Fiftieth anniversaries are typically joyful occasions that prompt deep reflection. The "War on Poverty" reached that milestone this week and it definitely inspired a great deal of national reflection.
But absent from that reflection was discussion of the crucial role of the family in preventing and remedying poverty.
Considering the firmly established facts on this score, talking about poverty without talking about the family is analogous to discussing health without mentioning doctors.
Families prevent inter-generational poverty
"Family" and "marriage" are virtually interchangeable terms, and the Heritage Foundation's Katrina Trinko recently pointed to a perhaps unexpected authority on the potency of marriage as an anti-poverty measure:
“Marriage lifts' families out of poverty not by increasing their incomes but by reducing what the federal government assumes their expenses to be. Single people often have roommates for the same reason,” said Slate's Matt Yglesias.
But as Trinko further notes, the benefits of intact marriages and strong families in preventing poverty are immense and go far beyond economics.
It's really for the children
She quotes Heritage's Ryan Anderson's summary of this point regarding children:
"According to the best available sociological evidence, children fare best on virtually every examined indicator when reared by their wedded biological parents.
"Studies that control for other factors, including poverty and even genetics, suggest that children reared in intact homes do best on educational achievement, emotional health, familial and sexual development, and delinquency and incarceration.”
The missing weapon?
The federal government spent just short of $1 trillion last year on 80 separate anti-poverty programs. These programs addressed vital aspects of poverty, including unemployment, nutrition and housing.
Not one of the 80, however, is exclusively devoted to recognizing and encouraging the central role of marriage and family.
Maybe that helps explain why the War on Poverty still must be fought five decades after it was declared?
On today's washingtonexaminer.com
Examiner Editorial: Obama moves closer to killing the coal industry.
Columnists/Ron Arnold: Follow the dark money to understand John Podesta's White House agenda.
Columnists/Philip Klein: "Compassionate conservatives" strike back against the Tea Party.
Examiner Watchdog/Michal Conger: IG kept documents from Congress out of "respect" for Interior Department.
PennAve/David M. Drucker: Senate unemployment benefits talks collapse amid bickering.
PennAve/Susan Ferrechio: Revised House GOP immigration reform will focus on increasing foreign workers.
PennAve/Rebecca Berg: Will budding bridge scandal end Chris Christie's presidential hopes?
Examiner/Byron York: Boehner, GOP plan to focus on jobs.
In other news
The New York Times: Syrian militants try to recruit U.S. visitors for attacks.
The Washington Post: Karzai unlikely to yield on deal with U.S. on withdrawal.
NBC News: How was Christie in the dark?
The Los Angeles Times: Insurers under fire as Obamacare kicks in.
Talking Points Memo: Will bridge scandal really lead to criminal charges?
Fire Dog Lake: Wildstein takes Fifth as Christie faces lawsuit.
The American Prospect: Government guide to screwing poor homeowners.
The Weekly Standard: Gates at war.
National Review Online: ASA's anti-semitism.
The American Conservative: Walter Jones' war.