Redefining Smug Assholes Everywhere.
K-Lo and W. Bradford Wilcox the Improbably Non-numbered, National Coo Coo Ca Choo:
Getting the 60 Percent Married
Sometimes… Sometimes you’re just not sure where to start with a post. This interview… it’s written almost entirely in non-sequiturs. The things they are talking about aren’t just unrelated to reality in the nice predictable wingnut projection we are used to, they are just… detached. And the result is a bit more disorienting than we’re usually used to over here at Sadly, No!
Let me see if I can summarize:
Shorter (or the last port before Jungle):
- Everything can be solved by forcing people to marry. Everything!
I mean, I get a lot of it. I get the monomaniacal focus because of an underlying agenda. The attempt to brute-force religious demands through repetition and lots of lies.
After all, Bradiford Burkle and his not-very-secret Catholic Church propaganda arm “National Marriage Project” have well earned some rather lengthy bits of infamy for essentially being dishonest hacks willing to massage any numbers they can to support their political agenda.
But then you run into this.
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Who are the “forgotten 60 percent”?
W. BRADFORD WILCOX: Almost 60 percent of Americans have a high-school degree but not a college degree. We call this group “Middle Americans,” which includes those with some college or an associate’s degree, and it is this group that is driving the key trends in marriage today
I… what? Huh? So they’re claiming high-school graduates and only high-school graduates as “real middle america” now? Not, I don’t know, the middle of the fucking country or conservatives in general or even the middle class which would allow them a version of this that would even begin to make sense?
Fuck, it’s not even like “Middle American” is all that much shorter than “High School Graduate” and-
Wait. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
In fact, it turns out to have one more syllable than the thing it’s standing in for.
Yet their welfare — when it comes to marriage, work, and education — has received practically no attention from politicians, the media, and other observers of American life, even though they make up a majority of the American adult population. This neglect may change in the wake of the recent presidential election, insofar as Republicans have realized the cost of neglecting the welfare of Middle Americans.
Ohhhh. Oh. Okay, I see how the monte works now. You needed some way of tying a class of people who are often poorer and, let’s be frankly honest, browner into all your usual baggage about “Middle America” so that you could pretend that issues caused by poverty are actually caused by… Democrats raising taxes or some such shit.
Am I close?
WILCOX: It matters for two reasons. First, children born outside of marriage are much more likely to be consigned to a life of family instability, poverty, and educational failure. In a word, they are much less likely to have a shot at the American Dream.
Bam! I am good!
And yes, in a world where causation and correlation might as well be one and the same, it turns out social issues caused by poverty are not actually caused by poverty but by an unrelated issue that causes the poverty… somehow.
Actually… that’s a legitimate question.
How are children born outside of marriage supposed to be causing poverty?
And bonus question, how will you answer that question without being forced to admit that religious attitudes to things like sex education and the lack of easy access to reproductive options may be a contributing factor?
The answer to both is parakeet, because Bradiana Jones knows better than to let logic or sanity get even within docking range of this shit.
Hell, he won’t even let “Middle Americans” mean one thing.
LOPEZ: Why do you call these people “Middle Americans,” and how can they best be reached?
WILCOX: We call them Middle Americans because they hail from the middle of the American class distribution and make up a majority of the population.
So they are the middle class.
And, until recently, they have served as the moral and civic backbone of America.
Oh wait, they’re now conservative Real American types.
In the 1970s, for instance, this group was more likely to attend church than any other group in the country. But now, for both economic and cultural reasons, Middle Americans are falling behind.
Okay, now they are Evangelicals… and I’m just going to sidestep the easy joke about religious observance and education level.
Middle Americans, especially Middle American men, are losing their connection to marriage, work, religion, and civil society.
Wait, no, now it’s a thinly veiled dog whistle for black people and yeah, black men might be having such difficult retaining their connection to marriage because we incarcerate them so frequently and over so little we might as well reinstitute slavery so we can at least be honest with ourselves.
LOPEZ: If getting them married successfully is “the social challenge for our times,” why aren’t more of us talking about it, and often?
WILCOX: Because many Americans think that family-related matters such as marriage are “private” and not worthy of public attention, or because they think we should celebrate today’s family diversity.
Gays wanting to marry totally ruins it for everyone else.
But really, I wonder what I was thinking. It’s not too bad-
LOPEZ: What does this have to do with the fiscal cliff or the economy?
Nothing. Literally nothing. Marriage has literally nothing to do with the fiscal cliff. Partially because the fiscal cliff was a bunch of media-invented bullshit designed to make the end of the Bush Tax Cuts seem like an important issue to anyone outside the Top 1%… But mostly because that statement is so stupid, it’s caused my brains to leak out of my ears.
I don’t even care what bizarre self-serving “single mothers cause mass shootings, all of poverty, and the deficit because welfare queens” answer he gives, because it can’t possibly justify that question. Let’s hope the next question is better-
LOPEZ: What is the marriage penalty, and what kind of difference could it make if it were lifted?
I really need to stop setting myself up like that.
Yes, marriage is so very penalized and not at all economically promoted in this country. I mean, what with all the tax breaks, child tax credits, expanded available social services, health insurance and other benefits available to married couples its just no wonder that straights haven’t started boycotting marriage entirely in order to protect themselves.
WILCOX: Robert Lerman at the Urban Institute estimates that many low-income families face a marriage penalty of up to 25 percent.
Please ignore that this looks suspiciously like the sort of believable large number some one would instinctively reach for if someone were to say “Hey, Rob, can you pull the first number you think of out of your ass for me?”. It’s simply a coincidence.
This is because many of our public welfare programs — e.g., food stamps — are cut off for low-income families whose income rises above a certain threshold.
Which is a remarkably good argument for a more robust safety net that doesn’t cap out before people still need it… Also, household income for married couples has a whole different chart than even single parents. But I guess things that screw over single parents are magically things that screw over married couples through the magic of transparent ideology.
And marriage often means a second earner enters the picture, thus disqualifying many low-income couples from means-tested programs. This means that some couples or single mothers have an economic incentive not to get married.
Of course. People are avoiding getting married while still remaining cohabitating partners and parents because this somehow saves money compared to the literally endless array of benefits and credits they would otherwise earn.
But I guess if your worldview is that people are either together and married or they are chastely living in two separate locations having Jesus approved cuddles only, then…
Wait. If that was the case in your bizarre worldview, where are all these kids of single parents coming from?
In the report, we detail steps that could be taken to end this penalty. This would shore up the economic foundations of marriage among the poor and send the right signal about marriage to low-income communities where marriage is increasingly rare.
Yes, by fixating on a purely fictional issue, we send a nice strong signal about marriage to low-income communities.
That being that we don’t fucking care about low-income communities and can’t even pretend to fucking care. But we’re happy to exploit the poverty we help make worse in order to try and hard-sell bitches back into marrying early and unhappily out of a generalized sense of panic.
LOPEZ: What does the president have to do with this? What could he do about it?
WILCOX: In my view, the biggest thing that President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama could do is to get behind a public campaign to promote married parenthood, much like the campaign the First Lady has conducted on behalf of healthy eating. The Obamas have gone the distance in their marriage, and they could encourage more of their fellow citizens to follow in their footsteps for the sake of kids across this great country of ours.
Dude, if Obama were to suddenly start pimping his marriage to Michelle and telling Americans to marry, conservatives would be declaring War on Marriage within the-
Actually, yes, that’s a great idea. Obama should adopt it at once.
LOPEZ: How can we talk about marriage and divorce without making people feel bad about a marriage that did not work out?
Ha ha, Kath, you ignorant slut, the whole point of this organization is to make bitches feel bad about failed marriages.
WILCOX: We have to think about the future. Almost no one hopes that their children will face a future that includes divorce, single parenthood, or some other family difficulty. So, even though many of us adults have made mistakes or failed in marriage
Yes, so many mistakes and failures so we can’t at all promote things that actually work.
Like supporting the overall movement to delay marriage overall which has dramatically lowered the divorce rate. Or supporting strong social safety nets, general poverty relief, strong unemployment benefits, and job creation so that economic worries don’t add unnecessary stress to relationships. Or allowing gays to get married so people who want to get married and have legal protections for their families can, you know, have them. Or making contraceptives readily available and stepping up sex education as well as making sure abortion access is treated as a human right so that no one who isn’t ready for children isn’t forced into it because of necessity. Or strongly supporting feminist efforts to reduce the incidents of rape, assault, or abuse. Or provide strong support to the victims, both economic and social so that bad relationships can be terminated long before they get overly tangled.
Or pretty much anything other than just going “um, er, marriage sure is neat, everyone should do it with someone, anyone, cause it doesn’t really matter beyond getting the ring.”
We need to renew a marriage-friendly culture that manages to hold up the ideal of the intact, married family while treating departures from that ideal with grace and sensitivity. Our children deserve no less.
And if this wasn’t so utterly lost in the world of poorly-hidden dog whistles that this wasn’t a two page exercise in absurdist poetry, we could actually take you at your word.
We could actually make it easier for people to get married, remove the economic and social barriers that make it difficult, and cheer on the feminists helping to ensure that marriages are more likely to succeed.
We could even forget pushing marriage altogether and promote what works for each couple and making it easier to create one’s family, no matter what form that takes.
But we won’t. Because you’re off in your little world where marriage is a reliable good you can buy in the corner store and low marriage rates cause poverty rather than the other way around.
And where you don’t want to admit that the rate of failed marriages has actually been going down since we all stopped getting so hung up on marriage.
Cause if you do, then you might have to get a real job.
And nothing is more terrifying than that.