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in a nutshell

Basically, it's going to cost us $1.5 billion dollars for Bush to appease the conservatives he pissed off with his immigration ideas.


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Aw, don't worry. He'll just cut taxes some more to raise revenue.

Sounds like a better deal than buying off the boomers with free drugs.

Is encouraging people--especially people in poverty--to value marriage really such a bad thing?

I don't get it. About half the people in poverty are single moms whose boyfriends don't even think about committing to them, and who they all too frequently don't think about asking them to.

I've seen too much of it, really. Being a single mom isn't evil, but I just don't see how denying that kids growing up without fathers around is, as a rule, not all that great a thing.

I suffered from it, and I've seen too many other kids go through it too. Too many young people don't even think about it anymore.

I suspect this war on bad marriages will be as successful as the war on drugs.

Perhaps we could fund a slightly smaller pilot project with Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney, and Newt Gingrich.

I'd like to propose a War on Slouching. Really, it's just bad for you. I have a plan for only 0.75 billion, but alas, no organizations that donate to policitians, so this is a proposal no one will sit up and notice.

About half the people in poverty are single moms whose boyfriends don't even think about committing to them, and who they all too frequently don't think about asking them to.

If a guy doesn't commit to you after you have his baby, he's not worth asking. That's not a marriage that's going to last.

You seem to have missed the point that countless young people don't even think about it anymore, they just do it--have babies without committment--and they think it's cool.

Abstinence education has been proven repeatedly to work. I do not see why pointing out to people that committment is important when it comes to having kids is a bad idea either.

Maybe, maybe not, but is it something that an ostensibly conservative administration needs to spend $1.5 billion of your, my and Michele's money on, when your local house of worship will do it for free?

I mean, let's talk real here: 14 year old girls. 13 year old girls. Is it really an unwise idea, in sex ed classes, to start talking to them bluntly about what kind of lives they could face if they wind up as unwed mothers, to have them really start thinking about that and really look at what that means?

Is it unwise to put some emphasis into teaching young boys--many of them who grew up without fathers these days--why they ought to think about not doing that to their own kids?

I've known guys in their 30s who run around in their 20s and 30s having kids with a bunch of different women, sweet-talking them to get into their pants, then move on--and talk to the mothers about how they don't have a right to "moralize" at them about old-fashioned values like committment. Hell I work with a guy right now who's got a kid with a girl, and he even says he loves her, best woman he knows, but he doesn't even think about marrying her or living with her or anything, and no one even says boo to him about it, everyone just shrugs.

Fatherhood is an enormous responsibility. Motherhood when you're expecting family and friends to support you is a fucking bitch, you must know that as well as I.

Is it really such a bad thing to start having schools giving kids the real lowdown on what the long-term impact of such choices really can be for their lives and their kids?

I honestly don't see how this is a bad idea. Obviously, there are tons of kids who aren't being told to think about this by their own parents.

Yes, Phil, becuase first, I am an agnostic and don't go to any houses of worship, and second, because almost all the kids I know who grew up in fatherless homes either are non-religious or started that way until they got themselves into a pickle.

The social sequalae of fatherless children is depressing as hell, and damaging to society--and sometimes, I get a little tired of people thinking that by saying that I'm bashing people who get divorced, or am bashing single moms. I'm not. I grew up in a broken home (very broken). I've been divorced. Plenty of kids in such situations grow up just fine, but a hugely disproportionate number of them wind up drug addicted, in prison, depressed, and so on. They're also more likely to commit suicide.

Now that's just a fact, not something I made up, and not something I'm coming down on you and moralizing about. Like I said plenty of kids do just fine coming out of those environments, but one whole hell of a lot of 'em don't.

And, again, having known many teen moms who never even thought of marriage, it's shocking how many of them have never even thought what it's going to be like for them for the next 18 years.

You guys are thinking about this in moral terms, in "enforcing values" terms. Stop it. You need to think of this in pragmatic terms--be as atheist as you want, it doesn't change what we know to be the dangers, what we know to be the problems.

1.5 billion? Feh. Sounds cheap as hell to me, all things considered.

I'm not trying to be purposefully contrarian, Dean -- I come from a "broken home" as well. (A term I hate, by the way -- my parents were divorced, and it's frankly a good thing that they were. Nothing was "broken" by it.) But if we wanted to be really pragmatic, we could, I don't know, pass a law restricting pregnancies to married couples. It would be a lot cheaper.

I'm skeptical about abstinence education "repeatedly working," too. What it often results in is exactly the wrong result: Young couples who, eager to have sex, leap into a marriage for which they are not ready at the earliest possible opportunity, and since they haven't received a good education on birth control, they have kids right away also. It's a recipe for disaster.

Yes, that's what these girls and boys not getting married will respond to: the president telling them how wonderful marriage is. I can tell you flat out the only way some people will get married is if you pay them to do it. And I don't mean once-a-year tax breaks: I mean like a weekly paycheck.

In other words, government promotion of marriage will work just about as well as government exhortations to "just say no to drugs."

For $1.5 billion of uselessly-spent bucks, can we get open immigration? What bribe could he use to privatize Social Security -- some fealty to public school teachers?


This issue is about more than kids and 2-parent homes. It is also about fighting poverty. I am sure many of our liberal friends remember the War on Poverty. As Walter Williams said today "Here's Williams' roadmap out of poverty: Complete high school; get a job, any kind of a job; get married before having children; and be a law-abiding citizen. Among both black and white Americans so described, the poverty rate is in the single digits."

The opposite is also true. If you don't finish at least high school and have children before getting married, you have a much greater chance of spending the next 18 years in poverty. So another 1.5 billion to help this effort, ya I think we can do that.


About half the people in poverty are single moms whose boyfriends don't even think about committing to them

Cause, meet effect. Effect, meet cause.

I am sure many of our liberal friends remember the War on Poverty.

If only those poor people would stop being poor, we could wipe our poverty tomorrow.

Robert Moates, I'm not a liberal, but given your apparent willingness to let the government just toss a billion and a half dollars -- that could be used for all sorts of stuff -- at a social engineering problem that isn't the government's place to manage anyway, I think maybe you are.

Yeah, that 1.5 billion could be so much better spent on a B1 bomber or something. Then we could bomb those pesky poor people back to the stone age.

I like the idea of this program too. Marriage is the hot topic on this, but the basics of the plan is to promote the benefits of a stable lifestyle over a chaotic one. Although I doubt the government could ever make anything seem cool. If they wanted to cut drug use in half tomorrow, all they need to do is air an ad telling kids that all the cool FBI agents smoke pot too.

"Abstinence education has been proven repeatedly to work"

I'm sorry, but could you point us to several studies that confirm this?

Johnson meant to declare a war on poor people, but his speechwriters screwed up the final draft. So we sent the Army to Vietnam instead. Talk about your missed opportunities!

Personally I'm with Dean on this, but, for arguments sake, let's say he's completely wrong. Yet the problem still exists, and instead of saying "Well, we can use the 1.5B elsewhere," what else could be done to ease the problem?

I think the administration is trying to deal specifically with the issues Dean brought to light, questions is, is there a better way to handle them?

I'm not sure it's still the case, but the way the Earned Income Tax Credit used to be structured, it was a huge disincentive for people on the low end of the income scale to marry. By marrying, two people who would have qualified, became disqualified because their combined income was too high.

I'm not sure yet on Bush's plan, but I am sure that the least the government could do is make sure that the economic incentives are all pointed in the direction of marriage. This includes every aspect of the tax code, welfare payments, etc.

Here's an idea...take that 1.5B and pass it towards education. Its obvious that in America the only real way to get anywhere at this point, to improve your lot and get OUT of poverty is through education. Many people start in the hole, they don't have the funds to get into good colleges, or any college at all. Instead of wasting the time by saying "Get married and have lots of babies and make the problem worse" take that money, teach the people something and hey, maybe while your at it get rid of the pathetic rules that state that public schools LOSE funding if they talk about using condoms and safe sex.

You want less broken homes and fatherless children? Maybe teach those kids how to have safe sex, drive home the problems. Most kids get more sex education and realisim from a porno than they do from the conservative, ass-backwards education that we get in school.

Bush is doing this for one reason...to wage a war on homosexuals in a way that won't alienate a massive body of people too slow to pickup on it.

the Earned Income Tax Credit used to be structured, it was a huge disincentive for people on the low end of the income scale to marry You think that's something? Try being married and on the upper end of the income scale. You get totally F*CKED on your taxes. It's costing my wife and I several thousand dollars a year just to be married.

This is the government. It's gonna take a billion and a half samolians just to print posters and bumper stickers that read:


What business does the federal government have in promoting marriage? I mean, seriously, the feds back off from funding all sorts of things from the arts to education but now he wants to earmark money to teach poor people they should marry and stay that way.

How about teaching people civics? How about educating them so they can break the poverty cycle. Those two things will do more to promote marriage than anything else I can think of.
But really who wants more voters -- and educated ones at that.

Will, how about first teaching people to read and write. Babysteps...

But 1.5 billion is a drop in the bucket. I think that's how much the contractor wanted to remove the oak tree that's leaning too close to my house.

Next, 1.5 billion to discourage bullying. Perhaps 1.5 billion to teach slow drivers to stay in the right lane. Or how about Harley's for Floridians? Maybe we can attach it as a rider to the next Medicare bill. --s

First, thanks. Just thanks. For not being wingnuts.

1.) I've read no study that suggests that abstanance-only works, save perhaps when compared with nothing. When compared with pragmatic sex-ed, the latter works better.
There seems to be no evidence to suggest that pragmatic sex ed leads kids to have sex sooner. If anything, the data show the opposite. I don't feel like cite-sizing at the moment, but if anyone really wants me to, I'll go dig.

I've seen only one example of an abstinance-only curriculum, but it was filled with so many outright lies, fabrications and false implicatons, that I wonder if the numbers mean anything, though; it was so very heavy-handed that I doubt the middle-schoolers took it seriously.

Anyway, all these issues focus on one thing; the idea that the government knows better than most people how they should live their lives.

Even if I didn't find this idiologically odious, I think it pretty easy to point to examples of how very wrong that idea is, and I don't much care if the "brilliant" idea comes from a democrat or a republican.