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Latest Crazy Conservative Scheme: Have a Baby, Lower Your (Husband’s) Student Loan

Baby, you so money.... (photo: Matt Stratton via Flickr)

Baby, you so money.... (photo: Matt Stratton via Flickr)

Have a baby and your student loan could be cut by $5,000? Have a baby and your husband’s student loan could be cut, too! WTF? That sounds sorta creepy, like turning college educated women’s wombs into cash cows, and it’s an idea being suggested by the Family Research Council.

At a recent Family Research Council lecture, Allan Carlson–president of the conservative Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society that operates the right wing World Congress of Families–proposed paying

up to $5,000 per baby born, or one-quarter of each parents’ outstanding loan balances, to reduce the financial burden he claims is preventing debt-laden young married couples from starting families…adoptions would also qualify, but like births, would be capped at a maximum of four children — twice the current average birth rate for U.S. women. That could net recent graduates $40,000 in total loan forgiveness from the federal government.

The idea was one of the solutions suggested to boost the U.S. birth rate among college student loan-strapped couples at a recent Family Research Council policy lecture.

From a conservative standpoint this is a bad idea: It could cost the government between $8 and $10 billion dollars, according to Carlson. Where would that money come from? Tax increases? Mmm, not a big conservative shout out for that idea. And gosh, with two to four kids in this economy, mom’s gonna have to work to help out, and that means the kids go to day care…another conservative bugbear.

And from the liberal side, we have the very clear realization that men don’t get pregnant; ergo they are turning their wives into debt-reducing baby making machines.

But wonder if this nifty plan would apply to gay and lesbian couples who are legally married?

Adoption does count…and in California you can legally adopt an adult! Adds a weird angle on polyamory, like a couple adopts their adult third and maybe fourth wheel as their debt reduction…Somehow I don’t think that’s what Carlson has in mind!

What about sleazebags who have kids, get the credit and bail, like “welfare moms” in reverse? “College-loan dads” marrying and breeding/adopting to get a discount on loans, then moving on with each advanced degree?

And do you have to be married for this to apply? Could a single woman have kids and get her college loan reduced? Could her child’s father also claim a loan discount? Do you have to have the kid in wedlock, or could you have a baby, then marry and ask for a loan reduction? Do you have to marry the actual father? Can you marry someone and then adopt their kid(s) and get a reduction? What if you divorce after you get the reduction? Wouldn’t having to stay married be like prior restraint?

All speculation aside, the reality is that unemployment rates for recent graduates topped 10.6 percent in Sept. and college seniors’ average debt loads rose to $23,200. But Carlson and the Family Research Council don’t seem to care about that, beyond how it furthers their own agenda, which appears to be pretty anti-woman. In his lecture sponsored by the FRC, Carlson blamed

the “growing obstacle to marriage and children” as a manifestation of more women attending college and insisting on marrying men with equal post-secondary education achievement.

God forbid you a woman wants an education and wants to marry someone with one! How uppity! Carlson discussed the 34 percent decline in birth rates among women with an undergraduate degree between 1984-1995, explaining

The anti-natalist, or anti-birth trend, may also be associated in part with rising debt levels and financial stress, including student loanss

Carlson charges this decline as irrefutable proof of

a special anti-natalist force is now at work among the young college education and the evidence points to student loan debt

as the cause of the declining birth rate. Special Agent Connie Trapective of the Anti-Natalist Task Force reporting for duty, let me check your proof of birth control before registering for your MA program. WTF?

Carlson neglected to mention the Census report which discovered that during the same time period, there was a 14% per cent decline in birthrates among 1,000 non-college educated women. And as RH Reality Check points out in their excellent post, Carlson never brought up

effects of lobbying by the Family Research Council and other conservatives against expanded family leave or efforts to abolish gender disparity in wages and benefits, and insufficient maternal health insurance options that directly dissuade couples from having children.

This is such a crackpot scheme…Maybe the FRC, the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society and the World Council of Families wants to fund it themselves if they think it’s such a great idea!

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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.