The so-called experts are abuzz these days about the dangers of declining populations around the world. Italy has a dearth of bambinos. For some reason, the people in Scandinavian countries are not doing what Scandinavia is famous for. Even without the heavy hand of Mao’s guidelines, China is succumbing to declining fertility rates that threaten to reduce the number of democratic voters putting their X beside the names of their favourite Communist candidates. What’s going on?
Canada has always kept our population expanding through immigration. Our population has nearly doubled to around thirty-eight million people (equivalent population to California) over the last half-century so we’re not as threatened as many countries in terms of growth. The United States fails to recognize the value of immigration which is lamentable but it ultimately benefits Canada where we welcome people willing to work and contribute to our economy.
All this fuss about declining populations has me puzzled. It would seem logical to me that fewer people would slow down the destruction of our planet and reckless humanity stripping the earth of its natural resources. That’s a good thing, right?
On the other hand, I understand that fewer people means fewer taxpayers to support the bulging older population and as a baby boomer, this hits me where it hurts. We worked hard our entire lives to be able to sit back and finally let someone else do the heavy work of helping us ease through our senior years with a generous system of social services.
We paid hefty income taxes (often in the fifty percent range) for our entire working lives. We paid school taxes when we no longer had children in school. We paid our property taxes to keep our communities vital and functioning efficiently. In fact, we’re still paying all those taxes but we can’t carry the entire economy alone.
So, it seems to me, that even though we’re raping and pillaging our planet, the reason for the panic about declining populations comes down to one word—money! Unless we keep growing our tax base, we cannot slake our thirsty appetites for consumer goods and social services. I guess that’s why all the economists and population panickers are screaming about the sky falling.
There are so many occasions these days when I really and truly am thankful I’m old. The problems of this fragile old world are sometimes becoming too great to bear and in many ways seem unsolvable. It looks like our generation will probably be the one and only designated baby boom in the history of mankind, er, personkind. There are no new baby booms on the radar in the visible future. We always knew we were special.
It’s too late for us boomers to do anything about declining populations, unless you’re Mick Jaggar or Rod Stewart, who are not actually boomers at all, as they were born in 1943 and 1945 respectively. No doubt thanks to a Viagra drip, they’re still procreating with ever-younger partners.
I really do not understand what all the fuss is about because the way this old world works, humans will continue to make bad decisions, start useless wars, and pillage our planet. Human beings will generally trifle with the precious gifts we have been given until we no longer recognize the difference between civilization and its ultimate breakdown. The thin line keeps narrowing but we won’t be here to see it break. And for that, I am truly thankful.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon our generation to enjoy our benefits while they are still available. The age of retirement is going to rise as lifespans increase. Our seniors’ benefits will gradually be stripped away. Health care and related services are already declining and becoming less accessible.
The solution to all these problems is to stay on the good side of our grandchildren. We’re going to need them to watch out for us as time goes on. Perhaps the world will even return to the practice of grandparents living with their children and grandchildren when assisting living and nursing homes run out of space for us boomers. Now, that’s a thought that no doubt thrills our offspring. It could even be an incentive to have more babies.
Imagine three generations all living together once again. The horror; the horror! I suggest we keep waving that potentially hefty inheritance in front of their faces and threaten that if they don’t take care of us when no one else will, we’ll donate it all to charity. That prospect alone should guarantee a comfy retirement and endless support from our offspring, regardless of declining populations and the trending baby bust. They’ll have to take care of us one way or another, or else!