… unfortunately for the 20 percent of all children living in poverty, not all pundits and politicians are focused on promoting this time-tested economic “stimulus” plan.
So says Wynton C. Hall at Human Events in his article “Childhood’s Poverty’s Low-Hanging Fruit”. What is this time-tested economic stimulus plan that everyone is over-looking? Well, according to Hall it is the institution of marriage. And what does marriage have to do with economic stimulus and childhood poverty? Mr. Hall has some startling statistics:
…nearly 40 percent of all children in America are born out-of-wedlock. Minority children are especially affected by the economic realities of unwed motherhood. Whereas 28 percent of white women have their babies out-of-wedlock, that figure for Latino American and African-American children is 51 percent and 72 percent respectively.
Repeat those statistics out-laud; 28, percent 51 percent, and 72 percent. Now tell me how these numbers make you feel. They leave with a feeling of disgust. Disgust for my generation and for the baby boomers and the following generation. We and nobody else are responsible for this societal and family breakdown.
The good news ,says Mr. Hall, is that there is a magic formula that could cure this societal illness:
The formula goes like this: graduate high school, get and keep a job, get married after finishing school and getting a job, and then, after age 21, begin creating your family. The poverty rate for any black man or woman who follows that formula is 5.8 percent. For whites it’s slightly less effective (7.8 percent).
As Mr. Hall says, that, at least, is an encouraging statistic. However, he goes on to say:
And yet, sadly, those on the left who champion reducing childhood poverty seldom acknowledge the powerful poverty-fighting effects marriage brings. Take, for example, Katrina Vanden Heuvel’s cry for greater taxpayer funded anti-poverty programs with nary a mention of boosting marriage rates.
Liberal commentators like to point out that poverty rates have increased across all types of families. That’s true. But the devil is in the details. Yes, for married-couple families the poverty rate rose from 5.5 percent in 2008 to 5.8 percent in 2009. But that baseline poverty rate pales in comparison to the rate for female-householder-with-no-husband-present families, which in 2009 stood at 29.9 percent, up from 28.7 percent in 2008.
Certainly the liberal thinkers of the last five decades have had a profound affect on these trends but we can’t put all the blame on them. We have to shoulder our own share of the blame.
We Americans have shamefully let our children down. We are not giving them a proper education as we saw in part I of this series. American students rank 14th in the world in standardized aptitude tests. As a society, we have allowed our children to lose their north. When it comes to being sexually active, our children have little sense of responsibility. And who’s responsible for that?
Is the decay of our society irreversible? Do we, as a society, have the collective will to turn these trends around? I don’t know. It is a multifaceted problem that requires the coordinated reaction of parents, the churches, the schools, the media and the politicians. What do you think?