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This article originally appeared on LifeSiteNews.

The spectacle of caravans of desperate people trekking across half a continent to get to their Promised Land elicits strong reactions from those who are already here. Some Americans would like to welcome all comers with open arms. Others, like the Canaanites of old, would like to shut down immigration altogether.

Among these is my friend Michael Anton, the former director of communications for the National Security Council, who recently argued in the Washington Post that we have enough people already (“So why do we need more people in the United States anyway?” June 22, 2018).  Adding more people runs the risk of “stuffing the land beyond bursting,” he says.

I disagree. I believe that the United States, with its population of 328 million, does need more people, and I will tell you why. But before we get into why population growth is a net positive, we first have to dispel what even The New York Times has accurately called the “myth of overpopulation.”

The idea that human beings are breeding themselves off the face of the planet has been around for a while now. Many Americans still believe that the United States would be better off if we both stopped having children and stopped importing people, at least for a while. Zero population growth, if not an actual reduction in the number of Americans, is their goal.

That was certainly the view of Richard Nixon’s Commission on Population, which warned in 1972 that America’s then-population of 209 million people was already “straining its resources.” There was an urgent need to trim the birth rate, the Commission reported, and went on to recommend the legalization of abortion and the promotion of the two-child family.

The Supreme Court obliged by legalizing abortion the following year. Nixon refused to even consider the second, seeing any effort to limit American fertility as political suicide. Of course, he managed to commit political suicide by other means anyway.

Even during the height of the fearmongering over population, our government took a generally hands-off approach to our numbers. Not all peoples have been as fortunate. The population “goals” or “targets” that were set by many governments have often led to forced-pace measures. For information on how government restrictions on childbearing can lead to massive human rights abuses, Google “China’s One-Child Policy.”

As a result of our laissez-faire policy on reproduction combined with our generous immigration policies, our population has increased by half since 1972. But before anyone recoils in horror from that statistic, let me note that, over that same period, despite the population increase, wages have remained stable.

Anton blames out-of-control immigration for keeping working and middle-class wages low. But the wage stagnation of the last 15 years has had much more to do with China making off with tens of thousands of factories and millions of jobs than with any increase in America’s working population.

With factories now moving back to the U.S. and unemployment rates at historic lows, it seems to me that there is no reason why we can’t both continue to welcome immigrants and see wages rise. Besides, with the economy on the cusp of 4 percent economic growth, and with our pool of available labor rapidly running dry, where else can we turn to find the workers we need to fill the jobs that are even now being created?

This does not mean that we should simply let in all comers. Legal immigrants from Asia, Africa and Latin America who have college degrees should receive preference over, say, economic migrants from Central America with sixth grade educations, especially if the latter have not even taken the time to actually apply. This is not racism; it is merely common sense.

Those who would allow anyone who shows up at our doorstep into the country run the gamut from the American Chamber of Commerce on the Right to Democratic strategists on the Left. But I would argue that neither extreme has yet to grasp how the fractious debate on the issue is actually playing itself out in the minds of Americans. It seems obvious to me — and, remember, I favor generous immigration quotas — that unless we get illegal immigration under control, the public mood will shift decisively against all immigrants.

Populations chiefly expand by filling cradles, of course, not immigration quotas. The latest news on the fertility front is not encouraging. America’s total fertility rate, or TFR, has collapsed. As a people, we are now averaging only 1.7 children, well below the 2.1 needed to sustain the present population. This is the lowest level ever recorded in U.S. history, and foreshadows a sharp demographic decline.

Some profess not to be disturbed by today’s dismal birth rate, pointing out that it is still higher than many other developed countries. This is like telling a patient dying of cancer that she is better off than the patient in the next bed because her cancer is not as advanced. Maybe so, but it will still kill her in the end.

America’s birth dearth is especially troubling in light of our rapidly improving economy. In the past, the return of prosperity has produced a quick rebound in births. Not this time.

The reasons for this are complex. They include rising levels of student debt, a preference for cohabitation over marriage, and a general unwillingness on the part of young people to take on the responsibilities of marriage and family.

The trillion-and-a-half dollars in student loans that young Americans have been shackled with is proving to be the best contraceptive ever invented. Couples who are heavily in debt are reluctant to commit to each other, much less to the long term and costly project of raising children.

Add to the mix a hookup culture that does not encourage the kind of permanent relationships that are the most fruitful, along with government exactions that frustrate fertility through high tax rates and expensive housing, and you have a recipe for depopulation.

While welcoming immigrants will help to offset this, it is even more important to encourage younger Americans to have children. This can be done by offering generous tax credits based on the number of children. Indeed, I would argue that couples who are willing to raise three or more children should be sheltered from taxes altogether. After all, such couples are providing for the future of their country in the most fundamental way, by providing, often at great personal sacrifice, the future generation.

Some might argue that such policies run the risk of turning women into unwilling breeders, but the truth is exactly the reverse. Surveys show a surprising amount of frustrated fertility in the United States. Young women express a desire to have an average of 2.5 children, which is nearly a full child more than the 1.7 children they will actually bring into the world if current fertility rates hold. This means that allowing young couples to keep more of their limited incomes will actually empower women by enabling them to more freely act on their deeply held fertility desires.

Among the benefits of a higher birth rate is a natural easing of the entitlement crisis. For every one-tenth of an increase in the total fertility rate, for example, Social Security remains solvent for an additional three years. More taxpayers mean more tax revenue.

There are other cost savings as well. When a family living in the United States has another child, it doesn’t put the same stress on housing prices and public schools that arriving immigrant families and their children do, especially if they are not fluent in English. Most native-born students come to school already equipped — by their own parents — with the language skills they need to learn. Many immigrant children don’t, and require years of expensive special instruction.

One would hope that both the Republican and Democrat parties would be able to embrace policies that are both pro-natal and pro-immigration. The Republican Party would do well to check the impulses of its nativist wing and welcome immigrants, lest economic growth be kneecapped by a shortage of workers.

The Democratic Party, for its part, needs to abandon its radical abortion policies and once again celebrate life. It is a national tragedy that so many are still dying at the hands of Planned Parenthood.

Democrats would do well to remember the words of one of their own, President John F. Kennedy, himself one of nine children, who said: “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”

Indeed, children are the ultimate resource, and the one resource you cannot do without if our country, or any country, is to have a future.

So let us all continue to welcome new Americans, both those who arrive in hospital delivery rooms as well as those who arrive in airports.

In the end, we all benefit.

13 thoughts on Just why do we need more people in the United States?

  • No illegal immigration. We currently have a “nation” of illegals – 14 million! That is more than the population of many countries! And legal immigration should be restricted. We are the third most populous country on earth, after China and India. Our population is always increasing due to illegal and legal immigration. We are not 40th in population, or 30th or 20th, but THIRD! We need to greatly restrict immigration because we don’t need more people. We have the Third most in the world! Japan, Russia, Scandinavia, Europe need people, not America. We have too many. Look at the traffic and the lack of open spaces and the overcrowding everywhere. It was not like that in the past.

    • America will be stronger if it welcomes people, wherever they come from, who believe in the American dream and are willing to work hard to build a better future for themselves and their neighbors. And we are not crowded overall. Living space per person has doubled in the last 40 years. Forests are coming back, as more efficient farming practices have shrunk the amount of land under cultivation. Roads are indeed more crowded, but help is around the corner with autonomous vehicles making it possible to fit more cars in the same amount of road and schedule traffic movements more efficiently.

    • Hugh- you should take a look around the rest of this website. With just a little research you’ll find that “traffic and overcrowding is proof of overpopulation” is a complete myth. Dispelling that myth with sound reason and objective facts is the entire point of this website.

    • Amen! I fully agree. The whole world used to have a much smaller population and did just fine. No country “needs” to have more people. One argument this author makes has to do with Social Security. But children should not be a prop to keep some government program afloat. Fix the program instead of just trying to rely on having a few more younger people to keep it afloat a few more years. It’s not healthy at all for people to live in such crowded places. That has been shown multiple times, affecting not only physical health, but also mentally and socially, which in turn also affects crime rates. As far as an aging population and more baby boomers and not enough younger people to support them in old age (this is a common argument), well, we will adjust. Baby boomers will not always be alive. Eventually, they will die, and my generation, their kids, will be the old folks. The population will be smaller, and society will continue.

  • Great article!

    Yet it misses that it’s not money, but the culture towards life which has the highest impact on fertility: 56% of the population growth from 2000 to 2010 is due to Latinos, who account for only 16% of the US population.

    The only way to recover replacement levels (2.1 Total Fertility Rate) is RESTORING the culture back to family values.

    It is the cheapest and easiest way: education based on science, NOT ideologies (safe sex, gender, express divorce, third wave feminism, etc.).

    Show the literature about real contraception failure rates (65% of US, 75% of UK and 80% of Spanish women having abortions were on contraception), the consequences of the hookup culture with respect to STIs and unplanned pregnancies, the deadly side effects of contraceptives, the lower life expectancy, the unhappiness rates of immoral lifestyles, modern epidemics, etc.

    By the way, the most effective anti-natal policy is postmodern “feminism” (in fact, anti-feminism), deadly as h-bombs:

    The economy is a lame excuse. Central Africans live with a couple of dollars a day and have more children than anyone else in the world!

    Birth rates are not about the economy but about the culture of life!

    And there’s a lot more:
    – Since 2000, each year, fewer children are being born than the year before
    – We should look at productivity replacement, not only replacement fertility

    In case you are interested in more, I give free speeches and lectures:

    Prof. Fred A. Nazar

    f.nazar at gmail .com

  • I am sympathetic to the overall drift of this, but I think you may overestimate the cost of language instruction in the larger scheme of things. I suspect that it is just a drop in the bucket of costs imposed by the breakdown of family structure overall.

  • If the goal is to wreck the pro-life movement worldwide with irreversible socialism – then immigration of the third-world into first world countries is the fastest way to get there.

    The result of the immigration is destroying the West.

    If allowed any kind of amnesty, visitation, whatever – their next step – is to sue for citizenship. In 1986, Reagan’s amnesty created voters – well over 3 times the number of those given amnesty. People actually sue from other countries saying they couldn’t be here for the amnesty! And they win! Lawsuits go on for years and we never hear about it.

    Also, the Voting habits – that will end the Republic: Whites, for various reasons, understand and love the Republic.

    Third world ethnic groups – and this also applies to the few who climb the economic latter-Hispanics of almost all backgrounds, Blacks, Middle East Muslims, Asians – are generally registered to vote at least 70% Democrat.

    Consider the Jewish vote – for their great success, they still vote against their own economic interests in the name of compassion and solidarity. Heather MacDonald has written on this for years – she’s finally getting some attention for understanding the emotional solidarity of ethnic voting in America and the hopelessness of ever winning the Latino vote.

    We will be outvoted into a socialist country. Whites will be a minority within a few decades and in some form, we will be legislated out of our private property. A version of this is happening in South Africa as we speak. Watch new documentary “Farmlands” by Lauren Southern.

    Anyone who thinks communist race hustlers and lobbyists are not indoctrinating their minions to do this very thing – is misinformed.

    Not to mention the ill-will that organized religion is fostering – shaming and alienating people of good will – who will have to live with brutal crime, wrecked communities, abusive and arrogant treatment, even more job discrimination and low wages. Immigration means more crime and is the biggest threat to America we have – and that’s saying something.

  • I think the arguments about how much immigration there should be start at the wrong place. This should be about the value and dignity of people and what they can bring to our communities. This means we need to look at how we use our resources so they can be shared more fairly (especially housing and employment), how we look after the environment (which means drastically reducing our need for a car), working together in our communities and further afield for a world that is better for everyone, and developing relationships with people of all faiths, ethnicities, countries.

  • I must agree with you, Mr. Mosher. I’m a naturalized American. Efforts to dramatically reduce illegal immigration should be made, concurrent with easing the process for legal immigration. I know a couple through my employer, who are legal immigrants in the process of becoming citizens. They’d shared some of the challenges, et al, with me. We could use more good people, legally. Especially if they want to become more citizens of our country. You’ve done well in this article, sir.

  • What people should rationally do and what they will do, especially when the laws are not good, are two different things. We have perhaps dug ourselves into a hole and even if we stop digging, we are still in the hole. It will take time and effort to get out of the hole. It is POSSIBLE but unlikely unless we have very good leadership. We don’t have very good leadership now, let alone followership. I do not give up hope but the future seems bleak right now.

  • We know about the attack on the family and the need for a return to an understanding of marriage, natural law, and God. There is a problem with where we get our information. Places like Google are pro-Choice, left leaning and not sympathetic to the pro-life drum beat. During the run up to elections, the pro-life movement now needs an online information service that will not distort the facts and downplay the truth. This is what we need to establish. Relying on organizations like Google, Facebook, is foolish.

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