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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Other Marriage Inequality

For John, BLUFThe current system for raising families in certain strata of our society is broken.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

At a previous blog post, "Marriage and Government", Commenter Renee refers us to this USA Today Opinion Piece from Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, "The Other Marriage Inequality".

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.

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.

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.

Regards  —  Cliff


Renee said...


Neal said...

That there are more unwed mothers and single parent families in the lower economic strata, the solution to the issue is NOT a government one.

Yes, we need to rethink the issue of adult marital commitment and the impact on children of failed or non-existent marriages is well documented. But the problem is a social ill...not a government failure. If we want the problem to worsen, then let the government get involved. Head Start has been well documented as an abject failure, many of the recipients in fact LOST ground.

The answer lies in a re- visitation of a much more conservative moral code in our society. Babies out of wedlock have always come into the world, but I would posit at no where near the rate that they do today.

As brutal as it may sound, there HAS to be a high degree of responsibility THRUST onto folks who currently act as is they have NO responsibility. I would advocate the termination of baby money via Welfare. I would also require the mother to provide the name(s)of the father..or eligible fathers for every child she gives birth to. Then shine the public spotlight on these men who want all the sex they can get...but none of the outcomes.

It is a very tough, Gordian knot kind of problem that NEEDS solving...but NOT by throwing money at it. In fact, we need to make it much less lucrative.

I would also suggest an honest reevaluation of our divorce laws and attitudes. It is too easy to just drop one and move on to the next.

Renee said...

We still have a culture that understands a mom amd dad are relevant to children. Some where down the road it will be addressed . Just not in our children's lifetimes.

Neal said...

I think it will be addressed much sooner Renee. Perhaps not because of any reason you or I may think of. The issue of single parent homes and unwed mothers is becoming pandemic in proportion...and it is costing society in many ways beside just the enormous amount of money spent. Do you realize that this last year's fiscal expenditure on Welfare was greater than the funding line for Defense? The cost of Welfare is rising rapidly and there is no visible or logical end point. It will become unsustainable...and for all practical purpose..already is.

It flies against all that is currently in vogue.....but IMHO....families are best when they are Moms and Dads and children. That doesn't say that a single Mom or Dad can't be successful...but the odds are against them and the kids. Dr. Ben Carson comes to mind.....