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Our Population Future

July 8, 2017

My good friend Joe Aaron is an economic futurist – someone who gets paid to explain trends and what the future will hold.

I asked him about the recent report that the United States fertility rate had hit a new low, since it features prominently in his  conclusion that the country is headed for real trouble if we, as a nation of immigrants, don’t change our policies.immigrants

I asked if the news changed his opinion. This is his response:

The short answer is no. It does not change my thinking on demographics here in the U.S. If you read between the lines, the article describes a part of our population, the Millennials, who are putting off having children and marriage. 

“The number one reason child birth is dropping in the civilized world today is economic. Young people can’t afford children anymore or are unwilling to make the financial sacrifices. It cost half a million to raise a kid and send them to college. That explains why 20% of our population decides to stay childless.

“The more educated you are, the less likely you are to have an unwanted pregnancy. Women can now get birth control with ease.

Finally, a woman with a good education can have a career and financial independence. If she decides she wants to have a baby she can. She no longer needs a man.

Where demographics are changing in the in the U.S. is at the state level. For example, Maine’s population is actually shrinking each year. Vermont is flat. New Hampshire’s population is flat. But they will both join Maine in the dying category this decade.

These three states have a medium age of 42, the highest in the country. The medium age for the U.S. is 37. This means they are an ageing society. This means their citizens are aging out of the work force. If this trend continues, and I have no doubt it will, in 15 years this will impact the state gov’t’s credit rating.

These three states have an unemployment rates below 3%. This is too low. It puts upward pressure on wages. This in turn puts pressure on a business to consider leaving the state.

If you are a technology company, where are you going to find employees with technology skills? Imagine a recession caused by a lack of workers. It is possible there.

The glass is half empty for small towns and rural area. The kids are all leaving for the bigger cities. It is a brain drain. Manufacturing plants will have jobs that go unfilled. Schools will close.

I find little to be happy about when it comes to our nation’s demographics. We better embrace immigration while people still want to come here.”


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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 8/27/16 edition

August 27, 2016

Can we all agree, this week we are all Italian? Unfortunately, it appears this will not be the last earthquake the country suffers.

Quake damage in Amatrice, Italy (AP photo)

Quake damage in Amatrice, Italy (AP photo)

Can we all agree, despite what her PR machine claims, Heather Bresch, the president of the firm which sells the EpiPen is a poster child for what’s wrong with the US drug industry? And her father, the senator, knows it.

Can we all agree Bernie Sanders’s new political group is off to a bad start?

Can we all agree Maine Governor Paul Lepage is the only politician who can out-Trump, Donald Trump? Even the Donald doesn’t have a newspaper apologizing to the nation.

Can we all agree Mr. Trump’s pivot under Kellyanne Conway, his new campaign manager, has everyone scratching their heads?

Can we all agree if Hillary Clinton was running against a traditional candidate, such as Jeb Bush, her email problems would really make her a serious underdog?

Can we all agree that the only real question left is whether Mrs. Clinton’s victory will be a landslide?

Can we all agree that, only in America, could Ryan  Lochte, turn his Rio lies into advertising gold?

Can we all agree, the Virginia diners who declined to leave a tip because they thought their server was not American, deserve all the ridicule they are getting?

Can we all agree the confrontation between Iranian and American battleships in the Persian Gulf sounds like the action of a rogue captain rather than a national policy? Or is that just wishful thinking?

Can we all agree that court decisions on bathroom choices leave us feeling that justice is not blind to politics and public opinion?

Can we all agree President Obama’s expansion of the marine national reserve will just add to his environmental legacy?

Can we all agree, speaking of the environment, California Governor Gerry Brown made sure his state maintained their place as the nation’s environmental capital?

Can we all agree, we are cheered by the victory of a homeless woman who successfully argued that the Social Security Administration owed her $100,000?

Can we all agree that it apparently takes a court to make some sense out of the French burkini ban?

Can we all agree, it won’t be too long before interest rates rise, marking the official end of The Great Recession?

Can we all agree this week’s gun protest at the University of Texas was  inspiring?

Can we all agree Herb Alpert’s Foundation deserves a round of applause for donating $10.1 million to Los Angeles City College to provide scholarships for every music major?

Can we all agree that putting a treaty, ending a 50-year war, to a nationwide vote seems a bit crazy?

Can we all agree, the Trump campaign’s efforts to undermine Mrs. Clinton, by alleging she has health issues, is too funny for serious comment?

Can we all agree, it’s almost as funny as Mr. Trump’s plea for support from African-American voters: “What do you have to lose?”

Can we all agree that we all feel a bit safer knowing there might be a planet that can support life, just 4.25 light years away? That’s roughly 25 trillion miles.

Can we all agree the Turkish/US invasion and capture of a Syrian town was more about pushing back the Kurds, than it was about ISIS?

Can we all agree we are not surprised that the Berkeley soda tax reduced consumption of sugary beverages in the city? Of course, it could be folks just did their shopping next door in Oakland.

And finally:

Can we all agree it’s a bit sad to know that soon  there will only be one remaining Howard Johnson‘s left in the United States?

And, for all of my female readers who are having trouble finding new clothes at the mall, I thought you might enjoy this from the Sarah Halzack.

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