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My Sense on Cents Solution for America

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 15, 2012 11:31 AM |

Although many outlets and institutions within our society deem discussion of traditional family structures to now be off-limits or politically incorrect, the simple fact is our society is suffering tremendously from the breakdown of the two parent family.

The Obama administration and others continually try to score political points by railing on the income gap in America. The real issue in our nation is the education gap.

A lack of education is very often a precursor to a life of poverty. What is increasingly the missing ingredient for many suffering the pains and anguish of poverty? An active and engaged Dad in the context of a traditional two parent family.

Go ahead and call me old fashioned. While you do that, read and review the details and projections provided in this New York Times article, Two Classes in America, Divided by ‘I Do’.

… a friendship that evokes parity by day becomes a study of inequality at night and a testament to the way family structure deepens class divides. Ms. Faulkner is married and living on two paychecks, while Ms. Schairer is raising her children by herself. That gives the Faulkner family a profound advantage in income and nurturing time, and makes their children statistically more likely to finish college, find good jobs and form stable marriages.

I give enormous credit to both mothers profiled in this story. They are both determined to provide the best for their children. Yet as the ranks of single parent families skyrockets in America (overall 40% of newborns in America enter the world in single parent families; the numbers for selected ethnic groups are far higher), let’s make no mistake what that means for the future of our country. If the past is prologue to our future, then we will be faced with even more high school dropouts, higher levels of childhood obesity,  increased levels of crime, substance abuse, and teen pregnancy. Do I need to go on?

How do we break this cycle which will clearly continue to weigh heavy on our nation? Desperate times and desperate circumstances require desperate measures. For those who do not think we are living in desperate times and through desperate circumstances, wake up. The delusion encompassing our nation is a function of a large measure of our political system and the general media keeping the issues highlighted in the previously referenced article conveniently swept under the rug. Time to pull the rug back.

The only way we will break the cycle of poverty and its accompanying ills is education. Thus, I propose the following “NO MORE FREE LUNCH” program:

A prerequisite for receiving any form or substance of government assistance is for an individual to have completed and received a high school diploma, graduate equivalency degree, or trade certification. This program can and should be scaled in over an agreed upon time period, perhaps 5 -10 years, so as not to overwhelm our educational system nor to unnecessarily burden those without degrees who are currently gainfully employed. Additionally, I would propose granting an exemption to those who are already retired.  I am sure there will be other individual circumstances and situations needing to be addressed. Rather than focusing on the exceptions, perhaps we can redirect our focus on the masses.

How often have we heard those supporting Obamacare promote that there are 30 million people uninsured in our nation? Very often.

How often have we heard that there are 25 million high school dropouts over the age of 25 in our nation? Not often enough.

I do not know the percentage of high school dropouts who are also uninsured but I do know that less than 40% of those over the age of 25 are employed. (WSJ, February 21, 2012, As Job Market Mends, Dropouts Fall Behind). That fact means we have at least 15 million unemployed dropouts over the age of 25 in America. Think there is probably a decent chance the overwhelming majority of these 15 million are uninsured? You think?

Take your shots at me if you’d like. In the process, please let us know what you would propose to address our social ills.

I love this proposal as it will draw attention to the fact that we have an approximate 50% urban graduation rate. I also believe it will draw attention to the impact on our nation of the chronic issues associated with high school dropouts. Beyond that my proposal provides the carrot, that is government benefits, and the stick, get educated and graduate.

Remember, the greatest social program known to mankind is the two parent family. The path to prosperity connected with solid family structures starts with education.

What do you think? Comments, questions, and constructive criticisms encouraged and appreciated.

Related Sense on Cents Commentary
Questions for President Obama: Who Is Dropping Out Along Our Economic Landscape and Why?

Larry Doyle 

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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

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