Why I Stopped Talking About Economics When I Started Talking About Family

Originally published at The Stream on January 8, 2019, reprinted here with the exact tagline that appeared with the article. 

Tucker Carlson is right. But his method is wrong. 

Tucker Carlson’s monologue on January 2 set off a firestorm of negative commentary. I want to say for the record: I agree completely with Carlson’s closing statement, “If you want to put America first, you’ve got to put its families first.” I also want to say for the record: I disagree with the wrappings in which Carlson presented his important message.

Talk About the Family, and Only the Family

Here is why he is profoundly correct: Continue reading “Why I Stopped Talking About Economics When I Started Talking About Family”

Crying Wolf at the SPLC

I categorically condemn the Alt-Right, white supremacy, racism, Nazism and all violent totalitarian political movements. But I am a bit confused. I thought I was supposed to be a member of the Alt-Right, or a racist, or a Nazi, since I voted for Donald Trump. I guess I am even supposed to be in sympathy with the Alt-Right marchers in Charlottesville.

Dealing With the “Hate” Label

People like me who have had the “hate” label pinned on them face a dilemma: we can defend ourselves and say, “I don’t hate anyone. I just don’t agree with you.” In my experience, this strategy goes nowhere. The more we attempt to defend ourselves, the more we appear, well, defensive. Hence, not believable.

Our other choice is to say, “The heck with it. I know I’m not a hater, bigot or racist. I officially no longer care what anyone thinks of me.” This second course has a certain nobility to it. But it presents dangers of its own. People can easily become jaded and cynical about the whole concept of “hate” and “bigotry.”

In the interests of full disclosure, I should reveal that this has been my preferred strategy. You see, the organization I lead, the Ruth Institute, is listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map.” I don’t know how one gets on the SPLC’s “Hate Map.” And I certainly do not know how one gets off it.

Is It “Anti-LGBT” to Say Children Need Their Own Parents?

I suppose I am an “anti-LGBT” hater, because I believe children need their own parents. So here is my question: If believing children need their own parents lands the Ruth Institute a spot on the “hate map,” what words adequately describe white supremacists or neo-Nazis?

I am clear on one point: Sexual revolutionaries gain a strategic advantage by labeling people like me. Guilt by association is irrational, but powerful. The fear of being labeled a racist provides a potent disincentive for people to voice the view that children need their own parents. Silencing people relieves the Identity Politicians and Sexual Revolutionaries from the effort of having to defend their ideas.

This is convenient for said Identity Politicians and Sexual Revolutionaries, because their ideas are indefensible. Children actually do need their own parents. Sexual orientation is not the equivalent of race. Two mothers do not equal two fathers do not equal a mother and a father, and certainly not one’s own mother and father.

Equal time for Divorce,

One typical Revolutionary response at this point is, “Why are you singling out gay people? What about divorce?” Please be aware that the Ruth Institute spends a LOTof time talking about divorce and other forms of family breakdown. Don’t change the subject. Society’s injustice to children through divorce is proof-positive that depriving children of a parent through genderless marriage will also be unjust.

This “Hate” Labelling is a Dangerous Game

But what does any of this have to do with being a Nazi? Or a racist? Or advocating violence? Nothing.

and Same Sex Parenting. Kids need their own parents!

Our “opinion-makers” in the media, academia and assorted left-wing think tanks are playing a dangerous game. They have told us that the views of many ordinary decent Americans are the equivalent of racism. Some of those same ordinary decent Americans are fed up. They know they are not racists, haters or bigots. But we no longer have an adequate public vocabulary to describe actual haters, bigots and racists.

As I said, I categorically condemn the Alt-Right, white supremacy, racism, Nazism and all violent totalitarian political movements. You may search the Ruth Institute’s website all day long, and never find a racist word. Instead, what you will find are reasons and evidence to support sentiments that align with the vast majority of Americans, black and white, male and female. Children need their own parents. Men and women are different. Sex makes babies and therefore society has every right to expect people to control their sexual impulses.

The advocates of the Sexual Revolution cannot defend their ideas. That is why people with my views end up on their “Hate Map.”

On Wednesday, August 23, the Ruth Institute released a statement being included on SPLC’s “Hate Map.” You can read that statement here. The Ruth Institute has also created a special page called “Where’s the Hate?” which lists items that some have deemed “hateful.” They invite the public to review these items and determine for themselves who is actually “hateful.” 

Originally published at The Stream, August 23, 2017.

Poor Kids Deserve Their Own Parents, too.

The Federal government’s programs for poor relief undermine the ability of the poorest people in society to get married and stay married.

Consider these facts:

  • For women with a high-school degree and maybe some college, 58% percent of their firstborn children are born out of wedlock. These children end up having limited contact and relationships with their fathers.

    wilcoxpic1
    Dr. Brad Wilcox of the Institute for Family Studies and the University of Virginia. He and his colleagues crunched a bunch of these numbers.
  • The percent having their first birth out of wedlock is 55% for white women, 69% for Hispanic women, and 87% for African American women. [1]
  • Some of the most significant income support programs have significant marriage penalties for some people. People these situations are better off cohabiting, or not living together at all, rather than getting married. These programs include the Earned Income Tax, Child Tax Credits, Medicaid, SNAP, TANF and WIC.  [2]
  • Children living with cohabiting parents are more likely to experience the separation of their parents than children whose parents are married. This separation diminishes the chances of the children having continuous relationships with both their parents, especially their fathers.
maag-elaine_5
Elaine Maag of the Urban Institute: “I believe that we can work toward providing a strong safety net for all people—and that the tax system will always be an important part of that effort.” You go, girl!

Marriage benefits children. There is no longer any serious doubt about this. Why then, is our government creating incentives for parents to not marry? Poor children need their own parents and a stable family life every bit as much as children of the middle and upper classes.

My references below include people from across the political spectrum. In spite of this, nothing has been done to remove the marriage penalties from federal income support programs. My guess is that many of the “liberals” are fearful of marriage as something that could be oppressive to abused women. My further guess is that many of the “conservatives” are fearful of the increased taxpayer costs that removing the marriage penalties might create.

joseph-price
Dr. Joe Price of Brigham Young University. He too, crunched some of these numbers. A coalition of BYU and the Urban Institute: it can be done!

Social conservatives have the ear of the current Administration, more so than any time I can recall.  I urge social conservatives inside the Trump administration to remove the marriage penalties from these programs. I suggest convening a commission of the authors listed in the notes below, along with Pat Fagan of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, Rachel Sheffield of the Heritage Foundation, and Isabell Sawhill of the Brookings Institute.

Together, they could come up with something. We owe it to the least among us to stop undermining the formation and stability of their families.

 

1. “Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America,” Kay Hymowitz, Jason Carroll, W. Bradford Wilcox, Kelleen Kay, 2013 by The National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, and The Relate Institute. http://twentysomethingmarriage.org/the-great-crossover/ (Last accessed November 15, 2016.)

2. Elaine Maag and Gregory Acs, “The Financial Consequences of Marriage for Cohabiting Couples with Children,” (Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, September 2015.)   http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/alfresco/publication-pdfs/2000366-The-Financial-Consequences-of-Marriage-for-Cohabiting-Couples-with-Children%20.pdf  

W. Bradford Wilcox, Joseph P. Price and Angela Rachidi, “Marriage, Penalized”: Does Social-Welfare Policy Affect Family Formation?” (Washington DC: American Enterprise Institute and Institute for Family Studies, 2016). https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/IFS-HomeEconReport-2016-Final-072616.pdf

Spencer Rand, “The Real Marriage Penalty: How Welfare Law Discourages Marriage Despite Public Policy Statements to the Contrary—and What can be done about it.” University of the District of Columbia Law Review, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2015, pp. 93-143. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2685206

Robert Rector, “How Welfare Undermines Marriage and What to Do About it,” (Washington DC: The Heritage Foundation, 2014). http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/11/how-welfare-undermines-marriage-and-what-to-do-about-it