Jay Evensen: A shrinking population should worry us

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  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Jan. 7, 2019 6:46 a.m.

    To "Flipphone" but that leads us to the next issue. If you get rid of the child deduction tax credits to help pay for education, then what about retirement. Social Security was based on people having many kids. So, if you get rid of the child tax credits it is only fair to cut social security benefits to those that have fewer kids because there are not as many working adults supporting the tax base.

  • Flipphone Sandy, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 9:32 a.m.

    It is a fact that The state tax code allows parents a child income tax deduction. And it is true based on that deduction that families with the most children pay less income tax than those with fewer or no children.

    Since education is funded by tax dollars those with the largest number of children are paying the lest toward supporting education and are the very ones who using the majority of education resources.

    Solution, resend the child care income tax deduction, or at minimum reduce the number of children a house hold can deduct

  • cityboy Farmington, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 6:25 p.m.

    You have taken two of my statements and co-joined them in an attempt to attribute to me a position I do not have. I stated that unbridled population growth in the animal kingdom, be it wolves, rabbits or homo sapiens, is a problem. Do you disagree? I did not describe having children as unbridled population growth.

    You apparently don’t believe that government subsidizes larger families. But it does. 100% of Utah’s state income tax is dedicated to educating our children. In their 2018 taxes a deduction of $3,038 for each dependent can be claimed. Thus a family of 10 pays significantly less state income tax than a family of four, given the same income. Thus smaller families most certainly pay proportionately more to educate larger families.

    A commentor stated that billions and billions more people in the world is sustainable. I do not agree with such a blanket statement.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 3:41 p.m.

    @cityboy 2:16
    RE: "@2 bits, Please point out where I said anything about not having children"...
    When you described having children as, "Unbridled population growth", and compared it to animals... As if this is "unbridled" population growth. Malarkey.

    Again when you said . "Those that choose to have fewer children should bear the burden of their decision to have more children"... As if people who have fewer children pay to raise other people's children.

    The tax incentive to have children is tiny. You aren't paying to raise anybody's children.

    Just because another families number isn't your number, doesn't mean it's unbridled population growth. All of us practice birth control of one sort or another. Just because it's not your brand or your number, doesn't mean they are animals, or it's unbridled population growth.

    Government's are supposed to incentive what they want, and tax what they don't want. Government's need population growth. Not "Unbridled", but some growth. Nobody's suggesting huge or unbridled population growth.

  • cityboy Farmington, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 2:16 p.m.

    @2 bits,
    Please point out where I said anything about not having children. My comment was in response to a poster who said that tax benefits should be slanted towards those having children. I disagree.

    The DN says I should be concerned about a reduced population growth rate. I am not. And it failed to articulate why I should except to say that: 1) absent a higher growth rate who is going to support future retirees in their retirement? 2) how will we retire the national debt if we don’t turn around that trend? 3) how will we be able to keep the military strong? 4) how will we keep our universities populated? and 5) how will the economy’s supply chains remain open?

    My responses: 1) That is a failed premise. If you buy into it then you are a believer in pyramid schemes. 2) we retire the public debt by not spending more than we collect in revenues. So require a balanced budget!! 3) We keep the military strong either by invoking a mandatory service requirement or by inducing people to enlist by increasing military pay and benefits. 4) The notion that we should have more babies in order to keep our universities open is silly. 5) Allow worker visas if jobs are going unfilled.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 1:01 p.m.

    I don't know anybody who has children or not depending on if the tax laws has some minor advantage for having children (children the country needs to sustain everything the nation does, military, paying taxes, doing the jobs that are needed, etc).

    If there's any tax advantage it's small. Nowhere near what it takes to raise a child.

    If people don't have children... where do you think the future police officers, firemen, school teachers, etc, will come from cityboy?

  • cityboy Farmington, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 8:55 a.m.

    “The tax benefit, if we had any tax benefits at all, should be enormously slanted toward those brave souls who are having children, raising them, and benefitting society for the next 50-60 years of a productive citizens living, paying taxes, and fighting for what is right.”

    Why is it that the concept of “user pays” is forgotten when it comes to the size of our families? We use more gas, we pay more. We wish to fly first class, we pay more. We stay at the Ritz instead of Motel Six, we pay more. But with kids, Utahns feel they should pay commensurately less.

    There is an inherent fallacy (pyramid scheme?) in the DN’s OPed piece. And that is the idea we need more kids to support an aging population. Here’s the $64,000 question: Who then supports those kids when they retire?

    Unbridled population growth is not sustainable in the animal kingdom. There are many scientistific studies that illustrate this. We should be more focused on balanced sustainability. But for those that choose otherwise they should accept accountability for their decision and not suppose that those that choose to have fewer children should bear the burden of their decision to have more children.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Jan. 4, 2019 8:53 a.m.

    To "Maudine" ironically it is the Militant Feminists that don't value women having children.

    Many of the messages you parrot could be fixed in society very easily. First, you have to value men and women equally but realize that they are different.

    School age boys are constantly told to sit down, shut up, and take a pill for ADHD. When in reality they just need to have more physical activity so that they can sit down. Then there is the constant messages that society puts out there that girls must be given more opportunities for learning than the boys. So, after 13 years of telling boys that they are horrible people and that they can't learn do we really expect them to go to college and get degrees that demand good salaries?

    The shrinking birth rate is bad for many reasons, first, you can't expand an economy without more workers to fill the jobs. Next, you have the problem with Social Security depending more and more on fewer and few working people to support each retiree.

    If Feminists would change their message to women who have children from one of disdain to one of praise and admiration, you would see more women having children. The problem is that society says career first.

  • milquetoasty Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 8:28 a.m.

    The younger generations must start having more kids so that they can pay (literally) for the selfishness and short-sidedness of the older generations.

    Social Security has been horribly mismanaged, but you'll still get your payouts. It is the generation you're pleading with that won't get their fair return.

    You convinced everyone that 401Ks were better than pensions. You turned surpluses into deficits.

    You did everything you could to destroy the planet in the name of short term profits.

    And at the end of the day, you'll brazenly claim that if this generation is skeptical or unwilling to procreate for someone else's benefit, knowing full well how much more difficult life will be for their children, they're selfish.

    Did I get that right?

    Good luck selling that bridge.

  • cmsense Kaysville, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 9:59 p.m.

    We may worry about social security as a society, but the bigger worry is the loneliness of these small families, and then these childless, widowed, divorced individuals will get older and the elderly in this generation often have family to care for them, giving billions and billions in free care to help their elderly parents stay in their house and socialize and have meaningful lives. Those billions will need to be picked up by the gov for elderly care.

    Choices today will come to roost. Uninticipated divorce, health conditions, widows and widoers, increased isolation isn't good for anybody. Increased depression, increased need for nursing homes and likely increased suicide rates will result. I've met plenty of lonely elderly, and can tell you having a living sibling or two in not the same as having living kids and grandkids to socialize and enjoy. It is no wonder the suicide and death rates go up around the holidays. The holidays are often an empty disappointing time for those with little or no family.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 7:59 p.m.

    I think the most discouraging part about kids is the loss of influence and control over them that is brought about by modern technology and the growing influence of things outside the home. The telephone started it by expanding their reach, now cell phones, that are too complicated for oldsters, do almost everything.

  • Light and Liberty St George, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 7:39 p.m.

    First, as some have stated, overpopulation is a myth. The world is not overpopulated, not by billions and billions. Whether an irresponsible citizen is producing less for all, that is another question. Americans, for the most part, have become selfish and unproductive. Watching tv and putting the responsibility for taking care of themselves on parents and the government is the norm. If everyone on this planet ate as much food as Americans get everyday, there would only be enough food for 500 million. 60 million abortions since Roe V Wade has consequences economically as well. The irony is reading those who deliver the most preposterous lie of all: We need to have fewer children! How shortsighted! The tax benefit, if we had any tax benefits at all, should be enormously slanted toward those brave souls who are having children, raising them, and benefitting society for the next 50-60 years of a productive citizens living, paying taxes, and fighting for what is right! Those who say otherwise should hang there heads in shame. Children are to be welcomed, nurtured, and blessed by responsible loving parents and hailed as heroes.

  • Utah Girl Chronicles Eagle Mountain, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 4:33 p.m.

    Utah has the largest-sized elementary school classrooms than any other state. Maybe before we take Jay Evensen's shrinking population claims too seriously, we ought to look under the hood and take care of this problem first.

  • SLars Provo, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 4:10 p.m.

    In 1920 we reached 100 million, by 1970 we reached 200 million, and by 2010 we hit 300 million. All through those years we were told our birthrate was declining.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 2:40 p.m.

    RE: "Women who have children are not valued"...
    Maybe not to you. But they are valued to me, and to God (if you believe in that kinda thing). To God there is nothing more valuable, and nothing more integral to his work and his goal (Moses 1:39).


    RE: "Can someone please explain to me how a falling birthrate and shrinking population is bad at the same time a population growing through immigration is bad"...
    Population growth through immigration isn't bad. Population growing through ILLEGAL immigration is bad.

    Legal immigration is great. Coming here illegally so we can't check your background.. not so great.


    It hinges on if it's legal or not. A citizen giving birth is 100% legal. Sneaking in or forcing your way in... not legal.

    That's the difference.

    Legal immigration is allowed and encouraged. ILLEGAL immigration isn't.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 2:02 p.m.

    @Flipphone - Sandy, UT

    "First off, Children are extremely expensive and ever the best kids can be a pain, worry and disappointment. The question is? is that bundle of Joy worth the financially and emotional price?"

    I have 4 (another on the way) expensive kids that can definitely be a pain, worry, and frequently disappoint me. The answer to your question is yes. An absolute 100% yes. I can't give you a single logical or monetary reason to have a child. There isn't one. They make budgeting harder and they are a challenge every day. But from the first moment you hold your baby and they look up at you with those eyes that can barely open it is worth every sacrifice. And it keeps getting better. When they are toddlers and they come running at you every time you enter a room to get a hug, or cuddle up to you when they're sad are golden moments! The toddler's kisses! Seeing them develop their talents and accomplish more than you ever imagined as they grow older - all are amazing moments. Mine are still young - I'm excited (and terrified) to see them as teenagers as they continue to develop their character and abilities. Yes - it is worth it. Nothing else is nearly so worthwhile.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 2:02 p.m.

    A few of the reasons I see for birthrate decline (in no particular order):

    1 - The myth of overpopulation being widely accepted.
    2 - Selfish priorities (money, travel, freedom, etc.)
    3 - Family Decay (children from broken homes lack confidence that their children will not have a broken home)
    4 - The culture of constantly measuring "the cost to raise a child" being consistently published, increased, and giving the idea that child-rearing must be "all-inclusive." FYI - I've done fine and my parents didn't pay for my college education, they didn't pay for my (limited) recreation sports, I didn't take music lessons, and most shocking - I didn't even go to preschool. These are "nice-to-haves" not necessities. But calling them a necessity puts social pressure on those who feel they can't afford a child.
    5 - Guilt/shaming for "stay-at-home-moms" who are "wasting their potential" as professionals.
    6 - Shaming of large families for "riding on taxpayers" (without recognizing the significant contribution to the tax base made by large families at the monetary expense of the family, not the taxpayer)

  • Thomas Jefferson Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 1:57 p.m.

    Growth for Growth’s Sake is the Ideology of the Cancer Cell. -Edward Abbey.

    We need to figure out how to have a society that doesnt require growth just so a few at the top can consume most of the resources anyway.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 1:48 p.m.

    Women who have children are not valued.
    Childcare costs are prohibitive.
    Most men with wives of child-bearing age don't make enough money to support a family.
    We are constantly told you shouldn't have children if you can't afford them without assistance.
    Expecting a real wage is equivalent to stealing from your boss.
    Unborn children are worth more socially than born children.

    Gee - I wonder why no one is having children?

    And can someone please explain to me how a falling birthrate and shrinking population is bad at the same time a population growing through immigration is bad? How is a child born of US citizens good for the economy while one born of foreign parents is bad for the economy?

  • StandAlone South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 1:11 p.m.

    I blame feminism, abortion, diversity (code for less white people), illegal immigration, lgbt, none of these promote an increase in population, and it's all pushed by the left.

  • Strider303 American Fork, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 1:10 p.m.

    Complicated problem and a shortage of sound-bite solutions.

    Population decline is not a joke, it presents some real problems as mentioned. The world is a competitive place to live. If we, the current culture/North American Dominantly Anglo-Saxon and Western European heritage based erodes into minority or insignificant status, I see another culture or society filling the vacuum. This may, or may not, be progress but it will happen.

    Our society seems to see the world through our glasses, rosy or not. Another replacement society and culture may have other plans.

    Families, properly constituted and of a mind tend to care for their elderly, or at least we used to. DINKs and solo adults have only the "State" to fall back on when they can no longer meet daily activity needs. That means others must pay for their care. Very few will have amassed sufficient funds to be financially independent. And with a severe decline in population, a lot of people will probably not be interested in caring for the elderly when other vocations will compete for the limited worker pool.

    The hubris of PC youth will meet the reality of life as a senior citizen, with out a "safe place" to flee.

  • Fair Flower Layton, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 12:56 p.m.

    I like to watch a lot of reality shows about people moving to a new place or fixing up their homes. Most of them have LOTS of dogs. They love their dogs. They are having children instead of dogs because they are cheaper and required little vested time or more less sacrifice then raising a child. I believe that the reason most people are not having children is because they are selfish. They want to play. I see this is my neighbor's children and my own family's children that I have known since infancy. It makes me really sad. I was unable to have children. I don't understand people today. Make me young and healthy and I would be able to have the seven I once wanted.

  • imsmarterthanyou Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 12:48 p.m.

    It's actually very easy to see why people are having less kids. The unchecked greed in the medical and housing industry makes it difficult for people to live on their own. Add a kid and it's impossible. My kids are adults and no longer under my support. Praise God for that. If I was a younger person I would not even consider having kids. The cost is just unmanageable. Like the person said above, I have a single family home on 1/2 acre and if I had kids in the home I'd be living in a small apartment 6 inches from neighbors on all sides and struggling to pay the astronomical rent. No thanks.

  • Rocket Science Brigham City, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 11:41 a.m.

    I agree a shrinking population should worry us. Being one who was born near the end of the baby boom I have long been concerned by and realized that the shrinking birthrate is a problem.

    There are several dynamics at play with the birth rate since the baby boom:
    1. The post war time saw a significant increase in births - naturally people came home from war and wanted to get on with their lives
    2. In 1961 "The Pill" was introduced and birthrates declined
    3. Late 60's there was a lot of drugs, sex and rock and roll for a portion of young adults rather than settle down, go to work and have a family
    4. 1973 Roe v. Wade and now down the road there are 50 million deaths of the unborn that have not been added to the population.

    Our choices exercised over the past 60 years influence our future. We all need to have some skin in the game to pay for the past and fix social security and medicare, and it needs to happen now to avoid disaster later on.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 11:30 a.m.

    If people stop bringing children into the world... who is going to fund Social Security?

    Social Security is a ponzi scheme. WIthout more people paying into it each and every year it falls apart.

    Sure it's great for the first investors, because they get more then they put into it out of it. But if the population stops growing, that scheme doesn't work anymore.

    We need to figure out how we are going to make Social Security work in a shrinking population, without overburdening the few kids who are born.

    Social Security wasn't intended for the poor when it was conceived. It was for all Americans to be able to retire. Something probably needs to change as the population changes. The baby boomers are retiring, and the population is shrinking. The recipe for collapse for a ponzi scheme.

    When new investors disappear, and people want the money they put in throughout their lives... somebody's going to get the shaft.

    It's not a reason to have kids. But it's something we have to deal with as the population shrinks and the retired population grows. It's reality.

  • sgallen Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 10:54 a.m.

    I’m one of the older millennials and my peers are waking up. Kids are expensive, the world is more competitive, and more millennials are taking the long view when it comes to environmental preservation. We are rejecting the dogma of society and embracing consciousness.

  • Dart Thrower Ogden, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 10:43 a.m.

    So if more people is better, then when does it become worse? If we have a billion people in the US are things better? How about 5 billion? 20 billion? Or 100 billion? At some point we need to reach stasis with population growth or we make the planet unlivable. Why not equalize where we are at now?

    Take a look at a local example. Are the clogged freeways we have now better than the 1970's or 1980's? Try going to an art festival or Park Silly. Is having your toes stepped on by a horde of people somehow better than when these events were livable twenty years ago? How about living in an apartment today vs having a half an acre and a little elbow room thirty years ago? I personally liked Utah a lot more when we had a million people and you could go fish at a canyon lake without being assaulted by a boombox and tiptoeing around a littered shoreline.

  • SC Matt Saline, MI
    Jan. 3, 2019 10:41 a.m.

    "is that bundle of Joy worth the financially and emotional price?"

    Every good thing comes with a price.

    And the trade-off for each and every person will be different. Some will decide not to have kids, others will be unable to, but others will have 4, and some will have 8 or more.

    It would be nice if we weren't so terrified about immigrants that we allowed more to come, but even if immigration were higher, it's only a temporary solution.

    In the final analysis, we simply need to have more kids, and it would be a lot easier to meet the financial needs of children if we had a better economy with more growth.

    We can only skim so much off the top of the private economy before we lose the growth we need. Because ultimately, it is growth which enables meaningful pay raises, those that exceed inflation.

  • MGoodwin Murray/USA, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 10:38 a.m.

    I've been through the wringer with kids, we lost twins to complications from premature birth a few years back, and only just recently had our third child born. For all the heartache from losing our sons, I wouldn't trade anything in the world for the time we had with them and with our daughter. It's a lot of work, financially, emotionally and physically, but I don't think anything else really compares to it. For everyone worried about bringing children into the world, don't worry about the world, do everything you can to help make their family life the best, everything else will find a way to work out.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 10:29 a.m.

    I don't believe that fretting about it is going to do much toward a solution. Nor do I believe that we're going to convince young people to start having litters of children again. Young people today have different priorities, and they also know that, while there may be a slower growth rate here in the US, here on earth the curve still goes up and up and whatever problems that causes aren't going to stay somewhere else.
    Immigration is still an option if we feel there is a true need to grow the population.

  • Flipphone Sandy, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 9:43 a.m.

    First off, Children are extremely expensive and ever the best kids can be a pain, worry and disappointment. The question is? is that bundle of Joy worth the financially and emotional price?