You?ll also read in the latest Newsweek Joel Kotkin?s projections about demographic changes on the way for the United States and its economic competitors.

For instance, the population of Americans between the ages of 15 and 64 will grow by 42 percent between 2000 and 2050. In China, membership in that working-age group will decline by 10 percent. It?s even worse for Japan: a 44-percent drop.

Why should we care about these figures? Mark Steyn explained in his 2006 book America Alone:

To understand why the West seems so weak in the face of a laughably primitive enemy it’s necessary to examine the wholesale transformation undergone by almost every advanced nation since World War Two. Today, in your typical election campaign, the political platforms of at least one party in the United States and pretty much every party in the rest of the West are all but exclusively about … secondary impulses: government health care (which America is slouching toward, incrementally but remorselessly), government day care (which was supposedly the most important issue in the 2006 Canadian election), government paternity leave (which Britain has introduced). We’ve elevated the secondary impulses over the primary ones: national defense, self-reliance, family, and, most basic of all, reproductive activity. If you don’t “go forth and multiply” you can’t afford all those secondary-impulse programs, like lifelong welfare, whose costs are multiplying a lot faster than you are. Most of the secondary-impules stuff falls under the broad category of self-gratification issues: we want the state to take our elderly relatives off our hands not so much because it’s better for them but because otherwise the old coots would cut seriously into our own time. Fair enough. But once you decide you can do without grandparents, it’s not such a stretch to decide you can do without grandchildren.