2013 September 08 Sunday
48% Of American Births On Medicaid

The lower classes are making lots of babies which net taxpayers will fund. Net taxpayers, btw, pay more in taxes than they get in benefits. They are a dwindling portion of the US population.

The demographic future of the United States is a growing population which can not pay its way thru life.

In New York City in 2009, 76% of Hispanic births were covered by Medicaid, 70% of births in the black community were covered, and 31% of whites.

This stuff matters. This stuff matters in a very bad way.

The unmentioned elephant in the room: the non-aging part of the demographic problem. We need a more able and more together population. But we are getting the opposite. The last decade of stagnant wages suggests the problems in the US economy go deeper than the weakness of the current recovery. Certainly some big other factors are at work in dragging down the economy. For example, high oil prices and the large scale export of jobs to China and other Asian nations are drags on wages and economic growth. But that just means we need to do better on the stuff we could (at least in theory) control.

Another factor: rising demand for brain power even as automation cuts the demand for brawn power. This is where US immigration policy has been such a counter-productive disaster. We've allowed tens of millions of low skilled people to immigrate who have raised children with low educational attainment and low skills as well. The economy does not need these people. Their wages have therefore declined. An article on the car market highlights the problem:

Young people are essentially locked out of the car market, just as they have been locked out of the housing market -- and the labor market. Average vehicle prices are as high as ever, but wages are low, and unemployment for young people has typically been twice as high as for the overall population.

Grade inflation and lowered standards in high schools and colleges have allowed the number of graduates to rise while hiding the decline in the quality of young workers. A 50% rise in college graduates in the last 25 years came with no increase in STEM graduates. This happened while college tuition costs skyrocketed. STEM course are much harder. Less bright people choose easier majors. We spend lots of tax money to propagate the big academic fraud that all this schooling is delivering benefits.

It is clear that even the native white lower class has become far more dysfunctional. Most of our immigrants are doing much worse. At a time when we need a working population that is much smarter and skilled we instead have lots of poor uneducated girls popping out babies under Medicaid.

I expect most robots will not serve the masses. Instead, I expect most capital will be moved to isolated countries with small populations and low taxes on capital. See Robots To Slash Farm Labor Use, Will Robots Work For Poor Unemployed Masses?, Iceland: The Ideal Country For Fully Robotic Factories.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2013 September 08 09:41 PM 


Comments
SunSwordTiger said at September 9, 2013 4:28 AM:

As a STEM worker, I can tell you that in reality we have plenty. Furthermore as process automation and robotics continue to advance, fewer and fewer STEM workers are needed. The exception is at the very high end of the curve -- there is always a shortage at the genius level.

The major social problem facing all societies in the 21st century is: how will we handle the situation where over time more and more people become "surplus to requirements"? That is, when 10% of the people are all that is needed to produce everything required for everyone else.

DdR said at September 9, 2013 7:50 AM:

"The major social problem facing all societies in the 21st century is: how will we handle the situation where over time more and more people become "surplus to requirements"? That is, when 10% of the people are all that is needed to produce everything required for everyone else."

We are entering a Brave New World, but whereas in Huxley's work there were Betas and Omegas that perform all of the manual labor, there are in our reality robots that maintain everything, with a small caste of upper-level management and engineers available to keep everything running smoothly.

What to do with the surplus workers, primarily minorities, who don't even equate to an Omega or Beta in Huxley's vision? Dope them up all day? Exterminate them?

We are not Nazis and have empathy for people and their quandaries. However, eventually the ill-suited, which have almost become a majority, will drag down this country #provided that it hasn't been yet#. I see one of three scenarios unfolding within the next 30 years:

1# the United States becomes even more splintered into Haves and Haves-Nots, akin to Brazil. Civil unrest, especially between Asians/Whites and Blacks/Mexicans, will become a common occurrence again. Reverse gentrification will begin happening in the Cities that have boomed because of whites moving back. Whites/Asians will hole themselves up in gated communities around the major coastal cities. More income distribution will need to occur in order to placate the masses, but they'll always be restless because you can't distribute status, which most people are trying to gain in society. This is a medium-term solution, but you'll always have the Have Nots sticking around, and eventually your society will decay away.

2# The White proles, as LotB calls them, would wake up to the ass-ramming that they've been getting and take their ire out on everyone culpable. This means Mexican immigrants, multi-national corporations who import lots of parts produced by labor overseas, liberal politicians who sold out America for votes, etc. The Tea Party is, in my opinion, the first stirring of the White Proletariat. Regular red-blooded Americans are still firm believers in the American dream that if you work hard, pay your taxes, and be a good person, that karma will come your way. The Tea Party represents those ideals, however it is gaining very little traction, on account of other forces working against the regular American. Soon, some very canny politician will come to realize that the proles' lot will not improve by libertarian policies and point out who the scapegoats are: minorities, especially Mexicans, capitalists, and liberal politicans. This is a similar platform that the NSDAP created to gain power and push their agenda until its disastrous conclusions.

3) The elites realize that the current trajectory of the country's demography is unsustainable and take measures against it. You could exterminate the undesirables #possible conclusion reached under Scenario 2#, but that is monstrous and would weigh on the souls of all involved. A better solution, as proposed by many in the blogosphere, is to couple welfare with forced sterilization. It's actually very simple and ingenious: if you go on welfare, it means that you're not cutting it, for whatever reason. Likely because you don't have the right "stuff" to make it in society. Instead of living a life of misery, you're awarded very lucrative welfare benefits, such that you live a pleasant life and don't cause much trouble. However, you then are forced to either receive an IUD #if female# or RSIUG #if male#. Have you gotten your life together and have become a productive member of society? Great, we'll now remove your IUD or reverse your RSIUG, if you want, and you can have children. Screw up again and need welfare? Back on birth control. There should be a three-strikes-you're-out rule for this.

Obviously some people under Scenario 3 will have children, even if they're on welfare. But the vast majority won't. What then will occur will be a eugenic effect on society. Median IQ will increase. There will be more capable people to man the increasingly complicated modern society. It will be a somewhat seamless transition to a more capable citizenry without the death of the undesirables.

If you think man should eventually leave Planet Earth and live amongst the star, then vote for Scenario 3, because it's the only one that ensures there are enough intelligent people to populate a very complicated industrial society. If you're a Liberal, then vote for Scenario 1, but live with the fact that you'll have to eventually have a segregated life apart from the Have-Nots, otherwise you'll eventually be subject to violence. If you're a pissed-off Republican, then choose Scenario 2, but be aware that it's a slippery slope to National Socialism.

Abelard Lindsey said at September 9, 2013 8:55 AM:

A better solution, as proposed by many in the blogosphere, is to couple welfare with forced sterilization.

This is the only plausible course of action. However, many liberals and even some social conservatives appose this. However, I think their opposition will slowly fade away as they realize there is no other option.

fredrik said at September 9, 2013 12:59 PM:

The babies will come in handy in 80 years when they are old and ready for the Soylent Green machine...

brosicle said at September 9, 2013 1:10 PM:

#3 is what I envision as the only sustainable course of action based on what we know. But rather than being forced sterilization it's perhaps less depressing to think of it as a condition of receiving welfare, then it is voluntary. In fact there is a charity, I believe called Project Prevention which pays women to have their tubes tied. However there are a few unknowns and other possibilities:

1 - It's possible that a drug could be developed that would boost an individual's IQ to 300+, permanently (for the "IQ is meaningless crowd", choose your metric of intellect). Or a genetic treatment such that the change is heritable as well as permanent.

2 - If humanity bifurcates into elite and prole castes (eg 5%/95% split) , perhaps the prole caste would form their own prole society. This would probably require the two castes to not interact, which might require the elites to go off-world. It's possible that most of the prole cast would still be useful, in the prole society, because that society would not be overly automated (though if selection pressure is right then the problem will simply resurface in a few generations).

3 - While someone with a 115 IQ might not be useful in the economic sense in an elite society, they are easily smart enough to learn to hunt, fish, farm, do plumbing, build a house, etc etc. A lot of (well paid) professions don't really require massive IQs, but only a good amount of knowledge. A not-so-bright person could become self-sufficient, so long as the ruling class permits all to own and defend property, etc.

Fascinating topic btw. Even if every person could have robots to take care of all their wants and needs, the desire to achieve status might trump everything and we'd be back to a status arms race with most of humanity on the losing side. On the other hand, status is relative so it might not be an issue on a large scale.

rocky said at September 9, 2013 11:46 PM:

Is there any evidence this is actually happening?

Check it out said at September 10, 2013 2:55 PM:

"The demographic future of the United States is a growing population which can not pay its way thru life."

So what does this statement really mean? If a man eats or consumes more than what he earns, it's obvious that the political-economic theory failed us. Capitalism is dead or dying. A healthy man is capable of producing hundreds of times what he eats, capable of building more houses than those he needs to live in, capable of making more clothes than he could possible wear. The system must die. This idiotic system is the unmentioned elephant in the room.

"We need a more able and more together population"

No. Decadence always follows nationalism like a football player follows a cheerleader's ass. Population in general -and specially the American people- is very much capable at what they do. Americans are great at work and production and trip consolidation -not so much at deep thinking, though. So what we need is a healthy distribution of wealth. American are great at work. We need to do as Charlie Chaplin did many times in his movies: kick the rich owner's ass and despise his idleness.

What we need is revolution. No significant political change for the better is ever accomplished peacefully.

Sambo said at September 10, 2013 5:09 PM:

Check it out said at September 10, 2013 2:55 PM:

Sen' me yo money, you greedy cracker bitch! I wants it, I needz it fo' my chillin' and sheet!

James Bowery said at September 11, 2013 5:48 PM:

Sambo is right, actually. The government still has something the multinationals and other elites don't:

A military.

Ultimately, it comes down to a problem with civilization itself as an expression of the potential for human eusociality:

Eusociality yields ecological conquest and human eusociality yields ecological catastrophe. (E. O. Wilson is an optimist.)

The bifurcation I can see, given that the vast majority of humanity are now addicted to civilization:

Off-world human eusociality.

On-world human individual sovereignty.

The off-world human eusocial mass organism(s) would keep war off-planet and, if necessary, occasionally lay waste to any incipient on-world human eusociality that arose from not immediately killing a man who refuses to answer a challenge to natural duel.

Ace said at September 11, 2013 11:43 PM:

"The off-world human eusocial mass organism(s) would keep war off-planet and, if necessary, occasionally lay waste to any incipient on-world human eusociality that arose from not immediately killing a man who refuses to answer a challenge to natural duel."

Are you saying that the off-world organisms would lay waste to any incipient on-world organisms to prevent it from challenging it in outer space?

Abelard Lindsey said at September 12, 2013 8:37 AM:

Civilization and human eusociality? Eusocial mass organisms?

What kind of prattling is this?

Engineer-Poet said at September 12, 2013 2:29 PM:

I think Bowery has forgotten why duels were outlawed in the first place.

James Bowery said at September 12, 2013 7:52 PM:

Go read E. O. Wilson's "prattling" in "The Social Conquest of Earth" before you respond again.

There are 2 good, virtually orthogonal, reasons "duels" were outlawed:

1) Eusociality and individual sovereignty are incompatible -- hence civilization as we know it and individual sovereignty are incompatible.

2) "Duels" changed their character from, basically, two men hunting each other in a natural setting -- which was eugenic -- to highly artificial conditions that selected merely for very specialized skills.

#2 was less important in "outlawing" duels than #1. Basically priests didn't want to be killed for being the hypocrites they were. Mass manipulation is essential to civilization overcoming individual self-interest in constructing a quasi-multicellular organism with specialized parts.

As for the motive of the off-world mass organism(s) to preserve the biosphere -- basically by staying the hell out of it -- perhaps I'm being optimistic in thinking these organisms will have intelligence.

Abelard Lindsey said at September 16, 2013 8:25 AM:

Go read E. O. Wilson's "prattling" in "The Social Conquest of Earth" before you respond again.

I finished it last night. I'm not impressed, nor do I think it relevant to our future. It certainly is prattle. E.O. Wilson may be a good academic. But he is clueless about the real world. The only society that is even close to the eusociality he gushes about throughout his book are the Japanese, and even they can't make it work effectively. Trust me on this as I lived there for 10 years. The Chinese? Forget about it. Anyone who has been around Chinese people is very familiar with their inherent chaotic and disorganized nature. The Koreans are somewhere between the Japanese and Chinese. The rest of the world is even further from Wilson's eusocial ideal than any of the East Asian societies. Like I said, Wilson lives in a fantasy world.

Wilson certainly does not believe that large scale space colonization is possible. This is no big deal. Ask a hundred academicians if they think O'niell style space colonization is possible and 99 of them will give you a 101 reasons why they think its not possible. Wilson is not alone in these attitudes.

I would forget about anything E.O. Wilson has to say about the human condition and move on. As side point, Greg Cochran has described E.O. Wilson as likely innumerate and quoted what Kepler had to say about those who can't do mathematics for good measure.


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