USA Today published one of its colorful front pages last week detailing how America has not only grown dramatically in population over the last two decades, but has radically changed ethnically, geographically and culturally. The most costly of the many changes is the fact that having children has become increasingly detached from marriage.
Illegitimate births for all Americans have risen from 26 percent in 1990 to 41 percent today "and could be headed higher." Among Hispanics, illegitimacy is 53 percent, among blacks it's 73 percent and among whites it has risen to a shocking 29 percent.
This extraordinary change is the primary reason that government budgets, both federal and state, are so bloated. Without fathers to provide for these millions of children, their mothers turn to "big brother government."
The economist Robert J. Samuelson recently concluded that, "the welfare state is winning the budget war." The bipartisan budget deal, which slashed our military budget but kept welfare-state handouts mostly off limits, turned out to be "a triumph of the welfare state over the Pentagon."
The Heritage Foundation reports that 77 types of federal means-tested handouts already cost $522 billion-per-year before Obama took office. He increased this giant amount to $697 billion-per-year in the first half of his term. Now, half of Americans depend, in whole or in part, on government handouts for their living expenses, paid by the other half who pay income taxes.
That was exactly what Obama planned to do when he told Joe the plumber he wanted to redistribute the wealth and told Chicago's WBEZ-FM that his favorite Supreme Court Chief Justice, Earl Warren, wasn't radical enough because the Warren Court "never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth."
Estimates are that, over the next decade, the federal government will spend $7.5 trillion on means-tested welfare. That's in addition to the nearly $200 billion a year doled out by the states.
In Ronald Reagan's famous caveat, when you subsidize something you get more of it. So the subsidies to women who have no husbands in the house, have promoted more and more children growing up without fathers.
The American public has been alerted to the effects of family breakup ever since Daniel Patrick Moynihan's 1965 report called "The Negro Family: The Case for National Action." We can now see clearly that giving cash and benefits to single moms, beginning with Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, destroyed families by making fathers unnecessary and created a barrier to the women receiving free money.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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