Marriage Does Matter

Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Matthew Yglesias believes the decline of marriage is not a problem. There here are three reasons to think he is wrong.

1) The Brookings Institution report

On October 15, 2015, the Brookings Institution published the newest Future of Children report. They find, “Whereas most scholars now agree that children raised by two biological parents in a stable marriage do better than children in other family forms across a wide range of outcomes, there is less consensus about why.”

We don’t definitively know why marriage matters, but we know it does. Whether it promotes better parenting, brings in two incomes, have different attributes than non-married couples, or whatever the reason, we know that marriage somehow makes children better off. While no single one of these factors likely leads to better outcomes, there’s been “a growing appreciation of how these factors interact, and all of them appear to be involved.”

  1. The American Enterprise Institute report

While AEI is often seen as the conservative version of the Brookings Institution, they do agree on the issue of marriage. The report, “Strong Families, Prosperous States,” found that states with higher rates of marriage—and higher rates of married-parent families—were associated with more growth, more economic mobility, less child poverty, and higher median incomes.

Specifically, they find “[w]hen we compare states in the top quintile of married-parent families with those in the bottom quintile, we find that being in the top quintile is associated with a $1,451 higher per capita GDP, 10.5 percent greater upward income mobility for children from lower-income families, a 13.2 percent decline in the child poverty rate, and a $3,654 higher median family income.”

These are huge differences, and serve to highlight how important the institution of marriage is to a functioning society—and it means the decline of marriage is very, very worrisome.

  1. The Northwestern University report

The report found that less-advantaged boys did worse in school than more-advantaged ones. This was not fully explained by differences in income. Part of the gap was because less-advantaged children were less likely to grow up in married households than more-advantaged ones.

Conclusion

Marriage does matter—and the evidence proves it. Answering the ‘why’ is much more difficult, but most social scientists have come to accept the conclusion that marriage matters due to the overwhelming evidence.

Obama Was Right to End Private Prisons

In my newest article, published in the Albuquerque Journal, I argue in favor of Obama’s decision to end the use of private prisons. Here are some excerpts:

While the Obama administration’s decision may seem antithetical to conservative beliefs, those who favor small government – who favor true privatization – should support the impending policy change.

So, what does “true privatization” even mean?

Conservatives believe when the government monopolizes a service (like roads), quality and efficiency fall while costs increase.

Compare this to the private marketplace, where inefficient enterprises go out of business (unless they’re bailed out by the government, of course). These market forces cause businesses to innovate, slash costs wherever possible (without reducing quality), and fire unproductive workers and administrators.

The government, however, rarely fires itself – it has no incentive to do so.

Indeed, government is generally less efficient than private industry. Private businesses have more of an incentive to produce high quality goods at low prices; governments don’t have such incentives.

So, if privatization is so great, why should conservatives support Obama’s decision to END the use of private prisons?

Easy: Private prisons aren’t very private. They don’t use market forces to provide goods and services. Instead, they rely on cronyism and unbalanced playing fields.

The current private prison complex is as crony as crony capitalism can get. The system has simply moved the monopolies around: Instead of a public monopoly, we now have private monopolies. Both are equally bad!

Private prisons receive legal and economic advantages conferred by the state a normal business would not – or, at least, should not – get in a free and open market.

Check out the full article here for more.

Prager University Video: Europe More Pro-Life Than The U.S.?

Well, it’s true, according to a new video from Prager University. Here’s the video:

Here are some of the highlights:

In the U.S., all states allow abortions up to 20 weeks, and many states (including New Mexico, where I currently live) have no abortion restrictions.

11 states prohibit abortion after 20 weeks; 20 states prohibit abortions after the point of viability (23-25 weeks); 3 states prohibit abortion after the 28th week; and last, and in my opinion also least, 7 states and Washington DC allow abortions to occur at any point during the pregnancy.

But in Belgium and Germany, abortion is prohibited after 12 weeks unless the life of the mother is in danger; Belgium also has a 6 day waiting period. In Finland, abortion is unrestricted until the 12th week–and even then, women must provide a compelling reason to get an abortion.

The video provides even more examples.

Europe, the continent liberals look up to, has fairly draconian abortion laws (by American pro-choice standards). So, as I said in my post about Sweden, yes, maybe we should copy Europe. Let’s make abortion laws more restrictive.

Immigration Doesn’t Increase Crime

It is often asserted that an open border policy would lead to an increase in crime rates. Indeed, immigration restrictionists always make claims like: “if you let more people in, more of them are bound to be criminals.” Similarly, they claimk in a world full of terrorists and extremists, open borders leave us open for an attack. These claims are unfounded and wrong for a few reasons.

First, the threat of terrorism has been overblown by politicians and the government. Sure, we need to make sure terrorism is restrained and controlled (I consider myself a foreign policy hawk, for example),  but we need to put terrorism into perspective. Indeed, despite the worst terrorist attack in the history of mankind on 9/11/2001, a war being declared on terror, and two wars–and possibly more in the future–in the Middle East, terrorism has only been responsible for 1.5% of wrongful killings in the 21st century.

Second, terrorists already can enter this country easily anyway. According to the World Bank, between 2011 and 2015, 75 million tourists came to the United States. In other words, when it comes to terrorism and criminals, our borders are already fairly open. If foreigners posed such a threat to the United States by committing crime, terrorism, and other mischief, we would have noticed it by now.

Third, there is no connection between illegal immigration, massive crime waves, and terrorism. Despite 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, with thousands each year entering and exiting the United States on our porous border, very few cases of terrorists crossing the southern border have been recorded. Turning to the issue of crime, the foreign born population in the United States was a mere 7.9% in 1990; in 2010, that figure had risen to 12.9%. The number of unauthorized immigrants rose from around 3 million in 1990 to 11 million in 2010. Despite the dramatic increase of illegal immigration and the percentage of foreign born in this country, violent crime fell by 45% and property crime fell by 42%.  So much for that crime wave.

There are legitimate topics of debate when it comes to immigration, especially the impact it has on wages (some research says no effect, or even positive effect; other research finds a negative impact). Crime just isn’t one of them.

Australia and Guns

Liberals, when asked to point to a country with successful gun control laws, they often point to Australia. Australia passed very strict gun laws after a massacre in the mid-1990s, and liberals believe we should take the same action as they did. But did Australia’s laws work?

Probably not. A study by Wang-Sheng Lee and Sandy Sauridi, one of the best studies on Australia’s gun laws, concluded that Australia’s”[National Firearms Agreement] did not have any large effects on reducing firearm homicide or suicide rates.”

Another study, using New Zealand as a control variable found Australia’s mass-shooting rate mirrored NZ’s mass shooting rate after Australia’s gun control laws were enacted. However, NZ passed no such laws. Therefore, other factors have reduced Australia’s mass-shooting rate, not stricter gun laws.

Liberals may also turn to domestic research that has found a correlation between higher gun magazine sales (magazine as in paper magazine, not gun magazine) and violent crime. But the research is flawed. The number of guns increases after crime increases, not before, because gun owners buy firearms to defend themselves from a perceived increase in crime. Subsequent research found no link between gun sales and homicide for this reason.

The newest research, using even better methodology (the past studies used one gun magazine as a proxy for firearm ownership–either Handgun magazine or Guns & Ammo–the newer research uses 3 magazines), finds that more firearm sales decrease gun crime.

So, no, Australia does not serve as an example of gun control working. Domestically, the evidence suggests gun control will have little effect on crime as well (and may have an adverse impact).

NY Times Said What?!

I will post an excerpt from a very interesting NY Times article.

In Chile, a law requires employers to provide working mothers with child care. One result? Women are paid less.

In Spain, a policy to give parents of young children the right to work part-time has led to a decline in full-time, stable jobs available to all women — even those who are not mothers.

Elsewhere in Europe, generous maternity leaves have meant that women are much less likely than men to become managers or achieve other high-powered positions at work.

Family-friendly policies can help parents balance jobs and responsibilities at home, and go a long way toward making it possible for women with children to remain in the work force. But these policies often have unintended consequences….

As Americans debate whether and how to make the system here more generous, there are lessons from overseas. The child-care law in Chile, the most recent version of which went into effect in 2009, was intended to increase the percentage of women who work, which is below 50 percent, among the lowest rates in Latin America. It requires that companies with 20 or more female workers provide and pay for child care for women with children under 2, in a location nearby where the women can go to feed them.

It eases the transition back to work and helps children’s development, said María F. Prada, an economist at the Inter-American Development Bank and lead author of a new study on the effects of the law. But it has also led to a decline in women’s starting salaries of between 9 percent and 20 percent.

Yeah, I am just as shocked as you are: NY Times reported against (forced) paid family leave?!