‘Draining the Swamp’ Must Include Social Policy and Welfare

August 29, 2022 Updated: August 29, 2022

Commentary

If Republicans are really seeking to drain the Washington so-called “swamp”—with immediate, tangible benefits for Americans’ prosperity and freedom—they could do no better than to begin with social policy.

Long neglected the vast welfare machinery not only furnishes the greatest reservoir of superfluous functionaries, but it is also among the most destructive sectors of government power and reining it in will reduce poverty, restore families, limit immigration, undercut the Democrats’ political machine, save enormous sums of money, and more.

Social policy has long been neglected, and this has had serious consequences.

Until the 1990s, the social-family policy was the Republicans’ top domestic priority. The social and economic devastation wrought by the Great Society programs commanded serious attention from policymakers and scholars, both conservative and liberal, who issued urgent warnings about its dangers.

Yet no solution was ever implemented. President Bill Clinton stole their thunder with perfunctory reforms that actually worsened the problem, and the little good achieved was reversed by President Barack Obama.

Epoch Times Photo
President Barack Obama waves as he departs from Tegel airport in Berlin on Nov. 18, 2016. (Rainer Jensen/dpa via AP)

This failure has, more than any single factor, led to America’s current crisis. The problems have only entrenched themselves. It is easily demonstrated that the 2020 BLM riots that prepared the way for the left’s coup were perpetrated by dysfunctional, resentful, and fatherless offspring of welfare.

Nothing does more to decimate the family, with it the social structure of our communities. This began with low-income minority families in the cities, but the same machinery extended its reach over middle-class families through perverse divorce laws.

Welfare Entrenching Poverty

Welfare effectively increases the poverty it claims to ameliorate. We are not a poor society, after all.

The “poor” in Western societies are not starving children with distended bellies. They are the offspring of single mothers and evicted fathers.

“Poverty is chiefly predicted by family structure,” the late activist Phyllis Schlafly observed. “Marriage drops the probability of child poverty by 82 percent … If single moms were to marry the fathers of their children, the children would be lifted out of poverty.”

The poor are the victims not of a stingy society but of a bureaucratic and sexually indulgent one.

Not only is the welfare state itself hugely expensive, but its gargantuan expenditures are also actually minor compared to the multiplier effect of spending on the social problems it creates. Virtually every social pathology is directly attributable to the fatherless homes created by welfare: crime, substance abuse, truancy, prostitution, and poverty itself.

Recognizing that young black men who get shot by white policemen are invariably fatherless might open up more constructive solutions than pointless accusations of “racism.” Likewise, regarding mass shooters and gun control.

Social Policy Does Not Equate to Racism

Welfare is thus the government’s self-expanding engine for creating social problems for itself to solve. By devastating marriage and family structure, it is money spent to turn children into criminals, addicts, drop-outs, prostitutes, rioters, and even terrorists—precisely the problems that rationalize more government programs, government spending, and government power.

There are some who argue that welfare benefits are also a magnet for immigration. They attract single parents and create more upon arrival. However, this too can be mitigated by implementing immigration measures that place emphasis on targeting immigrants in two-parent families, who are generally productive contributors to society.

Immigration policies that welcome two-parent families, coupled with social policies that ensure that they remain married and solvent, provide a constructive alternative to reliance on law enforcement alone.

Epoch Times Photo
A woman fixes her child’s mask as hundreds of people wait in line for food outside of a Brooklyn mosque and cultural centre in New York City, on May 22, 2020. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Supporting Marriage May be the Cornerstone of Welfare Reform

Standard reforms devised in the last century will not work now. They tried to move individuals “from welfare to work.” The real task is to move families from welfare to marriage. Married two-parent families are the only real alternative to welfare dependency and the sine qua non of prosperity and freedom.

Specific changes worth discussing:

  1. Tax incentives for marriage have limited value, but they are a start.
  2. Time limits on welfare benefits, so they taper off and encourage marriage.
  3. Replace “no-fault” divorce with mutual consent, shared parenting, and protections for parental rights so that no child can be made fatherless or parentless without due-process protections.
  4. Reform child support to benefit truly abandoned children and not serve as substitute welfare that discourages marriage and continues subsidizing fatherlessness (pdf).
  5. Education benefits attached to marriage, with policies ensuring that schools and universities are citadels of learning rather than seminaries of leftist indoctrination, plus orgiastic drug and alcohol abuse.

The welfare state raises basic questions of how our civilization defines government and whether we allow citizens’ solvency and freedom to be devoured by a leviathan state acting as the servant of the politically radical and sexually liberated.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Stephen Baskerville is a professor of political studies at the Collegium Intermarium University in Warsaw and author of “The New Politics of Sex: The Sexual Revolution, Civil Liberties, and the Growth of Government Power” (Angelico, 2017).