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August 21st, 2011
06:50 PM ET

Letters to the President: #944 'The people problem'

Reporter's Note:The president is on vacation, but that does not mean putting aside his duties such as reading my daily letters to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

I find myself thinking about people a lot lately; or rather, I should say, a lot of people; as in, we certainly have a lot of them in this country these days. I realize that you never have to deal with traffic jams anymore, but let me tell you that I have been stuck in some impressive ones lately right out on what should be the wide open Interstate highway, and for my money there is almost nothing that more sharply reminds me of our ever-expanding population.

I mention it, because as we contemplate our various troubles in this country, it seems to me that the size of the population is an underlying factor in nearly all of them. The big problems, such as joblessness, low home values, and stagnant wages are multiplied to such a grand scale in a population of some 300 million souls that they are hard to even comprehend, let alone address.

Other issues swirl quite specifically and directly around population size: immigration, water usage, environmental concerns, infrastructure. On and on it goes.

And even small matters take on outsized importance when, for example, a worry for one percent of the country involves three million people.

Yet I hear virtually nothing being said about this in Washington! When was the last time you, or any big time political player said, "Hey folks, we need to put the brakes on getting bigger, because we are expanding into new problems faster than we can even begin to address the old ones."

Just something to think about while you are on vacation. And trust me, you would do just that if you had to endure the traffic I've seen lately during your trip home.

Call if you get a moment.

Regards,
Tom