Matt Yglesias, the latest sign that you are talking out of your ass ought to be that Glenn Beck agrees with you.
Vox co-founder @mattyglesias and I don't agree on everything. But we both believe that having ONE BILLION AMERICANS is a goal worth striving for and crucial to keeping China from overtaking us as the top global power. pic.twitter.com/2CiIkUzYZk
— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) September 20, 2020
He has a new book out titled One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger, in which he proposes that we set a goal of pumping out more babies to give us an edge in international competition.
From one of our foremost policy writers, One Billion Americans is the provocative yet logical argument that if we aren’t moving forward, we’re losing. Vox founder Yglesias invites us to think bigger, while taking the problems of decline seriously. What really contributes to national prosperity should not be controversial: supporting parents and children, welcoming immigrants and their contributions, and exploring creative policies that support growth—like more housing, better transportation, improved education, revitalized welfare, and climate change mitigation. Drawing on examples and solutions from around the world, Yglesias shows not only that we can do this, but why we must.
The book has a website where you can find out more, but it’s rather unpersuasive. It has a section on praise which includes endorsements from billionaire Mark Cuban, his Vox co-founder Ezra Klein, Catholic creep Ross Douthat, and David Leonhardt (who?). Douthat’s blurb is about as empty as you can get:
“Trump-era bestseller lists are dominated by ‘exposes’ that tell us the same things, and (esp. under pandemic conditions) better books can’t get oxygen. So if you enjoy an excerpt or interview, buy the book!”
Gosh. An author has to be desperate to include that.
I have not read the book, nor do I feel at all compelled to read it. It just sounds dumb.
- Why is tripling the population of the country even a goal? I mean, the description says some good things: supporting parents and immigrants, better housing, transportation, education, and welfare, and working to reduce the impact of climate change. Those are the goals we ought to aim for. Maybe a population increase would follow, but that would be a side effect of building a better, stronger nation. Why are you making the side effect primary, especially when it can conflict with your path to achieving that better nation?
- How, Mr Policy Guy, how? Was an alternate title for your book Make More Babies NOW, Women!? Because that’s what it sounds like. A major obstacle to that goal right now is the deep gender inequities in this country — women bear the brunt of child-rearing responsibilities, so you’ve set a goal that falls mainly on the child-bearing hips of half the country. You don’t even mention correcting the unequal distribution of labor in your list of uncontroversial improvements.
- The biggest economic factor limiting the United States is the immense, and growing, wealth inequality here, driven by raging unchecked capitalism. This is a country where the rich have grown richer during a pandemic that has harmed the well-being of the majority of the population. Spawning more children is not the path to prosperity for individuals, although it sure does swell a hungry workforce that can be exploited to the advantage of the corporate class. Somehow, I suspect that dismantling capitalism isn’t one of your uncontroversial contributions to national prosperity.
- A colossal increase in population is going to involve equally colossal shifts in the economy. We’re going to require far more appreciation of child care and teaching, positions that are currently undervalued and underpaid. It’s going to lead to a booming number of retirees and the elderly, with a concomitant need for more advanced health care (unless, as an alternative, we’re going to just let them die).
OK, maybe the book is a staggering work of genius that includes eye-opening revelations about how we can accomplish everything all at once and reach a utopia full of happy families facing a bright future, but somehow I think that would inspire more interesting conversation than a couple of vague, bland reviews from a friend, a billionaire, the New York Times, and a terrible conservative op-ed writer whose endorsement ought to be reader-repellent. Reviewers who have read the book describe it as a mish-mash of shallow ideas only loosely connected to its central thesis. But sure, go ahead and collect those endorsements from Glen Beck, Mr Yglesias!