If Congress is going to make significant cuts in federal spending, Congress will have to face up to the almost $1 trillion of taxpayers' money currently spent each year on social problems caused by the decline of marriage. That is the major cause of the growth of the welfare state. This breakdown in our culture has caused 40% of Americans to rely on government for all or part of their living expenses. Last year, more than one and a half million babies were born out-of-wedlock. That's 41% of all births, and their unmarried moms now look to Big Brother as their financial provider. The U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that one-fourth of those unmarried moms actually have a partner living with them, so the taxpayers' money is being fraudulently received. The taxpayer handouts are only the start of the costs because most social problems come out of female-headed households: crime, drugs, sex, teen pregnancies, suicides, runaways, and school dropouts.
We used to think that these problems of non-marriage and illegitimate births were just a problem of uneducated women on welfare. However, the national Marriage Project has released a study showing the decline of the two-parent family among what it calls the "moderately educated middle" -- Americans who have high school diplomas and often some college education.
It is essential for Congress to reform and reduce welfare and child-support policies in order to remove the financial incentives for non-marriage and for the way that welfare promotes perpetual dependency on government. Marriage is the best route out of poverty, so government should reduce or eliminate the marriage penalties in tax law and in all means-tested welfare programs. It is necessary for Congress to tackle the problem of non-marriage not only for moral and social reasons, but very especially for fiscal reasons.
Listen to the radio commentary here: