Our friends on the Left continue to call for an every growing slate of government entitlements — including a mandated hike in the minimum wage — as a government remedy to poverty. As we know, government is the answer for the Left. But as we also know, evidence is strong that personal choices — particularly the decision to have and raise children in a one-parent home — have a big impact on the poverty rate. In this Wall Street Journal piece, Robert Maranto and Michael Crouch of the University of Arkansas discuss the data.
More than 20% of children in single-parent families live in poverty long-term, compared with 2% of those raised in two-parent families, according to education-policy analyst Mitch Pearlstein’s 2011 book “From Family Collapse to America’s Decline.” The poverty rate would be 25% lower if today’s family structure resembled that of 1970, according to the 2009 report “Creating an Opportunity Society” from Brookings Institution analysts Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill. A 2006 article in the journal Demography by Penn State sociologist Molly Martin estimates that 41% of the economic inequality created between 1976-2000 was the result of changed family structure.
Stunning. Yet Leftists are silent.
Why isn’t this matter at the center of policy discussions? There are at least three reasons. First, much of politics is less about what you are for than who you are against, as Jonathan Haidt, a New York University psychology professor, noted in his popular 2012 book “The Righteous Mind.” And intellectual and cultural elites lean to the left. So, quite simply, very few professors or journalists, and fewer still who want foundation grants, want to be seen as siding with social conservatives, even if the evidence leads that way.
How sad for the children.