This federal welfare apparatus consists of 69 means-tested programs: 12 programs providing food, 10 for housing assistance, 10 for social services, nine for educational assistance, eight programs giving cash, eight for vocational training, seven for medical assistance, three for energy and utility assistance and two for child care and child development.
What is now called the hidden welfare state (because so few Americans know about its enormity) is the fastest growing component of government spending, and this does not include Social Security or Medicare payments. The total of these means-tested handouts is greater than what we are paying for our entire public school system and greater than what we spend on national defense.
We have just learned, for example, that 2.3 million illegal aliens, who worked U.S. jobs in 2010, paid no federal income taxes but collected $4 billion from the U.S. Treasury in tax credit money.
The number one reason people are below the poverty line is what a group in St. Louis labels "marriage absence." They have created a new organization called the Center for Marriage Policy to design for Missouri a model to deal with this problem. At a conference this October to launch its proposals, its founder David Usher said, "Marriage absence is driving America's greatest problems, including out-of-control spending, much of the home-loan foreclosure crisis, poverty, children who fail in school, lack of health care coverage, and personal bankruptcy."
The institution of marriage as the union of one man and one woman has been fundamental to America ever since the founding of our nation. The famous French commentator Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in the mid-19th century: "There is certainly no country in the world where the tie of marriage is more respected than in America."
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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