Review: The Life and Death of NSSM 200 –How the Destruction of Political Will Doomed a U.S. Population Policy

6 Star Top 10%, Budget Process & Politics, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class

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5.0 out of 5 stars Intense, Well-Structured, Mind-Glazing, Valuable,

January 25, 2004
Stephen D. Mumford
Although I have had this book in my possession for months, it kept slipping to the bottom of the pile because it is an excruciatingly detailed look at one very specific policy area–that of population. I was mistaken in thinking that the book was so detailed as to be boring or difficult to grasp.On the contrary, the author has done a superb job, in partnership with the publisher, in presenting a great deal of important information in a readable font size and form.

For me, the book is important in two ways. First, it tells me there is a person out there who really understands all this stuff in detail, and can help me rethink our national policy when the time comes that we have a sane White House willing to be serious about this vital long-term matter.

Second, it lists up front the various areas that impact on population policy (drawing on the Commission on Population Growth and the American Future) and is worth the price of the book for this superb list (each with a paragraph about the sub-policy area): Population Education; Sex Education; Child Care; Children Born Out of Wedlock; Adoption; Equal Rights for Women; Contraception and the Law; Contraception and Minors; Voluntary Sterilization; Abortion; Methods of Fertility Control; Fertility-Related Health Services; Personnel Training and Delivery of Services; Family Planning Services; Services for Teenagers; Population Stabilization; Illegal Aliens; Immigration; National Distribution and Migration Policies; Guiding Urban Expansion; Racial Minorities and the Poor; Depressed Rural Areas; Institutional Responses; Population Statistics and Research; Vital Statistical Data; Enumeration of Special Groups; International Migration; Current Population Survey; Statistical Reporting of Family Planning Services; National Survey of Family Growth; Distribution of Government Data; Mid-Decade Census; Statistical Use of Administrative Records; Intercensal Population Estimates; Social and Behavioral Research; Research Program in Population Distribution; Federal Government Population Research; Support for Professional Training; Organizational Changes; Office of Population Affairs in the Department of Health, National Institute of Population Sciences; Department of Community Development; Office of Population Growth and Distribution; Council of Social Advisors; Joint Committee on Population; State Population Agencies and Commissions; Private Efforts and Population Policy.

The author makes a very strong case for how, as his subtitle suggests, US population policy has been doomed by a lack of political will and the inappropriate influence of the Catholic Church and Mexico, in addition to strong private sector interests seeking low-wage workers while avoiding any associated social costs that are put on to the taxpayer.

I consider this book a primary reference that will be needed soon as America becomes more thoughtful and participatory democracy is restored. Population policy is fundamental. Missing from the official documents are serious discussions about citizenship, civics, ethics, morality, the restoration of the one-income two-parent family as the foundation for a strong nation, and the role that taxation policy can play in strengthening families while holding employers accountable for not making illegal immigration sustainable by hiring undocumented aliens.

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