Over­whelm­ing immigrant hoards?

The Catoosa County News - - COMMENTARY - Ge­orge B. Reed Jr.

Have you ever won­dered why the Ger­mans and Scan­di­na­vians wel­come im­mi­grants from the war­rav­aged Mid­dle East? It isn’t from the good­ness of their hearts, I as­sure you. It’s be­cause of Europe’s de­clin­ing birth rates. Most Euro­pean coun­tries are not even re­pro­duc­ing at a re­place­ment level. Thus, the Euro­pean av­er­age age is in­creas­ing. They need younger peo­ple com­ing in to work and con­trib­ute to their health care and re­tire­ment sys­tems.

When Euro­pean so­cial pro­grams were in­sti­tuted their ac­tu­ar­ial sound­ness was based on a steadily-grow­ing pop­u­la­tion and an ex­pand­ing econ­omy. But as so­ci­eties be­come more af­flu­ent their birth rates tend to de­cline. Younger work­ers must be brought in and Arab and Turk­ish refugees pro­vide a ready source.

The Amer­i­can rightwing likes to crow that these Euro­pean coun­tries are headed into fi­nan­cial dis­as­ter be­cause their so­cial­ist poli­cies have killed the will to suc­ceed. Pop­py­cock! The prob­lem is one of pure de­mo­graph­ics. We Amer­i­cans are not yet fac­ing this prob­lem due to our lower av­er­age age, higher reproductive rate and a steady in­flux of younger im­mi­grants. But if present trends con­tinue, our birth rate will prob­a­bly ap­proach Euro­pean av­er­ages about the mid­dle of this cen­tury. That is, by the way, about the same time when the U.S. Cau­casian race is pre­dicted to be­come a mi­nor­ity.

Most of our immigrant groups, par­tic­u­larly His­pan­ics, the most nu­mer­ous, have higher birth rates. But as His­pan­ics be­come more as­sim­i­lated their birth rates will prob­a­bly also de­cline. But we can eas­ily keep our So­cial Se­cu­rity and Medi­care sys­tems sol­vent by rais­ing the re­tire­ment age which hasn’t been ad­justed since So­cial Se­cu­rity’s in­cep­tion in the mid-1930s, and by slightly in­creas­ing the pay­roll de­duc­tion amounts over time. These needed changes will be sim­ple and rel­a­tively pain­less. So­cial Se­cu­rity is not “go­ing busted” as Ge­orge W. tried to tell us in the 1990s.

The heart­felt words en­graved be­side the Statue of Lib­erty, “Give me your sick, your tired, your hud­dled masses . . .” are largely myth. His­tor­i­cally, we Amer­i­cans have usu­ally re­sisted im­mi­gra­tion, some­times vi­o­lently. We have grudg­ingly wel­comed im­mi­grants only when they have filled a need: Ir­ish and Ger­mans to serve in the Union Army dur­ing the Civil War, Pol­ish to mine the iron ore and coal of Penn­syl­va­nia, Ital­ians to work the steel mills, and Jews, Ir­ish and cen­tral Euro­peans for the north­east­ern tex­tile mills. I could go on. And to­day it’s the His­pan­ics to har­vest the crops, tend our land­scapes and clean our houses. The re­al­ity is that they need the work and we need eco­nom­i­cal, low-skilled la­bor. But do they also bring mur­der, rape and other vi­o­lence as our pres­i­dent claims?

Cur­rent stud­ies, sur­veys and prison records re­veal that im­mi­grants com­mit far fewer crimes of all types than na­tive-born Amer­i­cans. To­day the for­eign-born share of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion has grown from 8% in 1990 to over 14% to­day. But ac­cord­ing to FBI data, over that same pe­riod the U.S. vi­o­lent-crime rate for mur­der, rape, rob­bery and ag­gra­vated as­sault has de­creased by 48%.

Where does Don­ald Trump get all of his “fake news?” Ob­vi­ously he, or some­body, just makes it up. But I don’t blame him, I blame the elec­torate for be­liev­ing what he says and not check­ing it out for them­selves. There’s no ex­cuse for be­ing duped to­day for any­one with ac­cess to a com­puter.

Ge­orge B. Reed Jr., who lives in Rossville, can be reached by email at reed1600@bell­south.net.

Rossville res­i­dent

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