Tag archives: poverty

Proposing Marriage: A Solution to Child Poverty

by Sharon Barrett

September 28, 2012

As Maria Reig Teetor, MARRI intern wrote recently, social science shows a clear link between family structure and mental health. For instance, a study on child poverty found that children who grow up in poor families are more likely to develop depression and personality disorders. Maria explains:

Poor children are exposed to a wide range of risk factors that affect their social and emotional development. The environment they grow up in is surrounded by drug abuse, inadequate nutrition, crime, parental instability, divorce, maternal depression….

This environment also causes the children to externalize their emotional turmoil with behavior outbursts such as delinquency or drug and sexual abuse. In short, poverty affects children and has grave consequences.

Just as mental health disorders are linked to child poverty, so is child poverty linked to non-intact family structure. Poverty does not occur in a vacuum. Since the 1960s, marriage rates and employment rates have declined in tandem. In the 2010s we see the full-blown effects of the divorce revolution and the sexual revolution. With the devaluing of the intact family, we also suffered a deficit in human capital and an inflation of poverty rates. Original research published by MARRI explains the statistics:

55 percent of U.S. children entering adulthood in 2008 had experienced the breakup of their family of origin.

This number is even more staggering when we see it alongside the number of children living in poverty conditions in 2010: 43%. Furthermore,

Up to 20 percent of [American] children are unequipped to compete in the modern economy because of a lack of essential skills formed within the intact married family.

When this is combined with the high risk of mental health disorders, poor children are at an overwhelming disadvantage. But look closely at the reason:

Family planning policies have undermined fertility rates and simultaneously discouraged marriage and encouraged out-of-wedlock births. Among its main target group, the poor, marriage has virtually disappeared, and been replaced with serial cohabitation [emphasis mine].

The solution to the child poverty crisis is not a social program, but a simple proposal: marriage, which Maria Reig Teetor calls the strongest anti-poverty weapon. Reviving a culture of marriage can help restore the benefits of the intact family to those who need them most: poor children.

The Not-So-Great Society: Time for a New Solution

by Sharon Barrett

September 17, 2012

Single motherhood is hard on women. The Houston Chronicle reports that the number of single mothers who live in poverty is a staggering 41 percent, almost three times the national poverty rate. As MARRI intern Lindsay Smith commented in a recent post, the statistics clamor for action:

[Combined] with the fact that more than half of single mothers over age twenty rely on public assistance…these statistics dont softly whisper for concern. They deafeningly cry for action or should I say results.

Many people believe increased funding for public assistance programs will help lift single mothers out of poverty. The Chronicle article continues,

Low wages, limited public assistance and insufficient child care subsidies make it difficult for many single mothers to improve their lives. They are more likely than other poor people to face hardships such as food scarcity and eviction.

But why are single mothers more likely to suffer these hardships? Not because Uncle Sam isnt forthcoming with the welfare check. Lindsay Smith observes that the welfare state does no more than create a treadmill on which the hardworking single mother can never advance out of poverty. The Great Society has had four decades to prove itself, and it is time for a new solution.

What will lift women and their children out of poverty is not money, but marriage not the public dole, but private commitment. A married family has the highest income and is less likely to experience poverty; a married man is more likely to be employed. Women who grow up in an intact married family are far less likely to enter the cycle of poverty with a non-marital pregnancy.

The new solution has been with us all along. It is time to rebuild a culture of marriage that encourages fathers and mothers to raise their children, and their economic status, together.

Bill Gates Takes on Radical Environmentalism

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 15, 2009

In a speech today at the World Food Prize forum, Microsoft founder Bill Gates took the extreme environmental movement to task for putting rigid ideology ahead of basic human need.

Here’s an excerpt of his comments: “Some people insist on an ideal vision of the environment. They have tried to restrict the spread of biotechnology into sub-Saharan Africa without regard to how much hunger and poverty might be reduced by it, or what the farmers themselves might want.”

Gates noted that the international initiative “to help small farmers” in the developing world “is endangered by an ideological wedge” that pits higher productivity through the use of new agri-technologies and those who speak only of “sustainability,” often a code word for policies that would allow people to die for the sake of perceived environmental “purity.”

The Microsoft chief applauded some things that are anathema to the environmental purists, such as genetically-modified seeds that can increase crop yields and possibly even the nutritional content of such developing world staples as maize and sorghum. Drought-resistant seeds can be used by small farmers throughout Africa to help them feed their families and strengthen their nations’ economies.

One of the world’s wealthiest people, Gates and his foundation have poured an estimated $1.4 billion into combating hunger, malnutrition and disease in places like sub-Saharan Africa. Sadly, Gates is also a supporter of abortion-related “family planning” services in these regions. But he deserves credit both for his commitment to providing sustainable agriculture to the world’s neediest populations and for taking on the radical environmental movement, which would rather see people die than advance dynamic new agriculture technologies that could save millions of lives.

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