By William K. Black
October 2, 2017 Kansas City, MO
This is the second column in my series about win-win strategies to strengthen the family and countering the conservative culture warriors who use the family as a means to oppose win-win solutions that bring people together. Mark Regnerus is one of the most notorious of these hard right culture warriors. He is the disgraced pseudo-scholar who right-wing groups funded to try to gin up evidence that same sex marriage harmed children. His efforts collapsed in an embarrassing spectacle that made clear that his dogmas rule his work.
Regnerus is back in the Wall Street Journal flogging his new book in an op ed entitled “Cheap Sex and the Decline of Marriage.” He introduces his thesis with the claim that because unmarried heterosexual women are willing to have sex, tens of millions of men are no longer willing to marry. If unmarried heterosexual women wish to improve their chances of getting married, they need to be virgins – and convince their sisters to remain virgins until marriage (at an average age of around 28 for college-educated women).
By William K. Black
Kansas City, MO September 25, 2017
The University of Missouri – Kansas City recently hosted the first conference on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and a closely associated idea, a federally-backed job guarantee for everyone willing and able to work. On September 25, 2017, the New York Times published an article exemplifying one of the applications of the job guarantee that would provide a win-win that should unite anyone interested in strengthening the family. The title is “How Did Marriage Become a Mark of Privilege?” Claire Cain Miller authored the column, and her key takeaway are in these two passages.
Fewer Americans are marrying over all, and whether they do so is more tied to socioeconomic status than ever before. In recent years, marriage has sharply declined among people without college degrees, while staying steady among college graduates with higher incomes.
Americans across the income spectrum still highly value marriage, sociologists have found. But while it used to be a marker of adulthood, now it is something more wait to do until the other pieces of adulthood are in place — especially financial stability. For people with less education and lower earnings, that might never happen.
These facts establish an obvious policy that could unite the public. The combination of MMT full employment policies and the job guarantee is the best way to strengthen family financial stability. The United States, which has a sovereign currency, can do that. The European Union nations that lack a sovereign currency will frequently be unable to do so. Jobs, not simply income, are essential to many humans’ happiness and sense of self-worth. Unemployed American men, for example, do less housework than do employed American men. Businesses are deeply reluctant to hire the unemployed, particularly if they have been unemployed for any significant time. The cliché of males responding to unemployment through depression has considerable truth.
By June Carbone
David Leonhardt, in a recent “Letter from the editor” in the New York Times, wades into the marriage debate. In the new guise of journalist as judge he pronounces that “liberals are wrong” on the relationship between inequality and the change in family structure. In the process, he misstates what the issue is about and gets the wrong answer to the question he does ask. He makes both mistakes because of an age old journalistic problem: those trained to meet the limited space of physical newspaper column are taught to turn a complex issue into a simple one: does inequality cause a change in family structure or does a change in family structure cause a change in inequality? Here is how Leonhardt initially frames the supposed debate as to which liberals are “wrong.”