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In the United States, a history of large families and massive immigration has allowed our population to increase well above the optimum amount. Overpopulation is a major cause of many of the problems in our society; it has led to an increase in crime, poverty, unemployment, and environmental problems. With a massive wave of immigration comes massive unemployment and lower wages for natural born citizens. This overcrowding also causes increased energy consumption, overuse of our limited natural resources, increased greenhouse gas emission, and an overall strain on our environment. This overpopulation will continue to worsen if the U.S. government doesn't do something about it. This means passing a National Population Policy that will help reduce the population, which will in turn help improve the standard of living for everyone in the United States.
This type of legislation must include efforts to slow immigration tremendously. The flow of illegal immigrants into the United States has been increasing over the course of the country's history, and unless measures are put in place to stop this migration, the population will continue to steadily increase. Our economy cannot support these immigrants, and neither can our environment. In an effort to control immigration, the National Population Policy must include a provision to create a new immigration control division of the presidential cabinet. This way there would be more focus on immigration, border patrol efforts would be given more funding, and experts on immigration would be able to have an impact on how the U.S. controls its borders. This department could set up harsher consequences for those who are caught sneaking into the country and those who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. They could also oversee the creation of an agency that will track down illegal immigrants who have crossed the border, as well as those who have stayed in the country past the expiration of their green card. Efforts to slow legal immigration must also be a priority of the new cabinet department. Potential immigrants should be required to submit their request for legal entry into the U.S. to the immigration control department, and must be granted an immigration license before entering. This would ensure that all those coming into the country are here to seek refuge, work in a certain field, or to be reunited with others in their immediate family. As a result, the number of immigrants coming to live with extended family, and those given visas to do unskilled labor in the United States, would drastically be reduced along with the total number of immigrants.
In addition to laws restricting immigration, this legislation must also encourage lower fertility rates. The best way to do this is to stop giving incentives to those who have multiple children. The government must stop giving welfare money to people based on how many children they have to support, and start making those on welfare responsible for their children. Tax breaks based on the number of children in a family should stop after the second child is born. Furthermore, the government must educate people on the advantages of a two child family, and the positive effects it can have on American life. The government should also give tax breaks to those who settle in less densely populated areas in an effort to spread out the population.
These measures are necessary to keep the standard of living high in the United States. With population increasing day after day, year after year, there comes a point when a country reaches its optimum population, and in the case of the United States, a point beyond that optimum level which requires some damage control. That damage control must begin now, before the economy and the environment are injured so badly that they cannot rebound. People must begin to realize how severe this population crisis is; otherwise the consequences could be dire. This overpopulation issue can be repaired, but it will not fix itself, it will require swift action and great dedication to safeguard the United States from a population overload.
Portions of the sixty-acre farm that my great-grandfather once owned are now dotted with houses so similar and close together as to be indistinguishable. This is happening all across America - family farms being sold and subdivided to accommodate our ever increasing need for housing. Farmland is being extinguished at an alarming rate. More people mean more houses and land to put them on. According to a study done at Cornell University, if the U. S. continues to lose farmland at its current rate, by 2040, this country will not be able to export food. From which countries would we be willing to import food to feed our growing population?
It is definitely my view that congress should create a National Population Policy. The earth has limited resources and cannot support population growth for an extended period without control measures. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, U. S. population growth is now the highest among developed countries. The U. S. population more than tripled during the 20th century and estimates a gain of one person every 13 seconds. Our population has now exceeded the 300,000,000 mark!
One goal of the policy should be to reduce the desirability of more children. At present Americans can take an exemption for each child on their income tax return. More children mean more exemptions. If you have more than one child in college, you get a break. If you are on welfare, more children mean more money. If these items were eliminated past one child, at least the idea that more is better would be less prominent.
Education in family planning would need to be increased. Classes in middle school dealing with sex education should include sections on the impact of population growth on society, not only the consequences for the individual.
Another goal of the policy should be to put more emphases on population growth. There are so many global concerns that can be directly attributed to overpopulation, but these concerns are in the forefront with little emphasis on the basic cause. Global warming is a big concern now and I feel this too would be aided by a population policy. More people mean more cars, more industry, more pollution, and more space needed. Public service spots on television showing the devastating effects of overpopulation would be a good start.
The policy instituted should address the issue of illegal immigration. Illegal immigrants accounted for almost half (1.4 million) of the national population growth of 2.9 million between July 2005 and July 2006. Illegal immigration puts a strain on our already limited affordable housing, contributes to overcrowding of schools, and generally increases strain on all our resources. Efforts must be increased to end illegal immigration. Measures currently employed are clearly not working and efforts need to be strengthened between government agencies to get effective control of the situation.
I would like to see a National Population Policy put into effect so that future generations would be assured of adequate resources. I would want them to know that my generation cared and did what we could to preserve them.
Christian D. Aulbach
The National Population Policy should seek to curb immigration by imposing stiffer penalties for illegal immigrants and by placing a cap on the number of legal immigrants allowed into the United States. By doing so, the country will allow for "domestic tranquility" as per the Constitution. Illegal immigrants pose a risk to this country in that they enter the country with unknown diseases, present a possible criminal risk, and reap the benefits of employment and the like, that might otherwise be enjoyed by an American citizen. Domestic tranquility can be had by all by ensuring that these issues do not occur.
Addressing birth rates in this country should be another goal of the National Population Policy that will help to promote the general welfare of all Americans. Many births in this country come as the result of birth mothers who are either uneducated or unprotected or both. A National Population Policy would help to educate young girls so that they can make better decisions. Additionally, advocating for a two-child family would help to prevent overpopulation and the inherent risks that this brings. The freedom to have more children would not be taken away but tax benefits would be eliminated for any children beyond the first two. All of these proposals would promote the general welfare of our people in that smaller families would help to maintain our natural resources as opposed to further limiting them. The eliminated tax benefit for beyond the second child could be used to research ways of helping preserve our environment.
Finally, another goal of a National Population Policy should be to assist other countries that struggle with high fertility, unemployment and unrest. By assisting these countries, we can reduce poverty; help others learn to be self-sufficient and better choices for their families. Their success will have a huge impact on preserving the world's natural resources and the environment. Additionally, they will be less inclined to immigrate to the United States in search of employment and safety.
In summary, the United States has failed to take a proactive approach towards addressing the issues that continue to affect our people. Our natural resources continue to dwindle and our environment continues to become more unstable with little done by our government to ensure that this stops. A National Population Policy is a policy that will help to preserve our resources, ensure there are resources for the next generation to come and would ensure that our Constitution is being honored, as it should. Additionally, it promotes the well-being of other countries as well.
Imagine a future where streets are packed with people desperately trying to make their way through the swarm, where roads are jammed with cars, effectively slowing our nation to a standstill. For some areas in our country, that future is already here and will soon be dawning on the rest of America. It is clear that our nation has reached its carrying capacity as evidenced by environmental indicators like global warming and shrinking water supplies. Overpopulation is a problem that affects the whole nation and is too massive and complex to be solved by private means. Therefore, Congress should create a National Population Policy to fight against overpopulation, which should address the two sources of population growth: immigration and domestic fertility.
Immigration, both legal and illegal, accounts for 61 percent of population growth after 1990. Of course we cannot and should not shut our borders entirely because immigrants bring human capital, like high educational attainment or knowledge of a foreign language, which is useful for our country's economic well-being. Legal immigration is acceptable because it is easily controlled by quotas. Those quotas should be reduced to an acceptable amount that would help stabilize our population. There should also be more restrictions on who can immigrate to America, like a high education level, since this would maximize the immigration population's economic contribution and also reduce immigrant birth rates as educated people generally have fewer children.
The main problem with immigration, though, is the part that is much more difficult to control - illegal immigration. To stop illegal immigration, it should be punished more severely with measures like higher fines, jail time, and deportation. Not only will it reduce the number of illegal immigrants already in America, but it will also discourage future illegal immigration. These punishments will only be effective if there is a scale-up of detection and enforcement efforts such as investigations into business hirings and bank transactions. By taking a firmer stance, we increase the chance that illegal immigrants get caught and ensure that the benefits of illegal entry do not outweigh the costs
The second part of the National Population Policy's approach should deal with domestic fertility rates. The current fertility rate in the United States is 2.1335 births per woman which means more children are born than are necessary to replace their parents. The policy must tackle both types of births - planned and unplanned. To reduce unplanned pregnancies, schools should promote abstinence and contraceptives more aggressively. While abstinence is the only fail-proof way to avoid pregnancy, it would be very difficult to dramatically change popular culture and human instinct to deemphasize sex, making it impossible to suppress sexual urges. The second line of defense is contraception promotion. The sex-education curriculum should focus on making sure teenagers are fully aware of the burdensome responsibilities that come with child-rearing and on educating them about the different types of contraceptives. There should also be a conscious effort on the part of the government to remove the social taboo on contraceptives, like condoms and birth control and to make them more readily available.
The National Population Policy should also attempt to reduce planned pregnancies. In Europe and Japan, the increasing number of women in the workplace has contributed to their low fertility rates. Having a career causes women to put off having children until they are older and also discourage them from having more than one or two. The policy should include incentives for women to pursue bachelors degrees or higher so that more women will have better access to higher-paying jobs. Complementary to that initiative, are tax breaks for families with fewer than three children. That way, families with already two children will have a disincentive to having more children. If parents want more than two children, then they should be encouraged to adopt children from the overburdened Children's Services.
There is no doubt that overpopulation is a problem in America. More and more Americans are seeing its effects with their own eyes. Congestion, higher food prices, overcrowded schools among other effects are only in their early stages. Reducing the population to a sustainable level will bring many benefits to our society like increased resources per capita. It is imperative that Congress take action to reduce population growth by controlling immigration and encouraging smaller family sizes. Without such measures, we may push the environment to a point of no return and see a more painful and violent check on the human population.
Thomas Malthus said: "Reason interrupts man's career and asks him whether he may not bring beings into the world for whom he cannot provide the means of subsistence." With the United States geometrically increasing population, depletion of natural resources, and rising energy costs, one must ponder the economic costs and benefits of bearing children. The U. S. has exceeded its population carrying capacity by nearly 100 million people. Birth rates are at its highest since the early 1970s, currently at 2.1335 births per woman, and due to medicinal and technological advances people are living longer with the average life span of 75.29 years for men and 81.13 years for women according to 2008 projections. (Central Intelligence Agency World Fact Book). It is apparent that either something in our notorious gas guzzling and resource ravishing American lifestyle needs to change or else suffer the wrath of mother earth and overpopulation. The United States Congress can attempt to curb the nation's population growth rate through National Population Policies that will address education, tax policy, and revision of immigration legislation.
Awareness is a key factor in the attempt to curb population growth and it must begin with education in our nation's youth. National policy should mandate that public schools introduce an Environmental and Population Health course component along with its sexual education classes. Also, the government should reduce restrictions on birth control and make contraceptives more readily accessible to the population, which could dramatically decrease the rising teen birth rate. In 2005, 36.8% of births were to unmarried women compared to only 4% in 1950 when America was in the middle of the baby boom. Schools should also be encouraged to have representatives from Negative Population Growth (NPG) visit classrooms and talk about their goals and initiatives towards a more sustainable population level. The creation of an NPG Junior Membership program, where High School students can organize speakers, newsletters, and educational programs for other classmates to learn about environmental sustainability, healthy immigration levels, and how they can advocate negative population growth is another means of enlightening today's younger generation. By directly addressing key issues through the public school system and involving America's youth in the effort, it increases the likelihood of young people practicing more sustainable lifestyles and population growth patterns as adults.
National Population Policy can also reach older generations by creating a tax benefit for smaller families and couples without children. The government should offer tax subsidies for families with two children or less, or for those who adopt children. This would create an incentive for married couples to have fewer children or consider adoption, both of which would decrease the birth rate.
Perhaps the largest problem we must overcome in the war against population growth is immigration. According to NPG research, the total foreign born population reached 35 million in 2005, and adds more than 1.1 million persons to the population each year, accounting for one third of the annual growth in U.S. population. The United States government has the authority to take action on this issue and can do so by restricting the number of foreigners admitted into the country and removing illegal aliens residing within our borders. NPG suggests that the US decrease quasi and legal immigration by eighty percent. With this and other policy measures such as increased border control and regular enforcement of existing immigration regulations, population growth would decrease considerably.
A National Population Policy allows the government to regulate fertility rates and sustain a healthy social environment just as the Federal Reserve manages the money supply to maintain a healthy economy. As Americans become more aware of the negative environmental and socio-economic concerns related to over-population, they should be encouraged to have smaller families. Through education, we can teach our youth that if U.S. population continues to grow at current rates, domestic resources will ultimately be exhausted and our standard of living will be decreased. Tax incentives, combined with a revised immigration policy, will play an integral role in lowering U.S. fertility rates and have a long-term positive impact on our quality of life. With Americans considering the effects of current consumption on future generations' living standards, a National Population Policy will help curb U.S. population growth to a healthy and sustainable level.
As Malthus predicted, man's "reason" will call to him and by implementing policy changes today, it will not only decrease the growth rate of population, but "provide the means of subsistence" for future generations.
Should Congress Create A National Population Policy ?
A svelte and strong world class runner is well adapted to his sport as is a stocky and strong world class weight lifter is to his. Each is capable of peak performance in his sport. If the runner were to abandon his training and put on extra pounds he would quickly lose his competitive status, but it would probably take an enormous increase in weight before he put his overall health at risk. So too, the weight lifter would also lose his competitive status, but it probably would not take a very large weight increase to put his health in jeopardy.
Population growth is similar to weight gain insofar as it must be in balance with the environment and the economy. In the early days of this republic there appeared to be no limits to physical expansion and economic opportunities. Over time the U.S. has evolved, expanded, and matured to the point where there is a risk of an imbalance with resources. The physical risk may not be obvious, but resources to sustain, not just the quality of life, but life itself are being compromised. It is painfully clear that in parts of the U.S. water resources are critical. This is so, not just in western states, but in the southeast as well, where drought has become a cyclical issue. Ultimately this will affect food production as well as daily life.
The economic impact may be more subtle, but its insidious effects become more evident as the growing population weighs on the resources more heavily day by day.
So the analogy becomes clearer. In the early days of this country we developed a competitive society, reasonably in balance and capable of taking on "the extra weight" of population increases. Like the runner with the capacity to add weight, the U.S. in its early history could absorb large population increases. Today the U.S. is more like a weight lifter who, now stocky and strong, has a smaller capacity to add weight without risking his overall health.
Unbalanced, uncontrolled population growth puts the overall physical and economic health of this country at risk. It is therefore evident that Congress must address this issue, but to do this responsibly it must have the facts in order to set realistic and feasible goals.
As with athletes who must know as precisely as possible their true weight, we must have an accurate accounting of our true population. Just as the athlete needs to balance his caloric intake and his training regimen, the government needs to balance the physical resources of the country with its human resources.
Specifically, the U.S. government must know not only the total number of people in the country at any moment, but also the skills these people bring and the burden they may represent to the environment. Just as it is helpful for the athlete to "weigh in" periodically, a "snapshot" in time is helpful, but would not be as effective as the ability to employ ongoing, continuous monitoring of the changes taking place every day.
To accomplish this goal it will be necessary to identify and measure all of the physical resources of this country and to then create a plan to preserve and manage them prudently. In the same way, the human resources will equally need to be evaluated and managed so that the skills and educational background of our population are balanced against our physical capacity.
Just as the runner has a set of options that may be more extensive than the weight lifter in adapting to his own physical changes by adding weight, so too the United States must be realistic about its capacity to increase its population. There are real limits to this capacity. It may be possible to make adjustments that will accommodate some variation, but there is a real risk that if attention is not paid within a reasonable margin of error, then the U.S., like the grossly overweight athlete, will not only lose the ability to compete, but will be risking survival itself.
Thus it is abundantly clear that the Congress of the U.S. should not only create a National Population Policy, but should be certain to mandate the metrics in order to do so effectively and competently.