Thursday, February 18, 2010

Family dysfunction link to welfare causes kerfuffle in Colo. legislature

Last week when Rep. Spencer Swalm (R-Centennial) discussed the problem of family formation and welfare expenses. This inevitably sparked another minor controversy in the state legislature.

"Don't have kids out of wedlock," he said from the House floor. "If you're married, if at all possible, trya to stay married. Those are ways to lift families out of poverty."

He added that intact families do better than broken families, whose children are " almost guaranteed to be in poverty."

Democratic House Speaker Terrance Carroll reinterpreted the comments as an insult to "every single person who lives in poverty, who works their butt off every single day just to keep their head above water."

Democrats then pointed to Speaker Carroll's outlier success as not very convincing disproof of Swalm.

Bored by typing internet comments and not-quite-finished blog posts, I tried my hand at writing a letter to the editor. The Post now limits writers to 150 words, but my reply was published yesterday:

State Rep. Spencer Swalm’s commonsense anti-poverty advice to marry before having kids provoked ignorant outrage. The link between the decline of marriage and the rise of poverty is well-established.

Hollywood feminism pretends marriage can be ignored or redefined at will. But the traditional family is best for men, women and children.

Intact families benefit everyone. Americans were once forthright in preparing young people to be good husbands and wives. We told them to avoid premarital sex because of its moral, emotional and biological consequences.

Now, like an uncaring absent father, we just tell them to get condoms, abortions and welfare packages. We praise poor single mothers more than the hard-working housewives and upstanding husbands whose taxes support them.

Let’s build a family-friendly economy, politics and culture that reward those who have done right, or people will just keep doing wrong.

The word limit is excellent at encouraging confident writing, but it also risks reducing comments to bumper sticker sentiments.

Unfortunately, the Post cut my plug of Allan Carlson and, one of the best resources on the state of the family and family policy I know.

Carlson has discussed the social conservatism of the New Deal, much of which would be anathema to the party activists today.

While socially conservative government policy may have once been native to the Democrats, it is now homeless. Even Republicans who do not tend towards morally autistic libertarianism are incapable of designing social policy and a bureaucracy capable of benefiting married motherhood and fatherhood.

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