By Joe Guzzardi
July 1, 2015
With summer underway and the Independence Day holiday at hand, Americans are again headed for the highway and the frustrations that accompany increased traffic congestion. A recent Associated Press story told of a Southern California commuter who has spent roughly 1-1/2 years in his car since 2001. Experts predict that traffic jams like the ones drivers suffer though on major holidays could soon become the daily norm.
In a report released earlier this year and titled “Beyond Traffic,” the Department of Transportation predicted that if conditions don’t improve by 2045, transit systems will be so blocked up that riders will wonder not just when they will get to work, but if they will get here at all. At the airports and on the highways, DOT expects that everyday traffic flows will be as backed up as they are on Thanksgiving. DOT’s projections assume a population increase of 70 million people and a 45 percent bump in the nation’s freight volume
Most Americans shrug their shoulders at these troubling population hikes, and dismiss them as inevitable. But they don’t have to be. If Congress had heeded the recommendations made in 1972 by the Rockefeller Commission on Population Growth and the American Future, the United States could have had better, more manageable traffic loads and be looking ahead with less apprehension.
In the conclusion to his panel’s two-year effort, Chairman John D. Rockefeller III wrote that no substantial good will result from the nation’s further population growth and the ability to solve the nation’s numerous social and economic problems will not be made easier. Rockefeller noted specifically that “we have looked for, and have not found any convincing argument for continued population growth.” Neither America’s health nor the vitality of America’s businesses nor the welfare of the average American depends on continuous population increases.
Instead of adopting the Rockefeller Commission’s recommendations, Congress embarked on a course of forced population growth though its immigration policy. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, immigration will account for 80 percent of the U.S. population growth between today and 2100 when total residents will reach 600 million people. On its website, the Census Bureau also shows that the U.S. receives one net international migrant every 33 seconds and trails only China and India in its rate of population growth.
The federal government establishes immigration policy, and is responsible for adjusting it according to the nation’s needs. For more than two decades, about one million legal permanent residents have been added to the population yearly with no indication that the numbers will be slowed or reduced in near future. Even though the job market does not reflect major shortages of workers in any skilled or unskilled category, immigration continues. Mass immigration subsidizes corporate interests that profit from the cheap labor often associated with huge influxes of migrants, but does little for the typical American.
During the 43 years that Congress has defied the Rockefeller report, the task of addressing population pressures has grown more difficult. On Capitol Hill, slowing population is among the most taboo of subjects. The United States must act as a leader on this critically important topic if it expects other overpopulated, Third World nations to follow.
Without an effective national population policy, which the U.S. should adopt immediately, America can’t control its future on traffic or any of the other variables that diminish the overall quality of life.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]