Do big government tax credits break up intact families?

Here’s a research study from the Royal Economic Society. (H/T ECM)


Labour’s tax credits have caused thousands of families to break up, an authoritative study said yesterday.

The flagship scheme is blamed for a doubling of the divorce rate among low income parents with young children.

Tax credits, introduced a decade ago to cut child poverty, were supposed to help single mothers and hard-working families.

But a so-called ‘couple penalty’ means that a mother can pick up more than £100 extra a week by splitting from her partner.

Evidence published by the Royal Economic Society said that tax credits give mothers married to men on low earnings an incentive to divorce.

The study found that the divorce rate among mothers with low-income husbands rose by 160 per cent in the three years after the benefits were brought in.

Marco Francesconi, of the University of Essex, said that tax credits had limited the
benefits of marriage, encouraged mothers to work and produced a ‘greater risk of family disruption’.

He said: ‘The result that tax credits had strong employment and divorce effects on married mothers in poor households is very important.

The findings, published in the highly-influential Economic Journal, are the first hard evidence that tax credits are working to drive couples apart.

[…]Professor Francesconi and two senior colleagues based their research on 3,235 couples tracked from 1991 by the British Household Panel Survey.

‘Women married to a partner who did not work or who worked fewer than 16 hours a week were more than 2 per cent more likely to dissolve their partnership after the reform than their childless counterparts,’ the report said.

Now take a look at this interview about unilateral (“no fault”) divorce from Life Site News, featuring Dr. Stephen Baskerville. (H/T Ruth Blog)


LSN: Are there any other often-ignored laws or cultural issues that work against the family?

SB: The divorce regime is in fact a panoply of destructive laws, not just no-fault.  The massive federally funded machinery catering to the dishonest hysteria over “domestic violence” is almost all geared to facilitating divorce.  Knowingly false accusations of domestic violence are now out of control, and almost all of it is generated to secure custody of children in divorce cases.

The same is largely true of the hysteria over “child abuse”.  Child abuse is certainly real, but almost all of it takes place in single-parent homes, not intact families.  In other words, there is a child abuse industry that actually creates the problem it professes to be addressing.  By encouraging false accusations of child abuse to facilitate divorce and single-parent homes, the child abuse industry actually creates more child abuse.  That is a shocking statement, I realize, but I have documented it in my book.

Child support is another facilitator of divorce.  Too many people credulously accept feminist/government propaganda that child support is to provide for children who have been abandoned.  Nothing is further from the truth.  It is mostly extorted from fathers that have been evicted, again through “no fault” of their own.  It is a subsidy on divorce and single-parent homes.  If you pay people to divorce, they will do it more.  That is precisely what child support does.

Basically, these single-mother welfare policies are put in place by left-wing political parties in order to provide financial incentives to women to break up their marriages. This is called “compassion” – equalizing the life outcomes of married couples with single-mother households. Government does this by transferring wealth from marriage couples to single parents households.

But social problems are created by fatherless homes, no matter how much wealth redistribution the socialists do. Big government has to raise taxes and increase social programs to deal with the failures they themselves caused in the first place. Bigger government means more regulation of private life, and less take-home pay for working husbands. Eventually, a traditionally-minded man cannot support a family alone, and his wife has to work. That leaves government-regulated day cares and public schools in charge of the children. How convenient for the secular left – now they can impose their sex education on ever younger children. Parents can’t complain about what they don’t know about.

Remember that 77% of young, unmarried women voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 election. This is what they wanted – to replace the unreliable men they freely and unwisely chose for themselves with the security offered by big government. But big government gets its money from the reliable men. What do you suppose the reliable men will do when 50% of their paycheck is confiscated by the state? Does that give a man confidence to get married? Will he respected by his family and have moral authority in the home because of his role as sole provider? Of course not. Government will be in charge.

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