William K. Black
February 8, 2016 Bloomington, MN
This is second article in my series on the AEI and Brookings report on how to fight poverty. In my first article I dealt with their plan to oppose any material increase in the minimum wage being hyped by Eduardo Porter in the New York Times as a “bipartisan” plan to “champion an increase in the minimum wage.” Indeed, Michael Strain, an AEI member of the group continues to attack the minimum wage on the AEI web pages after the release of the report. I explained that the group was chosen to ensure that it was dominated by New Democrats and hard right Republicans who shared a core belief that poverty was caused by the poor choices of poor people, that it was verboten to even discuss how the economic and political system was rigged, and that a “new paternalism” aimed against the poor was essential. The word “rigged” never appears in the report though it is a dominant feature of any progressive critique of poverty.
I refer to the group as the AEIb to reflect the minimal role of any progressive thought coming from Brookings and the fact that AEI uses Brookings in such efforts to give a fig leaf of “bipartisanship” to endeavors in which the Brookings name is used to give “cover” for the overlapping views of the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party and the far right. On p. 16, at the start of Chapter 2, the AEIb report highlights this key phrase:
We must establish a set of facts about poverty and economic opportunity that both progressives and conservatives agree are correct and that, taken together, paint an accurate portrait of the conditions that account for the extent of poverty and opportunity in America.
The AEIb did no such thing. As I explained in the first column, AEIb systematically excluded any authentically progressive critique from the report. That was inevitable in that a majority of the members were known to share an impassioned hate of progressive views of causes of poverty. The self-described “liberal” “moderator” of the group thinks “liberal” programs to help the poor inherently create a “moral rot.” AEIb simply misleads the readers of its report.
We therefore created a working group of top experts on poverty, evenly balanced between progressives and conservatives (and including a few centrists).
Three of the Brookings appointees are, whatever they call themselves, to the right of even New Democrats – the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party that despises progressives. Two of those three have spent their careers pushing conservative policies for the Republican Party. A third started with Tony Blair’s “New Labour” party in the UK, which modelled itself on the New Democrats and their opposition to progressive policies. He then moved to the even more anti-progressive Lib-Dem party when it put the Tories in power through coalition. The fourth is the moderator that denounces “liberal” programs to help the poor as creating a “moral rot.” A majority of the Brookings appointees were chosen because they despise progressives.
One of the AEI appointees, Kay Hymowitz is the focus of this article. She is an ultra-right wing fanatic with an M.A. in English Literature who authored the unintentionally hilarious Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys (2011). Hymowitz’s theme is that progressives, particularly feminists, are the source of evil that has emasculated men. The three AEI staffers are hard right zealots on these topics. That is a solid core of eight members (a majority of AEIb) that detest progressive and progressive policies. But other appointees share the two key policy views of this anti-progressive core ideology of the AEIb that the only effective way to respond to poverty is to ignore the ways in which the system is rigged and to use the government to force the poor to work much harder.
In this second and final article in this series I discuss the AEIb’s bizarre embrace of pro-marriage propaganda aimed at poor straight women as its priority strategy to fight poverty. Naturally, Porter is ecstatic that AEIb has decided to “endorse marriage.” If you are like me you might be disturbed that it took AEIb 14 months working through their (minimal) differences to reach the brave, controversial position that they “endorse marriage.” I like marriage too, and blueberry pie. That took me zero time to figure out and three seconds to type.
I explained in my first column that AEIb’s report doesn’t even substantively discuss the minimum wage until p. 46, which is a strange way to “champion” an issue, particularly since it turns out that they actually oppose President Obama’s plan to modestly increase the minimum wage as excessive.
There is no question what the AEIb members actually “champion” – their priority is to for the government to run a propaganda program to advise poor women, particularly blacks, that they should get married. That is the very first recommendation they chose to make and give pride of place. One can only picture these poor single women listening to this propaganda smacking themselves on the side of their head in their moment of “V 8” revelation – “I could have had [married] a doctor.” Yes, that will transform the problems of poor single women.
The fact that the entire AEIb group, without a single dissent, favored this inane, insane, and profane fantasy of the perfectibility of the poor through public paternalistic propaganda demonstrates that it either had not a single authentic progressive member, or none with the requisite courage or intellectual honesty. Marriage promotion is the fantasy of Hymowitz and Lawrence Mead of the AEI, who pines as I explained in my first column to restore “stigma” to single women having children and to end no fault divorce. Of course, he also admitted in the same interview that marriage promotion was a failure, but why not recommend policies you know are failures but love ideologically?
The AEIb report cannot bring itself to even mention the minimum wage until p. 28, and never makes a declarative statement that “poverty would have been reduced if the minimum wage had been increased.” But the report discusses “marriage” on its first page of text (p. 5). And the very first two recommendations on that page are propaganda aimed at poor women.
To strengthen families in ways that will prepare children for success in education and work:
1) Promote a new cultural norm surrounding parenthood and marriage.
2) Promote delayed, responsible childbearing.
Poverty isn’t caused by economics, starting position, or discrimination. It is caused by “culture.” The poor embrace a defective “culture.” The “new paternalism” requires those of us with the superior culture to direct a change in this defective culture. The AEIb explicitly embraces blaming the poor for being poor. Indeed, they champion the rehabilitating one the most noxious and discredited concepts in poverty-reduction, the idea that we should only aid the “deserving poor.” The AEIb even makes that concept more reprehensible by stating that poor people bear the burden of proof of demonstrating that they are deserving by proving that they are “clear[ly]” “overwhelmed by forces beyond their control.” AEIb then amps up the “blame the poor” game by extending the burden of proving you are part of the deserving poor to proving not only that you are working as hard as it possible to work and that you lead a “responsibl[e]” “family life.”
Family life is a network of mutual responsibilities. So is work life. So is democratic citizenship. When people fail in their responsibilities, they should shoulder the blame—unless it’s clear that they tried hard to meet their responsibilities but were overwhelmed by forces beyond their control.
The AEIb excludes any discussion of how the system is rigged by the wealthy and the elite frauds. St. Louis Fed’s economists – who are exceptionally conservative – have documented that it isn’t simply poor minorities who were devastated by the rigged system.
Compared to their less-educated counterparts, typical white and Asian families with four-year college degrees withstood the recent recession much better and have accumulated much more wealth over the longer term. Hispanic and black families headed by someone with a four-year college degree, on the other hand, typically fared significantly worse than Hispanic and black families without college degrees. This was true both during the recent turbulent period (2007-2013) as well as during a two-decade span ending in 2013 (the most recent data available).
Higher education protects wealth, but only among white and Asian families. Another financial benefit of having more education may be its “protective” effect on wealth. Better-educated families often withstand major economic and financial shocks better than those with less education. For example, the median wealth of all families headed by a four-year college graduate declined by 24 percent between 2007 and 2013. The decline among families without a college degree, however, was 48 percent. (Both figures are adjusted for inflation, as are all figures in the balance of this article.)
Median wealth declined by about 72 percent among Hispanic college-grad families versus a decline of only 41 percent among Hispanic families without a college degree. Among blacks, the declines were 60 percent versus 37 percent.
This was obviously critical information for the AEIb to consider and it was available to them well before they completed their work. It demonstrates that “culture” is a grossly inadequate explanation for what is happening to vast numbers of American workers. Hispanics and black households headed by college graduates are run by people who are doing what the dominant culture tells them they should be doing about education and employment, often in far more difficult circumstances that the average American. And they were shredded – their losses in wealth were catastrophic. This is not what Whites experience – or Asian-Americans.
AEIb’s report does not contain the words “racist,” “racism,” “sexist,” “sexism,” “feminist,” “feminism,” any variant on “bigot,” or “discriminatory.” It uses the word “discrimination” solely in a historical or philosophical context – and ignores it substantively. Under the report’s own claims, this is intellectually dishonest and designed to exclude progressive analyses and the facts that real progressives would have brought to any study of how to address poverty. One cannot claim that the report provides “progressive” perspectives on women when the report refuses to even use the word “feminist” or provide any feminist critique of its propaganda campaign aimed at women.
Why did AEI Appoint Hymowitz to the AEIb Group?
Hymowitz isn’t an expert in any of the relevant fields. Her obsession is the perfidy of feminists who she blames for males’ being unmanly. Did I mention that one of the three principles the AEIb claimed to be its pillars was taking personal responsibility rather than blaming feminists for dudes who aspire only to be dudes? Hymowitz was appointed to ensure that she would pursue a single issue relentlessly. A group that is all about “consensus” can only bring such a member on board by giving her what she wants. It’s an old strategy, but an effective one if people care more about consensus than recommending real steps to reduce poverty.
I do not mean that only Hymowitz wanted to create a propaganda program aimed at poor women. As I quoted in my first column in this series, Lawrence Mead called poor women “crazy” in his interview with David Blankenhorn because they were not marrying as often and as early as he thought they would if only they were sane. The conservatives were eager to “blame the single mom” for being poor. Hymowitz was sure to be a reliable vote for the conservative majority, and she was tactically useful in giving primacy to “marriage promotion” even though as Mead admitted in the interview it did not work.
The Logic and Data Chasm at the Heart of “Marriage Promotion”
As I noted, I like marriage and blueberry pie. I think couples who mutually want to be married are often better off, as are their children. The data support both propositions. That does not mean, however, that women would be better off if they married people they did not believe they should marry. That is not a difficult concept to understand. It is one that virtually all of us have personal experience with. It is also an elementary principle of logic and hypothesis testing. We cannot extrapolate from a population where the couples voluntarily and mutually decided to get married to a population where the “couples” are often not even “couples” because one or both of them does not wish to marry the other. But that illogical and unsupportable extrapolation is exactly what AEIb relies on for its marriage promotion program. If you have even the most basic understanding of statistics and hypothesis testing you also know that one cannot “hold constant” for such characteristics. In jargon, these personal characteristics are what humans know and consider vital in deciding whether to marry and are inherently “unobservable” in statistical jargon to the social scientists conducting the study.
The illogic also explains the vagueness over just what the propaganda message should be to women. The obvious problem, except to “new paternalists” who are sure poor women are “crazy,” is that the women and men who decide to date but not to marry each other are in the best position to decide whether they mutually wish to get married. (The AEIb report assumes heterosexual couples, so I will use that example in my critique.) If they choose not to marry (and it only takes one to make that decision) who is in a better position to make that decision? Surely not any of the AEIb’s 15 members. What is the “marriage promotion” propaganda supposed to advise such a couple where one or both members believe that their marriage would be a tragic mistake? Even if we “new paternalists” somehow “knew” that the woman was wrong and she would be better off if she married the man she was dating but did not wish to marry, how would we convince her to marry him? (Of course, no human can “know” this.)
The men and women making the decision not to marry (unlike the AEIb 15) know that general statistics on the outcome of marriage are meaningless in their circumstances. Couples that do not wish to marry each other know that neither they, nor the AEIB’s self-anointed “new paternalists” can predict on the basic of statistics about couples that wish to marry what the couple’s experience would be were they to marry when they believed that such a marriage would be disastrous for them and their children.
We rarely listen to our mothers when they try to tell us we should or should not marry someone. Indeed, we mock anyone who listens to his or mother in some circumstances. In deciding whether we should marry a particular person, why would we listen to generalized government propaganda by people who did not know us or the person we were considering marrying?. Further, unlike our Mother, the AEIb members do not love us and indeed delight in “blaming” us. Would anyone seriously write the government propaganda script to say to poor women: “Don’t worry about whether you think marrying this particular man is a good idea or a terrible idea – marry him!” That would be crazy, intellectually dishonest, and illogical. The good news is that such propaganda advice would be ignored and mocked.
Here’s an example of the AEIb report’s logic falling apart (p. 22).
And not all of the very strong correlation between single parenthood and poverty reflects a causal effect of the former on the latter. Even so, there is little doubt that single parenthood does cause increased poverty; therefore, if single mothers got married, household income would be likely to rise and poverty to fall.35
They begin, properly, with an admission that causality can run in the opposite direction than they wish it did – that poverty plus racism in employment and housing, and in the criminal injustice system would lead to enormously higher rates of single parenthood. But they do not explore the powerful implications of that admission for it would logically require them to call for a guaranteed jobs/income program to those in poverty and that is contrary to their unacknowledged ideology.
They then use a “tell” – “there is little doubt.” That kind of language is usually a good indication that there is a lot of doubt, as indeed the studies cited in the footnote prove. But perhaps one percent of their readers will read the footnotes.
Still worse (and each of these three problems compounds) the “therefore” (a statement of formal logic) fails logically. It is not true under their own logic that “if single mothers got married household income would be likely to rise and poverty to fall.” Precisely the opposite would often be true. The AEIb methodology is inherently unsound in contrasting (overwhelmingly female) “single parents” in poverty marrying some fictional “average” male and statistics on couples that have mutually chosen to marry each other.
Who exactly is AEIb assuming the poor single mothers would marry? If she marries the guy she chose not to marry because he is an alcoholic, a gambler, a smoker, a drug user, lazy, unfaithful, dangerous to her kid, or on the edge of bankruptcy, then her income and wealth for her child and her over the course of the marriage is “likely to fall and poverty to fall.” She is also likely to be miserable. Her children may be at far greater risk. It is preposterous to assume that she can simply decide to marry Mr. Right. There is no basis for assuming that if she had a Mr. Right she would be unwilling to marry him (assuming he wanted to marry her).
AEIb has made the classic economic blunder of “assuming the can opener.” In this context, AEIb has implicitly assumed an unlimited supply of Mr. Rights who poor women could marry and who would love to marry those poor women. Yes, if poor women married these hypothetical Mr. Right suitors that AEIb assumes are seeking their “hands in marriage,” the women would typically improve their lives and the lives of their children. The further implicit assumption by AEIb is that poor women refuse to marry Mr. Right even when he is available and proposes. AEIb thinks that we need propaganda to convince poor women to stop being, as Mead labelled them, “crazy,” and to marry these omnipresent Mr. Rights who are desperately seeking poor black single mothers to marry, only to be constantly spurned. That is the unstated “logic” chain of AEIb. It could not be stated openly because it is so wacko that everyone would have laughed their study into oblivion upon reading their logic.
Once they stopped laughing however, the readers would have also realized that there is no such legion of Mr. Rights being spurned and that we need to make fundamental changes to our economy, rooting out bigotry, providing far more generous support for educating poorer kids, and fixing our criminal injustice system to create vastly more Mr. Rights. Again, there is a plentiful literature on this including by my spouse, June Carbone and Naomi Cahn in books such as Marriage Markets that any real study of the family and decisions to marry would draw on. AEIb’s members dread making the fundamental changes to the rigged system that are vital to deal with poverty in America. By p. 25 they are reporting facts that destroy their “logic” chain, but they ignore that self-destruction.
Some evidence suggests that young women are less willing to marry men who don’t have a steady source of income, meaning that a rising share of young black men may be seen as unmarriageable by young women.40 It’s hard to imagine a vibrant community with strong families and safe neighborhoods for children when half the young men who live there don’t have regular employment.
Wow, maybe poor women are not “crazy.” Maybe the economy and the criminal injustice system and social ills that poverty greatly increases make enormous portions of males “unmarriageable” because they would pose a serious risk of reducing income for the mom’s kids and risk producing losses, expenses, and debts that could cause the family’s finances to collapse. It also turns out that males often suffer psychologically from not having “regular employment” and do less homework when unemployed than they do when they are fully employed.
To fix the employment crisis that AEIb finally admits on p. 25, we would have had to (1) dramatically increased stimulus rather than use the financially illiterate austerity nostrums that AEIb spreads in this report and (2) adopt a federally funded job guarantee program. The AEIb admits (p. 52) that job programs were often successful, but thinks we should only start them after a severe recession has struck.
Another way to provide jobs is through public service employment. But such jobs are costly. They should be limited to serious economic downturns and should not support workers who could get regular employment in either government or the private sector. In other words, they should be truly jobs of last resort.
As readers of NEP are well aware, this is absurd for reasons my colleagues have explained at length. I will not repeat them here. The AEIb is ideologically incapable of doing anything foundationally progressive.
In any event, by p. 32 of the report AEIb is back to repeating its chorus that lies at the core of its logical chasm.
[C]hildren raised in single-parent families are nearly five times as likely to be poor as those in married-couple families.58 In part, this is the result of simple math: two parents, on average, have far greater resources to devote to raising children than does one parent attempting to raise children alone.
Single moms are back to being crazy, they can’t even do “simple math” about raising kids. Or, as I have explained, it might turn out in the real world they face and the men they might realistically be able to marry that the moms actually conduct a much more sophisticated and accurate risk analysis than AEIb’s members demonstrated they were capable of in their report.
Poor single moms know that it would be madness to use the AEIb’s “logic” of predicting the results of marrying Joe based on “the average” results of women marrying men who they wish to marry. The single moms often have no ability to “choose” to marry Joe, because Joe may not choose to marry them. Typically, the single mom chooses not to marry Joe, because she thinks he would be a terrible husband and father.
AEIb doubly stacks the deck by touting the “on average” benefits to couples who mutually choose to be married – and who then mutually decided to remain married, presumably becauxe they mutually find marriage to each other beneficial to them and their children. Marrying “loser Joe,” however cannot be predicted to, on average, prove beneficial for mom and her kids.
Again, AEIb’s implicit assumption is that single moms are irrationally refusing the proposals of Mr. Right and that the none-to-benevolent AEIb needs to educate them to say “Yes” to Mr. Right. This implicit assumption generates clunkers like this (p. 32): “All else equal, two sets of hands to help, hold, provide, and instruct are clearly better than one.” But singles moms choose not to marry losers because they know that the assumption “all else equal” is almost certainly false when it comes to marrying someone Mom has decided it would be disastrous to marry. AEIb repeatedly assumes that poor single moms are morons or crazy. If the hands that hold your child are those of a man who is addicted, drunk, depressed, violent, jealous, or simply careless then you and your child are vastly worse off. If the man cannot “provide” reliably because he cannot get steady employment or if even once every three years he crashes your car, falls down the stairs when he is drunk and breaks his leg, or loses his once steady job then he poses a critical threat to your ability to meet your and your kids’ needs. If he “instruct[s]” your child how to run drugs then he is a grave threat to your child.
Poor women make these choices every day. No one thinks any human being is strictly rational. Behavioral economics teaches vital truths about the ability of sellers of goods and investments to deceive and predate on people. I have never met anyone over 30 who does not look back and wonder what delusion led them to be enamored of someone that they now realize was terrible for them. Single poor moms are clearly making more sophisticated, realistic, and statistically valid projections than anyone on the AEIb was capable of doing in writing about this subject. Indeed, one of the stronger proofs of their bounded rationality is their refusal to marry most of the worst losers. The AEIb’s level of logic and analysis on marriage is downright embarrassing.
In the end, of course, the AEIb has nothing but empty words (and failed evaluations) for all its grand rhetoric about “marriage promotion.”
Many of the challenges are about culture more than legislation or programs. We believe nonetheless that there is a role for government, educational institutions, and opinion leaders. Our group has reached agreement on four cornerstones of a pro-family, pro-opportunity agenda. We need to:
1) Promote marriage as the most reliable route to family stability and resources;
2) Promote homemade blueberry pie made with fresh blueberries and butter crusts
OK, so I added the one about pie. Seriously? We need to promote marriage? To who? Why? Certainly not to “fight poverty.” The problem is not “culture.” You want more marriage – adopt a federal jobs guarantee program and pay people 50 cents per hour less than a (considerably higher) minimum wage and stop arresting folks for the use of drugs or possession of smaller quantities. Those changes would be transformative. There would be far more marriageable men, which is the real constraint as AEIb knows but refuses to say.
“Delayed, Responsible Childbearing” – AEIb Loves Progressives?
AEIb also wants to “promote delayed, responsible childbearing?” OK, zero problem for progressives. That’s what we do, as even Lawrence Mead admitted in his interview by Blankenhorn. (See Red Families v. Blue Families.) Run federal ads in red states lauding progressives’ “culture of responsibility” and touting the morning after pill. Do all of this under a Republican President. The “new paternalism” will die within a day of the first ad running in Iowa. Of course, the AEI criticized the contraceptive mandates of the Affordable Care Act, so perhaps they are not too serious about poorer citizens delaying childbearing. Or maybe AEIb wants to start a national virginity culture for unmarried adults. Good luck on that propaganda campaign.
The Lie about Marriage that AEIb Wants Us all to Spread
AEIb wants everybody telling poor black single women that they should marry the genetic father of their children, and that if they fail to do so they are irresponsible and endangering their children. They are to “blame” if their kids are poor because they failed to marry the genetic father.
Presidents, politicians, church leaders, newspaper columnists, business leaders, educators, and friends should all join in telling young people that raising kids jointly with the children’s other parent is more likely to lead to positive outcomes than raising a child alone (pp. 33-34).
There is the teensy tiny problem that AEIb is proposing that all of us, from the President down to everyone that sees a pregnant woman without a wedding band, should march up to her and tell her a lie. We are supposed to tell her that marrying the genetic father is what she should do. How do we know that? We know nothing about her, nothing about the genetic father, and nothing about other men she may wish to marry. According to AEIb, our total ignorance – contrasting to the single mom’s unique expertise on each of these critical subjects – is irrelevant. The “new paternalism” is even more arrogant than the old paternalism.
Let us count a few of the ways in which would go horribly wrong. First, what if the genetic father is her rapist? It might get slightly awkward when the President singles her out for a harangue on the need to marry her child’s genetic dad and she responds that he is in prison for raping her. On the plus side, it would probably mean that any President so demented that he signed on to AEIb’s fatuous propaganda campaign and its lies about marriage would never be elected to a second term.
Second, what if it’s the genetic dad who refuses to marry the pregnant poor woman? Dad is difficult to spot because he never “shows” even in the third trimester. But the pregnant poor woman is easy for the public to spot so she will get all the abuse by the public. Yahoos will be marching up to pregnant women and single moms to give them a piece of their minds about why she needs to marry the kid’s genetic dad. These public confrontations that AEIb wants to foment will add enormously to civility and amity. The single mom or pregnant woman may respond by bursting into tears because the genetic dad has no interest in marrying her. Other moms or pregnant women will tell the scold to mind their own damn business and explain that the genetic dad is a creep who cheated on her with her (former) best friend and stole $40 from her purse while she was busy washing his clothes. About this point, it might begin to dawn on the AEIb-inspired morality squad scold that she knows none of the facts essential to mom making the right decision while the mom likely knows all the essential facts. That insight might lead the moral police to realize a point that the AEIb “experts” never understood. Telling mom that she should marry someone she believes she should not marry is arrogant and stupid.
Third, there are all the reasons I’ve suggested earlier why marrying the genetic dad when he is Mr. Wrong is likely to prove disastrous for mom and her kids. .
Fourth, she may have met Mr. Right after getting pregnant by Mr. Wrong or by “Mr. I don’t love you.” It would be a terrible idea to marry Mr. Wrong or Mr. “I don’t love you” instead of Mr. Right.
Fifth, the genetic dad may be married, and marrying him would be a criminal act of bigamy.
Sixth, if one knew anything about American history, it might cause even AEIb’s “new paternalism” types to ask whether we really want to encourage a every white person to march over whenever they see a pregnant black woman, or a black woman with children, and interrogate them on whether they are married and whether they married the kids’ genetic dad.
This will get even worse if they learn that Mom had not married the genetic dad. If they follow the AEIb’s advice they will deliver a sermon to the single mom on her failings. The personality types most likely to act on AEIb’s advice are likely to be the most painful scolds. Consider how they will deliver their denunciations of mom’s failing in a screaming voice at the playground. In front of the kids, the kids’ friends, and everyone else at the playground they will be encouraged to pass judgment on how irresponsible Mom and “her kind” were and how Mom had condemned her kids to a life of poverty through her immoral lifestyle (complete with copious use of the word “slut”). The scolds will love to add that they have to pay through their taxes to subsidize the single Mom’s kids. The AEIb members, as exemplars of a superior culture, publicly congratulated themselves on the first page of text of their report for their civility to each other.
[We] worked together for fourteen months, drawing on principles designed to maximize civility, trust, and open-mindedness within the group. We knew that the final product would reflect compromises made by people of good will and differing views.
The AEIb members are smart enough to know the plague of incivility, close-mindedness, outright racism, nastiness, humiliation, denial of any presumption of good will on the part of poor women, and denunciation of any poor woman with “differing views” about the desirability of her marrying the genetic dad that their propaganda campaign would unleash. Look at the trolls that plague social media and then imagine the hellish trolling on-line and in our playgrounds that would be encouraged by the AEIb’s call for a nationwide mass media propaganda campaign against single poor women complete with presidential denunciations of single moms who “fail” to marry the genetic dads.
As Lawrence Mead, the dark prince of the AEIb advised in his interview, we have no choice but to “bring back stigma” to unwed Moms and humiliate them wherever we find them. I’m sure kids will not mind being described as “bastards” by everyone in the Tea Party. After all, we’re doing this out of love for the kids and our concern that they be saved from a life of poverty.
One caution, if Mom married Mr. Right, who was not the genetic dad, he might respond rather forcefully when you scream that his wife is a “slut” and his kids are “bastards.” Sadly, such political correctness runs amuck among lefties. The simple pleasures of slut-shaming are being lost.
AEIb wants everyone to do this everywhere, so store clerks, bus passengers, and everyone’s crazy Aunt or Uncle at Thanksgiving can join in competitive slut shaming under the flimsy faux noble cover of “giving you vital advice to save your kids from a life of poverty.” I’m in the same quandary the reader probably is by now. Are you more offended by AEIb’s stupidity, cruelty, or arrogance? Ah, trick question. The correct answer is: (d) all of the above. But remember the NYT’s Eduardo Porter is breathless with praise for this brave new world in which all of us will give stupid, ignorant advice on the most private of matters to poor pregnant women as part of our civic burden to lift up to our exalted cultural level these poor benighted savages.
How scandalously bad is AEIb? Not a single member was able to summon the moral courage, intellectual honesty, humanity, or even the minimal statistical and logical competence to publicly dissent from the vileness and idiocy of the AEIb report’s marriage propaganda claims and recommendation.
Poverty isn’t caused by economics, starting position, or discrimination. via Bill Black
Yet government subsidies for private credit creation favor the rich, the most so-called creditworthy, at the expense of the poor, the least so-called creditworthy. Is that not obvious? Then consider the plight of a worker whose job is eliminated via automation financed with her own legally stolen purchasing power? Because her employer is one of the most so-called creditworthy? Worthy to steal from his employees, do you think?
So why do Progressives ignore that fact of life? Because TINA? Says who?
Blueberry pie is only tolerable when accompanied by an adequate supply of vanilla ice cream.
These AEIb folks are the same “deficit scolds” that Paul Krugman used to skewer in his columns. Funny how they don’t seem to realize how declining public investment in education & infrastructure (a trend they seem to have no problem with) contributes to increased poverty.
It is easier to blame the poor people for their conditions and condescend to them, than to face the economic reality and admit their part in it…. Do you think you will ever hear Buffett say that he is at fault for colluding with the Banksters when they were forcing real estate appraisers to inflate the bubble, the banks for NINJA loans that flew in the face of common sense let alone any kind of underwriting standards, allowing the ratings agencies to fraudulently rate the financial instruments, and to top it off get a Federal Bailout of 25 billion for Wells Fargo…. I overpaid on my house because of personal circumstances and my mortgage interest was also inflated to the tune of 100,000 in the last 9 years which delayed my retirement and my ability to enjoy and participate in my grandchildrens lives…. And Blankfein has the brass cahones to say he is doing Gods work…. When God can do his work perfectly well by himself and Blankfein is just putting lipstick on a pig that stinks…..
Where are the sperm donators? You reap what you sow, sowing “your” seed comes with a minimum of 18 years of responsibility. Past time for men to man up.
Unless I missed a point of irony, I disagree with the point of paying job program participants 50 cents less than minimum wage. Sort of defeats the principle of paying a living wage.
The AEIb’s logic:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in want must soon possess a man of good fortune.”
Hmm, is that right? 🙂
Or is it a zombie idea?
This is the usual Right Wing type “solution” to social and economic problems, that is arrived at by asking the question “How can we justify spending zero dollars to solve social and economic problems experienced by people in the 99%? What “solution” can we come up with that costs zero dollars, or close to zero dollars?”
Apparently, their answer was “Put pressure on mothers to marry the fathers of their children, assuming that being married to the genetic fathers of their children will be heaven on earth– regardless of whether the fathers are unemployed or underpaid or drug addicted or imprisoned or mentally ill or abusive or whatever other reasons there may be for the woman to maintain independence from them. Sorry but there’s no money or focus available for mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, job or training programs, criminal justice reform etc.”
Right, marriage is the cure for every problem. That’s why no marriage ever ends in divorce.
“What “solution” can we come up with that costs zero dollars, or close to zero dollars?””
In their “research” for this “report” are stacks of available data from some ultra right-wing religious “think-tank” environs that espouse the “statistics” of poverty during the McCarthy Era of the 50’s, a time when marriage was the strict demand of heterosexual religious supremacy in US society, and divorce, alternatively, was often demonstrably and categorically punishable by society at large (housing, income, religious affiliation, et al.)
In other words, the AEIb report in question is reading like a Catholic Bishops Conference decree about their demands and vision for society’s architecture (hence, the emphasis on women with children and heterosexuality,) whilst not having so much as lifted a f*cking finger (read doing any actual work or spending any actual $’s) doing so.
The AEIb “report” is as lazy and sadistically religious as McCarthism was(is.)