AEIdeas

The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute

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Discussion: (2 comments)

  1. Benjamin Cole

    “How to encourage stable, two-parent families is one of the knottiest public policy problems”–James P.

    As a public policy matter, I am not sure I agree with this premise.

    Perhaps personally I do—even how we encourage stronger extended families, of grandparents and uncles and aunts etc.

    But as a matter of public policy, social engineering is a slippery slope. Who decides on the engineering?

    And who is to say polygamy is not a better way to raise families, especially if Tyler Cowan is right?

    Are the Amish wrong in their communal dining arrangements and communism?

    If group housing works for some, is that not their business?

    Should we encourage child-less gay marriages? Are three gay guys pooling their resources and living high to be taxed more or less than another household with the same income?

    Families and church attendance have taken a beating in the last 40 years in the USA, yet we have higher living standards and lower crime rates than ever—so why are we worried about either?

    I would argue for the lowest taxes possible, and an end to any sort of marriage penalties.

    But pro-family and pro-housing policies (including the biggest market distortion of all, the mortgage income tax deduction) are perversions of a fair tax system.

    Remember: separation of church and state is always best. If you believe in two-parent families, that’s great and use your resources or other private-sector implements to promote two-parent marriages.

    But leave my wallet out of it!

  2. This is too materialist of a view. The biggest discourager of marriage among lower to middle income earners are state assistance for unwed mothers and the proliferation of “reproductive technologies” (i.e., sex without consequences), which allow women to circumvent their biology to pursue the dream of “having it all.”

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