No economy is made better off by destroying existing resources. But that's what "cash for clunkers" tried to do, while only driving up the price of transportation for middle and lower-middle class families.
Bastiat’s great themes — harmony rather than equilibrium, property versus spoliation, and property and value — have been almost completely neglected in professional economic science during the unfortunate twentieth century.
In a relatively unhampered market, a declining population is not necessarily an economic problem. But in a system where retirees can loot younger workers through government pension systems, there is a real problem, indeed.