There is no fate but the one we make. T2: Judgement Day

In fact, the labor pool is becoming so competitive that businesses are beginning to pluck teens to fill positions traditionally held by young adults. This is one “prologue” of the damaging effects a dip in population will have on our society.

We all will feel the burden of an aging baby boomer population with fewer working-age people to support them. Low birth rates and low immigration rates today mean this imbalance will only grow.

Make no mistake, this is an “all hands on deck” situation that requires immediate attention. Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento must address why people aren’t having babies at a rate to sustain the population.

In California, it’s often simply too expensive to have children. Families already endure high housing costs, and childcare is often a family’s second highest expense. In a recent statewide survey, more than 4 in 10 parents said they are delaying having another child because of concerns about the overall costs, including the rising costs of child care and preschool.

The solution isn’t necessarily pushing for more births, it’s valuing each child and each family– by prioritizing them in policy and budget decisions.

Studies show significant investments in a child’s first years have an enormous impact – for them and society. High-quality programs for disadvantaged children prenatal to age five deliver a 13 percent return on investment, higher than at any other time in life.

Today’s young children will be the ones to take care of us in one sense – by supporting an economy that will pay for our healthcare and other benefits. We, the current working and soon-to-be retirees, must understand our need to pave the way and prepare today’s children for the jobs of tomorrow because we will all benefit from their success.

Demography is our destiny, but to borrow a line from another science fiction favorite, T2: Judgement Day, “There is no fate but the one we make.”

We need the public, leaders and lawmakers to understand that the well-being of our children today has a clear and unmistakable impact on our collective tomorrow.

These demographic trends should compel our leaders and lawmakers to make kids a top priority in policy and budget decisions next year, and every year.

We’ve seen this movie before. Let’s change the ending.

Originally published by Fox & Hounds Daily on November 27, 2018