The Oct. 20 Politics & the Nation article “Finger-pointing begins as U.S. fertility rates fall” focused entirely on the unpleasant, but temporary, economic consequences that will occur until the population size of the United States equilibrates at a new, lower number. But unless one believes that the human carrying capacity of Earth is infinite, lowering the birthrate must occur at some time.

Any attempt to maintain current population-growth rates is simply kicking the problem down the road to future generations. Facing the economic consequences of a top-heavy age distribution now rather than later would impose these consequences on fewer people. Lowered birthrates would produce some economic hardships during the period of population stabilization, but a smaller population would have enormous beneficial consequences ranging from lowered human-induced pollution to greater resources per capita. Any finger-pointing should be directed at those naive enough to believe that human population growth can continue unabated into the indefinite future.

Jim Nichols, Crofton