Thursday, January 15, 2004


I think the Bush marriage initiative is a crock. As many others have already outlined, the government has no business meddling with marriage, period. I also believe that the premise that marriage encourages fiscal responsibility and productivity is highly suspect. The statistics suggest that people who are married are generally more financially stable and create more stable environments for children, etc. I don't dispute this. What I do question is the cause and effect implied here, as if marriage itself magically makes people more responsible and more productive, and therefore less likely to live in poverty. It seems like a classic case of letting the policy drive the data rather than the other way around. It is just as likely that people who are predisposed to marriage are naturally more responsible and productive people to begin with, which means that promoting marriage (which would likely be ineffective anyway) would do nothing to reduce poverty or increase productivity. Of course, this is only one of several potential misinterpretations of this data. It is like saying that children who listen to classical music at home score higher on standardized tests, therefore classical music makes children smarter. It is also possible that parents who expose children to classical music are generally smarter or more involved in their children's education than those who don't, which would explain the higher test scores.

No matter what you believe about marriage, I'm sure most sane people can agree that the Bush administration needs to start talking about ways to spend less money, not more. Enough already.

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