Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Federal Subsidy for Marriages?

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Federal Subsidy for Marriages?

Article excerpt

I told the cabbie: "You look a little glum this morning. Case of the post-holiday blahs?"

"Well, if you have to know," the cabbie sighed, "I'm between marriages."

"You and the Missus splitting after all these years? I can't believe it. You always seemed so . . . "

"The Missus and I are doing just fine," the cabbie said. "What I'm talking about is, my oldest daughter got married a few months ago, and now, before I can climb back out of the hole for that wedding, my youngest is talking about getting married in the spring. And you wonder why I'm looking glum!"

I had no intention of delivering a sermon, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to point out the importance of marriage - to the young couples themselves, to their families and, yes, to their nation.

"What is the poorest group of Americans today?" I said. "The children of single mothers, that's who. What is the most reliable predictor of school failure, criminal activity, youthful violence and teen pregnancy? Being brought up in a home without a father."

"Now just a minute," the cabbie interrupted. "What makes you think my daughter is a single mother? You hotshot journalists seem to think you're better than folks who drive a hack just because you make more money. Well, you're not. My daughter is just as good a girl as yours. And also just as unpregnant, I might add."

All I was trying to say, I told him, was that the breakdown of the American family is feeding all manner of social problems and, for that reason, he ought to be glad - thrilled - that his daughter was getting married.

"Your daughters may think they are acting out of their own personal interest," I told him, "but the truth is, they are serving America. And all you can do is sit around and complain about the cost."

"I see your point," the cabbie said. "I'd never looked at it in terms of the national interest. Let me run something by you. It's in the national interest to have educated citizens, right?"

"Of course," I said, "but I don't see what . . . "

"And it's in the national interest to have safe streets and clean neighborhoods?"

"Sure," I told him. "That's why we have public schools and police departments and sanitation agencies . …

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