Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Welfare System is Anti-Marriage

The liberal TV commentators like to tell us that there are two kinds of Republicans, the fiscal conservatives and the so-called social conservatives, and pretend that their interests are different and mutually exclusive. In fact, the overwhelming reason for big government's extravagant spending, which is what the fiscal conservatives constantly criticize, is the breakdown in our culture. And that is exactly what social conservatives have been battling for years.

If fiscal conservatives are dreaming of taking back America for fiscal sanity in the November elections, they must recognize that the major cause of our bloated government and its gigantic welfare spending is the unprecedented decline in marriage and the increase in illegitimacy. Last year, 41% of children born in the United States were born outside of marriage; that's 1,720,000 children. The cause of this shocking illegitimacy is the collapse of marriage as the social institution responsible for the cost of the care of children. When the family doesn't pay the costs of caring for children, the financial burden falls on the taxpayers.

The promise to reform the welfare system was a major reason why fiscal conservatives won their big Congressional majority in 1994. Our wrong-headed welfare system started in the 1960s with Lyndon Johnson's so-called war against poverty. The system should have been called the war against marriage. LBJ's Great Society set up a grossly immoral system whereby millions of people were taught that they had an "entitlement" to pick the pockets of law-abiding, taxpaying families if they met two conditions: they didn't work, and they were not married to someone who did work. This destroyed the work ethic and subsidized illegitimacy.

The best way to reduce the enormous amount of federal spending is to reinstate marriage as the institution society holds responsible for the care and the costs of children.

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