Sunday, February 24, 2008

Some good news about the family: and a reality check

Nuclear Family Hardly Down for the Count, Says Census
Those who are quick to say that the traditional family is nearing extinction would be wise to check out the latest report from the Census Bureau. According to the most recent data, a majority of American children (70%) live in two-parent homes and the vast majority (90%) of those live with both of their biological parents. This means that of all American children, 63% are living with both their biological parents (60% married biological parents, 3% cohabiting biological parents). The other bit of good news is that the intact married family is getting stronger among Asian-Americans, where the proportion increased significantly between 2001 and 2004, from 76.4% to 80.5%--making the strongest family ethnic group even stronger yet. The rest of the news is not as optimistic. For all American children in all ethnic groups, there has been a slight decrease (1.4%) between 2001 and 2004 in the proportion living in the married, intact family. White American children are the second strongest group, after Asian-Americans, with 65.9% (down from 67.1%) living with their married, biological parents. Hispanics are next at 57.1 % (down from 58.2%) and African Americans last at 28.2 % (down from 29%). The data come from the SIPP (Survey of Income and Program Participation), a very detailed report produced periodically by the U.S. Census Agency.
This chart, drawing on this report (SIPP 2004) and an earlier one (SIPP 2001), was created by FRC Senior Fellow Dr. Patrick Fagan.
HT Family Research Council

Now, there are no accompanying economic facts in this article, so let Professor Velasquez extrapolate here. . . recent studies have shown that the quickest way into poverty isn't dropping out of high school. surprisingly, it's having a child out of wedlock. See this study by the Heritage Foundation and this article from the Coaltion for Marriage.
Look at who has the strongest families; Asians and whites. They are also the wealthiest. Remember that poverty is created by single parenthood in most cases here in the USA. In other nations, such as those of Africa and Latin America, the cards are stacked against the inhabitants ever achieving middle class comfort, but NOT HERE. That's precisely why we have so many immigrants.
As a social worker, I saw many women in poverty trying to climb out by means of education while raising children, and my heart broke for them. I also saw middle class married women with children abandoned by their husbands in mid-life crisis, who cleaned out the bank account to buy jewelry for their girlfriends, while the ex-wife wondered where their next meal was coming from. They were living in basements of the type of homes they used to own. I saw firsthand how immorality causes poverty in this nation.
President Bush understands this, and has tried to support initiatives to encourage couples to marry and to strengthen marriages. For this he was reviled by the liberals as a religious zealot. Former Senator from Pennysylvania, Rick Santorum, in his bestselling book, "It Takes a Family:Conservatism and the Common Good" goes into great detail about such programs which have worked, even in the most blighted minority communities of this nation. He refers to the Catholic tenet of subsidiarity described here by David Bosnich of the Acton Institute:
"One of the key principles of Catholic social thought is known as the principle of subsidiarity. This tenet holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization. In other words, any activity which can be performed by a more decentralized entity should be. This principle is a bulwark of limited government and personal freedom. It conflicts with the passion for centralization and bureaucracy characteristic of the Welfare State.
This is why Pope John Paul II took the “social assistance state” to task in his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus. The Pontiff wrote that the Welfare State was contradicting the principle of subsidiarity by intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility. This “leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.”

Mr Bosnich continues by voicing his frustration at how the American bishops, (nicknamed "The Democratic Party at prayer) continue to support the Welfare State in their public policy statements, and decry any chipping away of the overgrown, ineffective welfare state.
Why was welfare reform so succesful? Because it empowered the poor, by letting them take responsiblity for their own lives. Any job, no matter how humble, brings a sense of personal pride to it's holder. Any marriage, no matter how contentious, is beneficial to the children involved ( note: physical abuse of course is NEVER tolerable).

Bottom line; following God's laws of marriage and work lead to happiness and prosperity. What a concept!

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