Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Cost to Taxpayers of Missing Fathers

It's time that the American people face up to the sad plight of the 20 million American children who are growing up without their fathers in the home. Back in 1993, Charles Murray identified "illegitimacy as the single most important social problem of our time ... because it drives everything else." But Murray was whistling in the wind. Last year, the U.S. illegitimacy rate had grown to 41%, and among whites it was 29%. Prior to Lyndon Johnson's so-called War on Poverty, husbands and fathers provided for their families. The out-of-wedlock babies born last year and their unmarried moms now look to Big Brother as their financial provider. The liberals are content to let this problem persist because 70% of unmarried women voted for Barack Obama for president.

The federal government is giving 77 means-tested welfare handouts, and they cost federal taxpayers $700 billion last year (not counting programs into which people pay, such as Social Security and Medicare). Spending by the states raises the total to nearly a trillion dollars, and most of those programs subsidize non-marriage.

These 77 programs include Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (known as TANF), food stamps, housing subsidies, school lunches, Medicaid, daycare, WIC (Women and Children), EITC (which can be as much as $5,657 a year to low-income families), S-CHIP, and School Lunch. The Heritage Foundation estimates that these benefits amount to $16,800 per person in poverty.

Ronald Reagan's advice is still on target. If we subsidize something, we'll get more of it; if we tax it, we'll get less. The financial subsidies that encourage non-marriage are the biggest reason why federal spending is out of control. There is no way to make significant cuts in the federal deficit unless we address the marriage-absence problem.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

Further reading: Fathers

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