First comes love, then comes marriage …

… then comes Daddy with a baby carriage.

The verse was drummed into my generation, but I bet many of you are too young to have ever heard it, right?




Well, the essence of the rhyme’s message was captured in a WSJ op-ed this week.

Ari Fleischer – one of Bush’s press secretaries wrote:

“The U.S. is steadily separating into a two-caste system with marriage and education as the dividing line. In the high-income third of the population, children are raised by married parents with a college education; in the bottom-income third, children are raised by single parents with a high-school diploma or less.”

A better and more compassionate policy  to fight income inequality (than redistributing wealth from working families) would be helping the poor realize that the most important decision they can make is to stay in school, get married and have children — in that order.

One might dispute the conclusion, but here are some facts …



Among families headed by two married parents in 2012, just 7.5% lived in poverty.

When families are headed by a single mother the poverty level jumps to 33.9%.


In 1964, when the war on poverty began, almost everyone was born in a family with two married parents: only 7% were not.

A 2012 study by the Heritage Foundation found that 28.6% of children born to a white mother were out of wedlock.

For Hispanics, the 2012 figure was 52.5% and for African-Americans 72.3%.

The majority of women who have children outside of marriage today are adult women in their 20s.

Teenagers under 18 represent less than 8% of out-of-wedlock births.


Among white married couples, the poverty rate in 2009 was just 3.2%; for white nonmarried families, the rate was 22%.

Among black married couples, the poverty rate was only 7%, but the rate for non-married black families was 35.6%.


The government has spent over $20 trillion on welfare programs since 1964 —when President Johnson declared the “war on poverty”.


WSJ article

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