Ryan Avent, having had his employer accused of advocating building highways to increase fertility, defends against the charge by turning around and laying it on me. No, no, no, I never said no such thing nohow. America's car culture may encourage fertility--but that's the culture, not the highways. And the per-capita income which allows us to spend more money on big cars and gas to fill them. Canada has lots of highways.

Even if I did think that highways, or lower gas taxes, encourage fertility, I would expect the added-fertility-per-dollar-spent-on-roads to be too trivial to make it worthwhile government policy. Even if I didn't think it would be bad government policy for other reasons, like global warming and giving senators a slush fund to play with.

When I said that government policies to encourage fertility don't work, I meant "policies within the reasonable solution set of a western democracy". Obviously, there are some policies that will encourage fertility; a ban on birth control and abortion, for example, would probably be fairly effective. But these are not things that have a reasonable chance of passing the legislature, for which we may humbly thank god every day; ditto, the number of new roads that might conceivably in some universe produce an uptick in the birth rate.

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