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Monday, December 10, 2007

Paying $5000 to breed?

A recent article in the Australian Journal of Medicine recommends placing a carbon tax on breeding. The idea would allow 2 freebie kids, with a $5000 (Oz dollars) carbon charge on subsequent births and a $800/year/excess child carbon tax. The money would go towards the purchase and maintenance of land and the planting of trees to offset the expected carbon footprint of the children.

On the other side, you would receive income tax deductions for contraceptives or sterilization.

I actually like this idea in principle but it would not work.

Civil libertarians would scream that you were making breeding the prerogative of the rich.

By taxing breeding you could also impoverish children for the "Crimes" of their parents.

Would you repo children who could not afford their breeding tax?

For those who already pay tens of thousands of dollars for fertility treatments, $5000 would hardly make them blink an eye.

At the same time Australia like Canada has an aging population and is built on the constant growth model. What would be the point of discouraging citizens from breeding if you would just import replacement citizens from countries that have no such limitations.

Limiting consumption by existing people should still be considered most important in lowering our carbon footprint but the idea of limiting population growth or actually shrinking world population should be considered. This however cannot happen until we change the economic system from requiring constant growth to something less damaging.

I think a world wide move to supply free birth control and education should be a priority but the danger is it will only weed out the idealists and leave the more frenzied breeders to continue on their merry way!

I think peak oil will whittle down the population eventually anyways but if we started it ourselves we might save some of the pain.

What do you think the answer is?

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1 comment:

Tony Trepanier said...

The idea of a carbon tax is a good one. It internalizes the cost to the environment and forces people to make the environmentally correct choice. However, this idea is rediculous. Ignoring the obvious human rights concerns it would still be a bad idea. As the post stated, this tax wouldn't have a large effect on the population, because it costs so much to have a kid anyway. The only thing it would accomplish would be to redistribute taxation onto the poor.