For John, BLUF: The current system for raising families in certain strata of our society is broken. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Professor Reynolds talks to the marriage gap between the Middle Class and the Lower Middle Class, where the number of births without marriage is soaring. The Professor suggests that Government policies are encouraging this trend, with bad consequences. He notes, "When you subsidize something, you get more of it—and we're subsidizing unmarried mothers". He summarizes this as follows:
The problem, though, is that the kids do worse. A government check isn't a substitute for a father, and while plenty of single-mom kids do fine, most tend to do worse on measures ranging from educational attainment and future income to criminality. And the process feeds on itself: Women want "marriageable" men—those with good incomes and stable lifestyles—but the more single-parent households there are, the fewer men are likely to be "marriageable" in the next generation. Government programs like Head Start don't make up the slack, because no institution can invest the amount of time and energy in a kid that his or her parents can.Our whole approach to committed relationships between adults and between adults and children needs to be rethought, in terms of our Governments. In doing this we need to understand the implications of our First Amendment.
So as we talk about "marriage equality" between gays and straights, give a little thought to the problem of marriage inequality between rich and poor. It matters, too.
Regards — Cliff