Happy Valentine’s Day! Let’s talk about
We all know the sanctity of marriage is under attack, but the federal government has been fighting back for more than a decade the only way it knows how: with money.
Now a study has been released showing what more than $600 million spent on the Healthy Marriage Initiative over a decade can do to save marriages in this country.
As you can see from the chart above, the Loch Ness monster rises above the water line, which apparently scares off married couples. Seriously, people, make some pie charts.
But that must be what happened, because despite all that money, marriage rates continued to dip from 2000-2010 and divorce rates stayed level. Even the massive surge in spending in 2007 didn’t have an impact. It didn’t matter what the money was spent on, and they tried everything: education, counseling, even advertising (despite the fact that the private sector has cornered that market and created perfection).
The money was spent on local programs, so the study also tracked how much money was spent state by state, but still found no connection between money spent and marriage and divorce rates.
Critics say the programs weren’t meant to change statewide rates but instead strengthen existing relationships. But when looking at counseling groups, there was no difference between those who attended and those who did not.
Have we finally found a problem money can’t solve?
More importantly, why are we spending this money? The program is ongoing, and the expenditures are now nearing a billion dollars. It’s coming out of the welfare budget, I suppose under the pretense of trying to improve the welfare of marriage as an institution, while food stamps are looking at tremendous cuts (thanks, Obama).
The government’s reasoning is that you have to spend money to make money, and the last time they checked, married people spend more.
However, it’s now coming out that many of those studies showed correlation instead of causation, since married couples also tended to have higher incomes than non-married people.
Other studies also suggest that a similar program is likewise a failure.
In 1996, Congress authorized states to use welfare funds to encourage single mothers to marry, thinking that a two-income, traditional family structure would be better for the kids, leading them out of poverty and away from crime. Research shows those marriages ended in divorce nearly 2/3 of the time, which nearly always left the mother worse off than if she never married at all.
So if studies show marrying for money doesn’t work, what are we supposed to do? Marry for love?
So have a happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Go out there and try to get yourself some of that sweet, sweet gubmint cheese while it’s still available. See if you can’t convince them to spend it on you directly instead of some nonsense counseling sessions.