The Economic Cost of Abortion: $202 Billion in Lost Taxes

Opinion   Bill S   Jul 20, 2011   |   1:46PM    Washington, DC

In 2008, there were over 1.2 million unborn children murdered by abortionists in the United States.  Of course these babies, unlike those who chose to abort, had no “choice”, and they would probably rather NOT have died.  I wonder if the social liberal pro-abortion types have considered all of the consequences of taking away so many lives from this nation – over 52 million lives lost since 1973?

Admittedly, it is a rather cold, callous path of logic to analyze abortion in terms of economics, but let’s go there for a few moments.  Back in 1998, the late Larry Burkett, a highly-regarded author on Christian personal financial topics wrote “The George Bailey Effect:  Abortion-on-Demand and the Implications for America’s Economic Future“.  Burkett examined abortion not from the moral perspective, but its impact on the economics of the United States.  He makes a profound point:

This growing parity between the old and the young is at the heart of the demographic challenges that face Medicare and Social Security. Incredible as it may seem,by the time the peak of the baby boom generation reaches retirement age, the number of abortions since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision will equal the number of births in the baby boom. “If only one-third of those who have been aborted were available to start work on their 18th birthday,” speculated USA Today, “the demise of Social Security would be put off for decades.”

Indeed, it is largely because of abortion-on-demand that by the year 2030 the ratio of workers to Social Security beneficiaries will be reduced to only 2-to-1, according to a projection from the Social Security Board of Trustees. In other words, two workers will be supporting one retiree. (When the program began in the 1930s, 42 workers supported each retiree.)

The murder of millions of babies since Roe has had a profound impact on the demographics of the United States.  As a result of removing that staggering number of lives, the population – and tax base – are far smaller.  If we assume a fairly steady rate of abortions since the last year of reporting (2008), then there have been almost 56M aborted babies in this country – nearly the population of California and Texas combined.  Given an average federal tax revenue of approximately $8500/citizen, and assuming that those aborted between 1975 and 1990 (approx 23,782,000 lives, based on Guttmacher estimates) would now be productive taxpayers, the U.S. economy is losing roughly $202 billion per year in tax payments as of 2012.

Now my math is fairly poor, but Mr. Burkett showed a much more exhaustive numerical analysis of the economic impact of abortion, shown in this chart (I’m afraid you’ll need to click the image to read it):

Cost of Roe v Wade 

Conservatives have often referred to Social Security as a “Ponzi Scheme” – a money-making scheme that only succeeds when more and more people are participating in it with time.  And such it is with Social Security.  Usually, the payoff from such a scheme is limited because of the questionable nature of the investment.  However, in this case, the removal of millions of taxpayers from the face of the earth – those who would have become contributors – has undoubtedly contributed to the entitlement mess in which we find ourselves today.

We are currently in a struggle with the Leftists over a massive budget deficit triggered by too much spending and too little income.  Conservatives are rightfully pressing for big reductions in government outlays, as we would not be in this situation had Barack Obama not perpetrated the most massive spending spree in the history of the United States.  Allow me to digress for a moment and again remind you of this:

Note, however, that within this digression is a connection to Burkett’s paper.  In this 1998 paper, he states:

State governments also will face fiscal challenges. A study by the state controller in California projects that with the retirement of the baby boom generation will come a significant reduction in state revenues. “In the next two decades,we can expect to see new [financial] pressures placed on . . . public services,” warns California Controller Kathleen Connell.“The challenge for state policy-makers is to begin planning for the time when the revenues may not be there, perhaps even restructuring our tax system to accommodate the changed demographics.”

This is an eerily prescient statement about the economies of state and local governments.  He also includes a graph (see the original paper to view it) that shows a staggering increase in the national debt, beginning right around now.  Sound familiar?  Another prediction come true:

I believe the major reason social researchers are projecting a notable shortage of “human capital” in the 21st century is due to the large numbers of people lost to abortion. According the Hudson Institute’s Workforce 2020 report, for example, slow population growth, combined with the retirement of many baby boomers from the workforce, is likely to create “a tight labor pool, particularly for high skilled jobs.”

Indeed, if current trends continue, “many high-skilled manufacturing and service jobs will go begging in the U.S.” These jobs will not simply go unfilled, however, but likely they will be exported to other nations, resulting in a steady erosion of U.S. economic competitiveness.

Remember, this was written several years prior to the start of the current trend of offshoring of jobs to cheap labor markets.

Is all of this a cold, heartless analysis?  Perhaps.  But it’s little different from the comparison that numerous social liberals have made regarding the tax “benefits” of illegal aliens.  According to the Left, illegal aliens

…contribute to the U.S. economy through their investments and consumption of goods and services; filling of millions of essential worker positions resulting in subsidiary job creation, increased productivity and lower costs of goods and services; and unrequited contributions to Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance programs

So if leftists believe that we should support illegal immigration because of its positive impact on revenues, then they should be equally enthusiastic about stopping abortion because of its positive impact on revenues, right?  Right?

Abortion is wrong.  It is immoral.  It is murder.  The economic argument here is minor compared to the sheer evil and immorality of exterminating unwanted children.  As Larry Burkett states (as he extends his analogy with “It’s a Wonderful Life”:

…abortion is not simply a matter of private conscience,but of public concern. Abortion-on-demand has effects that are rippling throughout our society and could even threaten our future liberties.

This is why abortion, even if all moral arguments are totally discounted, cannot be ignored in framing public policy. Simply writing off abortion as a “moral” or a “religious” issue is a short-sighted approach that fails to reckon its economic and demographic consequences.

We can’t undo the past, of course. We can’t undo the fact that we have had 35 million George Baileys, people never born, people whose lives were never allowed to touch other lives. Indeed they have left an “awful hole.” But for the sake of our nation’s economic future and national security, as well as its moral character, we must resolve to promote from this time forward an ethic that is pro-family and pro-children. Only then can America continue to have a wonderful life.

The United States is not having a particularly “wonderful life” right now.  The nation has been hijacked by those with policies and values that have been proven wrong, and the social Left’s flagrant disregard for life is “paying off” in the gradual erosion of the nation’s economy and its morality.  Abortion must stop, for the sake of the health and welfare of those unborn children – and the nation.  It’s time to stop treating the unborn as “surplus population.” Note:  Bill has been a contributing editor at Red State since 2008. He works in the St. Louis area in the I/T industry. This post originally ran at the Red State blog and is used with permission.