President of the Vatican bank Ettore Gotti Tedeschi said July 21 that the best solution to the current economic crisis is for families to have more children.
Developed nations “must invest in the family and in children in order to generate rapid economic growth,” Tedeschi said in an editorial in the Vatican paper L'Osservatore Romano.
The Vatican bank president explained that because there aren't enough young people in society to support the increasing amount of elderly, population aging “can be considered the true origin of the current economic crisis.”
He said that in Western countries, such as the U.S. and Europe in particular, the percentage of the population over 60 years old continues to grow considerably. The “cost of this tendency is not sustainable,” he added.
Steven Mosher, the head of the Population Research Institute based in Virginia, agreed with the Vatican official's take. “Larger families are absolutely the answer to the crisis,” he told CNA on July 21.
“If Americans averaged three children, the Social Security Trust Fund would be solvent forever, without recourse to raising taxes, postponing the age at retirement, or reducing benefits,” Mosher said.
“America would possess a more robust economy and our standard of living would be higher.”
Tedeschi warned in his editorial that within the next decade, the ever-increasing percentage of people who retire will become more of a fixed cost that will be impossible to absorb and sustain by younger workers.
“In addition, increasingly fewer people are entering into the production cycle and when they manage to, they do so very slowly,” he said. “Not to mention the factor of the changing concept of employment, which had been stable until some time ago.”
Tedeschi also noted that the economic cycle of production and savings is in “decline and destined to crumble” because of the drastic reduction in income.
Faced with this reality, he said, it is more necessary now than ever “to have the courage to address the theme of births and aging of the population.”
“To ignore it is dangerous and it has become unavoidable to define a strategy to concretely support families in their natural vocation to have children.”
“Only in this way can real economic recovery be triggered,” the bank president emphasized.
Tedeschi said that a two-income family today earns less than the same family earned 30 years ago with only one income. This, he explained, is the consequence of growing taxes on the GDP in developed countries, which are intended to absorb the consequences of aging due to decreased births.
“In the end,” he said, “nature itself teaches us that if a man and a woman do not generate children it is difficult that someone takes care of them when they age. The State can try, but at a very high cost.”
Mosher added that “human beings are the ultimate resource,” and one “that you absolutely cannot do without, and for which there is no substitute.” Catholic News Agency