Rescuing the American Dream with the Power to Reduce Poverty
In the latest commentary for Spotlight’s series on “Poverty and Society: A New Inquiry into an Old Question” contributor Peter Wehner, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, proposes that “the main driver of poverty in America today has to do with culture, mores, and lifestyle choices, not with economics.” He notes that more than 40 percent of all births today are out-of-wedlock and that the poverty rate for single-parent families is almost six times the rate for married-couple families. Wehner argues that we need to encourage and enable young people to graduate from high school, get a job, get married and then have children to reduce poverty in America. The author recommends public policies, such as welfare reform and anti-drug efforts, that can help strengthen marriages and create incentives and disincentives for certain kinds of behavior. He also emphasizes the role of society in sending reinforcing messages for families, and ultimately the role of individuals in keeping their families strong and whole.