Yesterday afternoon one of the left’s favorite Members of Congress admitted something striking about their own program. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) admitted, even seemed to complain about, the low birth rate in America. (And not in America only, but elsewhere in Western Europe, though she didn’t specify.) She tried to lay blame on free enterprise, which is almost par for her course these days. But that she would even admit that America has a low birth rate, should strike anyone as remarkable. And, worse for her cause, she admitted that the low birth rate is creating a problem for the socialist edifice.
Evidence for a low birth rate
Does America have a low birth rate? CNAV covered this before, in December of last year. Today, World Population Review has up-to-date evidence. The United States ranks 133rd in total fertility rate, which is the number of children the average woman has in her lifetime. And what is that rate? 1.7. By conventional wisdom, the replacement level – below which a population shrinks – is 2.1. At that rate, each woman replaces herself and her husband. Then, one in ten women replaces the baby who never made it to reproductive adulthood. American women are not even doing that.
Actually, the United States is in a twelve-way tie, with China, Brazil, and nine other countries. Russia, at 1.6, is doing worse. Ukraine is doing worse still – at 1.2, they are in a three-way tie for the sixth lowest birth rate. South Korea has the lowest birth rate in the word, at zero point nine. Japan has a rate of 1.4, in a nine-way tie for thirteenth-to-last place.
World Population Review has a specific study of the American case. America’s population is rising, but more slowly every year. Oddly, their text is inconsistent with their graph, which shows the population leveling off at about 400 million in 2100.
Immigration makes up the difference. For that reason alone, the United States can expect at least to level off in population. Every other civilization is already losing people or can expect to start losing them soon. See, for example, Russia, China and India.
Why have we gotten away with a low birth rate?
Simple. Beginning with the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration, American families turned over the care of their elders to the government. Roosevelt created Social Security, which supplements – or substitutes for – a pension. And from its inception, the younger generation has always paid the bills for current recipients. That seemed to work out fine at first – because the government set the minimum benefit-draw age at 65. At the time, they never expected more than a small fraction of the population to live that long. Well, they did. So, like a pyramid scheme that can’t find enough new subscribers, Social Security is already beginning to fail.
Even before Social Security, we had the Federal Reserve – and similar central banking networks in other countries. The common denominator in all central banking networks is debasement of the currency. The Russians are at least trying to back their currency with solid things, like gold or oil. The rest of the world, not so much.
All these things made government “social programs” more attractive, and also made “paying one’s own way” more expensive. Childbearing and child-rearing literally became more trouble that it’s worth to many. The low birth rate, in America and throughout civilization, is the result.
So what did AOC say?
Now consider what Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said. The Twitter account RNC Research has her on video.
Take a look at it. And it’s not just Japan and South Korea. There are quite a few countries that are really struggling because young people, under the burdens of capitalism, and living under a society that is increasingly concentrating wealth among the rich – we’re not having kids! Or, we’re not having kids at the same rate [as before]. And we actually need immigrant populations to help balance things out. We can’t continue to fund Social Security, Medicare, all of this stuff, without immigrants. And it’s always been that way. Don’t act as if it’s some new trend, or anything like that.
Well, thank you, AOC, for being honest! Newsletter The First TV spoke of “bafflement” among those hearing her speak. And in fact many who did reply, pointed out one of two things. Some called her out on equipping herself with such capitalist trappings as a modern smartphone.
Others called her out on sheer hypocrisy – not willing to pay some of the price she says her constituents pay. (And maybe they do – but she won’t.)
Someone else asked quite reasonably: how does an undocumented immigrant contribute to Social Security?
True enough, her statement about “burdens of capitalism,” is not honest. Wealth concentration tends to happen more with socialism than with free markets. But everything else she said is an admission of failure of her own ideology.
One at a time…
To prove that, let’s examine her statement, one point at a time.
We’re not having kids!
True enough, we’re not. Although that is hardly uniform! Again, World Population Review comes through, with the most current statistics. Yes, they cover birth rate by State. Now these are not Total Fertility Rates by woman of childbearing age. These are birth and fertility rates per capita (or actually, by thousand heads). And they show that the States having the most children, are mainly the States with conservative policies. If anything, the high-fertility States will become more conservative, with the exposure of “woke” curricula provoking parental protest.
We can’t continue to fund Social Security, Medicare, all of this stuff, without immigrants. And it’s always been that way.
At last a leftist politician admits what Social Security is. Carlo Pietro Giovanni Guglielmo Tebaldo Ponzi must be spinning in his grave. After all, he went to prison for what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did and got away with, Sc… Sorry. That would be a gratuitous insult to Scotsmen. The point is: to fund a scheme like Social Security, you need more people. But those people have to do useful work. If not, they become a burden and contribute nothing to lift it.
The cure for low birth rate
Low birth rate has no specific cure. Instead, the States with higher birth rates will eventually out-seed the States with lower. If States make family rearing attractive enough, they can encourage people to move in and become more fertile, not less.
Wikipedia has an interactive table that appears to have its basis in data up to 2020. According to it, not a single State is replacing its own people – though Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are. Even so, the liberal States are less fertile than the conservative States.
The trends do not look promising. But the 2021 Term of the Supreme Court set many hopeful precedents. They include, of course, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. But don’t forget Carson v. Makin, that overturned Maine’s Blaine Law.
But conservatives must also directly attack the Eight Precepts of Woke, and fully embrace the idea of Christian governance. We must make childbearing and child-rearing attractive again – and disallow the teaching of “woke” ideas in our schools. (Or else we must abandon government schools altogether.)
The most striking irony that AOC missed, is this: many of the immigrants we’re seeing (at least, those willing to follow the law) are conservative, not liberal. Case in point: Rep. Mayra Flores (R-Texas), a literal first-generation American who displaced an Old Liberal Lion in her district. And she represents people who still value children. That, in the end, is the key.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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