Ari Fleischer talks up marriage as the panacea to push back against income inequality:
How to Fight Income Inequality: Get Married
In families headed by married couples, the poverty level in 2012 was just 7.5%. Those with a single mother: 33.9%.
By Ari Fleischer Jan. 12, 2014 6:07 p.m. ET
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. A man mostly raised by a single mother and his grandparents who defied the odds to become president of the United States is just the person to take up the cause.
"Marriage inequality" should be at the center of any discussion of why some Americans prosper and others don't. According to Census Bureau information analyzed by the Beverly LaHaye Institute, among families headed by two married parents in 2012, just 7.5% lived in poverty. By contrast, when families are headed by a single mother the poverty level jumps to 33.9%.
And the number of children raised in female-headed families is growing throughout America. A 2012 study by the Heritage Foundation found that 28.6% of children born to a white mother were out of wedlock. For Hispanics, the figure was 52.5% and for African-Americans 72.3%. In 1964, when the war on poverty began, almost everyone was born in a family with two married parents: only 7% were not.
To which I say "Yes, but" and "Furthermore".
First, these statistics don't separate correlation and causation. Maybe men and women inclined to get married are also more competent at other indicators of planning ability and impulse control, and hence more capable of achieving a higher educational and vocational status.
Furthermore, Obama, or at least ObamaCare, is at war with working class marriage. Given the structure of available subsidies relative to marital status, a middle-income couple with a stay-at-home spouse really owes it to their children to get a divorce.
And the Obamacare subsidies impose a noticiable marriage penalty on two-income couples as well. For example, imagine two 30 year old non-smoking spouses both earning $30,000 per year, with two kids. Per this Kaiser Permanente subsidy estimator and using national averages, this family of four is eligible for annual health insurance subsidies of $4,061.
But now suppose they run the numbers, get a divorce and each takes custody of one child. An adult with one child earning $30,000 per year is eligible for subsidies of $2,688 per year; multiply that by two and our divorced "family" is collecting $5,376 in subsidies, an increase of $1,315 per year. That may not be enough to prompt a divorce but it certainly might prompt a couple thinking about tying the knot to live together in unwedded but more heavily subsidized bliss.
In short, Obama is paying low and middle-income people more if they avoid marriage. Is this really sound social policy? I would guess not. But it is politics as usual for the party that thinks a woman's most meaningful long term relationship is with the state.