Guest Editorials


Republicans should tell Biden to cut
welfare to cut crime

By now you’ve no doubt heard Vice President Biden’s ridiculous claim that murders and rapes will increase if Republicans don’t pass his boss’ jobs bill. At the same time, you haven’t heard Republicans say that crime will increase if Democrats don’t cut welfare.

You haven’t heard the Republicans say this because they don’t have the courage or sense to fight fire with fire, or, more accurately, to fight nonsense with facts.

A half-century ago, Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan established a causal link between welfare and out-of-wedlock births and single-parent families. Since then, social scientists and criminologists have established a causal link between unmarried mothers and crime and other social pathologies. To wit:

Mothers who have never married, including those who are living with a boyfriend or with the father of their children, are twice as likely to be victims of violent crime than women who have married. Violent crimes include rape, sexual assault, aggravated assault, robbery, and simple assault.

Children of divorced or never-married women are six to 30 times more likely to suffer serious child abuse. The lower figure is for children living with their biological mother and a step-father; the higher figure is for children living with their biological mother and a boyfriend of their mother who is not their father. (Since the United States doesn’t track child abuse statistics this way, the statistics are from Great Britain.)

The awful statistics above get even more awful when a child dies from abuse. Such tragic deaths are 73 times more likely when a mother cohabitates with a boyfriend who is not the father of her children.

Children from fatherless families are far more likely than children from two-parent families to live in poverty, have behavioral problems in school, drop out of school, commit crimes, and end up incarcerated. As police officers know, neighborhoods with a high proportion of such families are not safe neighborhoods.

As Moynihan warned, the incidence of fatherless families would skyrocket, especially among blacks, if welfare provided an incentive for women to marry the state instead of the father of their children. Sure enough, the rate of fatherless black families has more than doubled since then, an increase that has been nearly matched by whites and non-white Latin Americans.

The number of single mothers is now so high that schools, media, and advertisers cater to them and treat them as a special class deserving of attention and even praise. The mothers have responded by wearing their marital status on their chest, like a red badge of courage. “I’m a single mom,” they proudly say when interviewed by the media.

A recent story on the economy in my hometown newspaper, the Arizona Republic, is typical. It identified a woman as “a single mother of two children,” but if the woman had been married, the newspaper wouldn’t have identified her as “a married mother of two children.”

Of course, ever since Vice President Dan Quayle made his infamous but insightful “Murphy Brown” remark and was ridiculed as a buffoon by the leftist intelligentsia and media, politicians have been afraid to say the truth about the social pathologies caused by fatherless families – although this problem has to be one of the top-five problems facing the nation as it tries to pull out of its socioeconomic tailspin.

It’s a bizarre situation in which the leftist intelligentsia and media ridicule one vice president for saying the truth but don’t ridicule another vice president for saying an untruth.

Mencken’s Ghost is the nom de plume of an Arizona writer who can be reached at