A recent letter writer admonished Open Forum readers to "use data...to produce workable plans, over using hollow words [which] produce bridle, hollow, and destructive thinking." After savoring the irony of how data-free and replete with "hollow and destructive thinking" that letter was, I thought it might be helpful to look at some real population data. This is what I found.
1. For a population to remain in equilibrium, each woman, on average, must have 2.1 children over their lifetime. This is known as the "replacement rate."
2. The last time the U.S. total fertility rate was exceeded 2.1 was over 36 years ago.
3. According to the CIA factbook, the total fertility rate for 2007 in the US was estimated at 2.09.
4. We have been at or under the replacement fertility rate for almost four decades now. Obviously, our population "growth" cannot be due to births during that period, because those births were necessary to prevent the population from shrinking. In fact, the population "growth" is due to higher fertility rates in the 1950s and 1960s (the baby boom) and longer life expectancies.
5. Expecting post-boomers (a comparatively small group) to foot the bill for baby boomers when they start drawing Social Security is like asking a mouse to give a piggy-back ride to an elephant. Sure, the baby boomers will die eventually, but not until they've financially crushed the younger workers under their burden.
6. If things continue as they have, the United Nations estimates there will be 248 million fewer children in the world in 2050 then there are now. Divide that number by 30 and you can estimate the reduced need for teachers world wide (about 8.26 million fewer).
Think about the ousted lawmakers
Think about the two Republicans in District 12 that you voted out of office in the last election the next time you pull up to the gas pump. Think about the two Democrats you replaced them with that provided just enough votes to override the governor's veto and raise your gas tax!
In my view Democrats used the 35W bridge collapse to convince the public that lack of money spent was the cause of the bridge collapse. Think about the facts. During the original construction, 16 1/2-inch thick gusset plates were used in the bridge (they failed) instead of the 1-inch thick plates that were called for by bridge engineers. That's not a maintenance funding shortfall as some Democrats - with the media's help -convinced the public.
According to the Republican leadership that day after the veto override, the six Republicans who voted with Democrats to raise your gas tax won't be carpooling to the Capitol with anyone in the Republican caucus!
What do the shareholders think?
I read in the USA Today that the CEO of General Motors got a 33 percent raise in salary. Plus he is eligible for a bonus of $3.52 million in 2008. GM reported a record loss of $39 billion for 2007, its third consecutive net loss. The stock has dropped 64 percent since 2000 when he became CEO. Is this OK with the shareholders? Did they get to vote on this? How do you get to join this elite club where you can be inefficient at work and still get raises and bonuses?
Say you hire someone to build a house. After you move in, you notice the walls sag, the roof leaks, the basement floods and nothing works. Do you go give the builder more money?
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