In demographic circles, all eyes are on Hungary, which now has the most robust pro-family agenda on the planet. It gets better all the time. The latest news is that, starting January 1, 2022, there will be no income tax for those under 25. So there is something more important than fattening the state’s coffers!
As a government spokesman explained last year:
“What we need is not numbers, but Hungarian children: we’re not seeking to sustain an economic system, but Hungary, the Hungarian nation and Hungarian history; we want to encourage the continuation of our families for several generations.”
WOW! Somebody from the government saying: “we’re not seeking to sustain an economic system, but Hungary…”! What is going on? Didn’t Hungary get the memo from the Davos crowd about how the economy is the be-all and end-all of human existence? Instead, they’re putting people first! Is it something in the water — viewing economics as a means to an end?
To find out what is really going on, our crack investigative reporter, yours truly, decided to check it out.
The boss in Hungary is a stubborn sort, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. He looks like a prizefighter – thick neck, rugged face, tough stance. But don’t let that fool you. The PM has a mind like a steel trap, and more than a wee bit of good ol’ horse sense besides. Born under Communism, he knows something more of the world than the woke blokes atop the chattering class food chain in the once-almighty “free West.”
Duly elected, Mr. Orbán advocates what he calls “illiberal democracy”, which, in plain talk means “Hungary for Hungarians.”
True to his word, he neglected to genuflect to Brussels and allow hundreds of thousands of so-called “Syrian refugees” into his country. As a result, Hungary remains solidly Hungarian, with low crime rates and a fairly decent quality of life. For the EU powers-that-be, those righteously proclaimed “free” countries, no such luck.
Now why in the world would the PM pass up a golden opportunity to create a multiculturalist mélange and pack his country with hordes of unskilled labour, create a diversity industry, subsidize mosque construction and grow the economy?
Short answer — Orbán wants Hungarians to run the country, do the work, and sire the next generation. They have performed well enough on the first two counts, but their performance in baby making leaves much to be desired. To fix this, he appointed a lady by the name of Katalin Novák as Minister of State for Family and Youth Affairs.
For 50 years the West has experienced below-replacement fertility. This is without precedent. Nobody really knows how to fix it, but we know what will happen if we don’t. In 1963 Hungary had the world’s lowest fertility rate (1.81). After a brief uptick, it dropped below the natural replacement level of 2.1, hitting an all-time low of 1.29 in 1999. It finally reached 1.41 in 2015 and stands at 1.53 for 2020.
While there have been ups and downs, all indications are that the number of births is trending up. How is that?
Hungary is way family friendly. And in 2019 all that friendliness was bundled into the Family Protection Action Plan, a hefty packet of incentives for folks to have more children. Heck, if it takes buying off folks to save the nation, that’s a win-win. Here is what’s included:
- Lifetime income tax exemption for women with four or more children
- Three-year paid maternity leave
- US $35,000 interest-free loan for women under 40 getting married for the first time. If the family eventually has three children, the loan is forgiven.
- Generous home mortgage subsidy for families with two or more children
- Families with three or more children are eligible for a government grant of US $9,000 towards the purchase of a seven-seat car.
- Creation of 21,000 daycare centers over the next three years
- Discounted summer camps for children
- Childcare payments to grandparents caring for grandchildren
- Family leave for working grandparents to help with newborn grandchildren
- Beginning in 2022, no income tax for those under 25
Benefits are conditional on employment. Incentives take effect when expectant mothers reach the second trimester of pregnancy. According to Ms Novák, “This is a philosophical aspect for us. We believe life begins at conception. We value unborn children, not only born children.”
Interesingly, this is an all-Hungarian endeavor. Ms. Novák says: “Bear in mind that ethnic Hungarians beyond the borders — in Transylvania, Serbia, Slovakia or Ukraine — are also eligible for the financial support.”
Hungary invests a whopping 5 percent of GDP in family support. Are they serious or what?
Is it working? Way too early to say. But according to the government, in the last decade there has been a 24 percent increase in births, a 40 percent decline in abortions, 40 percent more marriages and 29 percent fewer divorces. According to Ms Novák: “What we do in Hungary… is decreasing or eliminating the disadvantages of those who are having children. All over the developed world, those who are having children are in a less beneficial situation than those who aren’t. We want to eliminate these disadvantages.” Hooray!
Methinks the Hungarians are on to something. Children are a blessing – an idea whose time has come!
Where globalism rules, the mass of people are shoehorned into a life of student debt, overwork, climbing the corporate ladder, and then maybe having children. This toxic consumerist treadmill – debt, fealty to work, more debt, attaboys from the 1 percent — is profoundly debilitating, against nature, an insidious incarceration of the human spirit. No animal breeds well in captivity, including homo sapiens.
Hungary gets it. More power to ‘em!