Stephanie Coontz: Marriage is Not An Antidote to Poverty





Stephanie Coontz teaches at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and serves as director of research and public education at the Council on Contemporary Families. Her most recent book is "A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s."

(CNN) -- Here we go again. Just as in the 1980's, some conservative moralists and pundits are trying to blame America's current economic insecurity, joblessness and social inequality on the very people most victimized by these socioeconomic trends. Once again, they are telling us that people can make it if they just pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, keep their shoulders to the grindstone and cross their legs until marriage.

A paper from the Heritage Foundation last week week recycles the 1992 election slogan that the best antidote to poverty is marriage. This theme was also sounded by Rick Santorum at the Republican National Convention, who claimed that the cure for poverty and economic insecurity is within anyone's grasp: "Graduate from high school, work hard and get married before you have children," he exhorted his listeners to thunderous applause, "and the chance you will ever be in poverty is just 2%."

Seriously? Have any of these pundits and politicians talked to any people who have lost their jobs in the past 15 years?...



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