Phyllis Schlafly’s article “America now a 2-class society” contains a breakthrough realization for conservatives: where 47 percent of citizens have a tax-free ride, the precipice of collapse is not far away. I spoke with Phyllis and asked her if she knew who the two classes are. Without hesitation, and as I expected, she said, “Married and not married.” After adjusting for disability, joblessness and retirement, this remains an unequivocal truth.
Phyllis’ discovery proves my long-held hierarchical assessment: marriage-absence is America’s greatest problem. Let us examine the reasons why this is true.
Social expenditures (which arise primarily due to marriage-absence) increased last year to perhaps $1 trillion – still the largest federal-budget line item for many years.
National health care – an additional $230 billion annual cost – came about predominantly because of marriage-absence. Read: national health care in some form, even if Obamacare, would not be a problem if less than 20 percent of the population needed free health care.
Perhaps as much as 40 percent of the home-loan-default financial collapse was precipitated by marriage-absence. Forty-six percent of the poor own their own homes. Two-income married households fare far better making ends meet when joblessness strikes home.
Nothing will painlessly balance government budgets and reduce poverty for women and children faster than restoring the institution of heterosexual marriage. At least 40 percent of children live outside of marriage. Robert Rector pointed out that “nearly two-thirds of poor children reside in single-parent homes; each year, an additional 1.5 million children are born out of wedlock. If poor mothers married the fathers of their children, nearly three-quarters of the nation’s impoverished youth would immediately be lifted out of poverty.” This, in turn, drives freewheeling social spending and class warfare against those who are married.
In states I have studied, social expenditures are by far the largest line-item expenditure, followed by education – a fantastic policy paradox.
The restoration of marriage as the social norm is prerequisite to repairing our failing educational systems. Children of intact married families are consistently better prepared and disciplined for school, and motivated to succeed. Much education funding is thrown at an elitist notion that schools can somehow become parents. So we fire teachers-as-surrogate-parents unable to evoke suitable grade-point averages in schools laden with unteachable children of marriage-absence.
Marriage-absence predicts the majority of criminal behavior in youth and adulthood. Hundreds of billions in deadweight state and federal expenditures are incurred for interdiction, incarceration and prosecution. America’s dubious world reputation for having the highest world incarceration rate is our legacy – a surreal situation for which cognoscenti and criminologists are mute or claim utter mystification.
The conservative-policy problem began with the fact that President Reagan never envisioned the importance of practicing trickle-down social policy with the same vigor as trickle-down economic policy. We are only now realizing that it is not possible to concurrently enjoy a robust economy, a balanced budget and low tax rates in a reasonably civil society absent a foundation of heterosexual marriage as the social norm.
When we reverse the trend of marriage-absence through a combination of sound “Marriage Values” policy revisions and Community Marriage Policy programs, nearly every problem of concern to tea partiers and the majority of voters will improve to a manageable scale. “Marriage Values” consists of eight simple and doable legislative items that will restore the institution of marriage to everyone’s mutual satisfaction.
The conservative electoral problem starts with the fact that Republicans have failed to deliver any social-policy message to women since 1998. Democrats sashayed off with the women’s vote ever since. Given that America has survived and prospered by innovation, it should be noted that Republican campaigns everywhere still serve up the same stale canned spam that squandered the last decade’s worth of elections and bored the grass roots into torpidity.
Tea parties will not prevail widely at the ballot box. The principled anger of the tea party – also notably lacking passable visionary legislation – is as much directed at an oddly evanescent Republican Party as Democrats – all distrusted by voters. Even tea-party cheerleaders have no message personally touching average voters – who are not sure whom to believe – and have largely given up on the political process for lack of sagacious leadership.
In contrast, Democrats are comparatively comfortable believing in their purchase of the votes of women, the poor, liberal churches, unions, academia, government employees, much of the middle class and the many businesses whose profits revolve around reckless government spending.
Half-measures shuffling the consequences of marriage-absence around will not regain the women’s vote or repair our broken nation. Only the salutary message of “Marriage Values” will win back the hearty support of the many individuals and businesses cast about in the hurricane of institutionalized marriage-absence.
The emerging republic of the United States was founded on the bedrock of marriage before God. The caterwauling democracy of debt it has become teeters for lack of either. Democrats have been running on Marxism for years. Where Marxism’s leading goal is to destroy the family unit, only the dynamic centrist message of marriage will be instinctively understood as exigent by a majority of malcontent voters.
Credentialed leaders and candidates ready to lead America to success should contact me privately for a copy of Marriage Values policies. Those who wish to help take back America are encouraged to partner with us on Facebook.
David R. Usher is president of the Center for Marriage Policy.