Monday, July 3, 2017

Why is he talking about population?


Why population? Because, to my mind, apart from fiddling with immigration policy and such, population growth responds primarily to economic conditions. Population growth slowed in the 1930s? Because the economy was slow. Population growth picked up in the 1950s? Because the economy picked up.

I don't see it on my graphs, but I want to suggest that the U.S. population growth (not counting immigrants) has been in decline since 1980 because the U.S. economy has been in decline since that date. Or maybe the date should be 1974. Or maybe the 1960s.

Can't see it on the graphs because the data from before 1960 is not comparable.

Such a decline in population growth would be evidence of economic decline. Come to think of it, so is the argument that we need to increase immigration in order to boost economic growth. Or maybe that last one is just evidence of the decline of economic argument.

But if the "natural" rate of population growth (which excludes immigration) has declined in response to a declining economy, then the correct response would be to reverse the economic decline. To reverse the decline of population growth by increasing immigration is the wrong response. It camouflages the economic problem and confuses the economic analysis. It does not solve the economic problem.

That's why I'm talking about population.

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