Marriage: The Replacement For Welfare


By David R. Usher
© 2011

For the past 15 years, liberals have abused the consequences of marriage-absence as political wildcards to justify legislation entitling even more of it.

The term “marriage-absence” refers to adults of marriageable age living outside the institution of heterosexual marriage.

In the vast majority of cases, living in a state of marriage-absence drives our most costly and urgent social and economic problems, including the majority of poverty for women and children, lack of health care coverage, intergenerational illegitimacy, child educational and mental health issues, substance abuse, domestic violence and much of our crime problem. The budget burden is growing explosively. Economic conservatives must note that tremendous costs of marriage-absence imposed on business and taxpayers has historically precluded sustainable zero-deficit spending since the 1960s.

Living outside the institution of marriage is often thought to be a lifestyle choice. However, this simplistic view ignores the vast array of federal and state policies baiting individual to prefer non-marriage, to the ultimate detriment of themselves, their children, society and taxpayers. The problem of intergenerational marriage-absence will not abate, and the success of the American Experiment is already in great danger. It is now necessary to address the policies entitling harmful lifestyle choices, replacing them with policies that encourage positive lifestyle choices.

Conservatives fail to grasp the necessity of positively applying these problems as motivators to effect marriage-positive change for the benefit of everyone.

Welfare reform was unsuccessful because the important goals of improving marriage rates and reducing out-of-wedlock births were not addressed. Single mothers must work full time and children must be raised by day-care centers and schools – driving the day-care and schools-as-parent crises. Welfare reform turned fathers into status criminals facing jail if they cannot provide a mandated welfare payment often in excess of real earning capacity.

Since welfare reform was enacted in 1996, out-of-wedlock births skyrocketed and marriage rates continue to slide. Robert Rector pointed to the missing policy link in 2007: “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.”

The recently enacted SCHIP program is national health care in the name of marriage-absent children. It is just another entitlement luring more bad marital and reproductive decisions that invariably come full circle to hurt most women.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was hastily re-authorized with full bipartisan support in late 2007. Unfortunately, VAWA is a primary destroyer of marriage, immigration law and due process standards. Only a sworn statement is required to instantly seize marriages, assets, green cards and a breathtaking array of free benefits. VAWA has historically provided no salient results and has harmed marriage because it fails to positively address the primary driver of spousal violence – substance abuse – a preventable and very treatable addictive disorder.

Democrats have briskly accelerated execution of the National Organization for Women’s gender juggernaut since the elections. President Obama anointed eponymous lesbian Kim Gandy as social policy guru by creating the White House Council on Women and Girls. Gandy ecstatically bragged, “We got the entire Cabinet.” She forgot to mention the rest of Congress and America, too.

Liberals know that Republicans always go along with feminist social legislation if it is unrelated to abortion or gay marriage. Liberals now see a fantastic opportunity to sneak volumes of legislation through Congress while Republican attention is focused on tumultuous economic and war issues.

In the coming months, we will witness a torrent of gender-based federal legislation designed to further destroy heterosexual marriage and force everyone with cash to subsidize it.

For example, the National Organization for Women wants legislation ensuring that America’s economic vicissitudes impact only men (who have already sustained nearly 80 percent of job losses in the current recession). The Security and Financial Empowerment Act (H.R. 739) would make it difficult or risky for businesses to dismiss women who claim to be victims of domestic violence, and leave businesses on the hook for unemployment benefits if a woman claims she cannot work due to alleged abuse. The existence of evidence of abuse or trauma is not required.

President Obama wants to expand marriage-absence by creating “baby colleges.” This is a dangerous merger of the nanny state with education. It would form a leviathan encouraging unmarried mothers to become workaholics while their parental roles are further weakened. More children will be raised at the whim of the state (like Maoist China once did), while more essentially parentless children will end up in foster care.

Additionally, we will soon see legislation to enact I-VAWA (which would directly entitle U.N. feminists to destroy marriage around the world), reverse the Defense of Marriage Act, criminalize those who oppose gay marriage, ratify CEDAW (placing our laws, customs and educational materials under control of U.N. feminists) and enact the “Freedom of Choice Act,” repealing all state controls on abortion.

Realizing achievable conservative answers

Republicans were overrun by Herbert Marcuse’s new-left war on marriage-based capitalism because the RNC lacks policy positively addressing the desperate problems of women living in marriage-absence. The RNC still does not understand it will continue losing elections until carefully crafted marriage-positive policies attractive to women (and men) are brought forth.

Marriage-absence is the greatest social and economic problem we face. The vast majority of poverty, crime, child problems, the “need” for abortion and deficits would disappear if we develop policies that stimulate women to choose marriage, reward marital responsibility, provide simple elective programs helping spouses rise above or recover from common problems such as substance abuse, and smoothly transition men and women from the claws of the welfare shredder to marriage.

Marriage is the only institution guaranteeing women economic support and the necessary assistance of an invested husband. Conservatives who wish to win must build their races on “marriage values” – restoring the right of women to enjoy these benefits – while short-circuiting programs encouraging or enticing women to throw their rights out at a weak moment.

Marriage predicts the best outcomes for women and children. The conservative agenda must promise women better futures than merely surviving as perennial wards of Washington – living in unsustainable communities full of disaffected men.

Ronald Reagan set an end-goal we have not yet pursued when he said, “Welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.” Marriage is unquestionably the replacement for welfare. Trickle-down socioeconomic policies will build strong marriages as successfully as trickle-down economics builds the economy. Concurrent application of trickle-down social and economic polices confidently predicts an era of consistent zero deficits, a stronger and more competitive workforce, and substantial budget left over for the war on terror and rebuilding the economy.

My college classmate John Podesta established the Center for American Progress not as a think tank, but an “action tank” designed to formulate, market, organize and enact liberal policies. Without a similarly aggressive conservative organization bearing brilliant marriage-values policy, reformers will never muster the votes necessary to retake Congress and the White House. I urge all candidates to pursue “marriage values” as soon as possible.
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