First, let me introduce my wife of 26 years, Marijane. And let me also thank Joe Pojman and Davida Stike, for their incredible leadership of this organization.
In the past, I have talked to you about energy and American energy independence. These topics are critically important to our country as energy provides the foundation, the life- blood of our economy. Without energy, these lights aren’t on, you couldn’t drive here today, or refrigerate your food or medicine, type on your laptop, or talk on your cell phone. Our entire modern economy runs on energy, and here in Texas we produce more energy and we consume more energy than any other state. I’m proud to tell you that America is on the path to Energy Security in a way that we haven’t been in 50 years. Thanks to Horizontal Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing techniques, we are finding more oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids than we have in 30 years. Our imports of crude oil are half what they were in 2005, and we are rapidly moving to a position where the US will not have to import oil from any country other than Canada–Especially Not from OPEC. This has been my mission for the last 9 years at PUC and now RRC, and we’ve almost accomplished it. Texas is leading the way by producing over 1.7 mm barrels of oil equivalent per day and 19 bcf of nat gas. Over the last 24 months we have issued more oil and gas drilling permits than we have in 30 years.
Today I want to focus on another type of energy—Life energy. The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence guarantees to us “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” These seven words may (other than the Ten Commandments), be the most powerful sentence ever written. The entire phrase, as you know, reads, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
It should come as no surprise that “Life” is the first of these inalienable rights. The founding fathers were men of God and recognized that nothing matters if one has no life. In drafting both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, I’m sure they looked to scripture. For example, Genesis 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living thing.” Genesis 2:22-24, “Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, He made into woman and He brought her to the man… Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Jeremiah 20:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you, sayeth the Lord, Plans to prosper you and to give you hope and a future.”
Examples of where man frustrated God’s plan that you should prosper, have hope and a future, usually end up badly. Exodus 1:22, “So Pharaoh commanded all his people saying, ‘Every son who is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.” Moses lived but thousands of Hebrew baby boys died. But that’s not where the story ends—Moses eventually returns to Egypt, tells Pharaoh to “let my people go,”, and 10 plagues are visited upon the Egyptians– the last being the death of all the firstborn Egyptians, including the son of Pharaoh.
Does history change in thousands of years—not much. Take the Chinese “one child” policy of today, which usually results in the birth of boy (and often in the abortion of a girl—the opposite of what Pharaoh wrought). Attempts at genocide, like Pharaoh’s, do not go without inevitable “reckoning.” In the case of the Egyptians, all their firstborn, including Pharaoh’s son, were killed and once mighty Egypt became merely a footnote in human history and a place where we used to visit (but not anymore since the “Arab spring”) the Pyramids.
In the case of China’s one child policy, we have a modern day example of what happens when a society does not honor “life.” And like what happened to the Egyptians under Pharaoh, this too, I predict, will end badly for the Chinese.
Introduced in 1979, the one child policy has, according to the Chinese Government, “prevented” about 400 million births. Whether the 400 mm is accurate or not, the one child policy has resulted in dramatically increased abortions (almost all female), female infanticide and female abandonment, females disproportionately found in orphanages, “family planning” fines for couples who dare to have more than one child, and China’s dramatic sex imbalance, which is now approaching 120 males for 100 females. China’s fertility rate was 1.61 in 2009, and is 1.54 today. It continues to decline. Often referred to euphemistically as “late, long, and few”, the Chinese Government has said that the one child policy will continue until at least 2015.
Under both President Reagan and President George W. Bush, the US pulled out of the United Nations Population Fund Activities (UNPFA), which is the primary funding source for China’s one child policy. However, President Obama resumed funding for UNPFA in 2009. Today in China, despite what you might hear of its economic progress and dynamism, the country faces a looming demographic calamity. Called the 4-2-1 Problem, there is often one child who, as a young adult, is increasingly responsible for the care of two parents and sometimes four grandparents. In addition, this only child, when he/she was young, is often referred to as “the little emperor.” Spoiled beyond belief by his parents, and with no siblings to share toys, food or clothing, these children have developed, according to one Chinese source, “social problems and personality disorders, are over indulged, lack self discipline, and have little to no adaptive capabilities.” Couple this with the child’s increasing responsibility for taking care of mom, dad, grandpa and grandma, and you can see the potential problems. Ye Tingfang, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, has suggested that the country should at least allow for two children saying, “the one child policy is too extreme. It violates nature’s law…and in the long run, this will lead to mother-nature’s revenge.” Remind you of Genesis?
It is always comforting to know that here in America; we are more enlightened than the Chinese. Well not really because we have our own one child policy, we have chosen it without governmental mandate, and it will result in equally disastrous consequences. Today, America’s total fertility rate is 1.93. Among white college educated women, its 1.6 (about where the Chinese are). The needed replacement rate in America is 2.1. So, we are not making enough babies to replace Americans that are dying and as the “baby boom” generation ages, this situation only gets worse (Marijane and I, had four, so I guess a lot of people have only one or none.) Despite what you may have heard about the world becoming overpopulated and the need for fewer people in order to sustain the planet (a favorite line of Global Warming alarmists), growing populations of young people lead to innovation, creativity, a growing economy, and a cleaner planet. According to a recent WSJ article, “Human ingenuity is the most precious resource.” Inverse Pyramid societies, like China and increasingly like ours, don’t invest, innovate or project power around the globe.
This is exactly what is happening in China. And, it’s exactly what happened in Japan. Today’s fertility rate in Japan is 1.3. By 2100, Japan’s population is projected to be one-half of what it is today. Well, the Malthusians would say, fewer people are good for the planet. Not really. From 1950 through 1973, when the Japanese were still having lots of babies, the annual GDP was 5.4%. From 1990 through 2006, it was .63%. Today, the annual economic growth rate is about 1%.
While life is a fundamental, inalienable right given by God, it also turns out to be good economic policy. Countries with healthy birth rates are also sound economically. Those having few children are on the decline.
Our good friend David Barton has done some wonderful research on the relationship between Congressmen/ women that are pro-life, and their voting record on economic issues. Members of Congress with the best voting records on “right to life” issues also happen to have the best voting record on the economy. For example, Mike Conaway and John Culberson, both Republicans from Texas, have a 100% voting record on life issues and a 100% voting record with Americans for Tax Reform. Al Green and Raul Grijalva, both Democrats, have a 0% voting record on life issues and a 0% voting record on economic issues. As David so eloquently puts it, “if they wont’ protect life, why should you expect them to protect your wallet.” I suspect that if we examined votes on the 2nd Amendment, you would find the same relationship. An officeholder for abortion is also likely an officeholder who will take away your gun, take away your money, take away your freedom to assemble, take away your freedom of speech, and take away your freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. In other words, a supporter of life is a supporter of the Bill of Rights. A denier of life, is …well you get the idea.
Having now identified the problem, we are of course obligated to pursue policies, which work to solve the problem. First and foremost, we must pass pro-life legislation like HB 2, which promotes life, decreases abortions, and bring standards of cleanliness to abortion clinics. I was so honored when Marijane testified at the Texas Legislature in favor of HB 2.
Second, encourage those of childbearing age (WHO ARE MARRIED) to have lots of children, and then support policies that support having lots children. These should include making it easier for large families to leave failing public schools, pursue home schooling or online options, and eventually get a college degree. Today, four years of college at a Texas public university will cost you between $80,000 and $120,000! Four years at a top private university, think $200,000 to $250,000! I know, we have two at TAMU and a third going to college next year, a private school. These numbers are outrageous and can place a college education beyond the reach of many middle-income families, especially those with lots of children.
Property taxes, which are directly related to the size of your house, also penalize those who need lots of bedrooms. This tax is regressive, unrelated to the ability of the homeowner to pay it, and keeps going up and up year after year. Over ten years ago, I joined with my good friend Paul Bettencourt in petitioning the City of Houston, Harris County and other taxing jurisdictions to hold the line on spending to the change in CPI + increase in population. We are still waiting.
The federal tax code should reward large families, whose children will eventually pay lots of taxes, by increasing deductions for children, or placing families with children into a lower marginal tax bracket.
And, it goes without saying that we should incent marriage and dis-incent single family households. Thanks to Lyndon Johnson’s “war on poverty,” single parent households continue to be, rewarded for not having dad around. Today 26% of American families are headed by a single parent, the highest percentage in the industrialized world. In some ethnic community’s, the number is 72%. This is ludicrous. At a time when almost 50 million people receive food stamps, federal Tax policy should reward two parent, married and living together, families. Having the mother and father in the home is indisputably better for the children and better for the family’s over all economic well being. According to the Census Bureau, married couple families earn on average 3X that of single female head of household families. (Several years ago, The Economist magazine published a piece which said that you only have to do three things to guarantee that you will live above the poverty line—graduate from high school, keep your first job for over 1 year, get married and stay married). Families, in addition to being the best place to teach your children how to be good adults, are the economic engines of our country.
We must do all in our power to discourage abortion. Since Roe v. Wade, over 55 million children have been aborted over the last 40 years. (BY THE WAY, ROE WAS A TERRIBLE OPINION IN TERMS OF PURE LEGAL REASONING). Assuming that half of those aborted children would now be 20 or older, that half were male and half female, and that all of them were married and had two children, we would have had another 27.5 million Americans that weren’t ever born. So the travesty of Abortion isn’t just the 55 million children that have been aborted, its those 55 million, plus the 27.5 million children who weren’t conceived because their parents themselves weren’t born. I know this sounds somewhat metaphysical, but abortion has cost our country at least 82.5 mm people. That’s about 27% of our total population (82.5 divided by 310 mm), which we will never recover. At a time when our federal debt is almost $17 trillion, having another $82.5 mm people, hitting their stride in the work force, would help to reduce our per capita debt obligations, but most likely would also produce meaningful additional GDP to propel our economy and I bet they would vote Republican.
Let me close with a word to men, especially you young guys. Fellows, take responsibility for our actions. Having sexual relations with a woman is a serious matter. Regardless of what some magazines, TV shows, and movies want you to believe, sex creates emotional bonds between you and her, which are not easily broken. These bonds stay with you for the rest of your life. And, if you get a girl pregnant, you are responsible and must make the commitment to marry her, raise, and support that child. So make it easy on yourself. Don’t’ have sex until you get married, get married at a relatively early age, and then have lots of kids. Contrary to conventional wisdom, having kids early, not late, is liberating for you and your wife. You will never ever regret it, and our economy will thank you for it.