Why is it so hard for a working man to provide for a family these days?

Here’s my argument which answers the question:

  1. Feminism was behind no-fault divorce.
  2. Making it easier to divorce means that more divorces will occur.
  3. Marital instability causes women to vote for bigger government.
  4. In the latest election (2008), exit polls showed that UNMARRIED women voted 3-1 for Obama.

*Please note that I am talking about unmarried women throughout this post.

Here’s the evidence for each point.

1. Feminism was behind no-fault divorce, according to this feminist, pro-no-fault-divorce writer.


Households of 2010 don’t look quite like they did in 1969, when no-fault divorce actually was a controversial topic and these counter-arguments held some weight. The working dad/stay-at-home mom model of the middle class has been replaced by two-parent earner households and a growing number of working mom/stay-at-home dad arrangements. In working poor and impoverished families, the one-parent provider model was never the norm. No-fault divorce seemed scary when it had never before existed, but the truth is that its introduction was long overdue. Feminist groups at the time supported no-fault divorce, as it provided women an escape hatch from desperately unhappy marriages in a society where they were already disadvantaged on almost every level, regardless of their marital status. Imagine an abusive marriage in 1968, when the court-savvy abuser could actually force the victim to stay in the relationship forever. Imagine that now, and you know why domestic violence attorneys are in full support of introducing no-fault divorce to New York. And the judges aren’t the only problem.

Note that the author of this piece thinks that it is not women’s fault that they choose men who they then want to divorce. It’s not the woman’s fault that she is unhappy with the man she courted with and then chose and then made vows to – women need a no-fault escape hatch, and children do fine without fathers.

2. Easier divorces means more divorces.


This paper analyzes a panel of 18 European countries spanning from 1950 to 2003 to examine the extent to which the legal reforms leading to “easier divorce” that took place during the second half of the 20th century have contributed to the increase in divorce rates across Europe. We use a quasi-experimental set-up and exploit the different timing of the reforms in divorce laws across countries. We account for unobserved country-specific factors by introducing country fixed effects, and we include country-specific trends to control for timevarying factors at the country level that may be correlated with divorce rates and divorce laws, such as changing social norms or slow moving demographic trends. We find that the different reforms that “made divorce easier” were followed by significant increases in divorce rates. The effect of no-fault legislation was strong and permanent, while unilateral reforms only had a temporary effect on divorce rates. Overall, we estimate that the legal reforms account for about 20 percent of the increase in divorce rates in Europe between 1960 and 2002.

It seems obvious, but more evidence never hurts.

3. Marital instability causes women to vote for bigger government for security.


Giving women the right to vote significantly changed American politics from the very beginning. Despite claims to the contrary, the gender gap is not something that has arisen since the 1970s. Suffrage coincided with immediate increases in state government expenditures and revenue, and these effects continued growing as more women took advantage of the franchise. Similar changes occurred at the federal level as female suffrage led to more liberal voting records for the state’s U.S. House and Senate delegations. In the Senate, suffrage changed voting behavior by an amount equal to almost 20 percent of the difference between Republican and Democratic senators. Suffrage also coincided with changes in the probability that prohibition would be enacted and changes in divorce laws.

[…]More work remains to be done on why women vote so differently, but our initial work provides scant evidence that it is due to self-interest arising from their employment by government. The only evidence that we found indicated that the gender gap in part arises from women’s fear that they are being left to raise children on their own (Lott and Kenny 1997). If this result is true, the continued breakdown of the family and higher divorce rates imply growing political conflicts between the sexes. 19

Bigger government must be paid for by higher taxes, of course, which makes it harder for one working man’s income to provide for a family. In fact, feminists wanted men to be displaced as sole-providers. They would prefer that women are “equal” to men, and that means making women get out and work like men. Feminists had every reason to want bigger government and higher taxes to make traditional single-earner families unfeasible financially. They did it for equality.

4. Women are in fact observed to vote for bigger government. (Original story was here, now pulled)


On Tuesday, the nation made history. It made history in electing the first African American president; it made history in building a bigger margin for the first female Speaker of the House; it made history in delivering the biggest Democratic margin since 1964; it made history in sending a record number of people to the polls and the highest percentage turnout since the 1960 election. Analysts will spend the next few months sifting through the data, trying to figure out what happened and why. Historians will likely spend the next several years and decades studying this election, as well. But one thing is immediately clear. Unmarried women played a pivotal role in making this history and in changing this nation. They delivered a stunning 70 to 29 percent margin to Barack Obama and delivered similarly strong margins in races for Congress and the U.S. Senate. Although unmarried women have voted Democratic consistently since marital status has been was tracked, this election represents the highest margin recorded and a 16-point net gain at the Presidential level from 2004.

And since the Democrats took the House and Senate in 2006, and then the Presidency in 2008, the national debt has doubled from 8 trillion to 16 trillion.

Voting for Democrats means voting for bigger government which means voting for higher taxes to pay for it all. Higher taxes means that a married man can no longer retain enough of his earnings to support a family. And that means his wife has to work, and that means that his children will learn what the government schools decide they should learn – so that all the children will be equal and think the same (pro-government) thoughts. This should not be controversial, because it is what it is. Very often, women complain about the very problems that they themselves have caused with their own voting, and their own embrace of feminism and rejection of the traditional roles of men as protectors, providers, and moral/spiritual leaders.

So, you have women voting to defund actual providers so that they are free to make babies with good-looking non-committing, non-providers – like in the UK Daily Mail story that I recently blogged about. Feminists often don’t want to share parenting duties with a man – they prefer government social programs instead of a man. And liberal feminist politicians also oppose encouraging traditional marriage with tax breaks. In the feminist UK, IVF is free – paid for by the British taxpayer (including male sole-providers!) making single motherhood by choice much more common. Here’s the result of that: single mother of 10 receives 30,000 British pounds per year in benefits. A recent study showed that the cost of family breakdown to the American taxpayer is $112 billion per year and a recent UK study showed that the UK taxpayer pays 9 billion pounds per year for “problem families”. This money is in addition to the growth of government caused by liberal voting patterns, documented above.

And that’s why “a man working full time [cannot] actually support a family and buy a house, as the sole income earner”, as one philosopher recently asked.

20 thoughts on “Why is it so hard for a working man to provide for a family these days?”

  1. Interesting theory no doubt. I think you may be on to something. However, to me the notion that it is any harder for a working man to provide for his family today is erroneous.

    The problem isn’t providing the basic necessities: roof, food, clothing……

    The problem is that working families today expect to be able to afford so much more. I look back at my parents bills when I was a kid living in suburban Detroit:

    -House payment
    -Car loan (sometimes not even this since my parents drove older used paid for cars)
    -Phone bill (low monthly, but pay for usage)
    -Electric bill
    -Gas bill
    -Water (minuscule and once every quarter)
    -Insurance (car, homeowners,etc)

    Now look the list of the working family’s bills today:

    -House payment
    -2 car loans (cause heaven forbid both mom and dad don’t have a new car to drive!)
    -Electric bill
    -Gas bill
    -Water bill
    -Insurance (car homeower etc)
    -Phone bill (higher all in one price, whether you use that much or not)
    -Cable TV bill
    -High speed internet
    -Cellphone bills (at least 2 for parents, more as kids get older and have to “fit in”)

    The problem is if you talk to someone about their financial problems, they talk about the last 3 as if they are a necessity! Our society has turned modern conveniences into can’t live without necessities.

    My wife and I proved several years ago that you can in fact live without the last three when we decided she’d stay home with my daughter.


    1. It’s also pretty easy to live with only one car. And, if someone can’t afford to buy a house in the area they’re living in, MOVE. That’s what we did. People who “can’t afford” their needs are usually just infected with a serious case of entitle-itis that impairs their ability to distinguish between “wants” and “needs”.


      1. Good point. When my we decided my wife would raise our daughter, I drove a paid for 1993 Ford Taurus. We did keep a new minivan for her to have at home. But we could have easily lived with one car and made due. Just like my parents did when I was kid.


      1. Agreed. I didn’t intend for this at all to overturn what you stated in your post. Your post was pretty much spot on. I just think it is ridiculous what today’s parents consider “necessities”.


  2. Feminism was behind no-fault divorce.

    Years ago there was in interesting statistic floating around. Prior to “no-fault divorce”, the ratio of the number of men that divorced their wives to the number of wives that divorced their husbands was approximately 600:1. That is, for every 600 men who divorced their wives, 1 woman divorced her husband. Within 10 years of the rise of “no-fault divorce”, the numbers changed. In 1980, it was 600:1. In 1990, it was 12:1. But wait! That 12:1 was reversed. For every 1 man who divorced his wife, 12 women divorced their husbands. In a decade. Did feminism push “no-fault divorce”? I don’t know. But it certainly benefited from it (if a decline of marriage can be classified as “benefit”).


    1. Dalrock always posts stats showing that women are more likely to initiate divorces when they are younger, because they can re-marry more easily. It is a MYTH that men trade in 40-year old women for 20-year-olds. It is women who choose divorce most often and they do it most when they are younger, not when they are older.

      Here’s an example:



  3. Interesting stuff. But none of the 4 observations you make about divorce actually answer the particular question you raise:

    “Why is it so hard for a working man to provide for a family these days?”

    The fact that divorce is easier to obtain than it once was doesn’t even begin to explain things like inflation, wages, availability of jobs, tax policy and countless other macro-economic factors that impact an individual’s ability to support his family.

    Also, while it stands to reason that if you make divorce easier there will be more divorces, consider the following two factors:

    1. In the U.S., divorce rates are actually quite a bit lower now than they were 20 years ago.

    2. The fact that it is easier to get a divorce today also means that it is easier to get REMARRIED today.

    If the goal is to decrease the number of single parent families and facilitate the quality of committed relationships, I’d say that’s a very good thing.


    1. Do you know what the out-of-wedlock birth rate is these days? It’s 41% – it did not use to be that prior to feminism, with its emphasis on contraception (which fails) and premarital recreational sex. Divorce rates are lower because marriage rates are lower. Also, my post directly answers the question in the title – if marriage-minded men are paying higher taxes to provide unmarried/divorced/single mother by choice women with a safety net, then they have less money to get married or to stay married themselves. Please check it again.


      1. Sure, but what does any of that have to do with no-fault divorce?

        The suggestion seems to be that if divorce were more difficult for women to obtain, then the cost of our social welfare system to tax-payers wouldn’t be so high.


        1. Yes, that’s my argument. Men and women would have to be more responsible about who they marry and why, and this would protect children from divorce. When something is easy to get out of, people put less effort into thinking about the decision to get into it. If marriage was for life, then young people who be more careful about how they married, and that would be good for children.


    2. “…divorce rates are actually quite a bit lower now than they were 20 years ago.”

      Yes, because people are delaying marriage or never marrying in the first place. The percentage of marriages which end in divorce is still sky-high.

      You also imply that ease of remarriage is a good thing, but if the person never divorced in the first place, there is no need for remarriage. Also, I’m not sure ease of remarriage is that much of a good thing, since second, third, etc., marriages are far more likely to end in divorce than first marriages.

      I don’t think instability facilitates “the quality of committed relationships” at all.


  4. There’s a big difference between saying that ‘feminist groups…supported no-fault divorce’ and ‘feminism was behind no-fault divorce.’

    Remember that Ronald Reagan signed the first no-fault bill in the US into law in 1969.

    Also, here’s some interesting statistics:

    Success in marriage has been associated with higher education and higher age.

    81% of college graduates, over 26 years of age, who wed in the 1980s, were still married 20 years later.

    65% of college graduates under 26, who married in the 1980s, were still married 20 years later.

    49% of high school graduates under 26 years old, who married in the 1980s, were still married 20 years later.

    Population studies have found that in 2004 and 2008, liberal-voting states have lower rates of divorce than conservative-voting states, possibly because people in liberal states tend to wait longer before getting married.

    [Source: various. See Wikipedia on Divorce]


    1. Oh, I have no problem with encouraging women to complete a degree and wait before marrying, but that doesn’t require feminism. I am actually a pest – I encouraged my first girlfriend do an entire four year economics degree and she did.


  5. For my family the greatest expense which just eats away at my paycheck is all the insurance. Health home auto and life insurance cuts out more than a fourth of my check right from the get-go. Gas prices have risen and we’ve seen a commensurate increase in our grocery bill as a result. Finally, the electric bill has “necessarily sky-rocketed.” Even so, while it’s not easy, it is possible to make it on one paycheck.


  6. I think it is wrong to set the blame entirely on woman! There are men out there running from responsibilities, such as deserting woman with their children. Not taking responsibility for any actions . Men who wont get off their lazy tails and work. That’s why we are in debt. Women who can’t make ends meet. Some may work, and still have to rely on government assistance. I am a married woman who stays home and tends to the children and financial business. It is a shame that my husband has to pay high taxes, but it is what it is. And for you people to sit here and say what people should do with their own money is absolutely ridiculous. My husband works


    1. My husband works hard for his money, and if he wants to spend it on junk then so be it! This is America, we aren’t Communists ……..not yet anyway! Hopefully we will say goodbye to Obama!


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