The Census Bureau apparently thinks that tracking marriage and divorce rates in the United States is “low benefit and low cost category.” This is not the first time in recent years the Federal Government has cut research into marriage and family issues in the United States. Back in 1996, funding for detail marriage statistics that was given to the states for almost a century was cut.
I am all for cutting government waste. Yes there have been stupid programs that studied things like “Why a Frisbee flies” and millions of other dollars wasted on such research. But can anyone say with a straight face that the government monitoring what our marriage and divorce rates are is wasteful spending?
I would submit that most of the people who would say “yes it is wasteful”, are either those who are serial divorcees or those who have never been married because they see this institution of marriage as “outdated” and “unnecessary” for the health of society. A few others who would oppose it would be privacy advocates, saying “its none of the government’s business”.
The underlying truth is, there is a certain group of people, some in very powerful and influential places of government and society, that want to take the spot light off marriage, cohabitation and divorce. These people come from all political persuasions, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian…etc). They simply want to move the whole “marriage equation” from the political spectrum, because it creates problems for them when they are running for office.
For instance, Republican law makers have secretly said they wished the Supreme Court would just end the gay marriage debate by declaring it a constitutional right. This thinking is kind of ironic since most Republicans say they don’t like Courts “legislating from the bench”, which is what they would in essence be doing by granting this new right of gay marriage out of thin air.
I agree with what the President of The National Council on Family Relations recently said about this disturbing move by our Federal Government:
“The fact that a statistic as basic as the divorce rate is in question should be a source of concern to family scholars, educators, and practitioners. Given the importance of this topic, you might think that the federal government is committed to maintaining—and even enhancing—the quality of marriage and divorce data. But in a startling development last year, the U.S. Census Bureau (under pressure from Congress to cut costs) announced its intention to drop the marital transition questions from the ACS. The ACS is currently the best source of national and state data on the frequency of marriage, divorce, widowhood, and remarriage. And the ACS is the only data source that can measure marital trends in relatively small groups in the population, such as Asian Americans, Hispanic subgroups (e.g., Cubans and Puerto Ricans), and people in same-sex marriages. Losing this resource will have serious consequences for the quality of family research.”
-Paul R. Amato, Ph.D., NCFR president
I consider myself a conservative, and I generally support conservative candidates for public office. I also support the downsizing of our Federal Government. But this is one area where I completely disagree with some fellow conservatives in Washington looking to make cuts. The family unit is the building block of society, it affects every aspect of our culture and the government should maintain the best statistics we can in this crucial area. We should not be cutting this funding, but rather expanding it and restoring the cuts made to in 1996.
I encourage everyone(liberal, conservative or otherwise), the believes that marriage and family is bedrock of society, and the government should be tracking this information, to write their congressmen today to pressure them not allow this to be cut. Also write to the Census Bureau as well.