Interviewed by a New Hampshire radio station while in the first primary state, he said that the reason the social security system was ...
" " in big trouble is that there aren't enough workers to support retirees. He blamed that on what he called the nation's abortion culture. He says that culture, coupled with policies that do not support families, deny America what it needs -- more people."
The problems with this theory are manifold, starting with the premise that social security is in immediate peril. As Senior Citizen Journal points out, the idea that social security is going broke, is a huge myth. In fact, it will continue to have a huge surplus for many years to come. Furthermore, asking the rich to pay their fare share into social security by raising the income cap, would be a far more effective way to help social security continue its surplus even longer, rather than simply increase the population.
Santorum's sloppy thinking on this matter is evident immediately by two obvious facts:
1) Increasing the population doesn't only add to the number of people paying into social security; it also adds to the number of people who will eventually draw from it. In the case of the disabled, those withdrawals will happen way before their senior years. Over 16 million Americans received disability benefits from social security in 2009, according to PolitiFact . (Interestingly, the occasion for PolitiFact looking into the matter, was Tom Coburn complaining about "creating dependency." Perhaps he's unaware that disability tends to create dependency all by itself.)
2) Family planning decisions involve not only abortion, but - of course - birth control. Is Santorum against that as well?
It's fascinating that Santorum talks about the lack of family friendly policies. Last I checked, the brand of "authoritarian-conservatism" that Santorum subscribes to hasn't done much in the way of "family-friendly" policies (for more, see Rachel Maddow's recent segment on how conservatives tout their small government conservatism, only to act on big government authoritarian conservatism).
While most Americans are still reeling from the recession following the Wall Street meltdown, conservative Republicans are doing everything they can to make things harder, not easier for the middle class - stripping union rights, transferring huge sums from the public coffers to wealthy corporations, and yes, attacking social security and medicare spending.
In addition, the state of affairs described by Anne Crittenden in The Price of Motherhood has certainly not improved since that book was written. Women pay a huge price - in the workplace, in lifelong earnings, and in social security benefits - for even small amounts of time taken out for pregnancy, childbirth, breast-feeding and child care. The GOP doesn't seem to have much room for easing these burdens on its agenda these days.
Rick Santorum seems to be doing his best to outdo his " man-on-dog " reputation for gaffes.