14 January 2004

good Lord, how depressing. the times says that the bush administration is going to spend $1.5 billion promoting marriage, especially among low-income people.

i can't really even express how stupid and bad this idea is. maybe -- MAYBE -- if such a program were specifically aimed at eradicating domestic violence; if it were available to all couples who wanted it, queer or straight or what have you; if it somehow were less coercive and more empowering; if we as a country could actually afford it -- maybe then it might be something we could begin to think about.

at the moment though, as the times article notes, this is at best an empty sop to conservative groups. sadly, it's a very expensive sop with no history of improving the social maladies of poor communities. obviously it's better for kids to live in a household with more, rather than less, parental contact and supervision. but these programs have been around for a while now, especially in the conservative south, and there's never been any evidence that they do what they ought. none. as my father would say, show me the &%$#ing data.

the thing that really gets to me is the cynicism of it. this adminsitration is not going to make it possible for poor parents to actually spend time with their children. it's not going to push for meaningful job growth, and it's certainly not going to push for a more generous welfare state or more stringent labor regulations. instead it pretends that marriage solves the poverty problem, rather than the other way around.

such small, mean minds these people have.