Ari Fleischer: Marriage Can Solve Income Inequality

Image: Ari Fleischer: Marriage Can Solve Income Inequality

Monday, 13 Jan 2014 03:24 PM

By Courtney Coren

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The key to solving the income inequality problem in the country is marriage, not income redistribution, Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for President George W. Bush, writes in The Wall Street Journal.

"If President Obama wants to reduce income inequality, he should focus less on redistributing income and more on fighting a major cause of modern poverty: the breakdown of the family," Fleischer writes.

Citing census data analyzed by the Beverly LaHaye Institute, the former press secretary explains that in 2012 only 7.5 percent of two-parent families lived in poverty compared with 33.9 percent headed by a single mother.

Fleischer says that a key problem is that more children are now born out of wedlock than previous generations, giving children and families less of a chance from the start.

For example, in 1964 only 7 percent of children were born to a single parent compared to 41 percent who were born out of wedlock in 2010, according to The Heritage Foundation.

"Attitudes toward marriage and having children have changed in America over the past 50 years, and low-income children and their mothers are the ones who are paying the price," he writes. "The statistics make clear what common sense tells us: Children who grow up in a home with married parents have an easier time becoming educated, wealthy and successful than children reared by one parent."

He also adds that poverty is not a problem that can be solved by income redistribution.

"If redistributing money could solve the problem, the $20.7 trillion in 2011 dollars the government has spent on welfare programs since 1964 — when President Johnson declared the 'war on poverty' — would have eliminated income inequality a long time ago," Fleischer explains.

He concludes that the marriage inequality problem is what politicians should be focused on when talking about how to best help the poor, not increasing taxes, which does little to help.

"A better and more compassionate policy to fight income inequality would be helping the poor realize that the most important decision they can make is to stay in school, get married and have children — in that order."

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