Thursday, March 01, 2007

An "interesting" news day

$500 to all newborns What a great idea! Of course, it will never fly. Gotta build those prisons as the nice Republican said. God forbid that we divert money away from the criminals to help the newborn babies. This from someone who probably espouses Christian values in another forum. Can someone please explain this point of view to me?!?

Meanwhile, on pag SIXTEEN (because obviously this isn't a topic of any national or regional significance): More in US plunge deeper into poverty. Not only are there more people living below the poverty line in the U.S., but those people are even poorer than they were before.
43 percent of the nation's 37 million poor people are now classified as living in "deep poverty" -- the highest rate since at least 1975 (aka: my lifetime). But hey, the richer are getting richer, so let's hide this story somewhere in the back of the newspaper - wouldn't want to upset the fragile conscience of those who refuse to pay a little more in taxes to fund programs that might help save some of these poor buggers from rack and ruin.

And finally, in England... Marriage rates dropped 10% from 2005 to 2006 to the lowest rate since records began. This is an interesting and thought-provoking statistic. The article says that:

Years of research has shown that married couples are better off and healthier than cohabiting couples. Children of married families are likely to be healthier physically and mentally and to do better at school. They are less likely to fall into drug or drink abuse, early sex and pregnancy, unemployment or crime. Ministers and public officials often say the figures simply mean that better educated middle class couples are more likely to marry. Their opponents say it is increasingly plain that the public commitment of marriage ties couples together and helps bind their families.

Personally, I do believe in marriage (well, duh, being married twice might be a clue there), but I have always viewed this as a personal choice rather than something that had societal impacts. I do think it is possible to bring up healthy, well-adjusted children outside of a marriage but I also think it is harder to do so. However, I have always viewed the US religious right's protectionist attitude to marriage as somewhat extreme and intolerant (which generally speaking describes the religious right's views on any given subject). But it is interesting that, as religion plays less of a cohesive role in UK society (fewer people identifying themselves with the Christian faith and a higher percentage of immigrants bringing "other" religions with them), marriage rates go down, crime goes up and, well, society in general seems to be less considerate and compassionate.

This is one I'm going to have to think on. How to balance tolerance and personal liberty with the good of society as a whole...?


e said...

But this begs the question doesn't it? You could argue that the kind of people who would raise healthy kids whether married or single are the also the kind of people who are more likely to marry and have a stable and drug-free family life, better educated etc. And vice-versa. So is it really marriage that leads to healthier kids, or is it the healthier people who raise them more likely to be married? These kinds of studies strike me as being mildly "propagandaish."

Jules and Jarrod said...

In Oz, you get a $5K "baby bonus" for each child born. Have twins and you are $10K up! These payments are meant to entice Aussies to increase the native born population. Turns out all sorts of very young trollops decided it was a good idea to procreate just for some moola. Now they've adjusted to rules -- something like if you are under 18, you have to get your baby bonus in installments. Ah, life Down Under...

e said...

Is it wrong that I love that Jules and Jarrod used the expression "very young trollops"? In fact, I think I will start using the word "trollop" more often.

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