Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Let's get to the root of the problem

I saw an article that indicates that the wealth gap between blacks and whites is bigger than ever, and the problem is getting worse.  While the article points to education, income, homeownership, and inheritances as drivers of lesser family wealth among blacks than among whites, that really misses the main question; why are blacks less likely to get their diplomas and college degrees, or get a better job, or buy a home, or receive an inheritance?

The answer is, of course, that marriage rates among blacks are far lower than they are among whites, to the point where many young black children deride marriage as a "white thing."  The reality here is that if I were not married, I could live very well on a shoestring in an apartment, such a situation, I'd also be unlikely to pass down an inheritance.

So if you want to make things better for blacks--or for that matter, anyone living in poverty--let's think of eliminating ways the government works against marriage.  Maybe it's time to end tax credits for daycare, ensure that there are no tax penalties for marriage, and start teaching kids that if they want to avoid poverty, there are few smarter things that they can do than to get married, finish high school, and stay out of trouble.

With a bit of luck, in a generation or two, we wouldn't be able to distinguish the wealth demographics of blacks (or rural whites) so clearly from the average.

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