Is America’s Debt Crisis Caused by Our Marital Crisis?


Isn’t it strange that when you talk with a young, recently married couple that one economic reason for finally tying the knot is that it costs less for two people to share a home, furniture, etc. than it does for two separate people. So, why is it you never hear people talking about getting a divorce discuss how much more expensive it is going to be to bust up their home. Well, it turns out that the damage done to the economy extends far beyond simple living arrangements.

A new study by Henry Potrykus, Patrick Fagan, Robert Schwarzwalder titled “Our Fiscal Crisis: We Cannont Tax, Spend, and Borrow Enough to Substitute for Marriage” explores the economic costs of the breakdown of the family:

Three facts shape our on-going fiscal crisis: Government revenues come from the taxation of our economy. Our economic growth is and will continue to be a fraction of that of the pre-1960’s era because of the breakdown in marriage. All the while, more citizens are pushed into dependency on this government, again because of marriage breakdown.

This slowdown in economic growth coupled with the increased numbers of dependent citizens makes closing the deficit impossible for President Obama or anyone else who uses the present welfare state as the economic model to be sustained. It cannot be. This reality arises from two facts: 1) We have proportionately fewer children 2) Up to 20 percent of these children are unequipped to compete in the modern economy because of a lack of essential skills formed within the intact married family . . .

Because larger families are a greater contribution to the economy than smaller families, U.S. family planning policies have undermined the U.S. economy. The sensible economic policy is to grow intact, stable married families instead of favoring sexual unions that are not child-centered.

  1. A sane government would work to reverse all laws, policies and programs that undermine fertile marriage such as no fault-divorce, abortion, education formation of high-school students in extra-marital sexual intercourse, and family planning services that have resulted in a massive increase in single-parent families, and the loss of well over 50 million workers.
  2. Tax policies should support rather than penalize marriage and family formation.

The long-range solution to our economic difficulties is to grow intact married families rather than growing government.

You know, there are very practical reasons why marriage is a 4,000 year-old institution. Marriage is not some ideology based on flimsy evidence. There will be a price paid for our flippant attitude toward marriage . . . though I think it will take more than a change in government policies to bring back marriage. People will have to take a long, deep look into their souls and make real changes. Going back to church would be a start.

Stay-At-Home Moms are Not Keynesians

Part of the cowling for one of the motors for a B-25 bomber is assembled in the engine department of North American [Aviation, Inc.]'s Inglewood, Calif., plant  (LOC)

Patrick Fagan, former Heritage Foundation scholar who is now with The Family Research Council writes about a little known fact about GDP titled “The Family GDP: How Marriage and Fertility Drive the Economy” which can be found in the Spring 2010 issue of The Family in America.  That little known fact has to do with the unpaid human capital that stay-at-home moms contribute to the economy.  If you didn’t know it already, “Moms are the Engine of the Economy.”  If you need to be convinced, Mr. Fagan’s article could help you down the road to conversion.  The link to the journal is here and you can read part of his article on The Ruth Institute blog here.

Brandon Dutcher, VP of Policy at The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs wrote an op-ed in The Oklahoman referencing Fagan’s article.  Quoting Dutcher in his op-ed who is quoting Fagan:

“The married homemaker who focuses her attention on the children, hearth and home has rarely been acknowledged for the economic force that she is,” Fagan says. “Paraphrasing Teddy Roosevelt, who rebutted those who claimed she is a parasite, the married mother at home is the economy.”

How so? “First, she raises the future labor force; second, her at-home labor saves the family money; and third, by tending to details on the home front, she both allows and motivates her husband to be fully committed to his occupation, job or profession.”

Fagan says the Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker once suggested to him that “the married mother at home exerts a more far-reaching impact on the economy than the married father in the workplace” (emphasis mine). After all, “the mother contributes to both the present and future economy, but especially the future through the more highly productive children she raises.”

Fagan also states that mothers contribute the necessary next generation of human capital to the economy.  In my humble opinion, this is the gift that keeps on giving.  The high quality human capital that stay-at-home moms contribute creates a stable and durable economy.  Stay-at-home moms are in it for the long-run.  Mom’s efforts pay dividends in the future if she raises high-quality kids and this effort is duplicated throughout generations.  However, if we teach our daughters to be workers instead of mothers, we increase the number of Keynesians.  And thus, we have women who want to raise up government instead of children.