Monday, December 09, 2002

Defending Family Values

Monday, 9 December 2002

I haven't seen former sexologist and latter day advocate of family values Bettina Arndt get an outing for a while, so I was pleased to see this piece in this morning's Age. Once again, Bettina has issued a rousing call for Australians to rally to the defence of the family against its traditional enemies, those irresponsible young females who conceive children out of wedlock, usually in the back of a hotted up Holden Commodore and, to add insult to injury, without achieving a decent orgasm along the way. That's right, we're talking about the modern scourge of single mothers and their children, who are

... five times as likely to be poor as those in two-parent families. Growing up in a single-parent family also roughly doubles the risk that a child will drop out of school, have difficulty finding a job, or become a teenage parent.

Next best off are children living with "cohabiting partners and in stepfamilies" and best off of all children are (you guessed it) "those living with two married, biological parents". And, as almost one Australian child in three is born out of wedlock, Bettina seems very confident that all these adverse effects of the US epidemic of illegitimacy can be expected here too. So it's time for more "pro-marriage" government policies. here's one US initiative that Bettina cites:

Most US states have reduced marriage disincentives in their welfare systems, with some introducing family caps that deny additional welfare payments for children conceived while a mother was receiving welfare.

That's one way to deal with the poverty related problems of the single parent child - make sure that Mom knows that producing any more of them is going to make the poverty worse. In the face of this financial disincentive, she's bound to realise how important it is to keep those all-too-welcoming legs firmly closed. If not, well it still helps keep the main problem under control: the effects on our welfare budget.

However, Bettina seems to be a bit confused on this issue: on the one hand she wants the budget brought under control by cutting the amount of welfare support we give to single mothers on the other she wants financial disincentives for single mothers to reconcile with, and ultimately perhaps marry the fathers of their children, removed. No doubt once they're married, they'll be well on the way to rejoining mainstream Australian society, with a nice little brick veneer on a quarter-acre block somewhere in the outer suburbs, a Hills hoist in the back yard and multiple female orgasms every second Saturday night while the kids are on a sleep-over at a friend's place.

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