A Modest Proposal to Save Iowa

Copyright 2010 by Tom Quiner

Iowa is dying.

The numbers are damning.  We’re not replacing ourselves.  Our population growth is stagnant.  The magic number needed to replace ourselves is 2.1 live births per woman.  That’s known as the Total Fertility Rate (TFR).

Iowa’s TFR is only 1.98 according to National Vital Statistics.  We’re one of 36 states not replacing ourselves.  Our population growth is slower than any other state except West Virginia and North Dakota’s, according to the Iowa Fiscal Partnership.

The only thing saving us from demographic death are immigrants.

In other words, our fair state is experiencing a devastating shortage of the Iowa Fetus.  I humbly present a Modest Proposal to save the state you and I love:  I propose we add the Iowa Fetus to the Endangered Species List.

You may think this sounds strange.  And yet isn’t that what the law is for, to protect species whose numbers are dwindling?

I am proposing that we elevate the Iowa Fetus to the status of the Iowa Pleistocene Land Snail, the Piping Plover, the Indian Bat, or some other currently protected endangered species.

We need more Iowa Fetuses for practical reasons.  Iowa needs more taxpayers.

According to estimates from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, 188,000 Iowa Fetuses have been destroyed since 1974.  We are squandering our state’s resources!

Granted, some of these Iowa Fetuses would have left Iowa had they been allowed to live.  On the other hand, the female strain of the Iowa Fetus conceived in the 70’s and 80’s would now be in the Fetus-bearing years themselves, generating a whole new crop of taxpayers.  So who knows how many Iowans we would have had today if only we had begun employing Fetus conservation measures back in the 70s.

We need Iowa Fetuses because our state’s budget is a mess.  I talked to State Auditor, David Vaudt, about this situation.  Back in 1980, our state spent about $600 per Iowan. Today the number is $2122.  These numbers are adjusted for inflation in 1980 dollars based on “total true expenditures” by the state.

We’ve been spending like we have a much bigger population.  We don’t, because we’ve been squandering our posterity, the Iowa Fetus, for a generation.

We need them to take care of Baby Boomers and pay for the expanding social welfare system we’ve created.  How is our aging population supposed to manage with a shortage of younger Iowans?

I have to admit I’m not totally objective on this issue.  I think the Iowa Fetus is beautiful.  On the other hand, I have liberal friends who are more partial to the Indian Bat.  Another is absolutely gaga over the Iowa Pleistocene Land Snail and has a poster of one over his pool table.

I guess beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Some say the solution is simply more immigration.

Don’t hold your breath.  Iowa isn’t exactly a job magnet these days.

What is Congress doing to help alleviate our Fetus crisis?  They passed health care legislation that will ultimately provide free Fetus terminations at taxpayer expense.  Memo to Senator Harkin and Congressman Boswell:  we need more Iowa Fetuses, not less.

Democrats are in love with Europe’s health care model.  Guess what?  Europe is dying faster than Iowa.  The continent with taxpayer-funded Fetus termination has a TFR much lower than Iowa’s.

Instead, why don’t we pay married Iowa women to create more than 2.1 Iowa Fetuses?  Now there’s a welfare program that makes sense!

My Modest Proposal presents Iowa with a bipartisan, long term solution to its demographic exigency.

Conservatives will quickly embrace the idea.  Most of them believe each Iowa Fetus harbors an eternal soul.  Although liberals aren’t swayed by such sentimental notions, they do love endangered species and enthusiastically support laws which protect them.  And they understand the need for more future taxpayers.

It is time to add the Iowa Fetus to the Endangered Species List to save Iowa.



  1. Maggie DeWitte on July 28, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Great article, as usual. You state the total and pure absuridy of our society. I completely concur- the Iowa Fetus needs to be added to the endangered species list! But how silly would that be; we are too busy with the indian bat for pete’s sake.

  2. Mary Beth Beacom on July 29, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Perfectly put, as usual, Tom. But since Iowans seem to be increasingly bereft of the common sense we were once known for, this idea takes it’s place in the “over the top” category. We must pray daily for the future of our chilren.

    • quinersdiner on July 29, 2010 at 12:29 pm

      I agree. This piece is satirical. What’s really over-the-top is that we will pass laws that fine people, take away their property, and/or imprison them if they kill a rodent, but won’t lift a finger to protect the baby in the womb. What is even more over-the-top is a health-care bill that will ultimately fund abortions, the President’s Executive Order notwithstanding. And what is really over-the-top are laws that attempt to strip away conscious-protections for Catholic and Evangelical Christians who view abortion as murder. Over-the-top is now the norm.

      Thanks for your comment …


  3. Rhonda Phillips on July 30, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    I captured a bat this afternoon in a local retail store (much to the relief of the sales help). I wasn’t qualified to do this other than having no fear and a large paper bag. It may well have been an Indian bat but it wasn’t carrying ID or speaking Lakota or Hindi. Seriously, I’m at a loss. Did the IA legislature mean Indian as in Calcutta or Indian as in Comanche when they gave this bat protected status?

    All bats look the same to me. I apologize to the bat purists for being politically incorrect, if you take my meaning. I like bats. I released it to fly about my acreage to live happily ever after eating bugs and hanging upside down in the barn. So you can imagine my horror after reading Tom’s article! If the bat’s name had happened to be Sitting Moon or Rajah I could have been cuffed and incarcerated had I “done him in” ala Eliza Doolittle in front of witnesses! Yikes!

    All nonsense aside, your fantastic article, Tom, is sure to raise eyebrows in the Liberal and “Progressive” crowd who, in general, consider themselves superior to Conservatives in intelligence and beyond benevolent and tolerant for their fellow man. However, there appears to be a chasm between them and common sense. Being born is one of the criteria they impose in order to merit ‘life’ as a protected status. It will simply be Divine justice if they continue to embrace that twisted logic for there is no one left to pay their Social Security and the generation they slaughtered will be the ones pushing the off button on their life support machines.