Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Overpopulation? Latest research suggests that we face a decline in population

From the left-wing Slate, of all places.

Excerpt:

A report issued last month by the Pew Research Center found that immigrant births fell from 102 per 1,000 women in 2007 to 87.8 per 1,000 in 2012. That helped bring the overall U.S. birthrate to a mere 64 per 1,000 women—not enough to sustain our current population.

Moreover, the poor, highly fertile countries that once churned out immigrants by the boatload are now experiencing birthrate declines of their own. From 1960 to 2009, Mexico’s fertility rate tumbled from 7.3 live births per woman to 2.4, India’s dropped from six to 2.5, and Brazil’s fell from 6.15 to 1.9. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, where the average birthrate remains a relatively blistering 4.66, fertility is projected to fall below replacement level by the 2070s. This change in developing countries will affect not only the U.S. population, of course, but eventually the world’s.

Why is this happening? Scientists who study population dynamics point to a phenomenon called “demographic transition.”

“For hundreds of thousands of years,” explains Warren Sanderson, a professor of economics at Stony Brook University, “in order for humanity to survive things like epidemics and wars and famine, birthrates had to be very high.” Eventually, thanks to technology, death rates started to fall in Europe and in North America, and the population size soared. In time, though, birthrates fell as well, and the population leveled out. The same pattern has repeated in countries around the world. Demographic transition, Sanderson says, “is a shift between two very different long-run states: from high death rates and high birthrates to low death rates and low birthrates.” Not only is the pattern well-documented, it’s well under way: Already, more than half the world’s population is reproducing at below the replacement rate.

If the Germany of today is the rest of the world tomorrow, then the future is going to look a lot different than we thought. Instead of skyrocketing toward uncountable Malthusian multitudes, researchers at Austria’s International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis foresee the global population maxing out at 9 billion some time around 2070. On the bright side, the long-dreaded resource shortage may turn out not to be a problem at all. On the not-so-bright side, the demographic shift toward more retirees and fewer workers could throw the rest of the world into the kind of interminable economic stagnation that Japan is experiencing right now.

It kind of undercuts the need for the leftist fixation on abortion, environmentalism, etc. doesn’t it?

Ari also sent me this article from Foreign Policy magazine that argues that the declining rate of population is actually good news for conservatives.

Excerpt:

Declining birthrates also change national temperament. In the United States, for example, the percentage of women born in the late 1930s who remained childless was near 10 percent. By comparison, nearly 20 percent of women born in the late 1950s are reaching the end of their reproductive lives without having had children. The greatly expanded childless segment of contemporary society, whose members are drawn disproportionately from the feminist and countercultural movements of the 1960s and 70s, will leave no genetic legacy. Nor will their emotional or psychological influence on the next generation compare with that of their parents.

Meanwhile, single-child families are prone to extinction. A single child replaces one of his or her parents, but not both. Nor do single-child families contribute much to future population. The 17.4 percent of baby boomer women who had only one child account for a mere 7.8 percent of children born in the next generation. By contrast, nearly a quarter of the children of baby boomers descend from the mere 11 percent of baby boomer women who had four or more children. These circumstances are leading to the emergence of a new society whose members will disproportionately be descended from parents who rejected the social tendencies that once made childlessness and small families the norm. These values include an adherence to traditional, patriarchal religion, and a strong identification with one’s own folk or nation.

This dynamic helps explain, for example, the gradual drift of American culture away from secular individualism and toward religious fundamentalism. Among states that voted for President George W. Bush in 2004, fertility rates are 12 percent higher than in states that voted for Sen. John Kerry. It may also help to explain the increasing popular resistance among rank-and-file Europeans to such crown jewels of secular liberalism as the European Union. It turns out that Europeans who are most likely to identify themselves as “world citizens” are also those least likely to have children.

Does this mean that today’s enlightened but slow-breeding societies face extinction? Probably not, but only because they face a dramatic, demographically driven transformation of their cultures. As has happened many times before in history, it is a transformation that occurs as secular and libertarian elements in society fail to reproduce, and as people adhering to more traditional, patriarchal values inherit society by default.

At least as long ago as ancient Greek and Roman times, many sophisticated members of society concluded that investing in children brought no advantage. Rather, children came to be seen as a costly impediment to self-fulfillment and worldly achievement. But, though these attitudes led to the extinction of many individual families, they did not lead to the extinction of society as a whole. Instead, through a process of cultural evolution, a set of values and norms that can roughly be described as patriarchy reemerged.

I think that if conservative men and women can get together and raise effective, influential children outside of the public school system, then we have some hope for the future. The welfare that is used to support single motherhood by choice is going to come to an end because of the debt crisis. When that happens, families headed by high-achieving men will be raising a higher proportion of the leaders of the next generation. Men and women who pool their resources and have more children will have more of an influence on the next generation.

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Santorum campaign relies on donated buses and door-to-door campaigning

From socially liberal Business Week.

Excerpt:

With minimal campaign organization and less funds than his rivals, Santorum has boosted his campaign with the votes of a network of evangelical Christians, anti-abortion rights activists and home-schooling parents who are resisting frontrunner Mitt Romney. In a March 8-11 national Bloomberg Poll, likely voters who described themselves as “born again” or evangelical Christian backed Santorum by 42 percent compared with 28 percent for Romney.

“Romney’s inability to close out the race has given Santorum a golden opportunity to unite social conservatives behind him, and they are getting in line,” said Keith Appell, a Republican public relations executive who works with social conservative groups.

Parents who home school their children are spreading the message on Facebook. Southern Baptist pastors are promoting Santorum’s candidacy to their members. Anti-abortion rights advocates are boarding the “Rick Bus” for multi-state voter mobilization tours.

Two days before Tennessee’s primary, Santorum attended services on March 4 at the Bellevue Baptist Church, a 7,000- member organization in the Memphis suburbs.

[...]Santorum won the state’s primary.

Such efforts are helping the former Pennsylvania senator compensate for a campaign operation that trails Romney in every measure of strength: money, staff, and organization.

Romney raised $63 million for his campaign through January, compared with $7 million by Santorum. Santorum had spent $148,806 on salaries and benefits through January; Romney’s personnel costs have exceeded $4.5 million. Santorum recently opened a national campaign headquarters in Virginia; Romney’s offices near Boston Harbor have been open nearly a year.

He’s tapping into well organized yet loosely affiliated groups of activists whose leaders consider Santorum one of them. “Santorum has piggybacked on the top of other existing grassroots networks,” said Cleta Mitchell, his campaign counsel. “They’re basically activating their networks on his behalf.”

[...]Romney and a political action committee supporting him ran 64 percent of the commercials that aired in Mississippi and Alabama in the month before the primaries, compared to just 15 percent aired by Santorum’s backers, according to data from New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks advertising.

The article tries to paint Santorum as a social conservative, and he is. But he also has a solid economic plan, that’s targeted to the middle class, and especially manufacturing. Basically, Romney is burning through millions and millions of dollars to buy the nomination. But ordinary conservatives, especially social conservatives, like Rick Santorum best.

Rick Santorum

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Rick Santorum’s economic plan is good for Ohio and Ohioans

From the Wall Street Journal, a column by Rick Santorum.

Excerpt:

[I]n my first 100 days as president, I’ll submit to Congress and work to pass a comprehensive pro-growth and pro-family Economic Freedom Agenda. Here are 10 of its main initiatives:

  • Unleash America’s energy. I’ll approve the Keystone Pipeline for jobs and energy security, and sign an order on day one unleashing America’s domestic energy production, allowing states to choose where they want to explore for oil and natural gas and to set their own regulations for hydrofracking.
  • Stop job-killing regulation. All Obama administration regulations that have an economic burden over $100 million will be repealed, including the Environmental Protection Agency rule on CO2 emissions that’s already shut down six power plants. I’ll review all regulations, making sure they use sound science and cost benefit analysis.
  • A pro-growth, pro-family tax policy. I’ll submit to Congress comprehensive tax policies to strengthen opportunity in our country, with only two income tax rates of 10% and 28%. To help families, I’ll triple the personal deduction for children and eliminate the marriage tax penalty.
  • Restore America’s competitiveness. The corporate tax rate should be halved, to a flat rate of 17.5%. Corporations should be allowed to expense all business equipment and investment. Taxes on corporate earnings repatriated from overseas should be eliminated to bring home manufacturing. I’ll take the lead on tort reform to lower costs to consumers.
  • Rein in spending. I’ll propose spending cuts of $5 trillion over five years, including cuts for the remainder of fiscal year 2013. I’ll propose budgets that spend less money each year than prior years, and I’ll reduce the nondefense-related federal work force by at least 10%, without replacing them with private contractors.
  • Repeal and replace ObamaCare. I’ll submit legislation to repeal ObamaCare, and on day one issue an executive order ending related regulatory obligations on the states. I’ll work with Congress to replace ObamaCare with competitive insurance choices to improve quality and limit the costs of health care, while protecting those with uninsurable health conditions. In contrast, Gov. Romney signed into law RomneyCare, which provided the model for ObamaCare. Its best-known feature is its overreaching individual health-care mandate. But it shares over a dozen other similarities with ObamaCare and has given Massachusetts the highest health-care premiums in the nation, and longer waits for health care.
  • Balance the budget. I’ll submit to Congress a budget that will balance within four years and call on Congress to pass a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution which limits federal spending to 18% of GDP.
  • Negotiate and submit free trade agreements. Because many Americans work for companies which export, I’ll initiate negotiations in the first 100 days and submit to Congress five free trade agreements during my first year in office to increase exports.
  • Reform entitlements. I’ll cut means-tested entitlement programs by 10% across the board, freeze them for four years, and block grant them to states—as I did as the author of welfare reform in 1996. I’ll reform Medicare and Social Security so they are fiscally sustainable for seniors and young people.
  • Revive housing. I’ll submit plans to Congress to phase out within several years Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s federal housing role, reform and make transparent the Federal Reserve, and allow families whose mortgages are “underwater” to deduct losses from the sale of their home in order to get a fresh start in difficult economic times.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Santorum’s a “supply-sider for the working man“.

Rick Santorum

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What does Rick Santorum’s economic plan do?

From the Wall Street Journal, a column by Rick Santorum.

Excerpt:

[I]n my first 100 days as president, I’ll submit to Congress and work to pass a comprehensive pro-growth and pro-family Economic Freedom Agenda. Here are 10 of its main initiatives:

  • Unleash America’s energy. I’ll approve the Keystone Pipeline for jobs and energy security, and sign an order on day one unleashing America’s domestic energy production, allowing states to choose where they want to explore for oil and natural gas and to set their own regulations for hydrofracking.
  • Stop job-killing regulation. All Obama administration regulations that have an economic burden over $100 million will be repealed, including the Environmental Protection Agency rule on CO2 emissions that’s already shut down six power plants. I’ll review all regulations, making sure they use sound science and cost benefit analysis.
  • A pro-growth, pro-family tax policy. I’ll submit to Congress comprehensive tax policies to strengthen opportunity in our country, with only two income tax rates of 10% and 28%. To help families, I’ll triple the personal deduction for children and eliminate the marriage tax penalty.
  • Restore America’s competitiveness. The corporate tax rate should be halved, to a flat rate of 17.5%. Corporations should be allowed to expense all business equipment and investment. Taxes on corporate earnings repatriated from overseas should be eliminated to bring home manufacturing. I’ll take the lead on tort reform to lower costs to consumers.
  • Rein in spending. I’ll propose spending cuts of $5 trillion over five years, including cuts for the remainder of fiscal year 2013. I’ll propose budgets that spend less money each year than prior years, and I’ll reduce the nondefense-related federal work force by at least 10%, without replacing them with private contractors.
  • Repeal and replace ObamaCare. I’ll submit legislation to repeal ObamaCare, and on day one issue an executive order ending related regulatory obligations on the states. I’ll work with Congress to replace ObamaCare with competitive insurance choices to improve quality and limit the costs of health care, while protecting those with uninsurable health conditions. In contrast, Gov. Romney signed into law RomneyCare, which provided the model for ObamaCare. Its best-known feature is its overreaching individual health-care mandate. But it shares over a dozen other similarities with ObamaCare and has given Massachusetts the highest health-care premiums in the nation, and longer waits for health care.
  • Balance the budget. I’ll submit to Congress a budget that will balance within four years and call on Congress to pass a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution which limits federal spending to 18% of GDP.
  • Negotiate and submit free trade agreements. Because many Americans work for companies which export, I’ll initiate negotiations in the first 100 days and submit to Congress five free trade agreements during my first year in office to increase exports.
  • Reform entitlements. I’ll cut means-tested entitlement programs by 10% across the board, freeze them for four years, and block grant them to states—as I did as the author of welfare reform in 1996. I’ll reform Medicare and Social Security so they are fiscally sustainable for seniors and young people.
  • Revive housing. I’ll submit plans to Congress to phase out within several years Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s federal housing role, reform and make transparent the Federal Reserve, and allow families whose mortgages are “underwater” to deduct losses from the sale of their home in order to get a fresh start in difficult economic times.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Santorum’s a “supply-sider for the working man“.

Rick Santorum

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Wall Street Journal: Rick Santorum is a supply-sider for the working man

Just to refresh everyone, a proponent of supply-side economics is someone who believes that economic growth is driven more by innovation and entrepreneurship, and less by consumer spending and government stimulus spending. Supply-siders are all about creating wealth - by letting creative people have the money invent something valuable that consumers will want to buy – like an iPhone or a Kindle. Demand-siders are all about redistributing wealth - by having the government take from one group of people to give it to another group of people – like a Solyndra loan or a Chevy Volt subsidy.

Here’s the Wall Street Journal article about Rick Santorum, and where he fits on the scale.

Excerpt on his economic plan for businesses:

‘I’m someone who believes that making things creates wealth,” says Rick Santorum. It is primary day in New Hampshire, and the former Pennsylvania senator and current presidential candidate is describing his plan to slash corporate tax rates. To encourage companies to make things, he would completely eliminate the federal income tax on manufacturers. For all other businesses, the rate would be cut in half, to 17.5% from 35%.

[...]I ask if his corporate tax plan opens him up to criticism that he and President Obama are both favoring particular sectors of the economy, with Mr. Santorum picking manufacturing while Mr. Obama anoints green energy. “Oh, green energy is not a sector, I mean, come on. It’s like a half-dozen companies,” says Mr. Santorum.

Does this mean the Obama policy would be more legitimate if the president were favoring a larger group of Solyndras?

“He’s talking about handing out tax-free grants and loans,” says Mr. Santorum, who adds that his own plan “is a conservative approach. It’s supply-side. It’s cutting rates. Why are we cutting the corporate rate to 17.5% and making it simple? . . . Because we think it’s what’s necessary to grow the economy. . . . So if what’s necessary to grow the economy in one sector of the economy is different from another, then why should we have the same tax rate?” He argues that manufacturing has been hit particularly hard by the costs of regulation and litigation.

That’s pro-growth – we’re all going to have multiple job offers if he executes this plan – back to 4% unemployment like under Bush.

But what about his economic plan for taxpayers?

Mr. Santorum also believes that making babies creates wealth. It’s very difficult to grow an economy with a shrinking population, he says, pointing to the “demographic winter in Europe” as a cause of that region’s troubles. To help avoid that fate in the U.S., he wants to triple the per-child tax credit and also cut individual tax rates.

[...]On the personal tax side, rewarding child-rearing is consistent with the pro-life views of Mr. Santorum, who has seven children. But the case he makes seems to echo the analysis of some Wall Street economists, who view population growth as a critical advantage the United States will enjoy over China and the euro zone.

Mr. Santorum argues that the cost of Europe’s massive welfare states made it too expensive for young people to have families. He notes that with plummeting birth rates, many European countries have resorted to “baby bonuses” to try to reverse the tide, but the demographic picture remains bleak, while the costs of entitlement programs have exploded.

“Who are benefits promised to, overwhelmingly? Well, they’re promised to older people. And if you have a society like Europe that is upside down where there are a lot more older people than younger people, you have economic calamity,” he says. Asked if giving generous per-child credits will result in an even larger number of households exempt from the income tax and therefore amenable to more spending, he says his plan will drive growth and that, in turn, will bring more people on to the tax rolls. Elimination of deductions might also keep some people paying income taxes. He aims to balance overall taxes and spending at 18% of GDP. Spending has soared to 24% in the Obama era.

In a still-crowded field of non-Romneys trying to compete for the Republican nomination, Mr. Santorum could emerge in the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary as the man who can bring together the old Reagan coalition. A champion of cultural conservatives with a blue-collar background, he is also making the case for deep cuts in federal spending. His credibility on this last issue derives from the political price he paid for being an early promoter of entitlement reform.

And what about his plan for entitlement reform?

To prevent an economic calamity on this side of the Atlantic, he also proposes to cut $5 trillion from federal spending in five years. He calls the plan advanced by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan “a good starting point,” but he notes that few of the spending cuts happen in the first decade of the plan. Also, Mr. Santorum says that he wants to reform Social Security, not just Medicare and Medicaid. “I like the Ryan plan on the Medicare side. I don’t like waiting 10 years. I don’t like waiting 10 years on anything. I’ve also talked about Social Security.”

Has he ever, going back at least to the 1990s. Says Mr. Santorum, “Some guy just walked up to me at the [New Hampshire campaign] headquarters with a picture of me standing at the presidential podium in Kansas City, Missouri, in April 1998 when I went with Bill Clinton to talk about Social Security reform. I was the Republican lead on the issue,” he recounts, a dangerous proposition for someone representing Pennsylvania, a state with one of the oldest populations in the country. “And I won re-election after that, I might add.”

But after winning that 2000 election—his second Senate victory and his fourth straight win in Democratic territory—Mr. Santorum aggressively backed President George W. Bush’s call for allowing younger workers to own personal accounts.

It’s much easier to contemplate marriage when you 1) have multiple job offers and 2) you are keeping more of what you earn and 3) children are less of a burden on your income and 4) the government is not going to bankrupt those children with out of control entitlements. Marriage-minded men who want to start families will love this plan. It is a signal to men to start working, start marrying and start having children. Men think about these things, you know – losing our jobs, whether our children will be better off than we were, and so on. Santorum gets it – he has a pro-marriage, pro-family economic plan.

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