Republicans have decided to seize on the 50th anniversary of the War On Poverty to lie about the success of the effort — which has dramatically reduced the share of Americans in poverty — and make the argument that conservative proposals would improve the fate of the poor, despite decades of evidence to the contrary.
Instead of policies that we know reduce poverty, conservatives are focused on marriage — a theme that allows them to trumpet family values while conveniently chiding single mothers. The New York Times’ Charles Blow points out that a focus on out-of-wedlock parenting “is simply a form of sex shaming that blames them [single women] for not being proper guardians of chastity.”
It’s also extraordinarily hypocritical in two ways.
First, Rick Santorum, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and former Bush administration flack Ari Fleischer all think government should promote marriage but offer scant policy solutions that do so. Rubio’s plan to turn the earned-income tax credit — a conservative proposal that has actually reduced poverty — into a wage subsidy in a “deficit neutral” way would actually take money away from families to help single people.
The second hypocrisy is the most galling.
As conservatives are promoting marriage as salvation, they’re actively denying this solution to lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual couples.
Riley Hackford-Peer is a 12-year-old boy who lives in Utah. He said he has dreamed for years of his two mothers being able to marry. And last year, when a federal judge ruled that the state could not deny them that right, they did so. “It felt like fireworks bursting in my heart,” Hackford-Peer told a crowd gathered at the state capitol on Friday. The Supreme Court has since put a stay on these marriages, assenting to a request from the Republican state administration led by Governor Gary Herbert.
“Governor Herbert wants to treat my moms unfairly,” Hackford-Peer said on Friday. “He says he wants to ‘protect families.’ But I want to tell him that my family deserves protection, too. I have two moms — and I love them. And they deserve to have their marriage recognized everywhere.”
While Republicans are fighting to undo the marriage of Riley Hackford-Peer’s parents, the Obama administration’s Justice Department has announced it will recognize the same-sex marriages that took place in Utah before the Court stepped in.