Skip to comments.Understanding Illegitimacy (The single greatest cause of childhood poverty in America)
Posted on 04/12/2010 6:24:17 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
The press has rushed to report a minuscule drop in teen births based on data released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). As usual, the mainstream media are focusing on a trivial, politically correct story while ignoring the real story buried in the data.
Heres the real story: According to CDC, a record 40.6 percent of children born in 2008 were born outside marriage a total of 1.72 million children. The overwhelming majority of the unwed mothers were young adults with low education levels, precisely the kind of individuals who have the greatest difficulty going it alone in our society.
Only about 7.5 percent of these out-of-wedlock births, 130,000, were to girls under 18. Of course, these births can be disastrous for the girls involved. But as a social problem, teen pregnancies and births are of quite limited importance. By contrast, 1.72 million out-of-wedlock births amount to an overwhelming catastrophe for taxpayers and society.
The steady growth of childbearing by single women and the general collapse of marriage, especially among the poor, lie at the heart of the mushrooming welfare state. This year, taxpayers will spend over $300 billion providing means-tested welfare aid to single parents. The average single mother receives nearly three dollars in government benefits for each dollar she pays in taxes. These subsidies are funded largely by the heavy taxes paid by higher-income married couples.
America is rapidly becoming a two-caste society, with marriage and education at the dividing line. Children born to married couples with a college education are mostly in the top half of the population; children born to single mothers with high-school degrees or less are mostly in the bottom half.
The disappearance of marriage in low-income communities is the predominant cause of child poverty in the U.S. today. If poor single mothers were married to the fathers of their children, two-thirds of them would not be poor. The absence of a husband and father from the home also is a strong contributing factor to failure in school, crime, drug abuse, emotional disturbance, and a host of other social problems.
In 1963, as Pres. Lyndon Johnson was launching the War on Poverty, 7 percent of American children were born outside marriage. White House staffer Daniel Patrick Moynihan, later U.S. Senator from New York, warned the nation of the calamities associated with the growing number of out-of-wedlock births. For more than 40 years, our society has ignored Moynihans warnings. Despite the transparent linkages among poverty, social problems, and disintegration of the family, the liberal intelligentsia has watched the steady collapse of marriage in low-income communities with silent indifference.
The reason? Most liberal academics regard marriage as an outdated, socially backward institution; they have shed no tears over its demise. Even worse, liberal politicians and anonymous government bureaucrats have a vested interest in the growth of the welfare state, and nothing grows the welfare state like the disappearance of marriage.
Single mothers are inherently in far greater need of government support than married couples, so an increase in single parenthood leads almost inevitably to an increase in government benefits and services and a thriving welfare industry to supply them. Marital collapse creates a burgeoning new clientele dependent on government services and political patrons. When liberals refuse to talk about marriage and the poor in the same breath, they are guilty of willful neglect of the major source of poverty.
For the statist, the collapse of marriage is a gift that keeps on giving. Its no accident that the modern welfare system rewards single parents and penalizes married couples.
The Left, with the complicity of the liberal media, hypes the issue of teen pregnancy partly because feminists think girls should attend college for a few years before becoming single mothers, partly in order to strengthen their agenda of promoting condom use and permissive sex ed in the schools. (In reality, condom proselytizing is a bogus answer to actual social problems. Contrary to conventional wisdom, lack of access to birth control isnt a significant contributor to non-marital pregnancy among teens or non-teens.)
Liberal journalists and pundits deliberately remain silent on the far larger issue of out-of-wedlock childbearing among adults because they believe the collapse of marriage is irrelevant, if not benign. From their perspective, concern about marriage is a mere red-state superstition; the important task is to increase government subsidies as we build a post-marriage society.
It should, thus, be no surprise that President Obamas new budget proposes to eliminate the only government program aimed at strengthening marriage in low-income communities. If Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have their way, the tiny, recently created healthy marriage initiative ($100 million annually) will be abolished next year.
The statist Left is not content to merely watch marriage die; it seeks to nail the coffin lid tightly shut.
Robert Rector is senior research fellow in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation.
All according to plan.
Except if you believe the serpent ("you will not surely die"). His statement says there will be no consequences, and of course, humans go from "is" to "ought" and believe there should be no consequences.
....I don’t think the Dems worry about stuff like this...they know that the feral underclass reproduces every 15 years and it’s more votes for them.
bring back poll tax
bring back literacy tests
make voter ID mandatory
make English the official national language
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Why does the fact that 40.6% od babies born in 08 were to single mothers. and how many of those mothers were ilegal?
BUT this, “The average single mother receives nearly three dollars in government benefits for each dollar she pays in taxes.”
?? I doubt most if any single mother pays any tax at all. If anything she gets an EITC which means on top of WIC, TANF, food stamps free breakfast and lunches, free medical free cell phone, free or low cost housing she gets thousands in a tax refund
If there are no Fathers to provide role models, then it is up to Big Brother to raise the children....
Welcome to 1984...
Don’t forget, the liberals champion homosexual marriage, and see the lack of legal homosexual marriage in most states as a major civil rights violation. It’s ironic that those who are the loudest voices in favor of homosexual marriage really don’t think marriage itself is important to society or the culture.
In an ideal world, those with high IQs would be out-producting those on the left side of the bell curve, but this is not happening.
African Americans have the highest rate of illegitimacy (78%). Latinos vary by ethnic group, but I won’t be surprised if they are now above 40%.
Fewer entitlements, and greater emphasis on personal responsibility will result in better economic conditions for children. Maybe not next week, but eventually, and long-term, the children will benefit.
But that would be seen as the cold-hearted, unfeeling Republican position.
It is essay-speak for the averaged number of tax dollars from all single mothers vs. the averaged number of welfare dollars for all single mothers. Some single mothers are skilled workers or professionals who can pay taxes, offsetting but not equalling the outlay towards the unskilled single mothers (who comprise the majority of single mothers).
I was thinking about this as I entered church last night. The church bells were ringing as I hurried across the plaza. Suddenly, the old tune “The Bells are Ringing for Me and My Gal” filled my thoughts. In a flash I thought, “Where are today’s tunes, TV programs, movies, & literature that portray marrige in a happy light?”
Nowhere, that’s where.
Back in the 1950s, popular songs alluding to marriage as the solution to the pangs of young love included, “Love and Marriage”, “Goin’ to the Chapel”, “The Bells are Ringin”, “Honeycomb”, and so many others. Young men treated young women with respect, and vice versa. Then Germaine Greer and Betty Friedan hit the bookshelves and to convince a wide segment of women that we really were mis-treated and unhappy. Abort the babies and kick out the husband, and we’d certainly be happier. NOT!
My generation would never have considered having a child out of wedlock, except secretly in a home for unwed mothers. We wouldn’t kill them either. Many, many children were adopted and successfully raised by young couples who were delighted to have them. My generation didn’t have to seek children to adopt in foreign countries.
Where are the movies and TV shows about this?
Nowhere, that’s where. Whenever we see movies today about adopted children, the kids are being abused. We are in danger of becoming our movies, our TV shows, and our literature.
It’s very sad.
Numbers tell the story — 1964 — a shocking 7% out of wedlock births.
1973 — Roe v. Wade — it’s OK to kill the baby.
2008 — We’re still killing the babies, and out of wedlock births are 40%.
50,000,000 plus babies eliminated to date.
Social Security is going broke because there are not enough workers paying in, and this country is a magnet for immigrants because the labor pool has shrunk. To say nothing about the vast market for goods and services that those 50,000,000 vanished people would have provided.
Law of unintended consequences? Or, are these consequences intended by the so-called “Progressive Party” that has been in power for most of the last 60 years?
We reward unmarried mothers with welfare checks, food stamps, rent subsidies, free childcare, clothing vouchers and WIC program goodies.
We get more of the behavior we subsidize and less of the behavior we punish.
I agree with the article generally, but I think it misses a major point, which is that the legal institution of "marriage" - as traditionally understood as a lifelong union of one man and one woman with a view to begetting and raising children to responsible adulthood - simply doesn't exist in America. First, as to the "lifelong" committment aspect of traditional marriage, that's been gone (as a legal institution) for at least 40 years. Since the 1960s every state (I believe) has instituted some sort of "reform" of the marriage laws that make divorce as easy as filing a form with a court. In California, where I reside, Conservative stalwart Ronald Reagan signed the legislation that killed marriage by making it terminable at will by either the husband or the wife. As to the "begetting and raising children" part of the defition of traditional marriage, beginning with the Lambeth Conference of 1928, contraception between married couples went from being seen as a disgustingly selfish act to being considered normative. Most of my friends chose to have no children, and they're mostly nominal Christians. Worse, "marriage" as a legal institution (not as a sacrament), in its current state, is nothing I would advise for any young man. Civil marriage is just a bad deal for men. It's all duties, zero rights. What man in his right mind, understanding what he's giving up, would marry? His wife could terminate the marriage at will. His wife would almost certainly get custody. She could move away and he'd never see his kids again and there's nothing he could do about it. And the courts would make him pay her for years to come while she could quite legally cohabitate with another man. Or woman. The feminist courts enforce the laws very much in favor of women. It's just the way it is. I would never, ever advise a young man to get involved in the current legal morass that is marriage. In sum, the article's statistics are wrong. As traditionally understood, 100% of American children are born out of wedlock.
I will ping the list later today.
Placemark for tomorrow pingout.