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USA Today: It’s June — the time of year when we’re supposed to hear wedding bells. You know the drill: The invitations start pouring in and you find yourself scrambling to order gifts from registries and block off summer weekends to attend ceremonies and parties.
ADF International Executive Director Benjamin Bull “We commend Sen. James Lankford for leading a successful and historic effort to promote international religious freedom with the unanimous passage of his amendment to the Trade Promotion Authority bill. Should the House follow suit, the U.S., for the first time, will be required to evaluate religious freedom conditions in countries before entering into trade agreements with them. As Sen. Lankford said, ‘our greatest export is our American values,’ the bedrock principle that all people should be free to live and act according to their faith without being persecuted. When nations protect and cherish religious liberty, economies flourish and innovation increases. We applaud Sen. Lankford’s affirmation of the dignity of people of faith both here and around the world.”
The New York Times: The Islamic State has revenue and assets that are more than enough to cover its current expenses despite expectations that airstrikes and falling oil prices would hurt the group’s finances, according to analysts at RAND Corporation, a nonprofit that researches public policy.
The Washington Post: Inequality has become the hot issue in politics, and the latest squabble has scrutinized the efforts of religious groups – or lack thereof – to raise Americans’ focus on the issue.
Acton Institute: Yesterday the U.S. Senate voted 92-0 to approve an amendment which adds a religious liberty provision to the overall negotiating objectives outlined in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The addition would require the Administration to take religious freedom into account whenever negotiating trade agreements within the partnership.
NBC News: Divorce can be a one-way ticket down the road to financial instability for many women, especially for those who are middle class or low-income.
Real Clear Religion: Growing threats against Americans’ religious exercise and identity call for a new generation of education and advocacy on behalf of religious freedom for all faiths.
Politico: A rare bipartisan health care bill taking shape in the House poses a real gut check for Senate Democrats as to what they care about most.
Bloomberg View: The advantages that two people raising their own biological or jointly adopted children have over “nontraditional” family arrangements are too obvious to need enumeration, but apparently mere obviousness is not enough to forestall contrary arguments, so let me enumerate them anyway.
The New York Times: As promised in my last entry, this will be the first of two posts on the theme of whether economic trends largely explain post-1960s family breakdown (my answer: no), addressing counterarguments that I didn’t have room to discuss in Sunday’s column.
Family Studies: In a study released this month investigating the source of class gaps in unintended births, Brookings Institution researchers found that low-income women are more likely to experience an unintended pregnancy because not only are they less likely to use contraception—they are also less likely to get an abortion.
Aleteia: Writing in the English newspaper The Guardian, Lucy Mangan tells of people reacting to her raising money for a home for battered women by demanding, “Why don’t these women just leave?” The obvious answer is that when you’ve been beaten for a long time and psychologically broken down, and have no resources, and are scared for yourself and your children’s safety, and fear you’ll be killed, and most to the point have nowhere to go if you do leave, you can’t.
Family Studies: When popular car service company Uber announced that it was launching a fleet of cars equipped with car seats, they reached an under-tapped demographic of American consumers: families.
NBC News: Simply put, while the marital status of a child’s parents can influence the overall well-being of the child, the family’s economic situation can be even more important, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data conducted by the Council on Contemporary Families (CCF).
Ed Excellence: As I explain in Education Next, a more holistic approach would also take seriously what Isabel Sawhill and Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution call the “success sequence”: get at least a high school diploma, work full time, and wait till you are at least twenty-one and married before having children. They estimate that 98 percent of individuals who follow those three norms will not be poor, and almost three-quarters will be solidly middle class. On the flip side, three-quarters of young people who fail to follow any of those norms will be poor, and almost none will be middle class.
Family Studies: If you imagine a single woman having a baby around 1980, what do you think her life has been like since? By the time that child became an adult, was the mother any better off than she had been when the child was born?
Family Studies: February 11, W. Bradford Wilcox testified before the Subcommittee on Human Resources, part of the House Committee on Ways and Means, about how the retreat from marriage contributes to the challenges low-income families face in today’s economy. This is the text of his testimony.
The Economist: When marriage is hitched to politics the result is usually muddled thinking. Social conservatives think that lax attitudes to sex, a decline in manliness, short skirts and a hundred other things have chipped away at a sacred institution. The Heritage Foundation, a think-tank with a “Marshall Plan for Marriage”, recently puffed a study suggesting that online pornography was the cause of the rot.
Forbes: The rise of single motherhood is one of the most important socioeconomic phenomena of our time. The percentage of homes headed by a single mother has more than doubled since the 1980s, with single mothers now accounting for 25% of U.S. households.
The Daily Signal: Is Obama’s new federally-funded infrastructure package the key to strengthening our nation’s families? That’s the argument of W. Bradford Wilcox of the American Enterprise Institute and Robert Lehrman of the Urban Institute in their essay “How to Revive the American Dream in Blue-Collar America.”
Real Clear Markets: When it comes to marriage, the nation is increasingly divided. Among college-educated Americans the news about marriage is surprisingly good: divorce is down, nonmarital childbearing is rare, and the vast majority of children are raised in stable, married homes. But for Americans without college degrees, the news is sobering: divorce is high, nonmarital childbearing has never been higher, and about half of children will see their parents’ marriage or relationship break down and spend a portion of their lives in a home headed by a single parent.
Family Studies: Earlier this month, the New York Times’ David Leonhardt published a brief letterarguing that increasing economic inequality is both a cause and an effect of changing family structures. He suggested that this is one area where conservatives, who emphasize the causal impact of family structure on economic factors, have a greater claim to the evidence than liberals. We asked a few scholars to weigh in on the significance of his piece. Their responses are below.
Family Studies: As we often note on this blog, one factor behind the decline of marriage is the declining availability of stable, well-paying work for men who have not graduated from college.
First Things: What has fueled China’s remarkable economic growth that has lifted more than 500 million people out of abject poverty and positioned it to become the world’s largest economy? In part, it’s been fueled by the pipeline of market mechanisms, modern technology and Western management practices that former paramount leader Deng Xioaping untapped in the 1980s.
Family Studies: But what about the educational disadvantage associated with single parenthood? Is it smaller in poor countries than in rich countries?
The Daily Signal: After 50 years of the War on Poverty with little results, it’s time for a new path forward. In a speech at the 2014 Heritage Antipoverty Forum, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., described his vision to lift more Americans out of poverty.
The Federalist: Less decent-paying work for less-educated men, cultural shifts away from marriage-centered familism, and the erosion of masculinity have drastically reduced marriage rates and eroded American society.
Public Discourse: If we want to be coherent when addressing poverty, our concerns can’t be rooted in emotivist or relativistic accounts of who human beings are. They must be founded on recognition of each person’s freedom, rationality, and dignity.
Religious Freedom Project, Berkley Center: Though strong correlations have been made between political and civil liberties and religious freedom, it’s unusual for people to make strong connections between religious liberty and the freedom of individuals and businesses to operate in the economy.
Family Studies: November marks National Caregiving Month. Having served for many years as a hospice chaplain and COO, I have seen first hand the power of home-based, family-centered caregiving. However, for all its strengths, providing care to a seriously ill adult as an informal, uncompensated, family caregiver can incur high costs that are often invisible to society at large. National Caregiving Month provides a perfect opportunity to increase our awareness of those costs.
The Daily Signal: A new report from The National Center on Family Homelessness concludes that “the challenges of single parenting” is one of the leading causes of homelessness. This conclusion makes sense. Single-parenthood drastically increases the likelihood of poverty and the risks of negative outcomes for children.
Jewish World Review: While Kudlow takes the traditional conservative position when it comes to economics, he said what would help individuals as well as the nation the most is for people to “get married.” He said it loudly, and the super-sophisticated New Yorkers in the room fell momentarily silent. When the shock wore off, many heads began to nod.
The Daily Signal: Thirty-two percent of the growth in family income inequality since 1979 can be linked to the decline in the marriage rate.
Aleteia: Marriage scholars do emphasize the economic and educational gains married men enjoy. At a press luncheon last Tuesday, Robert I. Lerman and W. Bradford Wilcox discussed the findings from their new report, “For Richer, For Poorer: How Family Structures Economic Success in America.” They found that married men earn at least $15,900 more per year in individual income compared their single peers, while black married men earn $12,000 more and married men with a high school degree or less earn $17,000 more.
Family Studies: The news on marriage has been a bit gloomy recently. The Pew Research Forum reported in September that 20 percent of adults 25 and older have never been married. But in a report released today from the American Enterprise Institute and the Family Studies Institute, “For Richer, for Poorer: How Family Structures Economic Success in America,” W. Bradford Wilcox and Robert Lehrman document economic reasons that marriage is well worth fighting for.
The Federalist: The wedding industry suggests spending a ton of cash on a ring and ceremony for marital bliss. Some economists looked into it and say it’s bad advice.
The Federalist: So, shouldn’t one at least slightly consider such things when deciding whether you want to have kids? Maybe just a little? Nope. Because no matter what, you will never have enough money to satisfy their voracious appetites, keep them properly educated and musically trained, or ensure they are well-fed, well-dressed, well-spoken cultured exemplars of humanity.
The Washington Post: A report being released today analyzing recent Census Bureau data shows just how much marriage may, indeed, be becoming just another “old tradition.” The Pew Research Center found that the share of never-married Americans has never been higher. Fully one in five people over the age of 25 have never been married, up from one in 10 in 1960.
Acton Institute: For the past three decades, there has been an attempt by the political class to divide conservatism into two main branches: social and economic. The two are often pitted against each other despite the fact that most conservatives in America would identify with both sides. Mainstream conservatives realize what the elite class does not: economic and social factors are inextricably linked together.
The Daily Signal: The average cost of raising a child is over $245,000 – and that doesn’t cover college costs. But while $245,000 is the number dominating headlines (including – OK, OK — my own), it’s not the most important number.
The Daily Signal: Marriage isn’t the answer to poverty. That’s the argument made last week in The New Republic by Carter Price, who asserts conservatives are too preoccupied with marriage in anti-poverty efforts.
Public Discourse: One reason for maintaining strong religious liberty protections is that if governments can substantially nullify religious liberty, they are also capable of repressing any other civil or political freedom—including that of non-believers.
Family Research Council: Many are making the argument that pro-homosexual policies promote economic growth. FRC takes the arguments head on, with empirical evidence.
While promoting pro-growth economic policy (as the authors propose) is important, retreating from marriage is not the answer. Restoring a marriage culture is essential for the welfare of men, women, and children.
Patrick J. Deneen at The American Conservative: “One of the more remarkable partnerships that is least remarked upon today is the coalition that has formed around the effort to advance gay marriage—namely, left-leaning gay activists and corporations . . . To the extent that the [Indiana marriage protection] amendment has run into trouble, it has been arguably because of the concerted resistance not by the activist Left—who were always going to have limited traction with an overwhelmingly Republican state legislature—but corporations.”
W. Bradford Wilcox at the NY Times: The long-term fortunes of the modern economy depend in part on the strength and sustainability of the family, both in relation to fertility trends and to marriage trends. This basic, but often overlooked, principle is now at work in the current global economic crisis.
Todd Zywicki at Volokh Conspiracy: For private schools, these data are difficult to uncover, but the University of Baltimore report corroborates a widely held view that universities in general impose a “tax” amounting to between 20 and 25 percent of their law schools’ gross revenues.
National Review: Nonetheless, it is an uncomfortable truth that children of divorce and children with unmarried parents tend to do much worse in life than children of two-parent families.
Mona Charen at National Review: Pesident Obama addressed income inequality in a recent address but failed to mention one of the most significant contributors to rising inequality in America — the marriage gap.
Natalie Angier at NY Times: The clues to an American paradox, and the changing definition of what it means to be a family, can be found in the nation’s history.
Michael Barone at Human Events: As Utah Senator Mike Lee noted in speeches at the Heritage Foundation, “the problem of poverty is linked to family breakdown and the erosion of marriage among low-income families and communities.” Lee is careful not to cast opprobrium on single or divorced parents. But he insists on pointing to the uncomfortable but undeniable fact that economic outcomes for their children have been far worse than those for children raised in two-parent families. That produces many personal tragedies. And in cold economic terms, it means that society is losing gross domestic product because of less than optimal development of human capital.
Passport Magazine: Hey, brands! Listen up. LGBT Americans had $830 billion to spend in 2013 according to an analysis by Witeck Communications, a public relations firm based in Washington D.C. That’s up from last year’s estimate by the same firm, at $790 billion.
Fox News: Scafidi is professor of economics and director of the Economics of Education Policy Center at Georgia College and State University. The study, “More Than Scores: An Analysis of Why and How Parents Choose Private Schools,” was published this month by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.
Yahoo Finance: In America, meanwhile, 29 members of Congress will meet this week as the latest, greatest ‘super-committee’ picks up the can that was kicked down the road last month. If the committee isn’t able to come up with a budget deal by Dec. 13, the world’s largest economy could suffer another government shutdown when the current continuing resolution expires Jan. 15, followed by another potential debt ceiling crisis a month later. In other words, China continues to plan years ahead while America is too consumed with partisan battles to successfully deal with issues of immediate importance, much less address long-term issues.
Anna Sutherland at Family-Studies.org: A new article on Today reiterates that marriage has seemingly become a luxury good that is available only to the (relatively) wealthy—and that further cements their high economic and social status . . .
The Atlantic: Marriage is for everyone; failed marriages are for the poor. Bleak stuff. But it’s getting bleaker . . . Here’s why this trend—not just the move towards divorce like Derek talked about, but the move from nuptials entirely—is so gloomy. Getting married, and staying married, is one of the surest ways of securing a middle class life. By choosing not to wed in the first place, the poor are abandoning that chance at stability.
NCPA Policy Digest: The great American jobs machine is faltering, and it is time for Washington to pay attention. Part of the problem is the weakness of the current economic recovery. During the Great Recession, the labor-force participation rate declined. But even after the downturn ended in mid-2009, the rate continued to decline. The aging of the U.S. workforce explains only a fraction of this worrisome development.
CNSNews: Louisiana is one of 25 states that has not expanded Medicaid coverage for low-income adults under Obamacare, even though the state has a relatively high percentage of uninsured people.
CNSNews: Married Americans spend more than their unmarried counterparts, suggesting that if the marriage rate increases, overall spending in the U.S. might also increase, benefiting the U.S. economy.
Star Parker at LifeSiteNews: Our massive entitlement programs — Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — now make up about 45 percent of our current federal budget. These programs are overwhelmingly driven by the demographics of the country, mostly directly, but also indirectly. Their economics are driven both by how long we live but also by how many children we have.
A House Divided Cannot Stand: On Social and Economic Conservatism | Ryan T. Anderson at First Things
Ryan T. Anderson at First Things: The American Principles Project (APP) released an important new report yesterday that marshals data showing a majority of Americans support policies held by social conservatives. The report argues that a unified platform of social and economic conservatism is a winning electoral strategy—though conservatives need to greatly improve their messaging on economic policy and start messaging on social policy. Most importantly, however, advancing such a unified governing agenda is the principled thing for Americans to do.
Chriss W. Street at Breitbart: Having benefited for twenty years from their under-valued currency, importing manufacturing jobs, and exporting lower priced products, China’s comparative advantage is being destroyed by America’s oil and natural gas fracking boom. The Chinese communist authorities are terrified their loss of competitiveness will cause unemployment and the social consequences that flow from it. But with the terms of trade now substantially against China, convincing the world to dump the U.S. dollar as reserve currency and switch to the Chinese “renminbi” is their best hope to try to save tens of millions of manufacturing jobs.
Above the Law: If you think you’re hurting for students to fill the seats now, just wait until it costs $78,000 a year to attend . . . Matt Leichter over at The Law School Tuition Bubble recently projected private law school tuition costs for the years 2017 and 2022. Before we get to the scary figures, let’s check out Leichter’s methodology . . .
Anchorage Daily News: A year and a half after Anchorage rejected a gay rights ballot measure that deeply divided the city, the gay and lesbian community is being not only embraced but promoted from an unexpected quarter: the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce.
Jonathan V. Last at Weekly Standard: While everyone else has spent the last few days obsessing about Gravity, the government shutdown, and the real possibility that the NFC East division champ will have six wins, it’s quietly been an interesting week for sociology nerds who think about marriage.
ABA Journal: Rooney used the position to start filling a gaping hole in the law–access for all to legal services–and created a program to train lawyers serving poor and moderate-income clients to become not just good advocates but smart businesspeople too. “We started a network where we had full-time staff to provide to graduates developing small and solo firms the kinds of services they’d get if they were at a large firm,” he says. “It was the beginning of a movement in the United States to support graduates.”
Rachel Lu at Public Discourse: Marriage has given structure and purpose to the lives of an incredibly diverse array of people, across millennia of human history. It can work for young Americans today. And the consolations of family life could help to compensate for the other disappointments and challenges that these over-optimistic youth are likely to encounter once they move beyond the classroom. Millennials want to hear this, and they need to know. If their elders want to atone for the mistakes of yesteryear, now is the time to start talking about marriage.
Mlive.com: “That argument is that marriage causes the best outcomes for your children,” she said. “That if you get people who are poor to marry, it would solve a lot of problems. But things don’t work like that. People who have better economic prospects are more likely to get married. You couldn’t take two poor, unemployable people and marry them and lift them out of poverty.”