Whether poor families stay married shouldn’t be a matter of public policy; those who act destructively should bear the cost of their own behavior. In today’s world, welfare supports these families; public policy is concerned with whether or not welfare encourages irresponsible behavior that the taxpayer is expected to subsidize.

The Associated Press reports that the portion of black families headed by single women dropped by four points since welfare reform passed in 1996, contrary to the predictions of the naysayers. The article claims that “the surging economy of the late 1990’s probably had more to do with the gains for black families than did welfare reform,” but adds that “The increase came despite a recent drop in blacks’ income.” (Note that the number of black families headed by married couples is still only 47.9 percent.)

According to Mickey Kaus, “the economy has boomed and busted before–and before the mid-1990s the family trends for blacks moved relentlessly downhill for decades … I doubt that honest liberals… think that welfare reform wasn’t also a major part of the cause.”

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