Thursday, March 21, 2013

No Dad, Big Problem (II)

Walter E. Williams is a black, conservative economist at George Mason University. He also is appalled at America’s working-class family breakdown.

In Investors Business Daily, Williams makes these points:
  • 29% of white children, 53% of Hispanics and 73% of black children are born to unmarried women. The absence of a husband and father from the home is a strong contributing factor to poverty, school failure, crime, drug abuse, emotional disturbance and a host of other social problems. [emphasis added] 
  • the low marriage rate among blacks is relatively new. Census data show that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults from 1890 to 1940. 
  • In 2009, the poverty rate among married whites was 3.2%; for blacks, it was 7%, and for Hispanics, it was 13.2%. The higher poverty rates — 22% for whites, 35.6% for blacks and 37.9% for Hispanics — are among unmarried families. 
  • Other forms of cultural deviancy are found in the kind of music accepted today that advocates killing and rape and other vile acts. Punishment for criminal behavior is lax. 
Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor, is similarly alarmed. In USA Today, Reynolds writes:
why don't people get married. . .? [B]ecause they don't have to. Single motherhood (or fatherhood) is no longer looked down upon . . . Shotgun weddings are largely a thing of the past. Welfare payments and other social assistance can (partially) replace a father in the house. (When you subsidize something, you get more of it -- and we're subsidizing unmarried mothers). And. . . marriage [is] much less attractive . . . than it once was. [emphasis added]
marriage and kids [are] now seen as something closer to exile from adult life -- imprisonment in the land of Chuck E. Cheese and My Little Pony. Suburban parents often drive SUVs instead of minivans because minivans, though more practical, are associated with low-prestige activities like parenting, while SUVs are associated with higher-prestige activities like whitewater kayaking. . .masculinity in today's society [is] not a dad -- just look at the bumbling doofuses who portray dads on pretty much every TV commercial and sitcom.
The problem [is] the kids do worse. A government check isn't a substitute for a father, and. . . single-mom kids . . . 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.
Neither Williams nor Reynolds mention Charles Murray’s research on families Coming Apart, but both seem in tune with Murray’s concern that a government-encouraged moral breakdown contributes to the problem.


MeiMei said...

!) WHY then do the Republicans oppose gay marriage?? Isn't that about more marriage??

2) Isn't it that lower income people marry less, not that lack of marriage causes poverty?

3) Cutting subsidies for single moms is not going to encourage people to get married. We need to restore the allure of the institution of marriage - I am all for that. I believe Hollywood is partially to blame. We see tons of romantic comedies leading up to the point of marriage and "happily ever after," but few movies or shows that provide a positive vision of collaborative, supportive marriage. There are some, though. Have you seen Modern Family?

Galen Fox said...

Thanks, MeiMei. To answer:

1. Younger Republicans accept gay marriage. Older consrvatives are upset with how liberals undermine traditional morality, including marriage based on creating and raising a family (I know, I know). My response--why do liberals care only about gay marriage, and don't promote marriage for most/all families?

2. I say, "not chicken-egg," rather "horse-cart." The fully-documented family breakdown that began in the "sex, drugs, rock & roll" '60s is destroying working-class economic opportunity. We need a) two parents, b) schools that work, c) economic opportunity for all, not just those attached to government, and d) a moral code that undergirds a-c.

3. Who said anything about "cutting" subsidies? But for those who can work, that kind of life is less acceptable. I agree with you on marriage, Hollywood and Hollywood's lack of support for marriage, unless the couple is gay (vis "Modern Family.")