Heritage Research Fellow Explains Their Marshall Plan for Marriage


Kathryn Lopez in National Review:

Chuck Donovan is a man with a plan. A longtime advocate of family-friendly public policy, and senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, he has come up with “A Marshall Plan for Marriage: Rebuilding Our Shattered Homes.” Donovan discusses the peril to marriage — and his plan to shore up that institution — with National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez.

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: A “Marshall Plan.” Is that a little overly dramatic?

CHARLES A. DONOVAN: No and yes. The problem of family disintegration is approaching that scale. The nation’s out-of-wedlock birth rate is more than 50 percent higher for all women of childbearing age than it was for the black American subset that so troubled the late Pat Moynihan when he wrote his study for the Labor Department in the 1960s. The poverty rate for children born to single parents is nearly five times higher than it is for children born into intact families.

Marriage breakdown, or failure to form families, is creeping upward into the middle class, as Brad Wilcox’s studies have pointed out, and it’s tied to diminished economic prospects for men. We don’t live in the aftermath of a war zone, but Detroit and some of our other cities, denuded of economic opportunity and mother-father families, rival post-World War II conditions.

But, yes, the phrase “Marshall Plan for Marriage” is overly dramatic. But being overly dramatic in the defense of marriage is no vice. I’m not proposing massive new investments — we are at a horrific stage of the cycle when even our bootstraps are frayed.