Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

America’s Coming Demographic Disaster

Back in 1968, Paul Ehrlich predicted the world would soon run out of food, oil, and water because people were having too many babies. He turned out to be spectacularly wrong on all counts, but political liberals still make doomsday predictions about overpopulation. Author Jonathan Last has a very different message: He says if America wants to continue to lead the world, we need more babies! His new book is called What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster. Author Jonathan Last says a country needs a fertility rate of 2.1 to maintain its current population. The U.S. fertility rate is lower; it now stands at only 1.93.

Why has the American birth rate fallen so low? It's the result of many cultural forces including the Pill, college, more women in the workforce, delayed marriage, delayed childbirth, and higher divorce rates. Even Social Security and Medicare are factors; First, couples no longer rely on children to care for them in their old age, so they aren’t as motivated to go to the trouble of raising them. Second, even those who want more children find it increasingly difficult to afford them. If current trends continue, by 2050 all of America will look like Florida, a state known as “God’s waiting room” because of its disproportionate elderly population.

The implications of all this are disconcerting. An aging population combined with low birthrates equals a contracting labor force, less entrepreneurship and innovation, and a dwindling tax base coupled with massive increases in government payouts. By 2034, there will be just 2.1 workers to support each retiree’s Social Security payments. This new book by Jonathan V. Last is called What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster. It's not easy reading, but it will make you think about America's future.

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