Monday, November 12, 2007

Aborting 'unwanted' poor an 'important incentive' to reducing crime, Times scribe tells bizmen

Freakonomics co-author Stephen Dubner, a past reporter and editor for the New York Times who currently co-authors the Times blog named after his best-selling book, just can't stop touting the alleged crimestopping power of abortion.

Even though his co-author Stephen Levitt, following a damning report by Federal Reserve economists, long ago admitted lousing up the Freakonomics data purporting to prove abortion reduces the crime rate, Dubner continues to claim abortion means fewer illegitimate (read: poor, minority) kids and, therefore, less crime.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports:

FREAKONOMICS LESSON: What is the most powerful incentive in the history of humankind?

"Freakonomics" co-author Stephen Dubner posed the question Thursday to about 230 people at the Washington Policy Center's statewide small business conference luncheon.

The audience members began to shout things. Money. Fear. Pain. Love. Sex?

Bingo. Someone said what Dubner was waiting to hear, and gave him the segue to talk about how legalizing abortion had eliminated sex's biggest disincentive -- unwanted children -- thus leading to a present-day decrease in violent crime.

"What happens to the unwanted pregnancy?" he asked. "In the history of the world, there wasn't that much to do. And then abortion happened. ...

"Unwanted children are much more likely to become criminals. What happens, then, when your population pool has removed from it a big chunk of the unwanted children?"
Dubner is way off here and should really know better.It's been well established that illegitimacy rates have soared since Roe Vs. Wade. A study in the Yale Law Journal (as well as the aforementioned report by Fed economists) has also shed considerable doubt on Dubner's claims of a post-Roe decline in violent crime.

But Dubner will not be denied, as the Post-Intelligencer report continues:
It's a controversial message that Dubner is used to giving, but one that Washington's business leaders were clearly not used to hearing.

The lunchtime clinking stopped. No one in the banquet room moved. They didn't rub their eyebrows or sip their iced teas or even glance at their peers. They just stared straight ahead.

Dubner's prior comments had been amusing. His post-abortion story involved an experiment that taught monkeys to use money. Monkey antics made everyone laugh.
[Something disturbs me about Dubner's joking about monkeys and money immediately after urging that illegitimate children — usually black and poor — be "removed from the population pool." — Dawn.]

But even the serious stuff is "the kind of thing that people like you really need to think about," Dubner told the crowd.

"The less that we're able to talk in polite society about important incentives, the further and further we go down the road of making policy that responds to what people are willing to talk about, which isn't always the entire picture."
So, abortion is an "important incentive" to reducing the crime rate? Remember that statement the next time you plunk down money for a product by Dubner's employer the Times.