Jonah Goldberg

Put aside the arguments about traditional "family values." The simple fact is that two parents who wait to have kids will have more time and money to invest in their kids, and the kids will benefit as a result. Single moms with two jobs don't have time to play catch with, or teach the infield fly rule to, their kids.

The decline of marriage among low- and middle-income Americans is a crisis afflicting all ethnicities. But among prosperous whites, marriage is doing pretty well. And the evidence has steadily mounted that marriage is a big source of that prosperity.

Fewer than 1 in 10 births to college-educated women happen outside of wedlock, according to the group Child Trends, while for women with high school degrees or less, the number is close to 6 out of 10.

As Richard Ralph Banks demonstrates in "Is Marriage for White People?," the same cannot be said of blacks. Contrary to widespread perceptions, marriage is not all that popular among middle- and upper-class blacks either. Black women, Banks reports, long for traditional family structures, but black men -- even college-educated black men -- for a variety of complex reasons are more ambivalent about it.

As Moynihan learned, speaking honestly about the state of the black family is politically explosive, even when done with the best of intentions. But if there is one person in America with the moral and political standing to have a transformative and beneficial impact on that conversation, it's Barack Obama, a dedicated father and the most successful black man in American history. Nixon went to China. Maybe Obama can go to black America for something more than votes every four years.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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