Aging Populations and Replacement Birthrate

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 28th, 2014

Economics 101

(Originally published July 8th, 2013)

Trying to follow a Baby Boom with a Baby Bust creates Problems in Advanced Economies with Large Welfare States

In the late 1960s began a movement for zero population growth.  It called for women to have only enough babies to replace the current population.  Not to have too many babies that would increase the population.  Nor have too few babies that the population declines.  Something that women could easily do because of birth control.  And, later, abortion.  The drive behind this was to save the planet.  By keeping large populations becoming like a plague of locusts that devour the earth’s resources and food until the planet can no longer sustain life.

China did these zero population growth people better.  By promoting a negative population growth rate.  Limiting parents to one child.  They did this because during the days of Mao’s China the country set some world records for famine.  Their communist state simply couldn’t provide for her people.  So to help their communist system avoid future famines they tried to limit the number of mouths they had to feed.  Of course, trying to follow a baby boom with a baby bust creates other problems.  Especially in advanced economies with large welfare states.

China’s one-child policy and the preference for boys have led to a shortage of women to marry.  Some Chinese men are even looking at ‘mail-order’ brides from surrounding countries.  But China is going to have an even greater problem caring for her elderly.  Just like Japan.  Japanese couples are having less than 1.5 babies per couple.  Meaning that each successive generation will be smaller than the preceding generation.  As couples aren’t even having enough children to replace themselves when they die.  Leaving the eldest generation the largest percentage of the overall population.  Being paid and cared for by the smallest percentage of the overall population.  The younger generation.

States with Aging Populations are Suffering Debt Crises because they Spend More than their Tax Revenue can Cover

As nations develop advanced economies people develop careers.  Moving from one well-paid job to another.  As they advance in their career.  Creating a lot of income to tax.  Allowing a large welfare state.  Which is similar to a Ponzi scheme.  Or pyramid scheme.  As long as more people are entering the workforce than leaving it their income taxes can pay for the small group at the top of the pyramid that leaves the workforce and begins consuming pension and health care benefits in their retirement.  And there is but one requirement of a successful pyramid scheme.  The base of the pyramid must expand greater than the tip of the pyramid.  The wider the base is relative to the top the more successive the pyramid scheme.  As we can see here.

Babies per Generation - Constant Replacement Birthrate

Generation 1 is at the top of the pyramid.  It is the oldest generation.  Which we approximate as a period of 20 years.  In our example Generation 1 are people aged 78-98.  They’re retired and collecting pension, health care and other benefits.  Some combination of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, heating assistance, etc.  All paid for by Generation 2 (58-78), Generation 3 (38-58) and Generation 4 (18-38).  Each generation is assumed to bring 6 children into the world.  So these couples are not only replacing themselves but adding an additional 4 children to further increase the size of the population.  Which really makes running a pyramid scheme easy.  For if we assume each member in Generation 1 on average consumes $35,000 annually in benefits that Generations 2 through 4 pay for that comes to $555.56 per person annually.  Or $46.30 per person monthly.  Or $10.68 per person weekly.  Or $1.53 per person daily.  Amounts so small that Generations 2 through 4 can easily pay for Generation 1′s retirement.  Now let’s look at the impact of a declining birthrate with each successive generation.

Babies per Generation - Declining Replacement Birthrate

When all couples in each generation were having on average 6 children this added 1.9 billion new taxpayers.  Which greatly reduced each taxpayer’s share of Generation 1′s retirement costs.  But thanks to birth control, abortion and the growing cost of living each successive generation has fewer babies.  Generation 2 only has 3 children.  Enough to replace themselves.  And add one new taxpayer.  Generation 3 has only 2 children.  Only enough to replace the parents.  Providing that zero population growth that was all the rage during the late 1960s and the 1970s.  While Generation 4 only has 1 child.  Not even enough to replace the parents when they die.  Causing a negative population growth rate.  Which is a big problem in an advanced economy with a large welfare state.  For instead of adding 1.9 billion new taxpayers they only add 217.5 million new taxpayers.  Greatly increasing each taxpayer’s share of Generation 1′s retirement costs.  Instead of paying $555.56 per taxpayer they each have to pay $5,384.62 annually.  Or $448.72 per taxpayer monthly.  Or $103.55 per taxpayer weekly.  Or $14.79 per taxpayer daily.  Numbers that prove to be unsustainable.  The state simply cannot tax people this much for Generation 1′s retirement.  For if they did this and added it to the rest of government’s spending they’re taxing us to fund it would take away all of our income.  This is why advanced economies with aging populations are suffering debt crises.  Because their spending has grown so far beyond their ability to pay for it with tax revenue that they borrow massive amounts of money to finance it.

If you want a Generous Welfare State you need Parents to have More Children

If you carry this out two more generations so every generation only has one child the per taxpayer amount tops out at $14,736.84 annually.  Or $1,228.07 per taxpayer monthly.  Or $283.40 per taxpayer weekly.  Or $40.49 per taxpayer daily.  Amounts far too great for most taxpayers to pay.  This is what an aging population does in a country with a large welfare state.  It makes the population top-heavy in elderly people who no longer work (i.e., pay taxes) but consume the lion’s share of state benefits.  When couples were having 6 children each across the generations there was a ratio of 84 taxpayers per retiree.  When there was a declining replacement birthrate that ratio fell to 15 taxpayers per retiree.  If we look at this graphically we can see the pyramid shape of this generational population.

Generational Population - Constant Replacement Birthrate

With 84 taxpayers per retiree we can see a nice and wide base to the pyramid.  While the tip of the pyramid is only a small sliver of the base (Generation 4).  Making for a successful Ponzi scheme.  Far more people pay into the scheme.  While only a tiny few take money out of the scheme.  This is why Social Security and Medicare didn’t have any solvency problems until after birth control and abortion.  For these gave us a declining replacement birthrate over time.  Greatly shrinking the base of the pyramid.  Which made the tip no longer a small sliver of the base.  But much closer in size to the base.  That if it was an actual pyramid sitting on the ground it wouldn’t take much to push it over.  Unlike the above pyramid.  That we could never push over.  Which is why the above Ponzi scheme would probably never fail.  While the one below will definitely fail.

Generational Population - Declining Replacement Birthrate

If you want a generous welfare state where the state provides pensions, health care, housing and food allowances, etc., you need parents to have more children.  For the more children they have the more future taxpayers there will be.  Or you at least need a constant replacement birthrate.  But if that rate is below the rate of a prior baby boom the welfare state will be unsustainable UNLESS they slash spending.  The United States has a replacement birthrate below the rate of a prior baby boom.  While the Obama administration has exploded the size of welfare state.  Especially with the addition of Obamacare.  Making our Ponzi scheme more like the second chart.  As we currently have approximately 1.75 taxpayers supporting each social security recipient.  Meaning that it won’t take much pushing to topple our pyramid. We’re at the point where a slight breeze may do the trick.  For it will topple.  It’s just a matter of time.

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FT178: “Birth control and abortion are the greatest threats to liberalism. ” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 12th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

Liberals seem more Mainstream than they are because they hold Key Positions of Power

Liberals have one very unpleasant fact to deal with.  Theirs is a minority viewpoint.  According to Gallup (see Conservatives Remain the Largest Ideological Group in U.S. by Lydia Saad posted 1/12/2012 on Gallup), the American people identify themselves in 2010 as follows: conservative (40%), moderate (35%) and liberal (21%).  And the above referenced Gallup poll shows that the American people haven’t trended far from these numbers since 1992.

So the liberal cause is an uphill battle to begin with.  As 79% of the American people do not identify themselves with their views.  Which are basically a bigger, activist government.  More rules and regulations in our personal lives.  More fun and less restraint.  More casual sex and less traditional marriage.  Keynesian economic policies where the government plays with interest rates, creating large asset bubbles (such as housing bubbles) which give us very long and painful recessions to undo the damage an activist Keynesian government makes.  Like the subprime mortgage crisis.  Anti-energy policies that increase the cost of energy so they can subsidize more costly green energy.  Free birth control and access to abortion on demand.  And Obamacare.  To name a few.

Some may feel that liberalism is more mainstream than the poll numbers suggest.  But that’s only because though their numbers are small they hold key positions of power.  They control the public schools.  And our colleges and universities.  They control the mainstream media.  And the entertainment industry.  Giving liberals a very powerful bully pulpit.  When late-night television ridicules conservatives millions of impressionable people see it.  And see how cool it is to ridicule conservatives.   Reinforcing everything they’ve learned in our public schools, colleges, universities, mainstream media and, of course, the entertainment industry.  Yet despite all of this the best they can do is to get 21% of the people to think like them.  To want what they want.  And to do as they want them to do.

A Liberal Woman uses Birth Control and Abortion to keep her Fertility Rate Lower than a Conservative Woman’s

Why is this?  Because of parents.  Perhaps the greatest obstacle liberals have in transforming the country into the European social democracy they want.  With them sitting atop the power structure.  Much like the aristocracy of the Old World where they were free to tell people to do as they say, not as they do.  For while forcing their highly regulated world upon us they will exempt themselves from the less pleasant things.  Putting themselves above the laws they don’t like but feel are in our best interests.  Which we would understand if only we were as smart as them.

And every time they turn around there is some parent trying to undo all of their work.  For they only have our children for less than a third of a day, 5 days a week.  Worse, they don’t even get our kids into their education camps, I mean, schools, until they’ve lived exclusively with their parents for 5 or 6 years.  If you ever wondered why the Democrats are always pushing for state-funded childcare this is the reason.  To get to our kids sooner.  Before their parents can warp their minds with non-liberal viewpoints.  Like not to fear the coming apocalypse of global warming.  In fact some of these parents are such poor parents that they’ll load their kids into a gas-guzzling, carbon-polluting SUV and take them on a vacation.  Letting a child enjoy being in a big, comfortable and safe vehicle out on the open road.  Before liberals can teach them later that all of those things are bad.  And wrong.  But the real problem liberals have with parents like these is that there are just so many of them.  Ironically, because of liberal policies that have altered fertility rates.  Thanks to birth control and abortion.  And their attacks on the traditional family.

Fertility Liberals vs Conservatives R1

Earlier we discussed replacement birthrates (see Aging Populations and Replacement Birthrate posted 7/8/2013 on Pithocrates).  The current U.S. population is about 314 million.  Using the Gallup numbers we calculated the number of liberals and conservatives in that 314 million and entered them into the beginning populations above.  We assumed a generation lasting 20 years where couples will each bring in 1.5 babies if they’re liberals.  Below the replacement birthrate.  And 2.5 babies if they’re conservatives.  Above the replacement birthrate.  A conservative couple will have on average one more baby than a liberal couple.  Because a conservative woman will live a closer life to the traditional family.  While the liberal woman may pursue a career and not be interested in having children.  Using birth control and abortion to keep her fertility rate lower than the conservative woman.

The Liberals’ Rise to Power was Slow and Steady via Incremental Change all but Unnoticeable to Each Generation

If we add the number of liberals and conservatives together (we’ll call it the L/C Universe) they total approximately 191 million people.  Where liberals make up 34% of the L/C Universe.  While conservatives make up 66% of the L/C Universe.  As we move through 4 generations we see how the population increases.  The liberal population grows 838%.  While the conservative population grows 2,463%.  Because of that extra baby per couple on average the conservative population grows over 5 times more than the liberal population.  Dropping the liberals down to only 16% of the L/C Universe.  While increasing the conservatives to 84% of the L/C Universe.

If you ever wondered why the Democrats are pushing so hard for immigration reform this is why.  The liberal elite know their policies to encourage women to do anything BUT have babies threatens their long-term hold on power.  That’s why they pander to blacks, women, the young, etc.  They shower them with benefits and/or policies that make their lives a lot more fun.  Such as free birth control.  And accessible abortion.  Things that really appeal to the young voter.  Because that’s what they have on the mind most of the time.  Casual and consequence-free sex.  By treating pregnancy as a disease.  To be prevented (birth control).  Or cured (abortion).  But in the wake of these policies is a dearth of new liberal voters.  Which they hope to replace with immigration reform.  Hoping that those they bring into the population vote Democrat.  Grateful for their path to citizenship.  To make up for all the babies that never were.  Thanks to liberal attacks on the traditional family.

Unless the liberals can take our children away from us sooner and keep them longer (to countermand any conservative education their parents give them) their lower fertility rates will push liberalism to extinction.  How ironic indeed that the very policies that liberals and conservatives bitterly fight over the most may lead to their fall from power.  Birth control.  And abortion.  The greatest threats to liberalism.  Their rise to power was slow and steady through incremental change.  Almost unnoticeable to each generation.  As will be their fall.  Unless, of course, they use extralegal tactics to get around the will of the people.  Such as ruling by executive order.  And using the courts to make law the Congress won’t.  But what are the odds of that ever happening?

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Aging Populations and Replacement Birthrate

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 8th, 2013

Economics 101

Trying to follow a Baby Boom with a Baby Bust creates Problems in Advanced Economies with Large Welfare States

In the late 1960s began a movement for zero population growth.  It called for women to have only enough babies to replace the current population.  Not to have too many babies that would increase the population.  Nor have too few babies that the population declines.  Something that women could easily do because of birth control.  And, later, abortion.  The drive behind this was to save the planet.  By keeping large populations becoming like a plague of locusts that devour the earth’s resources and food until the planet can no longer sustain life.

China did these zero population growth people better.  By promoting a negative population growth rate.  Limiting parents to one child.  They did this because during the days of Mao’s China the country set some world records for famine.  Their communist state simply couldn’t provide for her people.  So to help their communist system avoid future famines they tried to limit the number of mouths they had to feed.  Of course, trying to follow a baby boom with a baby bust creates other problems.  Especially in advanced economies with large welfare states.

China’s one-child policy and the preference for boys have led to a shortage of women to marry.  Some Chinese men are even looking at ‘mail-order’ brides from surrounding countries.  But China is going to have an even greater problem caring for her elderly.  Just like Japan.  Japanese couples are having less than 1.5 babies per couple.  Meaning that each successive generation will be smaller than the preceding generation.  As couples aren’t even having enough children to replace themselves when they die.  Leaving the eldest generation the largest percentage of the overall population.  Being paid and cared for by the smallest percentage of the overall population.  The younger generation.

States with Aging Populations are Suffering Debt Crises because they Spend More than their Tax Revenue can Cover

As nations develop advanced economies people develop careers.  Moving from one well-paid job to another.  As they advance in their career.  Creating a lot of income to tax.  Allowing a large welfare state.  Which is similar to a Ponzi scheme.  Or pyramid scheme.  As long as more people are entering the workforce than leaving it their income taxes can pay for the small group at the top of the pyramid that leaves the workforce and begins consuming pension and health care benefits in their retirement.  And there is but one requirement of a successful pyramid scheme.  The base of the pyramid must expand greater than the tip of the pyramid.  The wider the base is relative to the top the more successive the pyramid scheme.  As we can see here.

Babies per Generation - Constant Replacement Birthrate

Generation 1 is at the top of the pyramid.  It is the oldest generation.  Which we approximate as a period of 20 years.  In our example Generation 1 are people aged 78-98.  They’re retired and collecting pension, health care and other benefits.  Some combination of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, heating assistance, etc.  All paid for by Generation 2 (58-78), Generation 3 (38-58) and Generation 4 (18-38).  Each generation is assumed to bring 6 children into the world.  So these couples are not only replacing themselves but adding an additional 4 children to further increase the size of the population.  Which really makes running a pyramid scheme easy.  For if we assume each member in Generation 1 on average consumes $35,000 annually in benefits that Generations 2 through 4 pay for that comes to $555.56 per person annually.  Or $46.30 per person monthly.  Or $10.68 per person weekly.  Or $1.53 per person daily.  Amounts so small that Generations 2 through 4 can easily pay for Generation 1’s retirement.  Now let’s look at the impact of a declining birthrate with each successive generation.

Babies per Generation - Declining Replacement Birthrate

When all couples in each generation were having on average 6 children this added 1.9 billion new taxpayers.  Which greatly reduced each taxpayer’s share of Generation 1’s retirement costs.  But thanks to birth control, abortion and the growing cost of living each successive generation has fewer babies.  Generation 2 only has 3 children.  Enough to replace themselves.  And add one new taxpayer.  Generation 3 has only 2 children.  Only enough to replace the parents.  Providing that zero population growth that was all the rage during the late 1960s and the 1970s.  While Generation 4 only has 1 child.  Not even enough to replace the parents when they die.  Causing a negative population growth rate.  Which is a big problem in an advanced economy with a large welfare state.  For instead of adding 1.9 billion new taxpayers they only add 217.5 million new taxpayers.  Greatly increasing each taxpayer’s share of Generation 1’s retirement costs.  Instead of paying $555.56 per taxpayer they each have to pay $5,384.62 annually.  Or $448.72 per taxpayer monthly.  Or $103.55 per taxpayer weekly.  Or $14.79 per taxpayer daily.  Numbers that prove to be unsustainable.  The state simply cannot tax people this much for Generation 1’s retirement.  For if they did this and added it to the rest of government’s spending they’re taxing us to fund it would take away all of our income.  This is why advanced economies with aging populations are suffering debt crises.  Because their spending has grown so far beyond their ability to pay for it with tax revenue that they borrow massive amounts of money to finance it.

If you want a Generous Welfare State you need Parents to have More Children

If you carry this out two more generations so every generation only has one child the per taxpayer amount tops out at $14,736.84 annually.  Or $1,228.07 per taxpayer monthly.  Or $283.40 per taxpayer weekly.  Or $40.49 per taxpayer daily.  Amounts far too great for most taxpayers to pay.  This is what an aging population does in a country with a large welfare state.  It makes the population top-heavy in elderly people who no longer work (i.e., pay taxes) but consume the lion’s share of state benefits.  When couples were having 6 children each across the generations there was a ratio of 84 taxpayers per retiree.  When there was a declining replacement birthrate that ratio fell to 15 taxpayers per retiree.  If we look at this graphically we can see the pyramid shape of this generational population.

Generational Population - Constant Replacement Birthrate

With 84 taxpayers per retiree we can see a nice and wide base to the pyramid.  While the tip of the pyramid is only a small sliver of the base (Generation 4).  Making for a successful Ponzi scheme.  Far more people pay into the scheme.  While only a tiny few take money out of the scheme.  This is why Social Security and Medicare didn’t have any solvency problems until after birth control and abortion.  For these gave us a declining replacement birthrate over time.  Greatly shrinking the base of the pyramid.  Which made the tip no longer a small sliver of the base.  But much closer in size to the base.  That if it was an actual pyramid sitting on the ground it wouldn’t take much to push it over.  Unlike the above pyramid.  That we could never push over.  Which is why the above Ponzi scheme would probably never fail.  While the one below will definitely fail.

Generational Population - Declining Replacement Birthrate

If you want a generous welfare state where the state provides pensions, health care, housing and food allowances, etc., you need parents to have more children.  For the more children they have the more future taxpayers there will be.  Or you at least need a constant replacement birthrate.  But if that rate is below the rate of a prior baby boom the welfare state will be unsustainable UNLESS they slash spending.  The United States has a replacement birthrate below the rate of a prior baby boom.  While the Obama administration has exploded the size of welfare state.  Especially with the addition of Obamacare.  Making our Ponzi scheme more like the second chart.  As we currently have approximately 1.75 taxpayers supporting each social security recipient.  Meaning that it won’t take much pushing to topple our pyramid. We’re at the point where a slight breeze may do the trick.  For it will topple.  It’s just a matter of time.

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Japan’s Low Replacement Birthrate gives them an Aging Population and Soaring Debt

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 7th, 2013

Week in Review

The United States debt as a percentage of GDP is approaching 100%.  Meaning that we owe as much as we produce in goods and services each year.  A frightening prospect.  For imagine if you earn $50,000 a year and were $50,000 in debt.  How easy do you think it would be to repay your debt?  Chances are that you will never be able to repay your debt.  But here we are.  Our government borrowing more than ever.  Without any concern of that rising debt.  They say it isn’t that bad.  Just look at Japan.  Their debt is about 200% of their GDP.  And they seem to be doing just fine (see Elderly shoplifters outstrip teenagers in Tokyo by AFP posted 7/8/2013 on France 24).

The number of elderly people caught shoplifting in Japan’s capital city has outstripped that of teenagers for the first time since records began, a report said.

A quarter of the people arrested on suspicion of the crime in Tokyo last year were at least 65 years old, figures showed, amid warnings of increasing isolation in the age group…

Around a quarter of Japan’s 128 million population is aged 65 or older, and the country has a far-below replacement birthrate of an average 1.39 children for every woman.

There are regular reports of bodies lying unfound for weeks or even months after a single, elderly person has died alone. Commentators say the phenomenon is a result of the fraying of familial ties as Japan has modernised.

When you have a replacement birth rate of 1.39 you have an aging population.  One that is growing so old that the rate of people leaving the workforce will soar while the rate of those entering the workforce will plummet.  So just as these elderly people start consuming their pensions and health care benefits the tax base that pays for them will be disappearing.  Perhaps explaining why these people are shoplifting.  As the burden to care for an aging population eventually becomes too great for a government to sustain.  So they cut back.  And leave the elderly to fend for themselves.

When people are having only 1.39 kids on average that means couples are not just having one child.  But a lot of them are having no children.  This is what birth control and abortion have given advanced nations.  The ability to wipe themselves off the map.  Either by a negative population growth rate.  Or by throwing open your borders to try and offset the population decline with new immigration.  Transforming the nation from the native population to the immigrant population.  Replacing the native culture and traditions with the immigrant culture and traditions.  Just like when the Americans moved west and replaced the culture and traditions of the Native Americans.

Two things that just don’t go together are an expanding welfare state and a declining replacement birthrate.  As you have a shrinking tax base paying for that expanding welfare state.  If you want an expansive welfare state you have to have more babies.  Plain and simple.  You have to stop using birth control.  And stop having abortions.  So you can grow the population.  To always have more people in the base of the pyramid than you do at the top.  Like any good Ponzi scheme should.  It’s either that or you have to reduce the size of the welfare state.  So you can live within your means.  That is, what your tax base can afford to pay.

Or you can keep borrowing and printing money like Japan.  And wonder when the deflation and recession of the Lost Decade of the Nineties will ever end.

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