Quick Hit: Rick Santorum blames abortion for Social Security problems

Oh, Rick Santorum, you slay me. First you compare abortion to slavery, now abortion is responsible for current threats to Social Security. He said on a radio show yesterday in New Hampshire:

“The social security system in my opinion is a flawed design, period. But, having said that, the design would work a lot better if we had stable demographic trends. … The reason social security is in big trouble is we don’t have enough workers to support the retirees. Well, a third of all the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion, because one in three pregnancies end in abortion.”

If I had a dime for the number of things that is wrong with America because of abortion according to Rick Santorum…fill in the blank in comments!

h/t to Ethan.

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12 Comments

  1. Posted March 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    It would measure up to the GDP of a small South American country.

  2. Posted March 30, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    He’s also just totally misrepresenting…everything. It’s not that 1/3 pregnancies ends in abortion, it’s that 1/3 women have at least one abortion in their lives. Unless every woman in the US only gets pregnant once (which they don’t, since we’re at replacement level fertility of 2.1 kids per woman), he is absolutely wrong.

  3. Posted March 30, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Given that unintended pregnancies disproportionately affect poor women, women of color, and those without reproductive health access and that many of these women simply do not have the means to raise the next generation of “workers” or what have you, it is seriously classist and racist and fill-in-your-ist for him to say that IF ONLY abortion didn’t exist, then we’d have more “workers” (i.e. cheap labor!) to support America’s retirees.

  4. Posted March 30, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Actually there are estimates that 20% to 30% of conceptions end in abortions, that is, “spontaneous abortions” or miscarriages. It would be an actual good thing if Mr. Santorum did something practical to reduce this number. If we reduced the amount of pollution, contamination and radiation pregnant mothers are exposed to from pesticides and air pollution there would be fewer birth defects and traumatic events that cause miscarriage. Maybe better prenatal medical care and nutrition would help. Maybe giving some financial support to pregnant women so they did not have to work long hours in strenuous jobs would help also.

    After that maybe he could address getting the infant mortality down so that we could get off the bottom of the list of the worst of the advanced nations. A few more kids would be born and a few more would live past their first year to become contributors to Social Security.

  5. Posted March 30, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Santorum is a perfect example of a person who is able to get elected not being a person capable of leading. Either he doesn’t understand statistics or he twists them on purpose: in both cases it makes him unfit.

    Social Security isn’t in as much trouble as republicans make it out to be, some minor things about it need to be fixed. I worked at FAU, and they force their employees not to pay into it, opting to sell your account to TIAA CREF instead of social security, with no option of opting out. I don’t know how many other institutions undermine social security through this stupid loophole, but I bet there are quite a few.

    AND There aren’t effective policies punishing employers of immigrants. If every undocumented worker instead had a payroll that was legal, a HUGE revenue source for social security would be secured. Why don’t we fix that instead of attacking the autonomy of our female citizens. It only makes sense.

  6. Posted March 31, 2011 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    What about the time when those aborted would have been old enough to retire and draw down on their Social Security accounts? Since they will not be retiring that seems to be a positive benefit. I just can’t believe that anyone would make an argument either pro or con about such a sensitive issue using the economic viability of Social Security as justification. I read an economics paper comparing the availability of legal abortions and the overall decrease in crime rates in the 90′s, ‘http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Impact_of_Legalized_Abortion_on_Crime’. I think that this connection is even less tenuous than Santorum’s. If he were really interested in saving Social Security, he should be working to insure that all Americans could be employed and earning livable wages. More people working earning higher wages equals increased Social Security taxes collected. It’s not too hard if people come before corporate profits.

  7. Posted March 31, 2011 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    I’m waiting for a politician to blame abortions for the rise in gas prices…

  8. Posted March 31, 2011 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    i just remember some republican, in a press conference after the “partial-birth” abortion ban several years back, saying that all the babies being aborted this way would now be born and become social-security-tax payers. it was a win/win!!

    /sarcasm

  9. Posted March 31, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Amen, dudley! Reading between the lines, Santorum’s message is that WHITE ladies need to start breedin’, while the “anchor babies” should stay the hell away.

  10. Posted April 1, 2011 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    “The reason social security is in big trouble is we don’t have enough workers to support the retirees.”

    Silly me! I thought it was because the government squandered all of the money people paid in for their OWN retirement. But it turns out that’s just part of the design!

  11. Posted April 1, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Can I ask why this is a prima facie ridiculous argument?

    Birth rates per 1000 decreased steadily from their historical rates when states started to loosen their abortion laws in the mid-60s (source: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005067.html). Eyeballing it I see a drop of 3 births per thousand during the period of legalization. If half of these were caused by the abortion legalization, then there’d be about 13.5M more 20-40 year olds around today. If 70% of those were working at the average wage of 32k they’d be contributing (12%*32k*70%*13.5M=) $36.3B more SS revenue a year or ($36.3/$865M = ) 4.2% more a year. While it wouldn’t “solve” social security’s annual $140B shortfall in the out years, it would solve about 25% of it. . . Did I get something wrong?

    • Posted April 11, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

      The assumption is that women who are forced to have babies that they DO NOT want would grow up to land jobs that approximate the average may need more consideration. First, birthcontrol (the pill was introduced in 1960) and a growing middle class (longer education times) probably account for the lions share of the eyeballed 3 fewer births per 1000. I also think that abortion rates don’t really change much with legality (region dependent assumption, however) as a desperate woman has always had the means to terminate a pregnancy (back alleys, pennyroyal tea, iron pills, and alcohol) and we are fools to think this information wasn’t available during tougher times.

      Second, a child pulls a woman’s earning potential down (a sad truth) and families on the financial edge would be swallowed up by being forced into a lower class, thus diminishing the amount to be kicked towards SS. Further, class mobility from the poorest classes is rare, so these “unwanted” children wouldn’t then approach the average American wage, they would gravitate towards the lowest echelon. The math to figure that all out eludes me, but I imagine that it changes your figure by a significant amount even with the liberal fudge factor you supplied.

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