Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when we teach the importance of marriage to the rising generation. Our youth and young adults must understand that marriage is good for both grownups and children. Just one of the ways that marriage is good for us is the fact that absence of marriage presents a high risk for poverty.
I do not usually pay much attention to most liberal articles and/or opinions; therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw an article in our local newspaper entitled “Marriage improves the chances that you will avoid poverty” by columnist Kathleen Parker. Ms. Parker suggests that luck is “a single, unquantifiable factor” in the War on Poverty. She claims that luck is responsible for whether we are born with the “misfortunes of the poor” such as “broken families, often to single mothers, in neighborhoods where systemic poverty, inferior educational opportunities and perhaps even crime” or “the natural gifts of appearance, athleticism, intelligence or musical talent” that comes to those who are “born into stable, educated families with financial security and grown-up parents.”
I am not too surprised to see that a liberal thinks it is luck rather than hard work, self-control, acceptance of responsibility for self and family, etc. I agree with her that our nation needs to do something to help those people who are in poverty without perpetuating the need for help. If the War on Poverty has taught us anything, it should be that when people are given handouts – whether it is food stamps, cash, or whatever – they lose the desire to work for what they get. We could learn something from the popular and only successful program that came from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal during the Great Depression. Instead of simply handing out taxpayer funds, FDR required people to work for what they got.
We should require work from anyone who gets taxpayer money. Why should some Americans work hard to earn money simply to have it taken and given to those who refuse to work? This is not right, nor is it fair. There is however a much more important step that our federal government should take.
Since being single is “one of the highest risk factors for poverty,” we should be encouraging marriage. Marriage is different than two adults living together and sharing expenses. “This is because marriage creates a tiny economy fueled by a magical concoction of love, selflessness and a permanent commitment that holds spirits aloft during tough times.
“In the absence of marriage, single parents (usually mothers) are left holding the baby and all the commensurate challenges and financial burdens. As a practical matter, how is a woman supposed to care for little ones and/or pay for child care, while working for a minimum wage that is significantly less than what most fair-minded, lucky people would consider paying the house cleaner? Not very well.
“Setting aside the issue of choice in reproductive matters, one easily observes that we live in a culture that devalues and mocks marriage, reducing the institution to a buffet item. The lucky can hire a pedigreed baby sitter en route to the next dinner party, dropping a buck in the beggar’s cup, while the unlucky are strapped to a welfare check or low-paying job and a no-hope future.
“Obviously, marriage won’t cure all ills. Every single parent could marry tomorrow and she still wouldn’t have a job. But in the War on Poverty, rebuilding a culture that encourages marriage should be part of the arsenal. The luck of the draw isn’t nearly enough – and sometimes old ideas are the best new ideas.”