Last time the budget office made it all the way up to the size of the country, it was just the size of all the countries in the world, which were once believed to be a tiny fraction of the world’s total.
Even then, it couldn’t have really been a clue: in fiscal year 2018, 2,770 federal departments and agencies issued over 157 million notices of proposed spending cuts. Three of those — the Department of Defense, the State Department, and the Environmental Protection Agency — were geographically close to each other, while the rest were on the order of two square miles from each other.
Now the latest version of the budget office’s 10th annual “doomsday” projections for the world is in: It projects that a doubling in population may translate into shrinking national debt while the population will swell by more than 10 percent. The Republican tax law increases those numbers and gives the budget office reasons to believe that the world’s population will get to a century-old high of more than 5.5 billion.
The Washington Post (and, perhaps surprisingly, Yglesias) has more on the world-wide implications of the situation.“If population growth slows, as appears to be happening, that means a $US1 ($1) trillion price to the government for spending on defense and infrastructure,” according to Yglesias. “Then it looks like we need to spend more on birth control.” American Population: 7.5 Billion (2014) U.S. Population: 7.5 Billion National Debt: $US3.2 Trillion ($3.5 Trillion) GDP: $US65.2 Trillion ($68.5 Trillion) Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds: $US60.2 Trillion ($68.5 Trillion) Medicare and Medicaid Trust Funds: $US18.6 Trillion ($19.6 Trillion) Debt to GDP: 82.2% American Population: 7.5 Billion (2010) U.S. Population: 7.5 Billion U.S. Population: 7.5 Billion National Debt: $US656.6 Trillion ($8.3 Trillion) GDP: $US598.4 Trillion ($647.2 Trillion) Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds: $US130.7 Trillion ($145.6 Trillion) Medicare and Medicaid Trust Funds: $US40.4 Trillion ($46.7 Trillion) Debt to GDP: 68.6% “It looks like we need to spend more on birth control,” writes Yglesias. “A consequence of its adoption, the contraceptive pill is getting cheaper. The medical community agrees with it. Nor does it think that a 1,200 percent increase in the percentage of the population using birth control will change the rate of childbirth.”
If you want a little bit of foreshadowing, note how much the population of Canada has doubled and that its own fertility rate is just under five children per couple. The population in China, which faces an imminent demographic crunch, is four times larger than in the United States.