonus will increase to $5,000 in July 2008).
According to a local economic expert, however, this plan isn’t being applied in a very efficient manner — they’re paying mothers the same amount for every child, including the first one, yet many people would have had that child anyway. Beyond this, Australia’s not actually at risk of a declining population size, which makes this policy all the more curious.
As odd as this all might sound, Australia isn’t alone. In fact, Singapore has a similar payment scheme. I’ve also written about Korean companies that are offering incentives to couples that have kids, and of course the Child Tax Credit here in the United States.
Is it just me, or is there something sort of whack with all of this? Don’t get me wrong, we’re obviously not against large families, but… We had our kids because we wanted them, not because someone was paying us or offering incentives.