"The chief part of human happiness arises from the consciousness of being beloved." -- Adam SmithFor the government's part, I would think this should amount to provision of Education and real, economic assistance to parents. Assistance which allows the parents to pursue their own variation on Life, Liberty and Happiness, by making sure that all children get the most efficacious educational experience, from early child care (debate the age it should begin, not that it is needed) through a bachelor's understanding in the field of each child's eventual choosing.
That onus should include truly knowledgable folks at every educational level each of whom has the time and skills to interact with every child in order to give them the greatest opportunity for understanding just what they, the children, want to be when they grow up.
[Link] The number of immigrants who have entered the country illegally is estimated at 12 million. At this point it's impossible to say who among them will be able to earn citizenship and the right to pursue their American dreams. The country and Congress are bitterly divided over the issue. But however many people are eventually able to gain legal status, there is one thing that should be required for all seeking to make a new life in this country: education. It is a matter to which Congress has thus far paid little attention.And why, much less how, can we expect Congress to pay such an approach to immigrants, when they don't even show any respect for the children of the folks who've elected them?
I thought the above quote nicely framed the type of political problem we've created for ourselves by not being tirelessly vocal in our demands for a full-fledged attack upon ignorance by our policy makers.
There's another story in the WaPo which speaks more briefly to the effect of lower birth rates on a society's ability to compete in the future. It references the recent data comparing birth rates in countries which supply many services for families -vs- those which leave the economics more up to the parents.
[Link] Children are now usually a conscious choice -- whereas they were once considered economic necessities or religious obligations. Somehow American society better mixes child rearing and jobs than do other societies that provide greater child subsidies (government day care, family allowances). Indeed, generous welfare states may discourage having children. A study by economists at the University of Minnesota found that high Social Security payments and payroll taxes are associated with low fertility rates. People may feel they don't need children to care for them in old age. Or high taxes and poor economies may deter young people from starting families.Maybe another reason is that we know how difficult is to raise, clothe, nurture, feed, nurture, entertain, teach, house and monitor our kids, all while adding to the richness and remarkable variety (oh the pros AND cons! lol!) of our separate though unavoidably interconnected lives in the world's largest ever Consumer Society.
Education. Pull back on Defense and refocus our enormous financial resources towards truly being the greatest society our species has ever managed.
THAT would diminish terrorist threats.
THAT would produce more problem solvers and fewer in need of assitance in getting their problems solved.
THAT would be lead towards the achievement of happiness and the "consciousness of being beloved" which each and every human being deserves from a society which claims to be Pro Life.