From the Left



Biden's Secret Border Agenda: Migrants Fill Our Baby Gap

: Ted Rall on

The developed world is facing a fertility crisis. For the population to remain stable, the average woman needs to have 2.1 children. (The fraction over two accounts for disease, accidents and mortality in general.) A study published in The Lancet finds the fertility rate for Western Europe, 1.53 in 2021, is expected to drop further to 1.37 by 2100. A major population dropoff could cause a crisis as a smaller workforce is unable to support an older, larger cohort of retirees. Demand for homes and other transgenerational products could collapse, dragging down consumer goods and leading to a deflationary doom loop.

Fortunately, study co-author Natalia V. Bhattacharjee says, there's a solution: liberalizing immigration from places like the Global South, where birthrates remain high. "Once nearly every country's population is shrinking," Bhattacharjee says, "reliance on open immigration will become necessary to sustain economic growth." She told Al Jazeera that "sub-Saharan African countries have a vital resource that ageing societies are losing -- a youthful population."

The U.S. fertility rate has dropped from 3.65 in 1960 to 2.08 in 1990 to 1.66 in 2021. At the same time, population has risen from 181 million in 1960 to 250 million to 333 million in 2021. Immigration, legal and illegal, has filled the void created by our failure to make enough babies.

Under Trump, not so much.

I am increasingly convinced that, behind securely locked soundproof doors in the White House and other corridors of power, top Biden officials are staring at demographic charts that show the rate of population increase leveling off toward even, and dripping sweat over the fact that the current economic model, which is predicated on consistent expansion, is imperiled by a fertility crisis neither they nor the media ever talk about. Where Republicans see an uncontrolled flow of people from Central America and elsewhere pouring across the U.S.-Mexico border as threats to American jobholders, possible criminals and perhaps cultural harbingers of a "great replacement theory," Democratic economists like Bhattacharjee view them as a convenient solution to the intractable demographic issues of Americans getting married later, and in fewer numbers, and thus having fewer children than required to keep growing the economy.


There are ways to encourage American citizens who already live here to have more kids. One city in Japan, whose economy has struggled against a fertility crisis since the 1990s, has succeeded in growing family sizes by providing free medical care for children, free diapers and, most effectively, free daycare. Other places have achieved similar results. There is a direct correlation between low birthrates and expensive child daycare. But there's no sign that Washington cares about the issue, much less is about to act.

That leaves immigration. Given the stakes and the undeniable capitalistic logic that necessitates throwing open the floodgates, Biden might want to take a shot at something he seems both to hate and is not good at: explaining the facts to the public.


Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, co-hosts the left-vs-right DMZ America podcast with fellow cartoonist Scott Stantis. You can support Ted's hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.

Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate, Inc.




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