Happy Fathers Day, Mr President - 6/18/10
smartmarriages at lists101.his.com
Fri Jun 18 11:16:30 EDT 2010
Morning Bell: Fathers Who Are Husbands Spare Children from Poverty
June 18th, 2010
A wedding ring on Dad¹s finger is more than a symbol of his commitment to
Mom. It also proves to be the ultimate anti-poverty weapon for their
children. Now that¹s something to celebrate and encourage this Father¹s Day.
It¹s fitting on Sunday to honor all the fathers who strive to keep that
commitment, even when they grow weary.
³The principal cause of child poverty in the U.S. is the absence of married
fathers in the home,² Robert Rector, senior research fellow in domestic
policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, writes in a new paper.
³Marriage is a powerful weapon in fighting poverty. Being married has the
same effect in reducing poverty as adding five to six years to a parent¹s
In the paper, accompanied by 12 new charts on marriage and poverty,
illustrates the severe social costs of record-high births outside marriage
and of homes without fathers.
The escalating rate of births to unmarried women four of every 10 babies
overall, but more than half the Hispanic births and a staggering seven of
every 10 births for blacks is driving the collapse of marriage in
America, especially in lower-income neighborhoods.
As Rector writes :
> Marriage matters. But mentioning the bond between marriage and lower poverty
> violates the protocols of political correctness. Thus, the main cause of child
> poverty remains hidden from public view. Since the decline of marriage is the
> principal cause of child poverty and welfare dependence in the U.S. it would
> seem reasonable for government to take steps to strengthen marriage.
About two of every three poor children live in single-parent households. Yet
if poor single moms married the fathers of their children, nearly two out of
three would be lifted out of poverty.
And contrary to the mainstream media line, teen pregnancy is a small part of
the picture: In 2008, the most recent year for which data is available,
babies born to girls under 18 accounted for 130,000, or 7.5 percent, of the
total 1.72 million out-of-wedlock births.
It¹s not as simple as young men ³manning up² and becoming the lawfully
wedded husbands of their girlfriends, live-in or otherwise. These unmarried
mothers tend to be in their 20s, without much income or education. They come
to depend on public assistance; many learn how to work the welfare system.
Research shows that a child raised in a home where Dad is married to Mom is
much less likely to live in poverty, get arrested as a juvenile, be
suspended or expelled from school, be treated for emotional or behavioral
problems, or drop out before completing high school. Taxpayers foot the bill
for more than $300 billion a year in means-tested government spending on
low-income single moms and, in relatively rare cases, single dads.
One budding national leader, himself a young husband and father, nailed the
poverty portion of the tragedy of absent fathers when he cited similar
statistics five years ago and wrote:
> In light of these facts, policies that strengthen marriage for those who
> choose it and that discourage unintended births outside of marriage are
> sensible goals to pursue.
Those words come from husband, father and then-Senator Barack Obama¹s 2006
best-seller ³The Audacity of Hope.² He was correct then, and he should
implement marriage-strengthening policies today.
To reinvigorate marriage in lower-income neighborhoods, Rector suggests,
government could start by providing facts on the role of healthy marriages
in reducing poverty and improving the well-being of children. Why not teach
skills for selecting a wife or husband? Why not explain the importance of
developing a stable marital relationship before bringing children into the
Nothing could be further from government practice. In social service
agencies, welfare offices, schools and popular culture across America, what
Rector calls ³a deafening silence² reigns on the topic of marriage. The
welfare system actively penalizes low-income couples who do get married. He
> For most on the Left, marriage is, at best, an antiquated institution, a
> red-state superstition. From this viewpoint, the real task is to expand
> government subsidies as a post-marriage society is built.
Rather than adopt policies to reverse the 50-year spike in births outside
marriage, though, President Obama in his 2011 budget ³would eliminate the
one program dedicated to encouraging healthy marriage,² notes Jennifer A.
Marshall, Heritage¹s director of domestic policy studies.
Marshall writes :
> In its place would be a program promoting a notion of fatherhood¹ that
> doesn¹t involve the father being married or in the home. The facts speak for
> themselves. It¹s time more policymakers noticed what the facts are saying.
Something to think about, Mr. President. Happy Father¹s Day.
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