There is perhaps nowhere better than the German countryside to see the dawning impact of Europe’s plunge in fertility rates over the decades, a problem that has frightening implications for the economy and the psyche of the Continent. In some areas, there are now abundant overgrown yards, boarded-up windows and concerns about sewage systems too empty to work properly […]Some experts worry that Germany has already waited too long to tackle the issue. But others say that is too pessimistic. In any case, in Germany the issue is front and center now.
Read the whole thing to get a sense of the seriousness of the problem, as well as the different solutions Germans are currently debating. One clear answer for Europe in general and Germany in particular would be a more generous immigration policy. But given longstanding Euro wariness about immigration, in many countries that’s a political non-starter.An immediate stopgap measure that Germany is already pursuing is raising the retirement age. The government has decided to increase the age by two years, from 65 to 67. Thanks to immigration, American birth rates are not as dangerously low as those in Europe, but we are still going to face a demographic crunch. We can learn from Germany’s willingness to raise the retirement age. Later retirement is not only good for the economy and for the solvency of entitlement programs; it’s also vital to the emotional and physical health of the elderly. Delayed retirement should be only the policy table in America just as it is in Europe.[Broken euro image courtesy of Shutterstock]