Saturday, June 4, 2011

Americans Are Having Fewer Kids

The latest news from the 2010 Census shows that, across the board, Americans are having fewer children than they did ten years prior.  While some folks may view that as something to fear, we at the True Spirit of America Party consider this to be good news.  And it couldn't come soon enough.

We have already noted in the past that overpopulation is NOT a myth--it is (or soon will be) a reality that we need to deal with, or it will deal with us in ways we probably won't like.  It is the elephant in the Volkswagen than no one wants to talk about, but ignoring it will not make it go away.  The latest projections show that if current demographic trends continue, the world's population (which is already nearly 7 billion and counting) will grow to a whopping 9.3 billion (or possibly even as high as 10.6 billion) by 2050.   From 2050 to 2100, the population would either decline to 6.2 billion or continue growing to 15.8 billion, depending on only a relatively small difference in the world's total fertility rate.  It truly boggles the mind how the Earth can sustain 9 billion people, let alone nearly 16 billion, when several credible sources say that we have already exceeded the planet's long-term carrying capacity many years ago.  Let that sink in for a minute or two.

In 2008, the USA alone was predicted to grow to as high as 438 million people by 2050.  Most of that growth would be due to immigration, but a significant chunk would be due to fertility, including the historically higher fertility of immigrants.  Though with current reductions in fertility and slowing of immigration (both likely due to the severe recession), if persistent, would reduce that forecast number significantly, even the lowest projections predict a sizeable increase in the population to over 350 million by then nonetheless.  And despite being only 5% of the world's population, we consume 25% of the world's natural resources, so any further increase in the number of Americans has much more of an impact than the same number increase in, say, a typical Third or Fourth World country.  But ultimately, there is no country that can realistically keep growing and growing forever without adverse consequences.  And even if we manage to cut our per-capita consumption in half, allowing the population to subsequently double will completely negate any progress made, despite a reduced standard of living.

Bottom line:  the current trend toward lower fertility ought to continue, and is good news overall, but we still really need to be careful how many more immigrants we let into our already overpopulated nation of 308 million and counting.  We ignore the elephant in the Volkswagen at our own peril.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Clock is Ticking

Just recently, the latest attempt to raise the national debt ceiling failed.  We have already reached the debt ceiling of $14.3 trillion last month, and there is fear that if we don't raise it by August 2, the nation will default, which would be catastrophic to our already weak economy.  The reason is that most of the money in the budget has already been committed when the budget was approved in March, which unfortunately requires more borrowing just to pay the interest on the debt, let alone everything else in the budget.  The government can trim a little here and there with accounting tricks for now to prevent a default, but that can only last for so long.

We at the TSAP were against raising the debt ceiling back in January, but that was before the budget was passed and the money already committed.  Now, however, we denounce Boehner and the Republicans' asinine and ideological attempt at playing chicken with our nation's finances, for very obvious reasons.  Now that both parties have already ordered their dinner and ate most of it, one party decides to dine and dash--only in this case it's not just a restaurant but the entire nation.  And the penalty would be far worse than a mere few hours of washing dishes.

The only way out of this, ironically, is to raise the ceiling just enough to get through the rest of the fiscal year (e.g. to about $15 trillion), but tie it to significant tax hikes and spending cuts.  These would include:

Tax Hikes
  • End the Bush tax cuts immediately for the top two brackets, and the rest of them effective one or two years later.
  • Create a new 50% bracket at $1 million and up immediately, and possibly even a 60% or greater one at $10 million.
  • Close ALL loopholes in the tax code that benefit those with high incomes.
  • No more tax breaks or loopholes for large corporations--absolutely NONE.
  • Remove the tax cap on Social Security immediately, so everyone pays their fair share.
  • Pass a financial transactions tax of 0.25%.
  • Raise the alcohol taxes and other excise taxes significantly.
  • Raise the gas tax by a penny a week until it is $1.00 greater than it is now.
  • Consider significant tariffs on imports from countries where workers are paid next to nothing.
Spending Cuts
  • End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with a complete withdrawal by December 31, 2011 (Iraq) and no later than July 1, 2012 (Afghanistan).
  • Get out of Libya as soon as Gaddafi is captured or killed, if not sooner.
  • Cut the defense budget (including the hidden parts) in half within a year, and close all unnecessary overseas military bases.
  • No more subsidies to large corporations or Big Agro--NONE.
Do all of those things and the budget should be balanced for several years to come.  But of course that would require logic and common sense, two things that are unfortunately lacking on Capitol Hill.  It really makes you wonder if there's something in the drinking water over in DC.