The left loves to talk about growing income inequality in America. But it doesn’t like to mention the huge role that changes in marriage patterns have played in this growth.
Jason DeParle of the New York Times takes up the subject in an article called Two Classes Separated By ‘I Do.’ He writes: “Estimates vary widely, but scholars have said that changes in marriage patterns — as opposed to changes in individual earnings — may account for as much as 40 percent of the growth in certain measures of inequality.”
By changes in marriage patterns, DeParle means mainly the stunning increase in single mothers. “About 41 percent of births in the United States occur outside marriage, up sharply from 17 percent three decades ago,” he notes.
The left sees growing income inequality as grounds for additional government intervention in the lives of Americans. But government intervention tends to erode values like individual responsibility. And the erosion of these values tends to undermine the traditional American family structure. This, in turn, leads to more income inequality, accompanied by more calls for government intervention.
In the current election cycle, only Rick Santorum spoke effectively about the connection between values and the economy. Unfortunately, Santorum at times spoke intemperately about values. That’s a big reason why Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee.
Romney, I’m convinced, understands the connection. But he also understands that injecting the issue into his campaign against President Obama carries a risk he is best advised to avoid.
I hope that Romney selects a running mate who shares this understanding, and also one who can speak effectively about the connection between values and the economy during a Romney administration.