The Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, has caused a bit of a stir with his comment, "I did my part, but we need to have higher birth rates in this country."
The context was a reporter's question about entitlement reform, which got Ryan talking about economic growth and ways to pay for retiring baby boomers.
It seems to me that people would be better off deciding whether to have children, and how many to have, without a lot of pressure from the government in either direction. I'd settle for government neutrality on the matter (which might entail a shift from the current practice of mandating free contraceptives but not, say, free fertility treatment or free childbirth). Mr. Ryan is correct, however, that more people, especially more young people, helps the federal budget and helps with economic growth. A higher birth rate is one way to get there; so would be increased legal immigration, which, unfortunately, is a path that is at least for now opposed by the politically dominant wing in Mr. Ryan's Republican Party.
If Mr. Ryan wants to get a discussion going on this topic, good for him. His challenge will be to find language to do it that doesn't sound creepy — like the flip side of China's one-child policy, a case of big government invading people's family planning for state purposes. "We need to think about ways to support parents who choose to have larger families, because those children will help pay for our retirement and health care" might be closer to it than "we need to have higher birth rates." Language like "children" and "parents" and "families" is going to be better received than "birth rates," would be my guess.