Below is an interesting blurb from Australia about how they raised their birth rates (which had been declining for forty years) by introducing a $3,000 baby bonus.
Also this bonus will increase to $4,000 this month.
Italy has done the same thing with a baby bonus of about $5,000 annually which I think would have to be the minimum amount of the bonus in the US for it to have any impact.
Additionally the bonus would HAVE to be strictly limited to MOTHERS ONLY. Although I know that this is only common sense; it still needs to be enacted into law as I can see men trying to work this and reward themselves $5,000 annually for doing NOTHING. Just as right now men are attempting to take mother’s maternity leaves for themselves to get time off from work with pay.
As every mother knows, we use this period of maternity leave not only as a time to bond with baby but also as a time to recover from the 9 month and labor/delivery ORDEAL that mothers and children ALONE go through.
Additionally in the US, the bonus should be recurring every year for 18 years (almost like the earned income credit now, which would have to be phrased out). Also most importantly like child support, it should be tax free. This will encourage women, who might not have children until they could afford to NOT be rushed back to work or were fearful of a custody fight ensuing if they went into court to get child support, to go ahead and have children ANYWAY.
It could also be used in lieu of child support as it could be applied as a base support amount for MOST children. Of course, if custody transferred the allowance would have to follow the child. But it could substitute for child support in MOST cases except for the very highest income individuals, who, of course, would still have to make up the difference in that $5,000 and the child support their children would be entitled to in order to keep the child’s standard of living at the same level.
It could eventually morph into a real ‘change in welfare as we know it’ program as opposed to the one former President Clinton gave us which appeared to be just kick poor mothers and children off of welfare after a five year time limit. So as well as giving a base living allowance to the lowest income mothers and their children, it could at the same time, be just enough to encourage middle-income mothers to also have children. Since that amount added to an average working salary could make a substantial impact on the standard of living of most families in the United States.
"Baby bonus helps birth rate jump
05:56 AEST Sun Jun 12 2005
The federal government's $3000 baby bonus has helped to reverse the nation's declining birth rate, with new statistics revealing an increase for the first time in a decade.
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the number of babies per woman rose to 1.77 last year, breaking a forty year decline, News Limited reported.
The birth rate is the highest it has reached in seven years and is the first time it has increased significantly since 1961 when it peaked at 3.55, it was reported.
The Howard Government's $3000 baby bonus for every baby born in 2004 played a significant role in halting the nation's declining fertility rate, the Australian National University's head of demography, professor Peter McDonald said.
Prof McDonald predicted the fertility rate would rise to 1.8 in 2005 as the baby bonus starts having an effect.
The bonus will increase to $4000 from July 1 this year."