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Guest Blog by Diane Medved: Escaping Poverty, and the Cultural Tolerance for Sex

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LBJ war on poverty

Isabel Sawhill and Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution researched causes of poverty and found three controllable factors make all the difference.

“Our research shows that if you want to avoid poverty and join the middle class in the United States, you need to complete high school (at a minimum), work full time and marry before you have children,” they write in the Washington Post. “If you do all three, your chances of being poor fall from 12 percent to 2 percent, and your chances of joining the middle class or above rise from 56 to 74 percent.”

Important to note is that 88% of people have little chance of being poor, and 56% are likely to join the middle class–even without the three magical factors. But high school grads who marry before procreating and hold a job can be confident of a solid financial future.

Of these three factors, I believe the most important is married childbearing. Pew Research Center data from 2013 shows that the poverty rate for single mothers climbed for the fourth straight year, to 41.5%, comprising 4.1 million households in the population. At the same time, just 8.7% of married couple families were in poverty, a total of 2.1 million households in America.

In the half-century since Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson declared the War on Poverty with massive government assistance programs, the national poverty rate has fallen only modestly–from 19 to 15% of the nation. Investment of billions of tax dollars failed to eliminate poverty. Why?

Because unmarried childbearing is closely correlated with child poverty, and the disassociation of marriage with parenthood occurring over the past decades has placed more women in a dependent financial state.

Poverty is not just a marriage issue; it’s a morals issue. With the re-defining of marriage from a one man-one woman commitment centered around raising children to a declaration of love, there’s little stigma if new parents skip the party. And, one could argue that the programs initiated to combat poverty have relaxed any pressure to wed, since unmarried moms qualify for government support more easily than couples do.

As Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation notes, “When the War on Poverty began in the mid-1960s, only 6 percent of children were born out of wedlock. Over the next four and a half decades, the number rose rapidly. In 2008, 40.6 percent of all children born in the U.S. were born outside of marriage.”

In perhaps the most illuminating article on the subject, Dr. Rector concludes, “Marriage remains America‚Äôs strongest anti-poverty weapon, yet it continues to decline. As husbands disappear from the home, poverty and welfare dependence will increase, and children and parents will suffer as a result.”

The broken connection between parenthood and marriage, at root, isn’t just about childrearing but about sex. The promiscuity urged in the 1960s and ’70s by baby-boomers eager to fulfill adolescent hormonal desires now masquerades under a pretentious banner of tolerance for any sexual expression. When stigma against free, easy sex disappeared, more babies resulted–and the compassion-fueled post-facto response was to rescue them from poverty with government programs.

Perhaps the national conversation should return to the basis of poverty–the sexual culture that leads to out-of-wedlock births, and that allows individual feelings to trump the welfare of children and society.
This post is taken from Diane’s blog: Searching for Bright Light.
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Comments (5)

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  1. American  •  Jun 29, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Another brilliant article from Medved. Unfortunately, the nation continues to move in exactly the opposite direction of where they need to in every area, every sector.

  2. Kevin B  •  Jul 1, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    The government discourages marriage, and encourages divorce, through:
    1. A penalty income tax on Marriage.
    2. Homosexual marriage licenses. These which carry a moral message of equivalence of same sex relationships. It’s impossible to respect any marriage license issued by a county clerk that also gives out homosexual licenses.
    3. Treating a husband and wife as a single legal entity for debt collection purposes.
    4. Child custody laws that discriminate against fathers. This is overt gender discrimination that gives every married mother a financial incentive to seek divorce.

  3. JGUY  •  Jul 1, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    I have noticed that female children of single mothers who somehow
    become pregnant are so totally infused into todays society as being
    the norm that the father is not even considered to exist. Not that he
    is not present……that he is a non-entity…..I find this amazing.
    This is eugenic ….the Nazi world had places where women went
    to have pure Aryan children with no societal dependence on
    the father role…..is this not very similar?

  4. Josh Reynolds  •  Jul 3, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Excellent – I agree 100%. The battle should be against the Sexual Revolution. There should be a link to share on Facebook. Since I couldn’t do that I just copy and pasted to my FB wall. THANKS!!

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