As politicians compete to prove who loves the middle class more, they’re missing the elephant and the donkey in the room.
This is the finding of a new University of Virginia and Institute for American Values report, “The State of Our Unions,” which tracks the decline of marriage among the nearly 60 percent of Americans who have high school but not college educations. This has far-reaching repercussions that are not only societal but economic as well. By one estimate cited in the report, which was written by five family scholars, the cost to taxpayers when stable families fail to form is about $112 billion annually — or more than $1 trillion per decade.
Obviously, marriage or the lack thereof isn’t the only cause of our deficit spending, but neither is it irrelevant. Consider that in the 1980s, only 13 percent of children were born outside of marriage among moderately educated mothers. By the end of this century’s first decade, the number had risen to 44 percent.