Today, the U.S. population is continuing growth abnormal for its status as one of the most developed countries in the world. Compared to similarly wealthy states such as Japan, Great Britain, Germany or France, the American population is rising rapidly.
The U.S. should control its population growth through financial incentives to prevent a decrease in the standard of living and increase in the government’s burden to accommodate the rapidly growing lower class of the society. The increase in population, due to the failure to control population growth in the past, has led to a population size that is no longer sustainable and must be reduced.
A growing population can destabilize the American society in two ways. First, the growth can reverse the trend upon which people can confidently say, “At least my children/grandchildren will have it better than I do.” An increase in income would no longer be guaranteed if the population continues to grow. Even for GDP annual increase of five percent, an astounding figure for a developed country, there is no net increase in the standard of living, as the five percent is cancelled out by the combination of inflation and increase in population. If the U.S. growth slips below five percent, the real income of its average citizen can decline.
Second, the population growth is concentrated in the poorer segment of the society. Statistics show that majority of U.S. population growth comes from immigration and high birth rate among the minorities, while the native Caucasian population is stabilizing. Notwithstanding exceptions, larger numbers of minorities are ill-educated, have less desirable jobs, and thus are less capable to financially sustain their livelihoods.
In fact, many more minorities depend on government welfare and low-income assistance than whites. Over time, jobs that require less skill will continue to decrease, being outsourced to developing countries with lower labor costs, and the percentage of minorities in the U.S. population will increase, forcing the government to spend much more to evade riots by poor, hungry, unemployed minorities. In the future, growth in spending on welfare programs for the growing impoverished population will plunge the government into further debt and force it to cut back on other budgets such as education. Population growth can hurt America by financially crippling the people and the government in the future.
To counter the problem of high population growth that has led to the unsustainable population size, financial measures can be undertaken against high birth rates and immigration. The government should not only eliminate the concept of “child tax credit” on tax returns but also create a child tax.
With addition of each new child, a family should be levied a limited amount of money in annual tax. A well-publicized child tax can restrict population growth of the lower-class who cannot afford to pay the new tax, while only lightly affecting the middle- and upper-class, who can easily pay the tax if they want children. If the child tax is not enough to lower the growth of the lower-class significantly, the welfare programs should be cut back and the cost of children’s necessities, such as infants’ formula and college education, should be raised in price. Such actions by the government can also increase income and decrease the spending, partially alleviating the problems of deficit spending.
Also, a new, large one-time “entrance fee” should be placed upon all foreign citizens applying for immigration to the U.S. Such a measure should make it difficult for poor, unskilled labor from legally entering U.S. and adding to the burden of the government. With the extra income from the entrance fee, the government can put more money into efforts of thwarting illegal immigration by strengthening the numbers of border patrol and INS agents looking for illegal immigrants in the shantytowns of various American cities.
Extracting taxes and fees from the lower class and poor immigrants can decrease population growth and ease the burden of the government spending at the same time.
The United States, as the richest country on Earth, has become a target for freeloading to the poor both here and abroad. With no understanding of the country’s economic dynamics, the poor continue to reproduce and immigrate to lightheartedly siphon off the state’s budget.
The result is a population size that is no longer sustainable for the continued growth of the economy and preservation of social structure. It is urgent that the U.S. government understands the dangerous situation created by an abnormally large population size and takes measures to solve the problem.
Xiaochen Su is a sophomore in Davenport College.