Saturday, December 19, 2009

Demography Decides Everything

By Alan Caruba

When I listen to politicians arguing the merits of some piece of legislation, I am usually 99% sure they have no idea how demography-—population—-will affect the outcome of their grand schemes.

This is particularly true of advocates of fixed and often flawed ideas about the environment. Most “save the Earth” true believers want to see huge reductions in the population of the planet. They don’t much care for human beings.

Demography is the study of population; focusing on things like fertility rates, aging, ethnic identity, and immigration. Knowing the accurate demographics of a nation is central to its governance and this is particularly true for a democracy. It is no accident that both words have the same root, demos as in people.

Knowing the size and distribution of the U.S. population was a serious concern for the Founders and it is part of Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution which states that "[An] Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct." Congress first met in 1789, and the first national census was held in 1790.

For the world in general, fertility rates have been falling as more women receive education and become part of the workplace. Higher standards of living and education reduce birth rates. It makes it easier for women to be part of the workforce and households have more money for savings as well as the consumption of goods. As nations like India and China improve their economic status, their populations will stabilize and population growth will slow. The odious one-child policy in China will, in time, pass into history.

Thus, industrialization, the increased spread of electrical power, a global economy with fewer trade restrictions, all will favorably impact population growth by slowing it. In contrast, the objectives of the environmental movement such as the reduction of energy use based on the false assertion that it produces carbon dioxide that, in turn, will heat the Earth, are in direct conflict with population stabilization and reduction.

In the United States, government policies have been in direct contradiction of what native-born and naturalized citizens want. If the latter had there way, there would not have been a sharp increase in the population. Instead, the government has pursued policies that increase, largely through legal and illegal immigration, the number of people in the nation.

In 1970, the U.S. population was about 203 million. This followed the unprecedented “Baby Boom” years,1946-1964. Today the population has surpassed 293 million. These numbers come from the Census Bureau. At no other time in U.S. history have recent immigrants and their children dominated population growth.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s official estimate is that there are eight million illegal immigrants currently in the nation. Most observers of illegal immigrant believe that the actual number range from twelve to seventeen million.

So, since 1970, each Congress and each President has adopted policies not only allowing, but encouraging, legal, and in particular, illegal immigration far above traditional levels and setting the stage for increasing economic and social problems.

As reported by USA Today, the U.S. population is expected to “soar to 438 million by 2050 and the Hispanic population will triple according to projections…by the Pew Reseach Center.

Moreover, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that “the future age structure of the population will be older than it is now. Very nearly 40% will be senior citizens, over 65, by 2050. The last members of the Baby Boom will reach 65 by 2029. All will be eligible for Social Security and Medicare if, in fact, these two entitlement programs have not become insolvent by then.

Here, again, we see government policy ignoring or just ignorant of population changes as the Congress moves toward passing a healthcare reform package that 80% of the voters disapprove; one that will slash a trillion dollars from Medicare funds and institute rationing of care as the number of older Americans increase. The harm to the current healthcare system is incalculable.

In addition, yet another amnesty bill has been introduced in Congress at a time when it is obvious that a growth in the genera population will only exacerbate and increase the costs of educating the children of the newly enfranchised, formerly illegal immigrants, along with the cost providing medical care to those who cannot afford it, and incarcerating those who break the law. These costs will add billions at all levels of society.

So, demographics do matter, even if politicians and other special interests ignore them. They have local, national, and international ramifications as populations either stabilize or increase worldwide.

A lesson for the United States can be drawn from the decline of the Roman Empire. It was a combination of the cost of far-flung military commitments and the invasions of populations from outside of the empire that ultimately caused its collapse through an inability to impose Pax Romana or stop the depredations of northern European tribes and threats from the Huns.

Policies that deliberately deny the benefits of the provision of widespread energy availability and of education to increase literary; policies that deny protection against the scurge of malaria and other diseases; discourage the use of genetically modified crops to avoid deforestation and to provide ample food supplies; policies that impose foolish mandates such as ethanol or even attempt to regulate carbon dioxide with the false claim that it is a harmful gas, all contribute to the waste of the Earth’s greatest resource, its human population.

There are, of course, events beyond our imagination, though not necessarily our control. As the great physicist Albert Einstein warned, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”


Ol James said...

Remember during the campaign, the biggest talk was concerning those on Main Street?? The trouble with that kind of thinking is it is wrong.In most towns and cities, main street was for businesses, not residences. Politicians see Main St. as full of the residences of business owners. Wrong, they lived on Oak, Chestnut, and other prominently named trees. The further down the demographic scale the lesser the name. It is however the folks that live on the Lanes and Rural Routes that kept the industrial machine turning. Those on the more prominent thoroughfares did more of the business of business. Schmoozing, spa retreats and the like.
Take for instance legislation going thru the Golden Goose that is DC, we lesser classes receive the crap from the Goose. Congress wants to be the GREAT PROVIDER to the masses. All we want is a decent place to work and a fair wage for services rendered. But what do we know??
I have no formal education, other than High School and the lessons learned from The School of Hard Knocks. However, all that I have is paid for, nothing fancy but not living beyond my means. Why can't the gubber-mint do that?? Please excuse the length Mr. Alan, but that bunch in DC needs a wake up call, or maybe a good punch in the snot-box.

Travis sez said...

It's a bleak picture when we look at what the Utopian world-planners are wreaking down the pike. At 75 years of age, I won't be around to see much of it develop. I wonder what homogeneous populations such as Japan will fare in 2050. Maybe Hari Kiri will be rekindled.

It's a good message you gave, Alan. I believe that literary should read literacy in the second to last paragraph. Thanks.