One thing I've learned over the years is that you don't read Mark Steyn to feel good about the future. Indeed, there are few writers out there who are better at pouring a cold bucket of reality on our expectations for the future--with a nice bit of gallows humor to make it a little easier to stomach. So, it should go without saying that he's hit it out of the park again this week in his latest column contrasting the fake "War on Women" that has been ginned up recently by the Left with the real war on children that they have been waging for years.
The primary thrust of his argument rests on the gigantic bill we are leaving the next generation and the ripple effects from it:
The equally “non-partisan” Congressional Budget Office now says that the tax and budget changes due to take effect at the beginning of 2013 will put the country back in recession and increase unemployment. This is a revision of their prediction earlier this year that in 2013 the economy would contract by 1.3 percent. Now they say 2.9 percent. These days, CBO revisions only go one way — down. They’re gonna need steeper graph paper. In a global economy, atrophy goes around like syphilis in the Gay Nineties: A moribund U.S. economy further mires Europe, and both slow growth in China, which means fewer orders for resource-rich nations. . . . Four wheels spinning in the mud, and none with a firm-enough grip to pull the vehicle back on to solid ground.
But of course, no mention of our dire fiscal situation would be complete without assessing Obamacare's impact. Steyn duly notes this:
Since passage of the bill in 2010, the CBO has revised its estimate of Obamacare’s gross costs over ten years. Can you guess in which direction, boys and girls? Yes, up from $944 billion to $1.856 trillion. That’s some “revision.” I wonder where it’ll be in another two years.
But Steyn doesn't just focus on purely economic factors. There are cultural ones that need to be considered. The failure of the nanny state to deal with the childhood obesity problem is something he also mentions. He notes that in schools where children have no restrictions on the student's food choices, the obesity rate is 35.5. Meanwhile, in schools that have banned "the bad stuff", the rate is 34.8 percent--a number that is strictly speaking lower, but essentially statistically insignificant. His conclusion to this section ties everything together pretty well:
Indeed, the bloating of government, of entitlements, of debt, and the increase in obesity track each other pretty closely over the last four decades. If all those debt graphs showing how we’ve looted our future to bribe the present are too complicated for you, look out the window: We are our own walking (or waddling) metaphor for consumption unmoored from production. And, to the Chinese and many others around the world pondering whether America has the self-discipline to get its house in order, a trip to the mall provides its own answer.
One of the most striking things to me about Steyn's column is the absence of any mentions of abortion in making his case for a war on children. Abortion is one of the most fundamental and the most devastating aspects of the war on children. Indeed, the only mentions he makes of it are in connection with the "War on Women".
At the same time, Steyn shows us that it's entirely possible to prove the existence of the war on children without mentioning abortion--a fact that should be frightening enough. A society that cannot value or look after its children is not a society that will last for long--and our problems extend beyond just abortion. We are leaving our children "with a transgenerational bill unknown to human history", and that should alarm all of us, pro-life or not.