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in brief: US right wingers claim marriage solves poverty for women

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Bush administration press secretary, Ari Fleischer has proposed that marriage inequality is the cause of a hell of a lot of single ladies’ poverty.

In a conservative editorial published in the Wall Street Journal, Fleischer implored US President Barack Obama to focus economic policy around the breakdown of the traditional family.

‘Marriage inequality should be at the centre of any discussion of why some Americans prosper and others don’t.’

US Census Bureau data shows only 7.5 per cent of nuclear families (i.e. two parents) live below the poverty line, as compared with 33.9 per cent of single mothers.

Furthermore, in 2009 the poverty rate stood at 3.2 per cent for married Caucasian Americans and 7 per cent for married African Americans, whereas the rate for de facto couples sits at 22 per cent for Caucasians and for 35.6 per cent African Americans.

Conceivably, the statistics are used in argument to show disgust at raising taxes for the wealthy.

The concept of marrying off women to fix their economic woes has understandably come under fire for its reductive account of solving women’s poverty.

‘Marrying a 10-dollar-an-hour man gets you nowhere, so you’d really have to marry three or four,’ author Barbara Ehrenreich, who has written on low income earners, jested at American magazine The Atlantic’s female poverty summit.

The fact cannot be dismissed that single women with a stable, higher income and who have completed their education have more resources to remain independent than those who have been through the cycle of poverty.

‘This is not to say that all low-income women should marry, that it’s their fault if they’re not married, or that marriage is the silver-bullet solution to solving income inequality,’ The Atlantic’s Emma Green writes.

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