Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Republicans blame family without fixing incentives

I have quit posting this nonsense, but someone sent me this WSJ op-ed from behind a paywall:
The Poverty Cure: Get Married
Black children bear the brunt of single parenthood’s harms.

... Of the many barriers to equal opportunity for African-Americans, differences of family background may well be the most consequential — and the least likely to yield to public policy. ...

In fact, the researchers conclude, neighborhoods and schools are less important than the “direct effect of family structure itself.” ...

the advantages of marriage for child well-being are “hard to replicate through policy interventions other than those that bolster marriages themselves.” And as evaluations of the George W. Bush administration’s marriage-promotion efforts show, we don’t know how to do that.
Liberals just want to give black people more welfare, so that they will vote Democrat. The conservatives, like this author, make more of an attempt to address the problems, and correctly notice the breakdown of the family as a cause, but then they are stumped. They have no idea how to strengthen the family, except maybe to promote religion.

A letter to the WSJ editor correctly explains:
Federal and state laws have created incentives for mostly poor individuals to not marry and to throw fathers out of children’s lives. Federal laws such as Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, the Tax Code, the Bradley Amendment and the Violence Against Women Act have perverse incentives that help to throw biological fathers out of children’s lives and promote single-parent households. Until we create the incentives to bring back dads and bring back marriages, we can never help these children rise out of the poverty the government helped to create.

Peter G. Hill
Weston, Mass.
Another letter points out that the WSJ publish a 2014 op-ed by a Bush administration official blamely the family, just like the above op-ed:
Given how deep the problem of poverty is, taking even more money from one citizen and handing it to another will only diminish one while doing very little to help the other. A better and more compassionate policy to fight income inequality would be helping the poor realize that the most important decision they can make is to stay in school, get married and have children — in that order.
The Republicans may recognize the breakdown of the family as a problem, but they show no sign of attempting to reverse the bad incentives that killed the family.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Putting the cart before the horse, of course. It's not that long-lasting marriages cause wealth, stability, and mental health - (relative) wealth, stability, and mental health cause long-lasting marriages.