Friday, May 12, 2006

A modest proposal for parental responsibility

(With apologies to Jonathan Swift)

1. Free birth control, abortion (at least in the first trimester), and sterilization to anyone who wants it.

2. Reversible sterilization to all convicted felons (reversible after they have actually paid for their crimes in full, including monetary restitution).

3. Full legalization of drugs, each with a little "secret sauce" to prevent conception for a few months after being taken.

4. Mandatory insurance for all potential parents, to pay for all costs associated with raising a child, with rates depending on actuarial determination. In other words, a person without children would (almost always) pay less than a person with four children, and those at risk of having "special needs" children would pay more than those with normal risk. If a person can't afford an extra child -- if the rates take the existing family below the poverty line, for example -- you can either perform a reversible sterilization (which would lower the rates), or take it out of whatever estate they leave when they die. If you are *really* mean, upon adulthood you could stick each person covered by insurance with their portion of the bill for the first 18 years of their life, if their parents were unable to do so. There's still a chance that you'd have people forcing society to pay for their decisions, but at least there would be some accountability.

That should be enough to start an interesting discussion. Have at it! :)


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