Meanwhile, paying for Euro-style benefits leaves families groaning under punitive tax burdens and stagnating economies: Since 1970, America has created 57 million new jobs, while the entire EU has created just 5 million. Forty percent of unemployed Europeans have been out of work for more than a year, compared to just 6 percent in the United States.
Why do Euro-family supports fail to support the family? Here is what I suspect (and research suggests): Subsidized child care and paid leaves actually function to maximize female labor force participation. They signal to women (and husbands) that a few months off is all that women and children need, actually discouraging family-centered women from reorganizing work and family to devote themselves to home. Meanwhile, no combination of subsidies can get around the fact that each child a mother has makes it harder to commit full energies to the work force. A society that does not support married mothers' work in home, family and community finds that married mothers limit their childbearing to just one child. It is a lot safer and easier that way.
American-style family tax benefits, by contrast, seem to do a better job of protecting family income, allowing married women to have the children they want, and encouraging an economy of gratitude within the family.
The American family has many critical problems, certainly, but why look to the failed policies of a shrinking civilization for answers?
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.
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