Makin’ babies

Every year, Statistics Canada comes out with their new population estimates and every year we get experts weighing on how to counter the ‘aging’ population in New Brunswick.  This is almost an annual tradition in New Brunswick. 

Former Premier Lord blamed ‘demographics’ for the problem.  I’ve been trying to track that guy down for years and can’t seem to find him.  No, it is convenient for politicians to blame ‘demographics’ but that is no different than blaming ‘economics’ for the current financial meltdown or ‘fat’ for health problems.   The aging of the population is due to lower fertility rates and the out-migration of young people.  That’s it.  If you are way too fat, you will have health problems.  You can blame the fat or you can blame what caused the fat. 

If you want to reverse the trend, you implement policies that either incentivize procreation or that lead to the creation of good paying jobs that will keep young people here and even bring some back here that have left.

Incentivizing procreation is no good because without the jobs here you are just extending the cycle.  When are people the greatest burden on society (from a fiscal perspective)?  When they are between the ages of 1-18 and between the ages of 65 and the end of it.  During youth, governments pay for education, subsidized child care and other expenses but get zero back (unless you believe in child labour).  When young people are just old enough to start generating taxes – poof – thousands of them are off to Ontario, Alberta and beyond to start paying taxes in those provinces.  When they retire an increasing number of them come back to New Brunswick – to use the health care system.  Older folks do pay taxes – for sure – but definitionally – less than when they were in their working years.

So, we can’t become a retirement province or continue to be the labour market incubator for Ontario.  We need to have a strong economy that is bringing in young people and presto – no more ‘demographic’ problem.

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7 Responses to Makin’ babies

  1. Anonymous says:

    Clear presentation that gets to the point. Worse yet, millions are spent on immigration efforts, language training etc as yet another incubator for talant sucked up by more prosperous economies. Most of the immigrants leave NB but only after we pay the heavy costs of seeking them out, getting them here and training them.

    You are absolutely correct that the strategy has to be to create good quality job opportunities. This will not only keep more young people here but help to attract and retain immigrants.

    Right now the majority of effort (and funding) is focused on the lowest probability “opportunities”; throwing millions at aspiring inventors and academic researchers hoping we win the jackpot and stumble on the next Bill Gates or RIM. It is worth buying a ticket on this lottery but not betting the farm. We need to invest in expanding or attracting solid businesses that generate jobs now.

  2. mikel says:

    ….and those companies are…..?

    There’s nothing wrong with betting on the Lazaridis’ of the world. The good part of that is that there is a ‘good’ attached to that as well. You actually educate people. While David doesn’t like it, canadian federalism lets NBers move west to work, and equalization attempts to balance it out. It’s true its hardly ideal, but its better than Mexico.

    That individual good also contributes to employers like FatKat who stay close to home and generate labour simply because that’s where they’re from. One doesn’t preclude the other, but we saw how much it cost to get Molson to Moncton, we know part of the cost to get India to Nackawic and Campbellton. But like I’ve said, the most important thing is that by investing in the education of academic researchers and investors, that’s the best way to attract the companies that will go to NB for the RIGHT reasons, as opposed to having the most taxpayer money thrown at them or having the worst environmental regulations.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How are you going to get academic researchers and investors out of people who can’t read or do math ?
    With an average age of 42?
    With complete emphasis on looking good in the bilingual stats.
    I actually feel bad for people ,who try to better the economy under these circumstances.
    Because it won’t happen.

  4. Rob says:

    “If you want to reverse the trend, you implement policies that either incentivize procreation or that lead to the creation of good paying jobs that will keep young people here and even bring some back here that have left.”

    On that point, I don’t think you need to incentivize procreation when the economy is booming. I heard a podcast over the weekend about the Great Depression that said all forms of family activities (marriage, births, divorce, &c.) declined during the period. When the economy began to boom after the War, all of the preceding also boomed.

    A great example is Alberta, which is currently seeing a mini-Baby Boom of its own. I don’t think Alberta has any greater childcare help, baby bonuses, or other such incentives to help out. People feel that times are good, and that its a good time to invest in children.

    If Shawn Graham has done one good thing, it’s his emphasis on job creation and on self-sufficiency. Regardless of his other good or bad decisions, it helps to have such thinking at the top. The next step is to get results.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The Men were off to war!!

    Alberta has at least 30,000 of the YOUNG people from the maritimes.

    Job creation WHERE?

    Graham was just in ottawa looking for BILLIONS.

    Facts bother you?

  6. Rob says:

    “The Men were off to war!!”

    There was no war between 1929-39. That’s when the population stagnation began.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I have watched hundreds of families ,work around the pleasure of adding to their family,not once did I hear anything about “investing” in children.
    No wonder “some” also invest in french immersion!
    Thankfully I didn’t miss out on, what some people apparently do through careful investing, 5 fantastic children, at a time when statitics say most people don’t even have two friends!
    Investing is some thing that can be very disappointing, as we now see.
    Hopefully the country will invest in some good respectable common sense education.

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