Social Security problems caused by abortion?

That’s quite the field of presidential wannabes the GOP is putting together. Former Sen. Rick Santorum, prepping for his unlikely run, is trying to appeal to the far right-wing of the Republican Party (also known as, well, the Republican Party) by saying that Social Security would be in better fiscal shape if only American women hadn’t aborted so many babies.

“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,” Santorum said in an interview with WEZS Radio in Laconia, New Hampshire. “A third of all the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion.”

First of all, Social Security is actually in pretty good shape. In addition, Santorum overstated the number of abortions, saying one-third of pregnancies are ended by abortion. It’s actually less than 23 percent. Santorum was also incorrect when he said the U.S. “birthrate is now below replacement rate for the first time in our history.” According to FactCheck.org, “Births were actually below the replacement rate for nearly a quarter of a century — from 1972 through 2005 — before exceeding the ‘replacement rate’ for the most recent two years on record.”

Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen made a good point, too, when he said that one way to address the population shortfall Santorum is complaining about – short of taking away women’s reproductive freedom – would be to liberalize U.S. immigration policies: “This really isn’t complicated. If there’s a population growth shortfall, and that poses institutional problems, then the answer is to fill it. We can’t un-terminate pregnancies, but we can bring in plenty of people — from a variety of countries — who are anxious to work in our country and pay taxes into our system.”

Listen to the interview here:

20110329090002.mp3

(Thanks to Kristen for the suggestion)

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