[FoRK] New Benefits of Marriage Study Actually Hints at the Horrors of Middle Age

Gregory Alan Bolcer greg at bolcer.org
Thu Jan 22 13:44:28 PST 2015

What's with all the excessive ink?


On Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 1:36 PM, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:

> Ah yes, thanks.  I mixed that up with a story about Swedish Kitchens, both
> tiny sizes from a certain era and this:
> https://sweden.se/collection/welcome-to-the-swedish-kitchen/
>> Welcome to the Swedish kitchen. It is not a sanctuary for a chef but
>> rather a family room where people combine cooking with socialising, eating
>> and drinking.
> https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svensk_k%C3%B6ksstandard
> sdw
> On 1/22/15 10:43 AM, geege schuman wrote:
>> This?  (Denmark not Sweden, but I can see why you went there.)
>> http://www.citylab.com/housing/2015/01/can-boomers-
>> make-cohousing-mainstream/384624/
>> On Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 1:03 PM, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
>>  On 1/22/15 8:38 AM, Tom Higgins wrote:
>>>  So maybe I am not the best person to be  commenting on marriage having
>>>> been
>>>> thru one from beginning to end...but...
>>>> Legislating social machinations ...two words... Gaius Octavius ...and
>>>> begin.....
>>>> -tom(Livia Did It)higgins
>>>>  Yes, legislating social machinations would be bad.  Glad we don't do
>>> that.  Oh, wait, in some key ways we do:
>>> http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/living-single/201006/
>>> can-you-name-the-1138-federal-hat-tips-marriage-guest-post-onely
>>> http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-04-353R
>>>  our research identified a total of 1,138 federal statutory provisions
>>>> classified to the United States Code in which marital status is a
>>>> factor in
>>>> determining or receiving benefits, rights, and privileges.
>>>>  Not to mention laws regulating sex, only recently overruled by SCOTUS
>>> so
>>> that many millions of Americans are no longer committing technically
>>> illegal acts.  (For instance, oral sex was illegal in many states.)  If
>>> you
>>> believe that state and local laws have any validity once overruled, it
>>> still is.  A number of states have refused to change their laws even
>>> though
>>> they have been ruled unconstitutional.
>>> On 1/22/15 7:00 AM, Gregory Alan Bolcer wrote:
>>>  Maya Dusenbery must be an alias.
>>>> Whatever agency that spends money on encouraging or discouraging
>>>> marriage
>>>> through that federal marriage promotion program should be defunded and
>>>> cut
>>>> immediately as completely outside the scope of what government should be
>>>> spending taxpayer dollars on.
>>>>  Agreed.
>>> http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/06/gops-dead-
>>> end-marriage-program
>>>  take a hard look at a federal program pushed by a host of top GOPers
>>>> during the Bush-era and reauthorized in late 2010, as the Republican
>>>> deficit craze took hold. Originally championed by Republican lawmakers
>>>> including Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick
>>>> Santorum,
>>>> and current Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a federal initiative to promote
>>>> marriage <http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2008/09/do-taxpayers-
>>>> need-marriage-workshops> as a cure for poverty dumped hundreds of
>>>> millions of dollars into programs that either had no impact or a
>>>> negative
>>>> effect on the relationships of the couples who took part, according to
>>>> recent research by the Department of Health and Human Services <
>>>> http://www.hhs.gov/> (HHS).
>>>> Launched during the Bush administration at the behest of evangelical
>>>> Christian activists and with the aid of congressional Republicans, the
>>>> federal Healthy Marriage Initiative <http://www.motherjones.com/
>>>> politics/2005/01/richer-or-poorer> was designed to help low-income
>>>> couples put a little sizzle in their marriages and urge poor unmarried
>>>> parents to tie the knot, in the hopes that marriage would enhance their
>>>> finances and get them off the federal dole. Starting in 2006, millions
>>>> of
>>>> dollars were hastily distributed to grantees to further this poverty
>>>> reduction strategy. The money went to such enterprises as "Laugh Your
>>>> Way
>>>> America," <http://www.laughyourway.com/> a program run by a non-Spanish
>>>> speaking Wisconsin minister who used federal dollars to offer "Laugh
>>>> Your
>>>> Way to a Better Marriage" seminars to Latinos. It funded Rabbi Stephen
>>>> Baars, a British rabbi who'd been giving his trademarked "Bliss"
>>>> marriage
>>>> seminars <http://www.getbliss.com/index.php?option=com_content&
>>>> task=view&id=1&Itemid=2> to upper-middle-class Jews in Montgomery
>>>> County, Maryland, for years. With the help of the federal government, he
>>>> brought his program to inner-city DC for the benefit of African American
>>>> single moms.
>>>> The marriage money was diverted from the Temporary Assistance for Needy
>>>> Families program (formerly known as welfare), and much of it went to
>>>> religious groups that went to work trying to combat the divorce rate in
>>>> their communities by sponsoring date nights and romance workshops. In
>>>> some
>>>> cities, the local grantees used their federal funds to recruit
>>>> professional
>>>> athletes to make public service announcements touting the benefits of
>>>> marriage. Women's groups were especially critical of the marriage
>>>> initiative, largely because it was the baby of Wade Horn <
>>>> http://www.publiceye.org/pushedtothealtar/index.html>, a controversial
>>>> figure who Bush installed at HHS as the head of the Administration for
>>>> Children and Families and the administration's official "marriage czar."
>>>>  Greg:
>>>  Second, she wants the government to tell her boss that she can take more
>>>> sick days to take care of her family?  It's called unpaid leave.  After
>>>> you
>>>> use up all your sick days, that's what you do. The idea that the
>>>> government
>>>> would tell her boss that they have to pay her to do her parental duty
>>>> too
>>>> is crazy.  That just tells me she was unprepared for parenthood.  We
>>>> truly
>>>> do live in an entitlement society.
>>>>  This is not so simple.  Children need to be raised and both parents
>>> should
>>> be able to get educated, have a career, and work productively.  To some
>>> extent, having to struggle for a certain segment isn't terrible, but it
>>> is
>>> probably not optimal either.  For other segments, the struggle leads to
>>> various disasters.  Anything that consistently leads to poorly raised and
>>> educated children is bad.  Anything that significantly produces life-long
>>> limits on half the population is bad.  It doesn't take full government
>>> management to fix this.  Perhaps it doesn't take any government
>>> participation at all.  I would likely only consider some minor tweaks
>>> that
>>> might have a major impact.  Perhaps solving liability and responsibility
>>> issues with cooperative parenting arrangements or something along those
>>> lines.  The entitlements we have for people who more or less fail out of
>>> the perfect career & family track do tend to discourage further coupling
>>> up.  I see this all the time: A couple has children, then splits up.  If
>>> they are less than upper middle class, and especially if the children
>>> have
>>> any problems, eventually this may lead to some disability, welfare, or
>>> similar.  Once this becomes a thing, and goes on for a while, it becomes
>>> less and less likely that that parent will do more than date.  The
>>> responsibility gap that someone would have to close is large, leading to
>>> endless instability.
>>> The conservatives were right in seeing this as an insidious dynamic, but
>>> they seem mostly off track in their approach to solving it.  By only
>>> concentrating on keeping people from divorcing and those on the edge to
>>> commit, they seem to be assuming that those already divorced and in or
>>> heading to bad situations are a lost cause.
>>> A really great book I'm reading right now (Firestar - Michael Flynn) has
>>> this dynamic in play at a certain point:
>>> Pods of 4 single parents work together so that one parent raises all of
>>> the children while the others train, work, and pay part of their salary
>>> to
>>> the first.
>>> Simply supporting something like this so it is a respectable thing, can
>>> get off the ground, and be successful for a while would be a huge win.
>>> At
>>> some point, it would be a cultural motif and probably happen without any
>>> support.  Maybe this would just need creative use of power of attorney,
>>> or
>>> probably a slight legislative tweak to allow parent-like power in such a
>>> situation better than current power of attorney.  Perhaps private
>>> organizations would provide backing for a few areas to get it off the
>>> ground.
>>> I can't seem to google it, but there was a segment I saw recently about
>>> almost-communal living in Sweden.  An apartment complex like group vote
>>> residents in, had group dinners with rotating cooking responsibility,
>>> co-parenting, etc.  Hard to get right, and all kinds of ways of failing,
>>> but not bad to try.  Some extended families operate this way to various
>>> degrees, sometimes to an extreme.  It's not an option for most now, but
>>> intentionally constructing such an arrangement is not necessarily the
>>> same
>>> as socialism or communism, especially if not imposed by the government.
>>> Different arrangements are optimal for different people at different
>>> times.
>>>  Greg
>>>>  sdw
>>>  On 1/20/2015 8:05 PM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>>>>  Teaming up is important.  I always wonder why so many are single.
>>>>> Perhaps we need some social construct between "roommate" and "mate".
>>>>> http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/new-benefits-
>>>>> marriage-study-actually-hints-horrors-middle-age-98353/
>>>>> New Benefits of Marriage Study Actually Hints at the Horrors of Middle
>>>>> Age
>>>>> By Maya Dusenbery • January 16, 2015 • 12:00 PM
>>>>> Doomed? (Photo: nathancongleton/Flickr
> _______________________________________________
> FoRK mailing list
> http://xent.com/mailman/listinfo/fork

greg at bolcer.org, http://bolcer.org, c: +1.714.928.5476

More information about the FoRK mailing list