Our Marriage Mess: America, It Is Do–And Maybe Die Anyway


Our Marriage Mess: America, It Is Do–And Maybe Die Anyway

The March 11, 2014 South Bend Tribune published an article written by Cynthia M. Allen for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (MCT), entitled: The Most Urgent Marriage Discussion.

No, it is not “Gay Marriage”, which is only one of “bell weather” symptoms of America’s foreboding problem with marriage issues.

Ms. Allen states what should be self-evident to all senior citizens who have observed our cultural trends over five to eight decades: Traditional marriage is in deep decline.

Ms. Allen put it succinctly:  “this decline has dramatic and devastating consequences for society, children in particular.”

She asserts “that the connection between marriage and improved economic outcomes is not novel”.

This holds for both the married people and their children and also for societies in which marriage is the norm.

Ms. Allen further reports:

“In 1965, as President Lyndon B. Johnson was declaring “War On Poverty,” a highly controversial report by Labor Secretary Daniel Patrick Moynihan identified the deterioration of the family in the African-American community as one of several major catalysts for growing economic and social inequality.

At the time, more than half of all black women and about two-thirds of Hispanic and Anglo women were married; and just 20 percent of black infants and between 2 percent and 3 percent of Anglo infants were born to single mothers.

Half a century later, those numbers have not declined—they have exploded.

According to governmental statistics, 40.7 percent of all 2012 births were out of wedlock, including 72.2 percent in the African-American community; 53.5 percent of Hispanic children and 29.4 percent of Anglo children.”

In fact the rules for  reward in President Johnson’s new welfare state provided moneys, housing and other services for single women with children who did not work and did not have a husband . In doing so, President Johnson incentivized the undoing of marriage and intact families in America.

Ms. Allen reported findings of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Economic Mobility Project:

“It found that both ‘children of divorced mothers or (those) who were born to unmarried mothers are less likely to be upwardly mobile in relative terms than are children of continuously married mothers’.”

She then asserted  (and as a behavior therapist/psychotherapist, I strongly agree):

It seems obvious that two-parent households advantage children, as they tend to have greater resources both financial and social (time, energy, attention) that make kids more likely to graduate and get well-paying  jobs and less likely to be incarcerated or become single parents.”

But the impact of family structure has ripple effects that extend well beyond individual households, according to new comprehensive data by Harvard economist Jaj Chetty. Chetty and his co-authors found that ‘family structure correlates with upward mobility not just at the individual level but also at the community level, perhaps because the stability of the social environment affects children’s outcomes more broadly.”

The truth about one of the great causes of this nations steep decline has never been clearer. Our problem is self-inflicted  by governmental and citizen progressive/socialistic political philosophy disguised as  “compassion”, “social justice”,  and “fairness”.

“–attempts to redistribute income and expand the welfare state, including those called for in Moyihan’s report 50 years ago, have not had the success that lawmakers expected”.  

Duh. So, what’s new?! Have we not been able to see that bloated Central Governments generally destroy more than they fix when they make sweeping programmatic incursions into State, local and private affairs?

Ms. Allen quoted Ron Haskins, director of Brookings’ Center on Children and Families, who told The Washington Post:

“We are not going to have an effective solution to the growing inequality and poverty in the U.S. unless we can do something about family structure”.

I agree, but it may already be too late. An even more pressing issue is likely to be governmental intransigence and inertia. What we, through our elected officials, must do is to immediately begin the slow process of returning America’s families’ structure to the way it once was.

We can only do this by ending the governmental rewards (our tax monies) for individuals who structure their broken families the ways they do now. Nothing else will work, perhaps not even this, this late in the game.

America it is falling behind and is somewhere near the end of the third quarter in our game of cultural survival.

It is no longer: “do or die”. Rather, it is do and maybe die anyway.

VTM, 3/14/14

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