Child # 13 for Berlin Woman

A 55 year old woman in Berlin has given birth to her thirteenth child. Six of her children have already grown up and moved out (her oldest is 34). I always enjoyed seeing large families in Germany, but I never saw one this big!

German Federal President Horst Köhler will be the child’s god-father. In Germany, the President can choose to become a god-parent when a woman has seven living children, including the newborn. But the President can only become a god-parent once per family.

An interesting thing about this story is the woman’s own feelings about children in Germany. She says that she initially only wanted to have one child but is very happy about all of her children and hopes that her story will encourage more women in Germany to have more children.

In truth, this will be a good idea considering the declining birthrate in Germany and the havoc that will wreak on social security and the German welfare state in the very near future (not enough workers per retiree to fund social security and other social programs).

2 Responses to Child # 13 for Berlin Woman

  1. I just read this particular post, and I have to say it is interesting that the baby boomers decided to have social security and then there was not enough money set aside for them in every country that had a system like it. In Japan, they are determined to keep social security alive for all its citizens. Hence, the taxes on everything here will be raised from 5% to 10% within the next two years and then after three the plan is to raise it as high as 18%. I find this to be ridiculous and another reason why I don’t want to stay in Japan for more than a couple of years. The retirement age in Japan is still about 55, but it seems that the government would be wiser to push that to 60 or 65 and try and keep the social security system they have in tact.

    Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has promised that he will not raise taxes as long as he is in office. Although he was just re-elected a month ago, it was also announced that he won’t be staying the full length of the term in office. His plans are to retire in one year, either September or October of 2006. With his retirement will come the foretold tax hikes and the associated debates–basically it is just an issue that he doesn’t care to address while his nation is actively involved in the war on terror. He gets a lot of complaints about postponing the problem, and he actually admitted himself that he doesn’t see the Japanese Parliament hiking taxes immediately after he leaves his position.

    It might be bad to say this, but I kind of hope it waits till I leave Japan.

    Are there any talks like this in the United States about raising taxes to support the Social Security System?


    Posted by Aaron Fowles

  2. john fowles says:

    Hi Aaron. This might be the first time you’ve ever posted to this blog! Welcome.

    It is high on the policy agenda of all developed countries to figure out how to deal with social security in light of the declining birthrates. President Bush had campaigned on a promise to reform the social security system by allowing the use of private savings accounts as a means to overhaul the system without raising taxes drastically like you inform us Japan is considering. But his ideas have not been popular and the legislative branch has not allowed that particular idea to come to fruition (there is a lot of opposition to the idea of private accounts and debate about whether they are a stable/secure solution). 

    Posted by john fowles–>

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