The slow growth economy under Obama has added to the burdens of all mothers, though, and this shows up in surveys about how much women would like to work. A 2007 Pew survey found that only 21 percent of mothers described their "ideal" situation as working full-time. In 2012, 37 percent said they'd like full-time work. In 2007, 60 percent said part-time work was their ideal. By 2012, 50 percent said so. More than twice as many men as women lost jobs during the recession, and women's interest in work may reflect the state of the family's finances more than anything else.
But what are we to make of the ever-swelling population of women who don't have the luxury of part-time work because they chose to bear and raise children alone?
Pew tells us something unsurprising -- the younger you are, the more likely that you are an enabler of this socially suicidal pattern. Seventy-four percent of those aged 50 and older say the rising number of single mothers is a big problem. The percentages decline steadily with the ages of respondents. Only 42 percent of those aged 18 to 29 think single parenting by choice is a big problem.
Some liberals, like President Obama, pay lip service to the importance of fathers. "I was raised by a heroic single mother" he told Morehouse graduates, "but I still wish I had a father who was not only present but involved." That's helpful, but liberalism has been the consistent cheerleader for burying the old stigmas that kept families intact. Liberals don't mind if you want to have an intact family, but they bristle at the notion that you might recommend it for everyone. Katie Roiphe, for example, delights in the fact that 53 percent of the babies born to women under 30 are illegitimate. "If there is anything that currently oppresses the children," she wrote recently in The New York Times, "it is the idea of the way families are 'supposed to be' ..."
Roiphe is partially right -- ideas can be oppressive. Liberal ideas are undermining marriage and condemning millions of children to unnecessary poverty, instability and unhappiness.