| January 28,
How To Cut Government Deficit: Reduce Demand
By Mike McManus
Every House Republican voted against Obama's $819 billion bailout. But
they failed to suggest persuasive ways to reduce its costs. Here's a suggestion
for Senate Republicans that might be persuasive with Democrats.
The primary way to cut federal costs is to reduce the number of recipients
of welfare, Food Stamps, Medicaid, etc. How?
A major engine of demand for federal programs is divorce. More than a
million couples divorce annually, shattering the lives of one million children.
A woman who is married has a one percent chance of being poor, but 24% of
divorced women fall into poverty. Divorced families do not boost the economy.
They don't buy cars, take vacations or consume as much as intact 'families.
Reducing the divorce rate would stimulate the economy while cutting
Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation estimates that half of federal
antipoverty costs come from divorce. (The rest is caused by unwed parenting.)
Heritage's report, "Fiscal Analysis -- Single Parent Families" - estimates the
cost of single mothers and children is huge -- $230 billion. .
The problem is that No Fault Divorce laws in 49 states allow one spouse to
declare the marriage is "irretrievably broken." However, in four out of five
cases, the other spouse disagrees, arguing the marriage IS salvageable.
Nevertheless, No Fault forces the divorce every time.
No Fault destroys America's most important institution, the family. And
it is a drag on the economy. Only lawyers benefit.
The first No Fault Divorce law was signed by then Gov. Ronald Reason of
California in 1969. Ironically, he got a divorce he did not want from Jane
Wyman. Michael Reagan, their son, wrote in Twice Adopted, "Divorce is where two
adults take everything that matters to a child - the child's home, family,
security, and sense of being loved and protected - and they smash it all up,
leave it in ruins on the floor, then walk out an leave the child to clean up the
Here's a simple solution. If the couple has minor children, both the
mother and father would be required to give written consent to the divorce,
unless there is solid evidence of major fault, such as persistent infidelity or
Divorce Attorney John Crouch, Director of Americans for Divorce Reform, favors a
Modified No Fault Law requiring Mutual Consent of parents of young children.
Why?: "A large proportion of divorces would be avoided altogether, and most of
the rest would be settled out of court. Divorces would be fairer to both parties
with less legal fees. I believe it could reduce divorce rates as much as 50
percent. Changing the rules about ending a marriage would prevent a lot of
marriages from breaking down in the first place. They would not only influence
the decision to divorce, but the behavior and choices that lead to divorce."
Since divorce is the cause of half of all single mothers with children
who are in poverty, the cost to American taxpayers is $115 billion. About
three-quarters of that cost is federal, $88 billion. If the divorce rate could
be cut in half, the Federal Government would save about $44 billion. Equally
important, a half million kids a year would not experience a parental divorce.
That alone would save additional billions. For example, children of divorce are
three times as apt to have a child as an unwed teenager. That mother then goes
on welfare, adding to future costs, not included in the $44 billion figure.
Divorce laws are a state responsibility. What can Washington do to
encourage the states to enact a law giving both parents a voice on divorce?
When Welfare Reform was passed in 1996, Washington paid $16.5 billion for
public assistance. The governors asked that that be repackaged as a block grant
to states, which would not be cut even if welfare rolls fell. Welfare rolls did
plunge 60%. However, the unchanged block grant now givies states a $10 billion
"Welfare Reform Surplus."
Senate Republicans could propose that $1 billion of that sum, 10% of each
state's share, be withheld until each state passes laws to give both parents of
young children a voice on divorce. Odds are, every state will pass enabling
Evidence? Mothers Against Drunk Driving persuaded the Congress to
withhold 10% of federal highway funding to states in 1984 until they raised the
age at which liquor could be sold to young people form 18 to 21. Every state
passed the law and none lost federal funding. The result: drunk driving deaths
fell from 30,600 to 17,600! Law CAN promote morality!
Therefore, the Congress should amend welfare to withhold 10% from each
state's share, until it modifies No Fault with Mutual Consent for couples with
young children. Some 500,000 kids a year won't experience the pain and
abandonment Michael Reagan described. With one house instead of two, their
parents will have money to spend more productively, stimulating the economy.
For 60 years Gallup Polls reported that two-thirds of Americans believe
it is too easy to get divorced. If Senate Republicans take a step to cut
America's divorce rate in half, they will earn credit for strengthening the
American family and earn the appreciation of American voters, who will not
forget their leadership.
Republicans do not have the votes to stop the Obama plan. But they could
insist on a way to cut costs by lowering the demand for government services.
That will stimulate the economy while building a nation of stronger families.
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Why Have "Religious Nones" Tripled?
Norma McCorvey Roe of Roe v. Wade
The Worst Valentine: Cohabitation
Pornography: A Public Health Hazard
Christianity Gives Women Equal Opportunity
Sextortion Kills Teens
Assisted Suicide Is Growing
same sex marriage,
abortion and infanticide,