06 Dec An Inconvenient Truth: The Demise of the Family Fosters Lower Incomes and Poverty
by Rachel Allison
Nick Shulz, November 30, LA Times Op Ed piece should have been delivered to each of the homes and tents of the Occupy Wall Street supporters.
He points out that there is, in fact, inequality in incomes, AND that incomes have grown more unequal. But he presents three inconvenient truths for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
1. The top one percent are getting richer because of expanding globalization and advanced technology.
2. Large-scale immigration of unskilled workers depresses the wages of the native born at the low end of the income distribution.
But it was the third inconvenient truth that jumped off the page at me.
This is the most inconvenient truth of all, because our society not only flaunts but practically “preaches” the inconvenience and the demise of the traditional family unit.
May I quote Mr. Schulz?
The explosion of out-of-wedlock births and of children living outside of two-parent households has widened economic disparities of all kinds, including income.
The reason is straightforward. The role that human and social capital plays in helping a person generate income in an advanced economy has increased over the last half a century. And over that same time, the primary institution for inculcating human and social capital has badly weakened.
Social scientists routinely find that individuals raised in intact families are generally better equipped to thrive in the economy. Today’s 99% is teeming with tens of millions of Americans who were not raised in a stable home environment, and their earnings potential is compromised as a result.
The problem of family breakdown doesn’t lend itself to easy fixes. And its cultural roots run quite deep at this point. But it’s a safe bet that in the several months they occupied Zuccotti Park and other public spaces, not one new idea was raised by Occupiers that would help arrest this driver of increasing income inequality.