On Monday morning June 6th I began a two part series titled “The Economics of Sexuality” on Spiritual Cents. In the first installment, we discussed the “cost of sex,” based on male -female educational and work patterns (see article I on the “Economics of Sexuality”), and how this has effected the marital habits of entire American generations. The cost has been driven down, we said, as more and more women feel that the only way to succeed is in the career field, which precludes being a stay at home from modern definitions of a successful woman. This has the unintended consequence of having women compete for men (see article I), which cheapens the “cost” of sex in terms of commitment, thus undermining the incentive for men to step up to the plate as husbands and fathers. As I argued this morning, the only way that men continue in their roles is if they adhere to the Judeo-Christian Worldview, as all other outside incentives have been undermined.
Prevailing cultural trends have placed an unacceptable burden on American women, as they have undermined the role of men in the modern American family. Make no mistake: when men check out of their home lives, all of America picks up the tab. The cost of broken homes to the American economy is simply staggering. The aggregate cost to the American taxpayers of single parent (primarily female) homes tops $300 billion EVERY YEAR. This staggering level of spending is nearly equivalent to the entire budget of the Department of Defense!
Obviously, the crisis in the home is spilling over into the rest of society. We must create a culture and economy in which men and women are encouraged, and indeed called, to fulfill the high calling of their gender. Men must step up to the plate and provide, while women must not be defined as successful solely by having a career in corporate America.
The longer the institution of the family remains under siege, the longer the American People will suffer from the swollen size of government. As the American family has fragmented, the country’s fiscal fortunes have followed suit. The number of children born into two-parent homes plummeted from 85% in 1970 to under 68% in 2005 (using older Census data). During this same time period, U.S. Federal and State spending on anti poverty programs increased exponentially. Time has rendered the verdict: the economy of scale afforded by a family, coupled with a change in moral and social habits, is a net positive for society.
I would encourage our state and national policy makers to seek solutions to the social pathologies being created by crumbling families. This may be accomplished through toughing divorce laws, making it more difficult and expensive to obtain divorces under various state laws. Simultaneously, the Federal government should take steps to reform welfare programs and other entitlements, i.e.- Medicaid, to end rewards for bad behavior (such as providing higher levels of benefits to unwed parents vs. parents who chose to marry).
Check out the fact sheet from American Values, below, for a look at my research materials for this portion of our series “The Economics of Sexuality.” Also, make sure you check out the archive files for Part 1 on June 6th and Part 2 on June 7th for the audio of these programs.