However, five decades later, the data indicate that Johnson's "War on Poverty" ends up looking more like a "War on Marriage," as good intentions on the part of politicians and federal bureaucrats over those decades evidence some very bad social policy. To wit: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012,
- 45.3/1k births in the United States were to unmarried women aged 15-44 years, with 40.7% of all U.S. births being to unmarried women; and,
- 80+ means-tested welfare programs provided aid to parents (including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Women, Infants and Children Food Grogram, public housing, and Medicaid) with most of that assistance going to single-parent families.
Throwing more taxpayers' $$$s at the problem doesn't appear to have corrected the problem. According to Robert Rector in the Daily Signal, the connection between these programs--designed to aid single parents--and the subsequent, long-term increase in single parenthood--is that by providing this aid, these programs have made it possible for a single parent to raise children without another parent in the home providing support.
Moreover, these programs have discouraged single parents from marrying, because benefits are reduced--and then, cut off--when household earnings increase. To wit:
- A single mother who chooses to marry the father of her child may lose a significant amount of welfare benefits. But, by remaining single, she can retain those benefits.
- If a single mother earning $20k/year marries a man with the same level of earnings, they will lose $12k/year in welfare benefits.
In his article, Rector argues that this long-term increase in single parents is "no accident." As welfare programs grew in socpe and number, the financial incentive to marry decreased.
Put in another way, one unitended impact of this long-term policy has been a 453% increase in the number of out-of-wedlock births. And that's despite all of the sex education programs and increased availability of various forms of artificial forms of birth control parovided to students attending the nation's public schools as well as the proliferation of abortion on demand in the United States since 1973.
Why don't liberals "get it"?
Their good "idea" has demonstrated itself to be bad social policy. It also has demonstrated itself to be disastrous--in terms of educational outcomes and earnings potential, in general--for the children of those single parents.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the CDC's report concerning unmarried childbearing in 2012, click on the following link:http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/unmarried-childbearing.htm
To read Robert Rector's article in the Daily Signal, click on the following link:
"How the War on Poverty Has Hurt American Marriage Rates."