PRA Press Releases
When "Uncle Sam" Plays Cupid, He Pushes Marriage as Poverty Fighter Over Proven Programs, New Report Shows
"Remedy" for Poverty Grounded in Ideology, Not Facts; Erodes Church/State Separation
BOSTON – This Valentine's Day, an increasing number of low-income women find themselves pushed to the altar - not by their relations or suitors, but by the federal government. A new report by the think tank Political Research Associates and the Women of Color Resource Center documents how the Bush Administration bypassed proven poverty relief programs to promote marriage and the controversial idea that father-led families are the answer to poverty.
Furthermore, the projects promoting marriage among the impoverished erode the separation of Church and State since federal funds are often channeled through church-linked programs.
Pushed to the Altar: The Right Wing Roots of Marriage Promotion by political scientist Jean Hardisty, shows that the Bush Administration's claim that marriage will cure poverty and end fatherlessness "is simply unproven" and puts the price tag for federal marriage and fatherhood promotion programs at more than $200 million a year.
"This redirection of benefits intended for low-income families and those unable to meet their own needs is the equivalent of taking food from the table of the poor,"said Hardisty. Meanwhile, more tangible assistance for low-income families - food stamps, medical care, housing subsidies, job training - all became more difficult to obtain.
Many of these programs were put in place by Wade Horn, the right-wing fatherhood movement activist, who in 2001 was appointed by George W. Bush to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Children and Families division. Funding flows through various programs:
Jean Hardisty is Senior Scholar at The Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College, and President Emerita of Political Research Associates, a Boston- based progressive think tank and publisher of the The Public Eye quarterly.
The executive summary is available online. Full copy of the report is available by calling 617-666-5300.
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