Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Friday, July 08, 2011

The Poverty Cost of Absent Fathers

The United States has millions of children living below the poverty line, and the principal reason they are poor is that their parents are not married to each other. Poverty is massively greater for children living with a single, divorced, or cohabiting parent than with parents who are married to each other. The poverty rate for single parents with children is 37%, but it's only 6% for married couples with children. Marriage breakdown is a double-edged sword. At the same time that it forces government to become the financial provider for millions of children and their caregivers, it also reduces the government's receipt of taxes to pay for the generous handouts.

Income tax day now divides us into two almost equal classes: those who pay for government services and freeloaders. In 2009, 47% paid no federal income taxes. The bottom 40% receive cash or benefits financed by the 53% who do pay income taxes.

Among other unfortunate effects, the trends toward non-marriage and toward same-sex marriage are a direct attack on fathers. The bond between a child and his mother is a obvious fact of nature, but marriage is the relationship that establishes the link between a child and his father. There are many causes for the dramatic reduction in marriage, starting with unilateral divorce, which spread across the United States in the 1960s and '70s, putting government on the side of marriage breakup. The feminist notion that women should be independent of men, followed by affirmative-action and female quotas in employment, tended to carry out the goal stated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that the concept of husband-breadwinner and wife-homemaker "must be eliminated." These feminist ideas and practices demean marriage by discriminating against men and also against fulltime homemakers.

Federal and state laws and subsidies that undermine marriage are the biggest fiscal as well as cultural issue of our times.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

Further reading: Fathers

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