As misguided politicians and regulators continue to target short-term lenders, which provide American…
CFIF on Twitter CFIF on YouTube
Image of the Day: Sure Enough, Credit Card Balances Are Exploding

As misguided politicians and regulators continue to target short-term lenders, which provide American consumers with vital financial lifelines when the only alternatives are skipping payments, bouncing checks, running up credit card debts or even going to dangerous loansharks, we've consistently noted how short-term lenders' role becomes increasingly important as the U.S. economy deteriorates and credit card reliance skyrockets.  Sure enough, the New York Fed numbers provide an alarming illustration:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="546"] Credit Card Debt Skyrocketing[/caption]

All the more reason to protect consumers' access to legal, reliant, efficient short-term lending rather than irrationally target it.…[more]

December 05, 2022 • 02:38 PM

Liberty Update

CFIFs latest news, commentary and alerts delivered to your inbox.
Jester's Courtroom Legal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts
The Disappearing American? Print
By Victor Davis Hanson
Thursday, July 07 2022
Thirty years ago, America had 80 million fewer people, but a quarter-million more annual births.

"Help wanted" and "Now hiring" signs are everywhere. Flights, construction projects, and healthcare services are delayed  or unavailable  due to labor shortages.

Hourly and monthly wages spiral. There is a growing disequilibrium between the number of available jobs and the declining pool of workers needed to fill them.

What is going on?

During the nearly two-year-long COVID-19 shutdown and economic downturn, firms cut costs by laying off millions of employees.

As a result, some in their early- or mid-60s simply retired early and never came back to work.

Federal and state governments also vastly expanded financial support to the unemployed. Other workers figured they would not make all that much more by working and so are staying home on government checks.

Still other former full-time employees became used to the new, more leisurely lifestyle and are loath to return to a full 40-hour work week.

Employers also are now convinced that a hard recession is on the early 2023 horizon when the trillions of dollars of newly printed money run out. Many are willing to put up with worker shortages now, rather than hire too many employees only to have them idle when consumer demand soon crashes.

Still other workers fear yet another COVID pandemic and are not eager to return to daily contact with the public.

The government has no idea how some Americans remain sick with the mysterious "long COVID" chronic aftermath of the infectious phase of the disease.

Well over 100 million Americans have likely had COVID. An estimated 10-30 percent do not recover for months  or even years.

So, millions of COVID long haulers remain either unable to work or can only work part-time.

Yet no one yet has fully calibrated the effect of newly disabled millions on the American economy.

Add up all these dark clouds and America is experiencing a perfect storm, in which only 61% of the able workforce is currently officially employed.

Unfortunately, there are also even longer-term, structural labor problems for the U.S. economy that make it unlikely that a new larger generation of workers will soon surge into the labor force. And for now, Silicon Valley has not produced its long promised artificially intelligent robots that would allow machines to do much of the work of people.

True, there are more potential parents than ever before. And the American population has soared to over 330 million.

But our population is radically leveling off.

In just 14 years the fertility rate has crashed from 2.12 to 1.64 - meaning that both citizens and resident aliens in America are not replacing themselves.

While past demographic momentum has led to an all-time population high, the United States has already peaked demographically. And it will soon shrink and further age.

Thirty years ago, America had 80 million fewer people, but a quarter-million more annual births.

What explains the disappearing American?

Historically, as Westernized cultures become more affluent and leisured, whether it's ancient Rome or modern America and Europe, they birth fewer children  even as their appetites for more household and personal help spike.

Life apparently is seen as too enjoyable to invest years in raising children. Americans are certainly marrying later. They are having fewer children  and in their 30s rather than 20s.

Women now make up nearly 60% of undergraduate college students. Female professional careers and delaying or avoiding birth are seen as essential to future family incomes.

Given that men who pass on college now account for 70% of enrollment declines in undergraduate education, there are far too few college-educated males for the new majority cohort of college-educated women.

The real gender crisis in America are these listless and stalled 20-something men. Too many are still living at home, not fully employed, often in debt, hooked on social media, video games, or satisfying their appetites  and with scant interest in marrying, much less raising children.

Figures on annual abortions remain hotly disputed. But the number of annual reported abortions still ranges between somewhere from more than 600,000 to just under 900,000.

There may be almost 20 abortions for every 100 American pregnancies  or one in five pregnancies that are terminated.

Our popular culture reflects this multifarious growing reluctance to raise children. And currently only 65% of children grow up in families with both parents.

The 2012 Obamacare ad, "The Life of Julia," fixated on the new ideal American woman: a single parent of one child, unmarried, and utterly reliant on nearly 65 years of government support.

The 2013 follow-up bookend ad fetishized "Pajama Boy." He was supposed to be a typical prolonged-adolescent, man-child - sitting at home in his child-like footie pajamas, sipping hot chocolate.

"Pajama Boy" was likely the sort that "Julia" had no intention of marrying.

There are historical downsides  economic, cultural, social, and military  to nations that shun child-raising.

They shrink in size, age, no longer believe in transcendence, become mostly agnostic or atheistic, and obsess on the self.

And sometimes they eventually become dysfunctional  and slowly disappear.


Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness. He is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author of "The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won," from Basic Books. 

COPYRIGHT 2022 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Quiz Question   
The first U.S. oil-producing well was founded in 1859 near which of the following towns?
More Questions
Notable Quote   
 
"New York politicians are slapping a badge on my chest. A law going into effect Saturday requires social-media networks, including any site that allows comments, to publish a plan for responding to alleged hate speech by users.The law blog I run fits the bill, so the law will mandate that I post publicly my policy for responding to comments that 'vilify, humiliate, or incite violence against a group…[more]
 
 
—Eugene Volokh, Co-founder of the Volokh Conspiracy Blog and a Law Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles
— Eugene Volokh, Co-founder of the Volokh Conspiracy Blog and a Law Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles
 
Liberty Poll   

Congress is debating adding $45 billion more than requested to defense spending for 2023. Considering a fragile economy and geopolitical threats, do you support or oppose that increase?