Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Good Family Is Best Anti-Poverty Program

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Good Family Is Best Anti-Poverty Program

Article excerpt

Byline: Star Parker

Two of the oldest and most venerated public policy institutes in Washington, the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution, have produced a new joint report dealing with the issue of fighting poverty in America.

The report, "Opportunity, Responsibility, and Security: A Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty and Restoring the American Dream," is noteworthy for a number of reasons.

One is that it reflects a consensus view between long-established Washington institutions representing opposite sides of the political spectrum - with the AEI being right of center and the Brooking Institution left of center.

But also noteworthy is the nature of this consensus. The report focuses on three pillars that need attention: family, work and education.

LEFT AND RIGHT AGREE

That scholars from these two institutions - one on the left and one on the right - agree that the state of the American family is of critical importance to the economic well-being of Americans is news.

It drives home a point I have been making for years - that so-called values issues, often called "social issues," are indeed economic issues. The popularly accepted dichotomy between economic issues and social issues is invalid. They are of the same cloth.

Poverty became a major focus of attention in Washington in 1965 when President Lyndon Johnson announced his program known as the "War on Poverty."

Johnson's program emphasized the importance of education, the development of work skills and the availability of jobs and employment in hard-hit communities.

But unlike this new report, in Johnson's war on poverty there was zero focus on the importance of the traditional American family to fighting poverty and enhancing economic vitality.

Why?

Because in 1965 the state of the American family was healthy compared to today and no one would have dreamed where things would go. The traditional values so critical to the nation's welfare were largely taken for granted. …

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