The Truth About Hungary

I met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbàn in May of last year.  With a few others, we shared breakfast before the opening session of the second Budapest Demographic Forum.  He was every bit the “footballer” I had been told to expect.  Of modest stature, he moved—even at age 54—with an assured athleticism.

This event was held in conjunction with the World Congress of Families XI, a project I had launched 20 years earlier.  During the intervening time, I had met and listened to an Old English “gross” of politicians claiming to be pro-family.  Alas, relatively few of them actually understood the issues; fewer still advanced a coherent agenda.  Orbàn stands among the handful of exceptions.

Just the day before, he reported to us, his cabinet had resolved that 2018 would be Hungary’s Year of Families.  He described plans to raise substantially the tax breaks granted to families with two or more children.  Sharing an idea I had advanced in the U.S. back in 2006, the government would cancel 50 percent of student-loan debt for the parents of two children and 100 percent for three.  The state would also assume $5,000 of mortgage principle for families with three children, and another $5,000 for each additional child.  An existing program of Baby Bonds for maternity support would also be extended to new mothers among the three...

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