Texas math

 Posted by at 22:05  Politics, Republicans
Apr 212011

Gail Collins, op-ed columnist for The New York Times, has a must-read column published in today’s edition of that paper: “The New Anti-Abortion Math.

You should go read the entire column. I’ll excerpt a few bits from it here to whet your appetite (if that is necessary).

These days in the budget-strapped, Tea-Party-besieged State Capitol, you can be grateful for any funny anecdote, no matter how badly it reflects on Texas politics in general. Like the time Gov. Rick Perry defended the state’s abstinence-only birth control program by saying that he knew abstinence worked “from my own personal life.”

Right now, the state is wrestling with a fiscal megacrisis that goes back to 2006, when the Legislature cut local property taxes and made up for the lost revenue with a new business tax. The new tax produced billions less than expected to the shock and horror of everyone except all the experts who had been predicting that all along.

Governor Perry blames the whole thing on President Obama.

Texas’ problems are of interest to us all because Texas is producing a huge chunk of the nation’s future work force with a system that goes like this:

• Terrible sex education programs and a lack of access to contraceptives leads to a huge number of births to poor women. (About 60 percent of the deliveries in Texas are financed by Medicaid.) Texas also leads the nation in the number of teenage mothers with two or more offspring.

• The Texas baby boom — an 800,000 increase in schoolchildren over the last decade — marches off to underfunded schools. Which are getting more underfunded by the minute, thanks to that little tax error.

And naturally, when times got tough at the State Capitol, one of the first things the cash-strapped Legislature tried to cut was family planning.

There is more. Go. Read. The link is at the top of this post. I especially love the quote attributed to State Representative Randy Weber (R-Pearland).

“There’s been research done. … It actually shows the highest abortion rate is among women actively using contraceptives.”