UPDATE:

Ohio lawmakers going after cities that use red-light, traffic cameras

Opinion: Welfare state fed marriage collapse for whites, blacks


A new report from the Pew Research Center updates the deteriorating state of traditional marriage in America.

And as sobering as is the picture for the nation as a whole, the situation for black America is even more disturbing.

Fifty percent of American adults over 18 are married today, down 32 percent from 72 percent in 1960.

Among black Americans, just 30 percent of adults over 18 are married today, down 31 percent from 1960.

Fairly obvious questions emerge: Does it matter that the incidence of traditional married households is declining? Why is this happening and why is this trend so much more pronounced among blacks? Are there remedial actions that can be taken via government and public policy to strengthen marriage and the American family?

To those of us who still have a traditional moral compass, it is hurtful, sad and ominous that increasing numbers of young Americans do not understand the unique importance of holy matrimony. And there is plenty of modern research that shows married people are wealthier, healthier and happier.

Moreover, we now see a disproportionate impact of marriage on men.

Recent research published by the American Enterprise Institute, authored by W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia and Robert Lerman of American University, points to married men earning at least $15,900 more annually than single men. For black men, this “marriage premium” is $12,500.

Why is marriage in decline?

It is tempting to associate this with the decline of traditional religious values.

It takes great personal fortitude for a young person to turn away from the temptations of promiscuity and to take on the responsibility and commitment of marriage and family. These demands are so far out of the natural order that it is hard to fathom handling them without religion and faith.

But what is happening with blacks?

By common measures, blacks are the most religiously engaged community in America.

According to a 2009 Pew report, 79 percent of blacks said religion plays a “very important” place in their lives compared to 56 percent of all Americans.

Fifty-three percent of blacks reported, in the same study, attending church at least once per week, compared to the national average of 39 percent.

So if religious fervor among blacks is far above the national average, why is the pace of marriage deterioration among blacks the worst in the country?

We get one hint in the new Pew report. Forty-eight percent of nonwhites, compared with 33 percent of whites, indicate they want to get married but say financial instability is the main reason that they have not.

Why are blacks, on average, decidedly more financially unstable? One factor is the disproportionate impact of the welfare state following the civil rights movement. Major welfare programs established in the late 1960s, which required recipients to be unmarried to qualify, followed shortly thereafter by the legalization of abortion in 1973, had a devastating effect on the black family.

We need policies that protect life, and encourage marriage, ownership and individual responsibility.

Stop taxpayer funds going to Planned Parenthood, allow low-income Americans to invest their payroll tax in a personal retirement account that allows wealth accumulation, repeal the Davis-Bacon Act and other laws that limit the employability of low-wage workers, and give states block grants to control anti-poverty programs that open the door to creativity and flexibility.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

This Thanksgiving, here are 5 myths about American Indians
This Thanksgiving, here are 5 myths about American Indians

Thanksgiving recalls for many people a meal between European colonists and indigenous Americans that we have invested with all the symbolism we can muster. But the new arrivals who sat down to share venison with some of America's original inhabitants relied on a raft of misconceptions that began as early as the 1500s, when Europeans produced fanciful...
Opinion: Billionaires desperately need our help

It is so hard to be a billionaire these days! A new yacht can cost $300 million. And you wouldn’t believe what a pastry chef earns — and if you hire just one, to work weekdays, how can you possibly survive on weekends? The investment income on, say, a $4 billion fortune is a mere $1 million a day, which makes it tough to scrounge by with...
Opinion: Alabamans should do right thing on Roy Moore problem

The allegations and evidence against Senate candidate Roy Moore are piling up to the point of indefensibility. To the Washington Post’s extensively sourced story accusing him of misconduct toward girls as young as 14, recent days have added news of an additional accuser and a report from a retired police officer saying Moore was unofficially...
PERSPECTIVE: The magic of Thanksgiving togetherness

The calm before the rush of Thanksgiving preparation invites reflection. My mom, although extraordinary in matters of the heart, was really not a very good cook. I’m the first to admit her Thanksgiving turkey was a tad dry, and the cauliflower-au-gratin was s bit more watery than Velveeta cheesy. Yet she managed to create the best of what Thanksgiving...
Opinion: Alabama rolls toward a high-stakes skirmish

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — But for the bomb, the four would be in their 60s, probably grandmothers. Three were 14 and one was 11 in 1963 when the blast killed them in the 16th Street Baptist Church, which is four blocks from the law office of Doug Jones, who then was 9. He was born in May 1954, 13 days before the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board...
More Stories