Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Single parents cost taxpayers $112 billion

That's according to a study that is the focus of this piece on CNN:
Scafidi's calculations were based on the assumption that households headed by a single female have relatively high poverty rates, leading to higher spending on welfare, health care, criminal justice and education for those raised in the disadvantaged homes. The $112 billion estimate includes the cost of federal, state and local government programs, and lost tax revenue at all levels of government.

One of the suggestions is to somehow create "marriage building" plans but some say not so fast:

But Tim Smeeding, an economics professor at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, who was not involved in the study, said he's seen no convincing evidence that the marriage-strengthening programs work.

"I have nothing against marriage -- relationship-building is great," he said. "But alone it's not going to do the job. A full-employment economy would probably be the best thing -- decent, stable jobs."

He also noted the distinctive problems arising in black urban areas where the rate of single-mother households is highest.

"A high number of African-American men have been in prison -- that limits their future earning potential and makes them bad marriage partners, regardless of what kind of person they are," Smeeding said. "A marriage program doesn't address that problem at all."

Another expert not connected to the study, University of Michigan sociologist Pamela Smock, suggested that bigger investments in education would pay long-term dividends -- improving economic prospects even for children from fragmented, disadvantaged families.

"Providing a global number doesn't give us anything to go on," said Smock, who was skeptical of the study's $112 billion estimate.


kooz said...

Why is the answer for liberals always more jobs? More jobs is not the answer for every problem in the world. Please tell my you don't sincerly believe that children are best raised by a married Mother and Father.

I'm sure a child from a broken home would much rather have a Mother and Father married and raising them properly...than having more jobs.

Liberals: Someone so open-minded...their brains have fallen out.

LisaRenee said...

Kooz, I don't know the politics of those who did the study. Nor have I actually read the study to be able to tell you if I believe it or not.

I do believe children benefit from having two loving parents. Yet as a former single parent, it's not always possible for two parents to remain married. It's not possible to advocate "staying together for the sake of the children" or marrying somone because you have had a child. In an ideal world? Sure it would be great but we don't live in an ideal world.

Should there be more economic opportunities for single mothers? Of course, but that then raises the question of who raises the children and a host of other issues that this study does not appear to address.