Archive for Thursday, November 17, 2011

Focus on marriage to end poverty misguided, Democratic Party leader says

November 17, 2011, 12:26 p.m. Updated November 17, 2011, 3:10 p.m.


— Pushing marriage to end poverty is simplistic and potentially dangerous, Kansas Democratic Party Chair Joan Wagnon said Thursday.

Wagnon’s comments were made in response to remarks by a speaker invited to child poverty meetings set up by Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican.

That speaker, Robert Rector, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, has encouraged single mothers to get married as a way to get out of poverty. He has said he doesn’t want to force anyone to get married, but said the decline of marriage is the strongest factor leading to poverty.

In July, Rector was co-author of a study that said most Americans living in poverty lead comfortable lives with a steady supply of food, medical care, air conditioning, cable TV and other modern amenities.

“Poor families certainly struggle to make ends meet, but in most cases, they are struggling to pay for air conditioning and the cable TV bill as well as to put food on the table. Their living standards are far different from the images of dire deprivation promoted by activists and the mainstream media,” the study said.

On Wednesday, a protestor was arrested at Brownback’s child poverty meeting in Wichita after Rector spoke. Several Occupy Wichita members shouted during the meeting that Brownback’s policies, such as his record cut in base state aid to public schools, were hurting children and women.

On Monday, at a child poverty meeting in Kansas City, Kan., several groups said Brownback should focus more on education and health care to help poor children rather than marriage.

On Thursday, Wagnon said, “Marriage can be wonderful, but it can also be horrific.”

Wagnon said when she worked for the YWCA in Topeka in the 1970s, she counseled hundreds of women who were victims of domestic violence.

“I learned that living in a family where one parent beats the other parent or beats both mother and child is far more destructive to a daughter or son than living in a single-parent household, even one that struggles to make the rent every month,” Wagnon said.

Wagnon added, “Ending childhood poverty is a laudable objective, but we can only reach that goal by creating more jobs, improving our schools and guaranteeing high-quality and affordable childcare, among other things. I applaud the idea of encouraging marriage, but complex problems like poverty require real solutions.”

The governor’s spokeswoman, Sherriene Jones-Sontag, said Brownback knows that solutions to poverty will be multi-faceted.

“He is not advocating that people remain in an unhealthy marriage,” she said.

Brownback has said that he wants the meetings to produce recommendations on ways to reduce the number of children in poverty.

“The goal of the town hall meetings is to gather insights and strategies to reduce childhood poverty, increase childhood educational outcomes and decrease child abuse and neglect,” he said.


oldvet 4 years ago

Of course the Democrats want to keep women single and in charge of households... they are 4 times more likely to be in poverty than married couples with children, keeping them dependent on the benevolent Democratic government.

verity 4 years ago

"Of course the Democrats want to keep women single and in charge of households. . . ."

That is a lie and you know it's a lie.

oldvet 4 years ago

The Democrats thrive on the poorer classes of society... give them more, keep them poor, get their votes. That is a strategy and you know it.

thebigspoon 4 years ago

I call BS--and you can not in any way prove with real evidence that ANY party wants to keep people poor. That's completely asinine and meant only to try bolstering your tea party lack of, not only sensibility, but sense.

ignatius_j_reilly 4 years ago

His comment is a little on the caricature side of conservative, no different than the dozens on this board who live on the caricature side of liberal (all the well-deserved Brownback shots). It's a silly conspiracy theory, but on the other hand, it's undeniable -- the less wealthy vote more often for Democrats, and want more government programs, which Democrats sponsor.

It's not "unbelievable;" it's business as usual on these boards. Maybe you just don't like it because you disagree with it.

Blessed4x 4 years ago

So why don't you? It's really easy to set up.

Kim Murphree 4 years ago

Keep them single? Shouldn't marriage be a choice? Shouldn't being single or being a parent be a choice? If someone wants to have a career and be a parent and be single, why shouldn't that be a possibility? Or is it just women that you think shouldn't be in charge of their own lives and futures? Does that include widows? Or are widows different because they were once married, and so that makes their singleness less offensive to you? Is it ok for a man to be single with a child? I always have trouble understanding what the problem is for anyone if someone of the feminine gender wants to have the same opportunities and freedoms as their brothers...just don't get it.

Kat Christian 4 years ago

Oldvet your comment is such a crock. Men cannot stand it when women become their own person. When are men going to learn how to work with women instead of against them? It begins with respect.

Cait McKnelly 4 years ago

Of course Republican men want to keep women pregnant and in the kitchen so they can get them a sammich on game day.

kansanjayhawk 4 years ago

I think Ms. Wagnon needs to look at the research on poverty and maybe call Mr. Rector up the telephone or visit with him in person to discuss what effect marriage has upon poverty. No one is advocating "horrific" marriages or abusive relationships but it would be nice if goverment would create a positive atmosphere for good marriages to thrive! Sadly, I doubt that Ms. Wagnon is even serious about marriage and family being important it seems that she may be playing liberal-left-wing politics with an issue that both sides of the politcal spectrum should be in agreement on.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years ago

"but it would be nice if goverment would create a positive atmosphere for good marriages to thrive!"

Care to be specific about how govt. should accomplish this?

kansanjayhawk 4 years ago

How about good jobs, less regulations on the family, and a tax struture that is fair and encourages family life and nurture of children!

Corey Williams 4 years ago

"...less regulations on the family..." What regulations?

And wouldn't good jobs solve problems without marriage?

Liberty275 4 years ago

"What regulations?"

Laws only recognizing a male and female as able to marry?

Corey Williams 4 years ago

Based on previous posts, I sincerely doubt that kjh is referring to DOMA or other anti gay marriage laws. But yet, there has been no answer so who knows to what regulations they are referring to

Catalano 4 years ago

Can Brownback find me a cool guy who's financially stable to marry? I don't even have any kids!

Kat Christian 4 years ago

I didn't get that from her. I felt she was for marriage, but advocating it as a cure for poverty is ludicrist. Marriage is a choice and so is having children. What needs to be implemented is EDUCATION - Manitory parenting classes in high school and first year of college. These young people need to get a reality check - an eye opener to fully understand what the commitment of Marriage and being a parent is in changing their lives. Perhaps then they will come to realize the responsibility and sacrifice involved in jumping into these commitments without being ready. This sort of education could lower the birthrate among teens and forced marriages that end up domestic violence cases, as well as neglected children. Next is job creation, affirmative action programs that force employers to hire persons older than 50, people who don't have a long history of employment or unemployable persons and make training available to them. I believe everyone has a talent they are best at achieving. Some jobs are not a good match for some, and I don't think personility test can tell who they are. Most have to experience it and perhaps receiving extra training to help them become sucessful. Employers need to be more flexible with start times, absences due to parenting requirements and illnesses. Cross-training other personnel would help in this. And if one person doesn't commit to their job duties like the other who shares there job then the one who is succeeding gets the merit raise. That in itself is a motivator for most. Our legislatures are not being mature and conscienous about the reality of what society really needs to combat this issue. They just want to blame it on the women and as usual men don't want to take any responsibility for any of it. No wander Ms Wagnon (I assume she was from NOW) got upset. I am upset about this.

somedude20 4 years ago

"has encouraged single mothers to get married as a way to get out of poverty" If you have to convince someone to get married, then that person shouldn't do it. This could create more problems too. How many of us had parents who should not have gotten married or who should have split up but stayed together causing more stress on everyone. What if the single mother/father were gay, would you promote those marriages? I don't think so! Asinine thinking at its best!

kansanjayhawk 4 years ago

read the research--marriage can lift you out of poverty--while divorce is the leading contributor to poverty!

Kim Murphree 4 years ago

And THAT is the issue...the fact that marriage should have ANY influence on your socio-economic level is ridiculous. How many times have we been told NOT to marry for money? How many terrible marriages have damaged people and children? What are we really saying here? How about getting rid of the glass ceiling and pushing women to the TOP of the CEO market? Guess that would get rid of the children in poverty thing too..

thinkinganalytically 4 years ago

Which way does the causal arrow go? Does being married cause you to leave poverty or are people not in poverty more likely to be married? I can give an explanation for why people in poverty do not make attractive candidates to marry, but have a harder time figuring out why simply getting married would cause people to no longer be in poverty.

notanota 4 years ago

Being a woman is also associated with poverty. Should we encourage sex changes? Or maybe we should encourage women to abandon their children to foster care?

angie497 4 years ago

The fact that A is associated with B does not mean that A causes B. Or to put it for those that are incapable of critical thought - the fact that single women with children are more likely to live in poverty than married women with children does not mean that their marital status caused the difference in standards of living.

It might mean nothing more than a middle-class woman is more likely to get married than a poor woman.

designdiva 4 years ago

You just might be misinterpreting the research results, intentional or not?

The factor in marriage that may assist in lifting you out of poverty is not marriage itself but, wait for it. . . it is the fact that the household now has two incomes. The same is true for any two committed adult households, whether those adults are heterosexual, lesbian, gay, or 'grandmother, mother and children' households. Will SB and cronies advocate for that?

Thought not.

08Champs 4 years ago

This is the same bunch that doesn't believe in sex education in schools or birth control, etc. This doesn't have to be a Dem or Repub thing, just common sense. Instead, they'd have 16 year olds getting married. NO - I don't think 16 year olds should be having sex, but guess what - they are. And they get pregnant.

tomatogrower 4 years ago

How about we bring back factory jobs and provide affordable day care? Problem solved.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years ago

And increasing the minimum wage, which would have the effect of decreasing the wage gap between women and men, which I believe is about 30%.

kansanjayhawk 4 years ago

Min. wage is a non-issue we need good high paying jobs like the ones that have been lost through 30 years of de-industrialization. Unskilled workers with only a highschool eduction used to be able to get jobs that could provide for a family--and mom didn't even work outside the hom--much of the time!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years ago

I agree-- but the minimum wage should also be increased.

xclusive85 4 years ago

Call me stupid, but I don't really understand how increasing the minimum wage would decrease the wage gap between women and men. Minimum wage is the same for both sexes, right?

jafs 4 years ago


Perhaps he's implying that more women work for minimum wage than men do, and thus increasing it would decrease that gap.

Kat Christian 4 years ago

This is just another band-aide on the problem.

tomatogrower 4 years ago

Having a good job and affordable daycare is a bandaid to the problem?

Kat Christian 4 years ago

I'm not demeaning these problems....however there is a bigger picture going on here than just daycare and minimum wage. Parental education in high school and 1st year college should be required so these young people have an understanding of the consequences and responsibilities involved in having sex and getting pregnant. Sure having a baby is wonderful, brings you special attention and makes you feel uphoric(sp?), but like a drug that high doesn't last very long then reality sets in. There is a breakdown in family structure these days so most of these young people don't have families to support them so it is left up to society to foot the responsibility. Education is the key out of ignorance. Kids having sex and producing is mindless activity with no forethought and it is our responsiblity as adults and professionals to education this population to think before they do. Someone has to teach our young because a lot of parents are failing at this because they themselves have no clue which is just causing a repeat cycle of ignorance and irresponsibility...not to mention poverty, child abuse, abandonment, etc. So please educators - put on your thinking caps and devise a Parental Class for our young people and add The Psychology of basic Budgeting 101 to it.

kansanjayhawk 4 years ago

autie--you are wrong because the Governor is not being simplistic--he is seeking a mult-faceted approach dealing with our tax structure and jobs in Kansas--however, marriage is very important to all of society and whatever little State government can do to encourage it to thrive is very important. Sadly, many government policies can serve to destroy important social instituions that should be re-inforced!

Kim Murphree 4 years ago

Marriage is very important to all society? Then you are for GAY marriage?

kansanjayhawk 4 years ago

no I am not--because it it a fraud--there can be no procreation in "gay marriage" it is actually destructive to marriage.

thinkinganalytically 4 years ago

There are many cases where the people getting married will not procreate, and many many cases where people who are married will procreate no more. Are they destructive to marriage? Should there be a maximum age at which heterosexual a heterosexual women be allowed to marry?

thebigspoon 4 years ago

Well, then, mister moral, should my childless marriage (childless by choice, I might add) be considered anti-state? What in the hell makes you think you know what is right and wrong in affairs of the heart? Your writing is silly, a the least, and bigoted at worst, and you don't even know it. I'm sorry for you and yours and will never bow to the state having any say whatsoever in who may or may not marry for whatever reasons.

angie497 4 years ago

So in other words, marriage is irrelevant - it's all about procreation.

Lisa Medsker 4 years ago

So, any marriage that doesn't produce any children is "destructive"? Wow... Then we need to totally ban birth control of ANY kind for married couples, only allow Viagra or Cialis to be prescribed to those men who are married and intend to produce more children, not allow any infertile person to get married, any post-menopausal woman, and absolutely NO senior citizens. They will destroy marriage. Is that about right?

Cait McKnelly 4 years ago

"...there can be no procreation in "gay marriage"..." Ah and there the real agenda comes out.

Liberty275 4 years ago

I'm some dude with a wife. After 11 years of marriage, we haven't made any kids. Is our marriage a fraud too?

IOW, that's a horrible and simplistic argument. As for gay marriage being destructive to marriage overall. The only way that makes sense is if lots of married men were closet homosexuals just waiting for the day they can divorce their talkity wives and marry themselves a hunky boy toy.

Kat Christian 4 years ago

Yea if marriage is so important why did they pass the gay marriage bill and allow gays to marry?

Cait McKnelly 4 years ago

Yeah, if marriage is so important, why did they let Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries get married for 72 days?

Kat Christian 4 years ago

Opps my bad I meant to say 'why didn't they pass" the gay marriage bill if marriage is so important to Brownback. DUH

08Champs 4 years ago

SO you want MORE government intervention in your life? Encourage through policy? What policy would you propose that would encourage a young man to marry the young woman with whom he is pregnant? What policy would encourage a man to marry a woman that has 3 children?

Hadley_says 4 years ago

Remember now,

Kansanjayhawk = Michelle Bachman.

08Champs 4 years ago

Well THAT clears up the confusion. Good call.

Cait McKnelly 4 years ago

OK, now I have to wipe the coffee offa my computer screen.

BigDog 4 years ago

So Ms. Wagnon your answer to this issue is ..... surprise .... more money must be spent. Accord to Joan Wagnon the solution for all problems is more money.

I may not agree with Brownback on this but it is refreshing to have a governor look at an issue and not saying to fix it we need to spend more. How about looking at how we are spending it now and see if there are better ways to use the money in solving the problem.

Over $5 trillion has been spent on poverty programs .... have we made much progress? Should we question if current programs are effective?

Corey Williams 4 years ago

Over $2.5 trillion spent in the war on drugs, is that effective?


getreal 4 years ago

The government should not be advocating marriage as a solution to ending poverty or as a cure for anything. Marriage should be an individual choice. And for the comment about Mrs. Wagnon not caring about marriage, the only marriage she needs to care about is her own. If being single is such a horrible thing, then why did Brownback appoint a divorced male living away from his children to head up SRS? This administration has some sick notion that men should be telling women how to live their lives.

kansanjayhawk 4 years ago

That is what really doesn't matter why are you bringing it up...

08Champs 4 years ago

"kansasnjayhawk" on poverty divorce is not the leading contributor - the vast number of homes termed "impoverished" are homes where the father of the children is absent, not divorced. Single mothers never married. Get the statistics straight if you're going to quote them. And then again - tell me what "policy" you propose that would work here? Shot-gun marriages? I'd support the enforcement of fathers to pay support, but that doesn't seem the focus - the criticism and blame is innapropriately leveled solely at the woman. And there are plenty of well-employed men that dodge payments, not just the unemployed or under-employed.

zzgoeb 4 years ago

And ultra-rich folks deduct every expense under the sun, pay no taxes, give millions to puppet politicians and no one seems to be able to stop them. Let's pick on them for awhile you greedheads!!!!

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

How does marriage prevent or remove poverty from one's life?

How does one explain poverty after being middle class and married for decades?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years ago

This by far is one of the most stupid and fraudulant expositions I have ever heard from the long list of Brownbackwardsisms I have ever heard! After he and Governer Hair of Texas gathered a large flock to "pray for the nation", I thought I had heard it all. But this little gem takes the cake for stupidity and ignorance. Which is th cause of poverty to begin with. People who will not take the responsibility to educate and train themselves an be responsibile citizens create poverty by making families they cannot support.

Get it?

This phony baloney from the Republican Theocracy Bund is the height of ridiculous and phoney policy I think I have heard yet from the nuts in the state house in Topeka.

08Champs 4 years ago

KANSANJAYHAWK You've gone strangely silent when asked for specifics - what policy do you propose that would encourage young boys to marry their pregnant girlfriends? That would encourage 30year old men to marry a woman with 3 children? Come on, you wouldn't just spout off some dumb idea without having factual data to support it, right?

thebigspoon 4 years ago

Non sequiter--dumb ideas like his have no specific proofs. KJH and his ilk need no proof, and do not answer any questions with logical, well-thought answers, but silly, dangerous, innuendo and outright lies.

08Champs 4 years ago

Just learning the MO of some of the posters. Many of them are comfortingly consistent.....

designdiva 4 years ago

KJH cannot reply until he is told how to respond. Brownback/Koch borhters have not gotten back to him yet.

beatrice 4 years ago

Heck with marriage, they should just promote dating instead. Everyone knows married people don't go out, but people spend money when they date. Spending money creates jobs and jobs help lower the poverty level.

bevy 4 years ago

ROFL Bea! I'm married with 4 kids and I NEVER go out anymore.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years ago

So essentially the Dems are conceding marriage, as a political issue, to Republicans.

Sam Brownback should truly enjoy that.

Of all the ridiculous things this administration is a part of, promoting marriage is hardly the worst. No wonder the GOP has a stranglehold on state government, it this is the opposition.

pace 4 years ago

Sammy wammy, he might start promoting that kisiing kochs' is good for lip muscles. That making special tax and deregulation breaks for oil, coal and gas is good for cloud formation. Dang

CherylHudspeth 4 years ago

Instead of focusing on marriage the Gov. would serve Kansans better by spending time and energy to create supportive family structures for children. How do we create jobs with a living wage, health insurance and policies that support parents, married or not.
Child poverty can not be measured by air conditioned housing (most rental housing comes with A/C). Child poverty can be measured by latch-key children in households with both parents working 50+ hours a week and still unable to afford childcare. By poor learning related to nutrition habits that include drive-thru breakfast and dinner.
There are many good studies with recommendations that have been implemented with measurable success. The Gov. appears to have the outcomes for this series of public hearings front loaded. To cut support services to families and blame it on the single-parent, in most cases the mother. In exchange, the funders of the Heritage Foundation (most notably the Koch's), are rewarded with tax breaks for their Kansas businesses. Brownback is delivering the goods to his supporters. How predictable was that?

George Lippencott 4 years ago

"Wagnon added, “Ending childhood poverty is a laudable objective, but we can only reach that goal by creating more jobs, improving our schools and guaranteeing high-quality and affordable childcare, among other things. I applaud the idea of encouraging marriage, but complex problems like poverty require real solutions.”

Moderate Opines. I agree that marriage is not a panacea. It can, however, make living easier in many cases by increasing income. The cost of two people living together is rarely if ever greater than double a single persons costs.

If this is really the Democratic position, it troubles me greatly. Perhaps I misunderstand and there is some nuance in that position that I am missing?

angie497 4 years ago

"The cost of two people living together is rarely if ever greater than double a single persons costs."

That doesn't require marriage. You can accomplish that by cohabitation. Or hell, by getting a roommate. But that doesn't suit the Brownback agenda (possibly because he doesn't look beyond solutions that promote his personal opinions).

George Lippencott 4 years ago

True but not the point. Are you arguing that it is the Democratic Party position that living together helps solve poverty but marriage does not?

beatrice 4 years ago

Hi George. According to the article, the Democratic Party position is that Brownback's proposal is simplistic, not that living together works to lower poverty but marriage doesn't. Kansas Democratic Party Chair Joan Wagnon said Thursday, “Ending childhood poverty is a laudable objective, but we can only reach that goal by creating more jobs, improving our schools and guaranteeing high-quality and affordable childcare, among other things. I applaud the idea of encouraging marriage, but complex problems like poverty require real solutions.”

No need to try and peg the Democratic Party as standing for something they don't support when what they really are saying is right there in the article.

naturenut 4 years ago

Marriage does not end poverty unless everyone finds a sugar mama or daddy.

In many cases it causes poverty, as you can often be held responsible for their debts, their healthcare costs, gambling addictions, the sky's the limit.

In my case- I am a woman, a democrat, and could be seen as rich. Of course, I got rid of the debt accruing husband along the way, but paid all the debts.

Women need to know they can be independent and take care of themselves without depending on someone else. Get a job, get three like I did, but really, I never thought of remarriage as a way out of poverty. I thought of how I could work, make payment plans, and manage my finances until I was free.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

Apparently you were never poor just made a bad choice as to whom you partnered??!!

Corey Williams 4 years ago

Read the post: "Get a job, get three like I did..."

KS 4 years ago

"On Monday, at a child poverty meeting in Kansas City, Kan., several groups said Brownback should focus more on education and health care to help poor children rather than marriage." - Just who were these groups? Very poor reporting.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

OJK we have Chips and Medicaid for medical care and a $800 B per year social safety net as well as an education systems thta is enjoying increases in revenbue at a factor of four over earlier times.

Coujld marriage help?

Corey Williams 4 years ago

From the looks of your post, you would benefit from the "education systems thta is enjoying increases in revenbue at a factor of four over earlier times."

Enlightenment 4 years ago

Maybe parents should teach their boys how to be better partners so women may consider them as viable marriage partners. Besides the obvious solution of having more and better paying jobs, there would be fewer impoverished single mothers if unwanted pregnancies could be terminated without the interjection of judgmental conservative pro lifers interfering with personal choices of women.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

Aha. Are we mixing pro-life and marriage??

FlawontheKaw 4 years ago

Wow promoting marriage reduces poverty. Who would have thunk it? Is that why multiple married Mormons are so wealthy? What if I marry myself? Lets just assign our kids a spouse as soon as they are born....or would that be as soon as conception?

angie497 4 years ago

Well, you'd talking Brownback world - it would have to be at conception. Might need to register every time before you have sex, just in case.

Cait McKnelly 4 years ago

Odd that when my second marriage ended I was stuck with over 14K in debt that he caused. Took me over ten years to pay off a debt caused by five years of marriage. I'll never make that mistake again.

Cait McKnelly 4 years ago

Why has no one pointed out the logical conclusion that two incomes supporting two children makes a far better life for the child than one income supporting two children? Marriage has nothing to do with it. Dead beat ex spouses and "baby daddies" do! And believe me, forcing women to have children they don't want , can't support and may not even know who fathered them doesn't make the problem any better. And please don't give me that old trope of "They should have kept their legs together." That really feeds and clothes a kid that's already here. It's frightening to think that Brownback would happily do away with contraception.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

I thought I did?? Is the issue the actual state of amrriage or soome othere issue such as men who are not responsible?? (married or not)

beatrice 4 years ago

Actually, sometimes two incomes isn't better. Sometimes, one parent staying home to care for the children without the added expenses of outside child care, a second car, work clothes, etc, can actually prove the most cost effective solution.

Kirk Larson 4 years ago

Force women to get/stay married. Next, keep them covered so men won't rape them. Then don't let them leave the house without a male escort so they don't stir up trouble. Hey, I've heard something like this before...

Cait McKnelly 4 years ago

Next thing ya know Brownback will be passing out the burkas.

jonas_opines 4 years ago

This whole thing translates down pretty simply:

"We don't have any clue how to actually fix income disparity, or to make an attempt at combating poverty, but we have a social agenda to push that is the real cornerstone of our platform, even when we run on the economy, so we will attempt to make those two things seem like they are related, in some fashion."

chootspa 4 years ago

Exactly. It works even better if you make the social agenda something that will never actually go into effect. Encouraging marriage with hollow gestures is a great distraction for the wholesale dismantling of education and other services that would actually help raise people out of poverty. We've always been at war with Eastasia.

Jimo 4 years ago

"In July, Rector was co-author of a study that said most Americans living in poverty lead comfortable lives with a steady supply of food, medical care, air conditioning, cable TV and other modern amenities."

Was this the "study" that caused the grown-up world of people who have to deal with reality to hoot in laughter? The poor people aren't poor cause they have appliances study??

If the poor sold every appliance they have (one time opportunity), and converted it to rent, they'd get about 2.5 months of expense, and then face an indefinite future where food could not be stored, had to be cooked over campfires, and employers would never be able to contact them.

Sorry, but a the money to buy a microwave wouldn't feed a family for more than half a week. This "study" was designed to appeal to the elderly who still view a microwave as an expensive miracle product.

You know most people who put out propaganda than can be disassembled by a kindergartner don't go around proud of such crappy work. If low marriage rates made for poverty then Sweden would be the poorest nation on earth. Sorry, but in many ways socialist Swedes live lives of luxury compared to many Americans. And only for the price of an airplane ticket, anyone in Kansas can go there and see this truth for themselves.

chootspa 4 years ago

Everyone knows that if the poor get more than beans and rice to eat, they're just not poor enough. Never mind that low end microwaves cost less than $50 now and can be readily be bought used at garage sales and thrift stores. Never mind that they're primarily used to prepare low cost, low nutrition foods of the sort often available in lieue of fresh produce at inner city convenience stores. If you've got a microwave, you must be rich!

Jimo 4 years ago

Well, that's the Nutter agenda:

Live within our means ..... as a bankrupt, third world, 1% rich/99% poor country. Who says Uz-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan is a bad place if you're the ruling class? Or hired as a strong-arm enforcer for the ruling class, which I guess is the career path most fascist commenters on here are hoping for.

Meanwhile, not only are record numbers of people living in poverty but even middle class neighbors physically -- and measurably -- shrink before our very eyes.

Yet, what do you expect from the same people who refuse to notice out of control climate change or insist that even observable evolution can't be real? What more can you get from a Party whose favorite choice says: We need a leader, not a reader.

Jimo 4 years ago

As usual, the South Park creators are right on the story, when poor Kenny gets taken away to foster care making Tea Partier (and budding psychopath) Cartman "the poorest kid in school." (I guess he can't whine about smelly, dirty hippies any longer.)

overthemoon 4 years ago

Among the leading causes of divorce? Money issues. He would do better to promote birth control and family planning if he really wants to reduce the number of children in poverty.

I think the Gov is looking at yet another issue backwards. Sometimes that's a good way to rethink a problem, but I'm not seeing the thinking or the rethinking here. This guy lives in a Pleasantville, a colorless world where no critical thinking is allowed.

Amberella 4 years ago

That's because he married into one of the wealthiest families in Topeka.... Also....Brownback doesn't think!

tbaker 4 years ago

Young single minority mothers make up the largest percentage of those in poverty. Marriage isn't so much the problem as is the lack of a father helping support his child and baby momma. Marriage certainly isn't contributing to poverty at least.

Amberella 4 years ago

YES! Thank you! Finally someone who understands the problem!

Amberella 4 years ago

If you really care about helping single parents get out of poverty, how about forcing the non-custodial, or absent parent pay child support. If the state of KS required child support proceedings at the time of anyone applying for any kind of government assistance, maybe some of these dead-beat parents would actually start paying for their children. I find it to be extremely stupid that the state of KS does not require the SRS to find absent parents and order child support at the time of applying for food stamps or daycare assistance. It's these absent parents' responsibility. Yet the state just foots the bill for it. Also, how about a little reform on child support? It took me 2 years to get child support. Then the SRS didn't even back-date it. That's ridiculous!

jonas_opines 4 years ago

Well, I would imagine that it can be quite difficult to get the deadbeats to pay child support with money that they don't actually have at any given point. Hard to garnish wages for somebody with no registered employment.

bevy 4 years ago

Yes, it is, and we have a system for that. If they don't pay - they go to JAIL. Of course if the mommas don't know who the daddies are - how does that help?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years ago

If they don't have a job, they can't pay, no matter what you threaten them with. So for the $50-100 a day it costs to put someone in jail or prison, wouldn't it make more sense to just give that money to the mom and the kids?

onemansopinion 4 years ago

I simply find it interesting that the very groups that argue so strongly for the societal benefits of "traditional" marriage are the same ones now telling poor women to get married simply as an economic lifeboat. I can't help but think conservative "small government" would be better served by having a consistent message and stay out of social issues (and medical privacy issues) altogether.

Stuart Evans 4 years ago

the Heritage Foundation...keep these *&^%$! out of government! the religious have shown time and time again that they think of the female as a 2nd class citizen.

AverageCitizen 4 years ago

I thought the Republicans were wanting government out of our lives!. How on earth is marriage Brownbeck's business? This is just a smoke screen to keep our attention on ridiculous policies like this so they can implement policies that give the rich more.

preebo 4 years ago

This is nothing more than social engineering and part of the far-right "Christian" agenda that Brownback obviously ascribes to. Nowhere, is there any policy review or statistical analysis to back up these assertions.

As a married man, with a spouse who stayed home with our child for the first few years could argue that being married was a greater strain on our finances, given that my wife had to quit her job to look out after our daughter leaving us with one income. For many, us included, finances were but a part of our decision to marry and not the reason. The only financial benefit is during income tax time, when you check that box for married filing jointly. For many in poverty, income tax is already a NON-ISSUE as they do not pay income tax.

I have one question. Where is a single policy proposal or piece of legislation that creates even one job. These summits are a joke and nothing more than window dressing. Brownback honestly thinks he can make Kansas an agronomic power?! It's 2011, and way too late to try to make Kansas an agrarian superpower. All I've seen is governmental restructuring and organizational shift which will weaken services, create mission creep among numerous agencies having to rely on the institutional knowledge of other agencies, and, oh yeah, cut jobs (government jobs, but jobs nonetheless). These people still have to file for unemployment and when there's no jobs to go to, what do you have? That's right, a greater dependence on government and a government less able to respond.

beatrice 4 years ago

He hired that techi guy.

Oh, wait a second.

hcother 4 years ago

I think that the government should be careful about what it encourages. You will have people abusing the system no matter which way things go. Maybe if we could make it no difference if you are married or not. That might help avoid bad marriages starting and avoid good marriages from being prevented due to taxes or benefits and what-not.

Unfortunately I'm afraid the "system" may be too complex in order to achieve a balance.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 4 years ago

I love it: the GOP is advocating for poor, single women be gold-diggers. Sanctity of marriage my arse!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years ago

So will Sam put some real teeth to this?

How about this for teeth-- if you aren't married by age 14, you get a fine of $25. And every year thereafter, the fine doubles. If you get divorced, your fines resume at whatever level your age dictates.

Just think what kind of tax cuts for the Kochs could be financed by this progressive initiative!!!

David Reynolds 4 years ago

Life is full of choices. It is not that there is poverty, or that someone is impoverished. It is what each person in poverty does to pull themselves out of poverty.

Katara 4 years ago

More washers and dryers too! That will help supplement the couch change.

David Reynolds 4 years ago

It is interesting that so many people are waiting on government to do for them. The government only provides the minimum to perpetuate its own existence.

Until you do for yourself you will be waiting forever.

It is a shame, this waiting for someone else to act in our behalf, when your future lies within your own self.

jonas_opines 4 years ago

I don't think your brush is broad enough.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

Sound like we have a lot of doctrinarian liberals with a strong component of men hating.

What is wrong with marriage or at least some committed state in which to rear children? Al sorts of data show that children do better in such environments.

Two paychecks are better than one despite the government tax policies.

Come on - what is the real issue or is it really just Brownback hating???

verity 4 years ago

Simply put, these comments are not against marriage or saying it's a bad thing or about man-hating. The comments are about the stupidity of the proposed government intervention---plus the fact that no one seems to really have an idea of how the state would encourage marriage---other than Gov Brownback and his people saying so.

George Lippencott 4 years ago


Onc could encourage marriage by "talking it up" the same way we encourage diversity.

I am unaware of our goveenator suggesting imposed marriages or any form of actual government intervention? Did I miss something?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years ago

If marriage is the cure for poverty, shouldn't we legalize polygamy? If one husband or wife is good, two must be twice as good, three would be three times as good. It's just simple math.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

So if putting someone in jail fror pot helps a bit then shooting them helps more???

jonas_opines 4 years ago

Hey, I suppose it might! Was somebody saying that putting someone in jail for pot helps?

Maybe the point remains. When you start with an idiotic premise, then anything built off of that premise looks pretty idiotic.

Marriage as a solution to economic woes is idiotic. The only solution to offer from someone who runs on the Bible, and nothing else.

lunacydetector 4 years ago

he's just saying, women should marry for money.....which i thought they already did!

George Lippencott 4 years ago

37 years and counting and we did not marry for money. That said the two incomes for those 37 years have put us in the upper middle and into a house that we want, can afford and which some on here begrudge.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

Many of us have although we see a lot of generalization to the contrary in this space

Linda Endicott 4 years ago

"In July, Rector was co-author of a study that said most Americans living in poverty lead comfortable lives with a steady supply of food, medical care, air conditioning, cable TV and other modern amenities.

What type of food do they have a steady supply of, exactly? Probably a lot of beans, rice, macaroni, and a bunch of fatty meat that everyone says isn't good for you...lots of carbs...poor people can't afford to buy all that wonderful food, fresh fruits and veggies, that are good for you...not on a consistent basis...

Medical care...really? If you're talking about welfare recipients, then you're talking about you know how many things Medicaid will no longer cover? And of the things it does cover, you sometimes need pre-approval to get it at all, which takes time...wonderful medical care, my arse...

Air, oh, my...well, as someone pointed out earlier, most rental units come with AC included anymore...not that people can necessarily afford to use it...hey, would he feel better if they didn't have AC and got sick from the heat and dropped like flies?

Cable TV...well, damn those poor people for wanting any form of entertainment at's not like they can afford to go out to eat all the time or to a movie or a bowling night or a football game or something...I guess they're just supposed to sit there twiddling their thumbs all the time and staring at the walls...and gee, they could have TV without cable, except the government changed that, used to be able to get a cheap black and white TV (they don't even make them anymore), stick an antenna on your roof and presto! Not anymore...with all the digital crap we were forced to take, now it requires an expensive TV, and expensive converter box, an expensive antenna...unless you have cable...get the logic to that? With cable, you can still get TV even if you own a crappy one...

Other modern what, refrigerators, furnaces, running water and indoor plumbing? We're talking about America, not some third world country where you have to drink water from the same river that the cows poop in...and for all of you out there who think it's just terrible that poor people manage to have cell phones...well, gee, let's just take away their ability to communicate with loved ones from a distance at all... Not to mention that you can get a cell phone in some stores for $20 now, get prepaid cards and basically get service for about $50 a month or less...yeah, usually a crappy phone and crappy service...not the rah-rah unlimited everything plans that you may be used to, with phones that can do practically everything except impregnate your wife...

But then a lot of you also complain about the poor who are homeless...they have no AC, no supply of food, no TV, no cell phones...and yet you don't like that type of poverty, either... So where do you think the poor are supposed to go? How should they live? What should they have?

George Lippencott 4 years ago

I woulod answer this if it were not so long and so loaded.

Cait McKnelly 4 years ago

By the way, just to let you know, there are charity programs that give free, reconditioned, used cell phones to disabled people with something like 300 free minutes per month. They do it so disabled folks can do things like make doctor appointments, talk to case workers, keep in touch with family, etc. but then I guess if you are poor you aren't supposed to have a cell phone, huh?

George Lippencott 4 years ago

There are cheap cell phones and there are Iphones. The former yes (or a desk phone) By the by one of our local delegation led the charge to increase the costs for that desk phone as a response to lobbying by the communication hoard. Pity!

George Lippencott 4 years ago

Agnostic Says “The point that is being argued about, singularly and specifically, is the preposterous idea that if you take a single (as in "unmarried") person living in poverty today.... and marry 'em up next Saturday... "

Where did that come from?? That was not MY point. My point is that committed relationships offer stability and two paychecks (or a home based helper). I never argued to make people get married but I do argue that committed relationships are better for the kids and can influence who is in poverty. That is obvious and does not need a study to support though as I said there are many studies about kids and stable relationships.

Nobody has ever answer=s my 0914 questuion as to "Come on - what is the real issue or is it really just Brownback hating???"

Why is pushing marriage a threat that seems to concern so many on here? The attack on the very notion of marriage (that is how I chose to read many comments in this thread) seems senseless, doctrinaire and liberal (threat to programs? - which it is not)!

George Lippencott 4 years ago

So, if you equate "hating" with, for example, "Are you fracking serious?? What kind of idiotic, illogical notion is that?!? How the hell can an increase in marriage certificates automatically reduce the number of people living below the poverty line?!?!"... well, if asking those questions are "hating," then okay, I hate Brownback, because I question his logic. Among other things.

Moderate Responds

I think we are talking past each other. And pray tell way would two incomes not potentially move some people out of defined poverty?

George Lippencott 4 years ago

Well Jobs are a solution no doubt. But in your answer if he married a sugar moma neither would be in poverty.

The US Government poverty level for a family is not twice what it is for an individual - there is some synergism.

Where did I miss the substitution of marriage for effort to get the economy going again??

verity 4 years ago

I'm going to repeat what Overthemoon said two days ago.

"Among the leading causes of divorce? Money issues. He would do better to promote birth control and family planning if he really wants to reduce the number of children in poverty."

George Lippencott 4 years ago

So you are against marriage - period!

beatrice 4 years ago

How did you reach that conclusion? Promoting family planning isn't the same as being anti-marriage. Not even close.

Having children is not the sole reason for couples marrying. There are plenty of people in long, happy marriages who have never had children and never intended to have children. Also, the financial savings of not having children means less strain on a marriage, hence happier, healthier unions.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

Us included Bea.

Well my commnet stems from the repeated avoidance on the part of some on here to acknowledge that marriage can help address poverty. I never argued it could solve thta problem.

verity 4 years ago

I was referring to Mr. Lippencott's remark, not Bea's

roadwarrior 4 years ago

George, I feel your pain. My parents are wonderful people who have been married 58 years with no nonsense between them. The are "some" very exceptional men in this world........but not nearly enough to go around. I agree with the posts that careful family planning with access to birth control "methods" IS pro life. Pro-quality of- life. It certainly makes "trying on a union" less financially devastating when it turns out that your partner just isn't worthy of parenthood. My mother tells me all the time that "quality of life is the real value".

George Lippencott 4 years ago

I agree with that also. I just believe that a committed relationship like marriage helps. I am not stupid enough to sell it as the answer to all matters and I don't believe that is what Mr. Brownback is doing.

What is wrong with acknowledging that marriage contributes? I simple do not understand the apparent rejection of the concept out side an overwrought ideological commitment to the demands for resources from those who do make it work to correct the poor behavior of those who have children and do not support them properly.

beatrice 4 years ago

I suspect what you are missing is that many feel that marriage isn't the end all be all of committed relationships. Some think that the "marriage" part isn't as important as the "committed" part, know what I mean?

Brownback should be promoting happy, loving relationships, not just being in a marriage. We have all known plenty good and bad in marriages and relationships outside of marriage. Further, there is no mistaking that Brownback is promoting a Christian construct of marriage, something that can only be enjoyed by one man and one woman. Not everyone agrees with this idea and the fact that only some are allowed to marry remains an issue. If the issue is about poverty, have you seen the spending power of a gay couple?

Does any of this make sense?

Oh, and if you are wondering, I've been happily married for more than 20 years.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

I used the term committed relationship. I see no conflict with marriage as I have used it here. Either IMHO works to reduce poverty. Did Brownback say otherwise?

pickles1 4 years ago

Focusing on marriage is not the answer. Gov. Brownback needs to avoid ethical opinions and focus on increasing jobs and managing the budget. In theory, marriage would help substantially increase a family's finances. But in reality if two people get married with kids they will end up having the same financial issues. The "middle class" is living pay check to pay check. Marriage is expensive and a life long commitment. The governer should let the citizens of Kansas marry eachother when they are emotionally ready to.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

And where did the governator say otherwise?

Are we actually addressing the mess that results when children are produced in a relationship that is not committed? Such individuals should be supported by the rest of us because they "made a mistake"? I agree to a point but they should also bear a part (big part) of their decision. There is absolutely no reason to bring children into the world today unless you really want them and can provide for them.

I am not addressing those who have children in a responsible relationship and then get had by reality. We have a large social safety net to address that situation. Although I am an advocate for a hand up and not a hand out

That brings up jobs. Jobs are not IMHO related to marriage except as a hygiene factor when one is lost. I do not buy into the victimization argument that loss of job automatically yields a failed marriage. If the marriage was healthy it should survive that.

We need jobs for other reasons. There are two big philosophies abroad about that topic. One sees the creation of public sector jobs as the answer (a common argument on here). The other sees the restoration of an environment where private sector jobs are created (Governator).

IMHO both are poppycock. We can not tax our way into jobs and we can not create domestic jobs by incentivizing sending them offshore.

So now what?

roadwarrior 4 years ago

If the marriage is healthy....Lack of quality men to go around..... women who want to be mothers. What could possibly go wrong ?

George Lippencott 4 years ago

That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be - Carly Simon ???????

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