Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nation of Immigrants

Today's discussion topic is the importance of immigration to our future American society. In simple terms, our history of being a "nation of immigrants" has been and will remain one of America's primary strengths.

The immigration story needs to be better understood by each and all of us, even though we're each and all very much a part of that wonderful history.

We're not going to talk about legal or illegal immigration today. Instead we'll address why immigration and its effects will continue to make us the greatest nation on earth. The American melting pot is alive and well.

America's 21st-Century Population Edge  says this about the many reasons for optimism about America's future:

"Look around you. For most nations of the world, birth and fertility rates have never fallen so far, so fast, so long, so surprisingly, all across the globe. Except for America. . . . The ramifications are enormous economically, geopolitically, culturally and personally. For one, the United States will become stronger than ever in the games nations play.

Every other major modern nation and every developing country has low or falling birth rates. Japan and Poland see 1.3 children per woman, Brazil and China 1.9, Pakistan 3.6 (down from 6.6 three decades ago). American fertility rates are relatively high, at nearly 2.1. . . .

Then there's the effect of immigration. According to the United Nations and the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. takes in more immigrants than the rest of the world combined. Think Albert Einstein, Madeleine Albright, Andy Grove, Albert Pujols, Sergei Brin, I.M. Pei or David Hockney. . . .

All this and more yields an America that is projected to have 400 million people in 2050, up from 310 million today and possibly on the way to 500 million by 2100. This may not quite play out—immigration from Mexico will likely fall as Mexican fertility drops off—but the trend lines are far stronger in the U.S. than elsewhere. . . .
Why is this so important to America? A hefty and growing population can yield power and influence. It's been a long time since a nation with a small population influenced how the world works—think the 16th-century Dutch and Portuguese.

Size also yields vast economies of scale. As population grows, through fertility and immigration, a healthy housing market is inevitable. It's either that or tens of millions of Americans sleeping on the streets. Bet on the boom.

There's corporate growth too, across industries. Imagine an American corporation, XYZ, that wants to start doing business in Thailand. Only in a polyglot nation like America can XYZ search out and find the adult children of Thai immigrants who know America inside and out but also know Thai customs and language.

Few if any nations have all these advantages. The demography in play guarantees that the 21st century, like the 20th, will be an "American Century.""

Summing Up

Yes, we truly have been, are and will stay a nation of freedom loving "immigrants."

The 20th century was correctly labeled the American Century and we're destined to earn that designation again this century as well.

In America, the blessings of liberty are there for each and all of us.

And those shared values that have made our country strong in the past will make us even stronger  in the future.

And with a solidly growing population as well, which in turn will serve to make the U.S. an even more dominant force for good in the world.

In addition, that growth will help enable our domestic economy to grow more robustly as well by creating a larger work force.

And thereby allow us to deal with the demographics of getting older, including paying benefits for retirees.

In future writings, we'll try to expand on all the good things these things will bring to our future America, including our nation's security and economic strength.

But for now let's just say that the more people from various corners of the world who share our basic American values decide to come to the U.S., the better off we'll all be.

Being a magnet remains our biggest source of strength and a source of stability and prosperity for the rest of the world as well.

All that said, we need economic growth to bring the needed jobs. The free market of a free America will provide that growth, assuming it's appropriately structured and entrepreneurs are properly incentivized to make that happen.

Thanks. Bob.

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