Thursday, November 20, 2014

The American Family And The American Economy

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"It's the economy, stupid" is a phrase that finds a new life before every election.

The phrase contains a grain of truth in that the American economy has been in decline or stagnant for some time. Many economists are not terribly optimistic about the near future.

While there are those politicians from both parties who attempt to marginalize the "controversial, divisive social issues" every election cycle, new studies and research is revealing that it is the state of the family that is actually the problem with the economy.

Strong families equate to a stronger economy.

One new study reveals that the American economic landscape looks bleaker today because the American family unit is not as strong as it once was.

While homosexual activists work to redefine marriage and family, a secular progressive government undermines its very foundations while claiming to help it.

Another study reveals that the War on Poverty, championed by the far left progressives, has actually become a war on marriage. A so-called "helping hand" has become a slap in the face of marriage.

Godly principle on marriage and family is the guiding light in our present darkness.

Consider this:

First, this from The American Enterprise Institute.

The standard portrayals of economic life for ordinary Americans and their families paint a picture of stagnancy, even decline, amidst rising income inequality or joblessness. But rarely does the public conversation about the changing economic fortunes of Americans and their families look at questions of family structure. This is an important oversight because, as this report shows, changes in family formation and stability are central to the changing economic landscape of American families, to the declining economic status of men, and to worries about the health of the American dream.

This study documents five key findings about the relationships between family patterns and economic well-being in America.

1. The retreat from marriage—a retreat that has been concentrated among lower-income Americans—plays a key role in the changing economic fortunes of American family life. We estimate that the growth in median income of families with children would be 44 percent higher if the United States enjoyed 1980 levels of married parenthood today. Further, at least 32 percent of the growth in family-income inequality since 1979 among families with children and 37 percent of the decline in men’s employment rates during that time can be linked to the decreasing number of Americans who form and maintain stable, married families. 
2. Growing up with both parents (in an intact family) is strongly associated with more education, work, and income among today’s young men and women. Young men and women from intact families enjoy an annual “intact-family premium” that amounts to $6,500 and $4,700, respectively, over the incomes of their peers from single-parent families. 
3. Men obtain a substantial “marriage premium” and women bear no marriage penalty in their individual incomes, and both men and women enjoy substantially higher family incomes, compared to peers with otherwise similar characteristics. For instance, men enjoy a marriage premium of at least $15,900 per year in their individual income compared to their single peers. 
4. These two trends reinforce each other. Growing up with both parents increases your odds of becoming highly educated, which in turn leads to higher odds of being married as an adult. Both the added education and marriage result in higher income levels. Indeed, men and women who were raised with both parents present and then go on to marry enjoy an especially high income as adults. Men and women who are currently married and were raised in an intact family enjoy an annual “family premium” in their household income that exceeds that of their unmarried peers who were raised in nonintact families by at least $42,000. 
5. The advantages of growing up in an intact family and being married extend across the population. They apply about as much to blacks and Hispanics as they do to whites. For instance, black men enjoy a marriage premium of at least $12,500 in their individual income compared to their single peers. The advantages also apply, for the most part, to men and women who are less educated. For instance, men with a high-school degree or less enjoy a marriage premium of at least $17,000 compared to their single peers.

Robert Rector, a leading expert on poverty and US welfare programs says the War on Poverty, launched in the 1960s has become a war on marriage and family.

He says this:

The burgeoning welfare state has promoted single parenthood in two ways. First, means-tested welfare programs such as those described above financially enable single parenthood. It is difficult for single mothers with a high school degree or less to support children without the aid of another parent. 
Means-tested welfare programs substantially reduce this difficulty by providing extensive support to single parents. Welfare thereby reduces the financial need for marriage. Since the beginning of the War on Poverty, less-educated mothers have increasingly become married to the welfare state and to the U.S. taxpayer rather than to the fathers of their children. 
As means-tested benefits expanded, welfare began to serve as a substitute for a husband in the home, and low-income marriage began to disappear. As husbands left the home, the need for more welfare to support single mothers increased. The War on Poverty created a destructive feedback loop: Welfare promoted the decline of marriage, which generated a need for more welfare. 
A second major problem is that the means-tested welfare system actively penalizes low-income parents who do marry. All means-tested welfare programs are designed so that a family’s benefits are reduced as earnings rise. In practice, this means that, if a low-income single mother marries an employed father, her welfare benefits will generally be substantially reduced. The mother can maximize welfare by remaining unmarried and keeping the father’s income “off the books.” 
The marriage penalties from multiple programs when added together can provide substantial financial disincentives to marriage. For example, if a single mother who earns $20,000 per year marries a man who earns the same amount, the couple will typically lose about $12,000 a year in welfare benefits. In effect, the welfare system makes it economically irrational for most low-income couples to marry. 
The anti-marriage aspect of the welfare state can be illustrated by comparing means-tested welfare with the federal income tax code. For example, under a progressive income tax system with only a single schedule of tax rates indiscriminately covering both single persons and married couples, nearly all individuals would experience an increase in taxes owed when they married and lower taxes if they remain separate or divorce. The current federal income tax system mitigates this anti-marriage effect by having separate tax schedules for singles and married couples.

I encourage you to look at both links above and be informed. They include more research and charts.
It is very clear that the biblical model for a family is the cornerstone of a culture and the path to economic success and blessing.

The far left progressive agenda is a destructive force in our culture.

It's not primarily about the economy, its primarily about the principles---godly principles that cause an individual and a nation to prosper and be blessed.

1 comment:

  1. Exodus 20:12 comes to mind. Still true at the time of the apostle Paul. Eph 6:2.


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