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Nation's falling fertility rate is the cause of many of its problems.

Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

Our take: Congress may have dodged a bullet in January with its last-minute decision to postpone a sequestration until March 1. But according to Jonathan Last, in a column for the Wall Street Journal, there is a far bigger problem facing America. "Forget the debt ceiling. ... The root cause of most of our problems is our declining fertility rate," Last said. In part, Last is commenting about a growing demographic change that is happening and has been happening for years worldwide: Singles, now aging into their middle years, are not forming families.

A recent piece in the Deseret news, "Single for life? The social costs of fewer families," also highlighted some social costs associated with this trend.

For more than three decades, Chinese women have been subjected to their country's brutal one-child policy. Those who try to have more children have been subjected to fines and forced abortions. Their houses have been razed and their husbands fired from their jobs. As a result, Chinese women have a fertility rate of 1.54. Here in America, white, college-educated womena good proxy for the middle classhave a fertility rate of 1.6. America has its very own one-child policy. And we have chosen it for ourselves.

Forget the debt ceiling. Forget the fiscal cliff, the sequestration cliff and the entitlement cliff. Those are all just symptoms. What America really faces is a demographic cliff: The root cause of most of our problems is our declining fertility rate.

Read more about America's 'demographic cliff' on The Wall Street Journal.

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