Senators As Marriage Counselors


Concerned Women for America (CWA) has issued a press release praising our U.S. senators for bravely passing the Healthy Marriage Initiative as part of the Ominbus Deficit Reduction Act. The HMI will provide $100 million for marriage-strengthening programs. (First thought, wouldn't cutting the HMI be a dandy way to help reduce the federal deficit?)

CWA's Director of Government Relations, Lanier Swann, gushes, "Marriage is a fundamental element of society; no nation can survive without strong marriages at its foundation. Yet, divorce and living together without marriage are undermining the family."

As a child of divorced parents, I have rather strong negative feelings about divorce and would like to see fewer divorces. However, I'm dubious that our senators are competent marriage counselors. Besides, the CWA claim that "no nation can survive without strong marriages," doesn't seem borne out by the evidence. While the divorce rate was rising from 2.2 per 1000 population in 1960 to 4 per 1,000 today, average per capita incomes grew from $15,000 to $39,000. Perhaps our economy would have performed better with a lower divorce rate, but we seem to be "surviving" quite nicely. By the way, the U.S. divorce rate peaked at 5.3 per 1000 in 1979 and has been falling ever since. Ultimately about 40 percent of marriages end in divorce.