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January 29, 2014
Column #1,692
The Need: "A Married Mom and Dad"
By Mike McManus

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama said that one of the best “investments we can make in a child’s life is a high quality education.”

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, demurred: “Mr. President, you neglected to mention the very best investment in a child’s life – a married mom and dad.”

He cited a new Harvard study proving that children of married parents are much more likely to be able to move up the income ladder than those of single parents. An intact family is better off financially than one that is broken. Its children do better in school and graduate college in greater numbers than those from non-intact homes.

Obama asserted that “the best measure of opportunity is access to a good job.” Perkins responded, “No, Mr. President, it is a married mom and dad.

He added, “President Obama’s remarks didn’t address a key reason our economy is just bumping along – the continued dissolution of the American family. Only 45 percent of our 17-year-old children have grown up in an intact married family. The mother and father of the remaining 55 percent have at some time rejected each other as husband and wife.”

Either they never married or they divorced. Unwed births are now 41 percent of all births, and America’s divorce rate is the highest of any industrialized nation.

Children of broken homes are three times as likely as those from intact homes to be expelled from school or to get pregnant as teenagers. They are six times more apt to live in poverty and 12 times more likely to be incarcerated, according to the Heritage Foundation.

Unfortunately, federal programs exacerbate these differences. For example if an unmarried couple has children, she is eligible for about $25,000 of benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps, the Earned Income Tax Credit and housing subsidies. Obamacare similarly skews benefits to the unmarried, not married couples. If the couple marries, they lose those benefits.

No wonder the percentage of adults who are married has plunged from 67 percent in 1960 to only 48 percent today.

The President was correct in asserting that “corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled.”

He called once again for a higher minimum wage, saying that “no one who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.” He noted that in the last year five states have raised their minimum wage above the U.S. level of $7.25 an hour. In December, fast-food workers walked off their jobs in a day of strikes for better pay.

Two-thirds of Americans agree with an increase in the minimum, as do I. But the President was silly to pledge raising the minimum of corporations with federal contracts, virtually all of whom pay far above the minimum.

I also applaud Obama’s call “to fix our broken immigration system.” He said,” When people come here to fulfill their dreams – to study, invent and contribute to our culture – they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone.”

Even Republicans seem open to legalizing the nation’s 11 million undocumented aliens.

Predictably, Obama defended his Affordable Care Act which he said is about “the peace of mind that if misfortune strikes, you don’t have to lose everything.” He mentioned Amanda Shelley, a physician’s assistant who had to undergo surgery six days after she signed up.

However, Obamacare undermines religious freedom. All employers must offer not only free contraceptives but also sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs – even Catholic hospitals and universities. Jane Belford, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Washington, charges, “We must violate our religious beliefs or face crippling fines and penalties of at least $4.2 million a year.”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York told CBS: “This is about religious liberty. The President says it is about women’s health. This is about religious freedom, not about contraception.”

Fortunately, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving two companies whose owners object on grounds of religious liberty. And dozens of additional cases are in the courts.

As Tony Perkins puts it, “Mr. President, it is not an American value to trample someone else’ conscience. It is not an American value to use the federal government to undermine the will of the people in states that believe marriage is between a man and a woman and that children do best with a mom and a dad.”

Obama ignores the importance of faith and marriage.

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