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Transgenerational Theft
read in Macedonian


And so, we dip into 2012 in earnest.  The holidays are mostly over (there is still Old New Year to celebrate in Macedonia), but largely, it’s time to look forward.  As I sit here in my home in Tucson, Arizona, on January 1, the temperature a warm 28 C, I am pondering what will be in 2012.  And the more I ponder, the more I come to the conclusion that if you think 2011 was bad (take your pick: natural disasters, the financial catastrophe that is the global economy, terrorism, radical Islam, you name it), 2012 will not be any better.   

Sorry.  I know you wanted a “happy article” to start 2012.  But I can’t write that.  Not if I want to be honest (and I do).  So instead, you will read a number of articles from me in 2012 focusing not on polite niceties, but on cold, hard, brutish reality.  It might make you sad.  It might even make you depressed (hopefully not).  I do hope it will make you angry and awake as to what is coming.  Because while natural disasters are largely beyond our control, the global economy is not.  I write all of this not so that you will be depressed but so that you will understand what is coming and what you can do to keep your head about you – all the while around you others are losing theirs and blaming it on you – to paraphrase Kipling. 

So let’s start this year by looking at what author Mark Steyn calls “transgenerational theft.”    

The EU is dying.  Literally and figuratively.  The United States is doing a bit better, but if trends continue, we’ll be right along there with the EU.  “What on earth are you talking about Jason?” you’re asking yourself right about now. 

I’m speaking of birth rates, state spending, entitlements, and borrowing. 

In his book America Alone, Steyn writes about demographics as destiny.  A society needs a fertility rate of about 2.1 for the population to continue to at least stay even, forget about expanding.  Once you start declining in numbers as a society, you must a) import people whose culture is not yours to do the jobs your people can’t because there aren’t enough of them and b) the population base of existing workers who must pay in to the system to take care of government spending and especially entitlement spending shrinks so the government must borrow more (meaning you are in debt to another, foreign culture, like China) or print more money (which causes inflation).  Add a recession into the mix and the government thinks it must ramp up spending (going into debt to do so) to “stimulate” the economy.  Either way, you’re doomed because you have to pay interest on that debt, never mind the principle and there are just not enough people left to pay either.  And so it goes in an ever-widening death spiral.   

Add to all of that stifling and growing government regulations and bureaucracy which in turn manages to restrict, one way or another, entrepreneurial creativity thus shrinking the tax base and you have…Greece.  With a fertility rate of 1.5, deep debt, a very long recession, a gargantuan entitlement system and enough regulations and bureaucracy to cover the universe, Greece is the poster child for what is wrong in the EU.  But other EU countries are not too far behind them. 

Quoting Steyn now from his new book, After America, “If the problem with socialism, as Mrs. (Margaret) Thatcher famously said, is that eventually you run out of other people’s money, the problem with Greece and much of Europe is that they’ve advanced to the next stage: they’ve run out of other people, period.”  

Where is the money going to come from to pay for a) all the generous entitlement programs the EU lavishes on its aging citizens and b) the mountain of debt it owes?  (The same question, it should be pointed out and is vigorously debated, applies to the United States).   

This is transgenerational theft on a massive scale: borrowing against the future, borrowing from the young (and those not even born because they were aborted).  The future is our children and their children.  The EU (and America as I must keep pointing out, as well as Japan frankly) is borrowing against future generations knowing it will never be able to pay it all back.  And that is dishonest.  

Which bring us to Macedonia and the lesson this week: this is why what the government of Prime Minister Gruevski is doing – pursing and adopting policies that support the family and encourage family growth – are so important.  When the rest of Europe is dying – literally – and not replacing its population (and instead importing foreign cultural and religious values from the Muslim lands) Macedonia is doing the right thing by encouraging the growth of the family. 

Think about that as you ponder Macedonia in the EU.

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Jason Miko
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