[The Model Cities Program was an element of U.S. President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and War on Poverty. In 1966, new legislation led to the more than 150, five-year long, Model Cities experiments to develop new antipoverty programs and alternative forms of municipal government. The ambitious federal urban aid program succeeded in fostering a new generation of mostly black urban leaders.]
A portion or rather ‘condition’ of the access to “aid” from the Model Cities program that burst entitlement spending into the stratosphere was the necessity of there not being a man in the house in order for women to gain access to certain streams of aid. Since the programs were targeted toward inner-city urban communities, this requirement of course disproportionately affected black women/mothers/families. Now, 50 years later and with an out-of-wedlock birthrate of 73% in the black community – we are reaping the fruits of those horrible, horrible seeds.
In 1993, pondering the sad plight of the 20 million American children growing up without their fathers in the home, Charles Murray identified “illegitimacy as the single most important social problem of our time…because it drives everything else.” Last year, the U.S. illegitimacy rate had grown to 41%, among whites it was 29%.
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% 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 $950 billion, more than we are spending on national defense, and most of these programs subsidize non-marriage.
The 69 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 Lunch, School Breakfast, Summer Food, SSI, Headstart and S-CHIP. The Heritage Foundation estimates that these benefits amount to $16,800 per person in poverty.
The financial subsidies that encourage non-marriage are the biggest reasons 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 cohabitating parent than with parents who are married to each other. The poverty rate for single parents with children is 37%, but only 6% for married couples with children. At the same time that it forces government to become the financial provider for millions of children and their caregivers, it reduces the government’s tax receipts to pay for the handouts.
Income tax day now divides us into two almost equal classes: those who work for their income and those who just vote for their income. In 2009, 47% paid no federal income taxes, and the bottom 40% receive cash or benefits financed by the 53% who do pay income taxes.
Among other unfortunate effects, the trends toward non-marriage and toward same-sex marriage are a direct attack on fathers. The bond between a child and his mother is an obvious fact of nature, but marriage is the relationship that established the link between a child and his father.
Since the federal government created the child-support bureaucracy, the majority of divorces have been initiated by women. They confidently expect that pro-feminist family courts will award them a steady income for which they will never be held accountable.
The more child support that divorced fathers are ordered to pay, the more federal funds flow thirough the hands of the states, which compete for federal bonuses given to states that collect the most child support. It is profitable to state bureaucrats to make sure that fathers are permitted to see the own children only a few days per month so support payments can be set at the highest possible level.
Women have discovered they can use a request for an Order of Protection against their husband as “the gamesmanship of divorce” (in the words of the Illinois Bar Journal) in order to get sole child custody plus generous so-called child support. It’s easy to get such Orders without any evidence of abuse or even a threat, without notice to the husband, and with no danger of prosecution for perjury. Federal and state laws and subsidies that undermine marriage are the biggest fiscal as well as cultural issue of our times.