Murray was whistling in the wind. Last year, the U.S. illegitimacy rate had grown to 41 percent, and among whites it was 29 percent.
Prior to Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, husbands and fathers provided for their families. The 1.7 million out-of-wedlock babies born last year and their unmarried moms now look to Big Brother as their financial provider.
The left is content to let this problem persist because 70 percent of unmarried women voted for Barack Obama for president. They vote for the party that offers the richer subsidies.
Means-tested welfare handouts cost federal taxpayers $700 billion last year (not counting programs into which people pay, such as Social Security and Medicare). Spending by the states raises the annual total to nearly $900 billion -- more than we are spending on national defense -- and most of these programs subsidize non-marriage.
The 77 means-tested programs include Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), food stamps, housing subsidies, Medicaid, daycare, WIC, EITC (which can be as much as $5,657 a year to low-income families), school lunches, school breakfasts, summer food, SSI, Head Start and S-CHIP. The Heritage Foundation estimates that these benefits amount to $16,800 per person in poverty.
Ronald Reagan's advice is still on target. If we subsidize something, we'll get more of it; if we tax it, we'll get less.
The financial subsidies that encourage non-marriage are the biggest reason why federal spending is out of control. There is no way to make significant cuts in the federal deficit unless we address the marriage-absence problem.
Poverty is massively greater for children living with a single, divorced or cohabiting parent than with parents who are married to each other. The poverty rate for single parents with children is 37 percent, but only 6 percent for married couples with children.
Marriage breakdown is a double-edged sword. At the same time that it forces government to become the financial provider for millions of children and their caregivers, it also reduces the government's tax receipts to pay for the handouts.
Income tax day now divides us into two almost equal classes: those who pay for government services and freeloaders. In 2009, 47 percent paid no federal income taxes, and the bottom 40 percent receive cash or benefits financed by the 53 percent who do pay income taxes.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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