Facts don’t matter

They just want to keep kids from having Teh Sex, so don’t expect this information to enlighten those who need it:

WASHINGTON Free birth control led to dramatically lower rates of abortions and teen births, a large study concluded Thursday. The findings were eagerly anticipated and come as a bitterly contested Obama administration policy is poised to offer similar coverage.

The project tracked more than 9,000 women in St. Louis, many of them poor or uninsured. They were given their choice of a range of contraceptive methods at no cost — from birth control pills to goof-proof options like the IUD or a matchstick-sized implant.

When price wasn’t an issue, women flocked to the most effective contraceptives — the implanted options, which typically cost hundreds of dollars up-front to insert. These women experienced far fewer unintended pregnancies as a result, reported Dr. Jeffrey Peipert of Washington University in St. Louis in a study published Thursday.

The effect on teen pregnancy was striking: There were 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers in the study. Compare that to a national rate of 34 births per 1,000 teens in 2010.

There also were substantially lower rates of abortion, when compared with women in the metro area and nationally: 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women in the study, compared with 13.4 to 17 abortions per 1,000 women overall in the St. Louis region, Peipert calculated. That’s lower than the national rate, too, which is almost 20 abortions per 1,000 women.

In fact, if the program were expanded, one abortion could be prevented for every 79 to 137 women given a free contraceptive choice, Peipert’s team reported in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The coming retirement crisis

Helaine Olen in Forbes:

We are on the verge of a retirement crisis, something pretty much everyone knows except, apparently, people campaigning for president. Private savings schemes have not worked out for the vast majority of us. Very few have six figures saved in our 401(k)s, something that is unlikely to change any time soon since about half of us are living paycheck to paycheck, unable to save for an emergency that could happen tomorrow, never mind an event twenty years off. Pensions are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Stock market returns have been anemic for more than a decade, compounding the problem since even those who have saved money are not seeing the returns on it that financial advisers and the like assured them would occur. As for interest rates …well, let’s not go there.

Social Security has kept millions of elderly men and women out of poverty. According to the Census Bureau, more than 20 million of us would live in penury if not for the program. Yet Washington deficit hawks are fond of bashing Social Security as a major source of our budgetary woes. Solves are recommended such as raising the retirement age to 67, in line with rising lifespan, and turning some portion of our Social Security funds over to Wall Street, a position that is about as popular with the American public as paroling Charles Manson.

Mitt Romney has made vague statements of support in the past for allowing the financial services sector to have a role in our Social Security accounts. His running mate, Paul Ryan, is an out-and-out cheerleader for the concept, and was a big backer of President George W. Bush’s plan to partially privatize Social Security by allowing people to divert some of their mandated contributions into personal investment accounts. All of this should have been said by Barack Obama last night. Inexplicably, it was not.

The fact is even as more and more Americans express a willingness to work longer than in the past if needed, no one has proven the jobs will be there for them to do just that. Nor is our longer, healthier life span a guarantee. A study published last summer documented that for white men and women without a college diploma, life expectancy had declined by three and five years respectively between 1990 and 2008. Others have found that Baby Boomers are less healthy than their parents at the same age, which might well be one of the factors behind the increasing numbers of Americans applying for disability coverage.

Not surprisingly, survey after survey shows that about eighty percent of us are absolutely petrified about how we will get by after our working lives end. It’s likely that every time someone tells us they plan to “tweak” Social Security, like President Obama did last night, that number goes higher.

Last night

Charlie Pierce http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/presidential-debate-obama-2012-13353709#ixzz28MvarU1h”>on the Great Debate:

What you saw, I think, anyway, was the end product of the president’s consuming naivete as regards the American political process, as well as the end product of thirty years of a Democratic Party that has slid so far to the center-right that a Democratic president found himself arguing with a “severely conservative” Republican candidate over the issues of how much the Democratic president had cut out of the budget, how many regulations he’d trimmed, how much more devoted to the middle-class-kick-in-the-balls Simpson-Bowles “plan” he is, and how he would “reform” Social Security and Medicare — and, frankly, a Democratic president losing some of those arguments to his left. A Democratic president got through an entire debate and didn’t mention unions at all, even though the fact that our teachers are unionized here in Massachusetts is a big part of the reason why Romney got to brag on how good our education system is.

Seriously now, how much would you have bet going in that the president would spend as much time as he did on areas in which “Governor Romney and I agree” and not mention the famous 47-percent video at all? Of all of the night’s obvious surreality, that has to take the prize. By the time Willard got to his essential Tentherism — a severe form of wingnut crackpottery on which, of course, he was not called to account in any substantive way — I was sure that, somewhere, Al From, that greasy corporatist lackey, was smiling. He’s got the political process of his dreams. Of course, it is also the case that The Great Sellout is already under way, so what the hell does it matter.

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