Yesterday on these broadcasts we talked about how most of the people who are classified as "poor" by government census bureau statistics are women who have babies without getting married. Contrary to a lot of chatter, this isn't a teenage problem (only 7% of new single moms are minors), and it isn't a failure of birth control, and it isn't the accidents of unplanned pregnancies. These single moms want their babies and confidently expect Big Brother Government to provide for them.
A new report by the Heritage Foundation says that marriage is the solution to the poverty problem. Marriage dramatically reduces the probability of child poverty. If single moms were to marry the fathers of their children, the children would immediately be lifted out of poverty. Eight out of ten of these fathers were employed at the time of the birth of their out-of-wedlock child.
Therefore, government policies should promote and strengthen the institution of marriage instead of providing incentives to discourage it. Government should reduce or eliminate the marriage penalties in welfare programs, in tax law, and even in Obamacare. Unfortunately, marriage penalties exist in many means-tested welfare programs such as food stamps, public housing, Medicaid, daycare, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Ronald Reagan's advice is still pertinent. If we subsidize something, we'll get more of it; if we tax it, we'll get less of it.
Interviews with low-income single moms show that they are not hostile to marriage as an institution or as a life goal. In fact, they dream of having a husband, children, a minivan, and a house in the suburbs "with a white picket fence," but nobody tells them they probably will always be poor if they have babies without getting married. What about the guidance we give kids in school? We tell them they will be poor if they become school dropouts and that it's self-destructive to use illegal drugs, but it's just as important to warn them about the life of poverty ahead of them if they produce babies before they marry.
Listen to the radio commentary here: