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Population growth and immigration threaten U.S. prosperity

Regarding a recent Sun op-ed page, it's rare to see two commentaries side by side that perfectly cancel each other out. In one, John Seager notes that the Earth's population is growing at a rate of 80 million people a year ("An Unhappy World Population Day," July 11). In the other, Thomas F. Schaller exhorts us to welcome immigrants even when their "economic pressure forces those of us already here to work harder" ("Hostility toward recent immigrants a long U.S. tradition," July 11).

It might occur to Mr. Schaller that today jobs are a precious commodity, and it's only natural to want them protected.

Unfortunately, the human race has a biological need to expand. Eighteenth-century economist Thomas Robert Malthus explained that "the power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence" that it periodically causes famines and other disasters.

There are over 7 billion on Earth today, and that number is growing. At the same time, it takes fewer and fewer people to grow things and make things. Additionally, any company that can outsource its labor force is eager to do so, creating layoffs and downsizing here in the U.S.

It's true there has always been hostility toward newcomers, but during the Industrial Revolution manufacturers aggressively sought new hands to handle the growing work. And when farm land opened up in the West, railroads sought immigrants to work the land.

But the scenario today is entirely different. It's no secret the world's billions want to migrate to places where life is better — that's commendable. But when America becomes the destination of choice, we have a duty to curtail the practice if for no other reason than that we owe it to our children.

R. E. Nester, Baltimore

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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