Aug 27, 2020
Under the heading “A fair chance for children” the New York Times editorial board recommends four measures to help low-income kids: create government-funded savings accounts for newborns, provide universal pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds, “spend more” on educating poor children, and get rid of lead water pipes.
Getting rid of lead pipes, where that hasn’t been done, is clearly a good idea. The others may or may not be. My point here, though, is that all four boil down to the familiar formula of the third: “spend more.” Money is the answer.
The Times editorial board’s list says nothing – not a word – about the ongoing disaster reflected in the following numbers: In 2017, nearly 40% of all children born in the United States were born to unmarried mothers (whites – 28.4%, Hispanics – 52.1%, blacks – 69.4%). By comparison, the overall figure in 1970 was a – relatively speaking – puny 10.7%.
Should this upward trend in births out of wedlock simply be ignored? Social science studies have repeatedly shown that children growing up without fathers are at risk of suffering an alarming array of economic, social, and psychological harms. Too bad the collective wisdom of the Times editorial board couldn’t find anything to say about giving kids in this situation “a fair chance.”
But let’s not single out the Times for criticism. How are marriage and the family faring in America generally these days?