Bush proposes marriage programs

carey carey@tstonramp.com
Fri, 22 Mar 2002 09:00:51 -0800

Yawn. Bush is pandering.  Yippie.  He wants to push his agenda, and waste my
tax dollars for it.  Here's the problem I see:

Marriage is not always the best goal.  Say you have a couple who get
together after being successfully duped by the propaganda (which,
essentially is all this is), who probably weren't really -marriage-material.
Now, multiply that times a few thousand.

It will be interesting to see the results.  At the very same turn,  we'll
have the President patting himself on the back for the enormous increase in
marriages, while his aides are brushing the domestic violence/ abandonment/
divorce rates under the table.

Government is not always Right.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Prescod" <paul@prescod.net>
To: <fork@xent.com>
Sent: Friday, March 22, 2002 4:56 AM
Subject: Bush proposes marriage programs

> Remember when conservatives would deplore liberal "social engineering?"
> ==================
> Bush proposes marriage programs
> - - - - - - - - - - - -
> By Laura Meckler
> March 21, 2002  |  WASHINGTON (AP) --
> As Congress debates government's role in promoting marriage, the Bush
> administration is considering creating community-wide programs to teach
> teens the benefits of marriage, offer counseling to couples and inject
> pro-marriage messages into the culture.
> The program, still being drafted, would channel money for the program
> through the child support collection program, a tactic that critics say
> may be illegal.
> The plan would not need approval from Congress, which is considering
> President Bush's request to devote hundreds of millions of dollars for
> promoting marriage through welfare.
> The proposed child support program would involve a maximum of about $22
> million in federal and state money for about 15 communities, according
> to two draft documents that describe the plan.
> Advocates for the poor charge that the plan could siphon off money
> needed to administer child support programs, is inconsistent with the
> goals of the child support program and is an effort by the
> administration to bypass Congress.
> Encouraging two-parent families is a "laudable goal," said Vicki
> Turetsky, a child support expert at the Center for Law and Social
> Policy. "But that's not the goal of the child support program."
> The federal dollars that would be used for this program, she said, were
> approved by Congress for the purpose of child support collections, she
> said, not for marriage activities. Therefore, she and others said, the
> program may not be legal.
> According to the draft plan, community coalitions would develop "a
> saturation approach" including programs at the community, state and
> regional levels, focused on people with lower incomes.
> Activities would include educating young people about the benefits of
> marriage, providing skill building to promote healthy marriages, and
> creating media campaigns to "rebuild cultural norms" relating to
> marriage, family formation and fatherhood and the benefits of delaying
> childbearing until marriage.
> The idea is to incorporate marriage and fatherhood messages into a range
> of federal programs including Head Start, child care, welfare and a
> program targeting runaway and homeless youth.
> Participating states would be given special permission by the government
> to spend money through their child support programs for these
> experiments. The federal government would match those dollars as they
> normally match child support spending for administrative expenses.
> The proposal is still in draft form and must be approved by officials at
> the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House,
> cautioned Wade Horn, who heads the HHS Administration for Children and
> Families, which would run the program.
> Horn, a longtime advocate for marriage and fatherhood programs, said
> promoting marriage and discouraging out-of-wedlock childbearing were
> goals of the 1996 welfare law. And he said HHS has long had the power to
> approve demonstration programs like this one.
> "This is not an attempt to circumvent any kind of debate about
> anything," he said. "The debate about whether government should be
> involved with this issue at all was resolved five years ago when
> Congress passed a (welfare) law and a Democratic president signed it."
> While the welfare law gave states power to spend their money to promote
> marriage, few have done so. That's partly because of questions about
> whether the government should be so involved in people's personal lives
> and partly because there is little evidence about what might work.
> The Bush administration is pushing the issue on a variety of fronts,
> including asking Congress to devote up to $300 million in federal and
> state money to pro-marriage experiments when it renews the welfare law
> this year.
> The draft proposal is considerably more modest. It would allow select
> states to put up one-third of the money for these marriage initiatives
> through their child support administrative spending accounts. The
> federal government would pay the remaining 66 percent, the same match
> rate it uses for the child support program.
> Critics fear that facing tight budgets, states may wind up siphoning
> money they would have spent on child support for this.
> "The primary focus should be getting those kids the support they need,
> not some half-baked experiment that no one knows whether it will help
> poor kids or not," said Laurie Rubiner of the National Partnership for
> Women and Families.
> And Turetsky worries that, as drafted, the program would allow the
> administration to hand-pick the participating states, meaning some
> states with alternate ideas may be left out.
> "They've cut out competition and kept control at the federal level," she
> said. "It's the top down nature of this that's really startling."
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