Ari Fleischer was President George W. Bush‘s first press secretary and his most-memorable. A true Republican partisan who occasionally now appears on Fox News and CNN, Fleischer absolutely has made his living pushing and defending GOP policies. But after his White House service, he also, occasionally, exhibited enough common sense to rise above partisan hackery.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled, “How to Fight Income Inequality: Get Married,” Fleischer yesterday promulgates the GOP’s recent attack on the fiftieth anniversary of LBJ’s War on Poverty. Fleisher’s solution to income inequality is this: “stay in school, get married and have children—in that order.”
The GOP keeps pushing stupidity.
There’s nothing wrong with staying in school, getting married and having children, of course. And of course, data are not causation. Someone as smart as Fleischer should know that — and should know enough to not get into bed with Concerned Women For America, or their “think tank,” the Beverly LaHaye Institute.
“Marriage inequality” should be at the center of any discussion of why some Americans prosper and others don’t. According to Census Bureau information analyzed by the Beverly LaHaye Institute, among families headed by two married parents in 2012, just 7.5% lived in poverty. By contrast, when families are headed by a single mother the poverty level jumps to 33.9%.
That’s the second paragraph of Fleischer’s WSJ op-ed.
Concerned Women For America (CWA) is listed as an anti-gay group (although not an anti-gay hate group — yet) by the Southern Poverty Law Center, in articles like, “A Dozen Major Groups Help Drive the Religious Right’s Anti-Gay Crusade,” “18 Anti-Gay Groups and Their Propaganda,” and “Criminalizing Sex: Six U.S. Anti-Gay Groups Abroad.”
CWA is also a radical, right wing, anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-women organization that claims gay people die 20 years younger, commit suicide at three times the average national rate, are prone to syphilis and anal cancer, and cannot maintain long term relationships. Concerned Women For America also claimed the Supreme Court’s decision on DOMA will lead to a “bleak future” including “imprisonment” for Christians.
“Marriage inequality is a substantial reason why income inequality exists,” Fleischer posits in his op-ed. “For children, the problem begins the day they are born, and no government can redistribute enough money to fix it. If redistributing money could solve the problem, the $20.7 trillion in 2011 dollars the government has spent on welfare programs since 1964—when President Johnson declared the ‘war on poverty’—would have eliminated income inequality a long time ago.”
The matter is influenced strongly by decisions and values. The majority of women who have children outside of marriage today are adult women in their 20s. (Teenagers under 18 represent less than 8% of out-of-wedlock births.)
Flesicher does not once mention access to health care, contraception, or reality-based sex-education. Nor does he, by the way, mention marriage equality.
If his solution to income inequality is, “stay in school, get married and have children—in that order,” will Fleischer support same-sex marriage equality as one part of the solution?
Supporting and advancing marriage equality is a main focus of The New Civil Rights Movement, but data are not causation. Getting married — which is a wonderful thing if that’s what you want to do — will not stop people from being poor, as much as those not part of the reality-based community would like to believe.
Image via Twitter
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.