Letter: You say there are too many people in Colorado, but what would you have us do about it?
In his Sunday, Dec. 10, letter (“A rambling commentary about population”), Mr. Quinn asks whether there are too many people in our valley, in Colorado and in the world. The implication is that we should consider doing something about it. Therein lies the problem.
As noted in Mr. Quinn’s letter, the government can and does act at the margins to impact population growth. Yes, a child tax credit may encourage people to have more children (although I doubt there are many parents who decide to have another child based solely on tax policy). Yes, immigration policy will impact population in this country. (Contrary to his assertion, Democrats don’t necessarily want more immigration. They want a rational and comprehensive process for dealing with the millions of people who are already here, such as the Dreamers.)
But beyond these “tweaks,” what other tools are available? I challenge you to identify a law to lower population growth that you would be comfortable with. China tried with its one-child policy. Would anyone advocate that in our country? Would you accept allowing counties to issue “visas” to limit the number of people who could move to the county? Whom would you trust to administer this “visa” system? What rules would you enact about who can move here and who cannot? (It’s an academic question, as this would be unconstitutional.)
We all lament the loss of amenities that results from higher density. (I, for one, enjoy the benefits of greater diversity, as well.) But the only rational response is to dedicate ourselves to engaging in the constant tension between accepting the past and molding the future. That comes through engaging at all levels of local government, where the decisions about density, traffic, housing, open space, etc., are made.
Population change is going to happen, whether we like it or not. Let’s do our best to be smart about how that change happens instead of trying to prevent it.