Monday, October 25, 2010

The Killing and Reviving of the American Dream - Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. - Mises Daily

The Killing and Reviving of the American Dream - Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. - Mises Daily:

For the first time since the data have been tracked, the share of women 18 and older who are married fell below 50 percent. The share of the population age 25 to 34 that is unmarried jumped from 34.5 percent in 2000 to 46.3 percent nine years later.

Forget the right vs. left argument for families for a moment:
  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census).
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
  • 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average (Center for Disease Control).
  • 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes --14 times the average (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26).
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (National Principals Association Report).
  • 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes (Rainbows for All God’s Children).
  • 70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988).
  • 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction).
Source: Fathers for Life

This is a massive social trend, dictated by government regulation and economic realities.

There is a general tendency to marry in secure economic times, and to put this decision off during periods of economic uncertainty. Moreover, falling incomes and tighter labor markets give women, in particular, less to gain from a marriage, because there is far less likelihood that a household can get by on a single income.

We've also seen a jump in the number of people working from home, which also makes sense given the tighter labor markets and growing resistance to hiring. Another option besides working at home is one that Europeans know very well: going back to school. This trend has taken hold in the United States in the last two years."
But ultimately these trends are literally forced by the ravages of a declining dollar.  Rockwell is outlining the regressive devastation of unsound money, government debt and intentional inflation over a period of decades.  The structural issues pile up:

Tragically, labor-force participation among American youth age 16 to 24 continues to fall. Most recently, it fell to 60.5 percent in July 2010, which is the lowest July ever recorded. Before 20 years ago, the typical labor force participation rate ranged between 81 and 86 percent. In other words, four out of five kids in this age group gained hugely valuable experience for a lifetime of work. Now only three out of five kids do. The most dramatic drops we've seen in these figures have been in the past three years.

Long term, our living standards have been eroded in fundamental ways that have a profound cultural effect. The American family once lived well on one income. Now, two incomes is the expected reality. That shift took place following the great inflation of the late 1970s. Many people saw this as the great news that the workplace was being opened up to women. More likely it was not a sign of liberation, but of a dramatic demographic adjustment required to maintain high living standards. And the state didn't mind: it added millions to the tax rolls. One wonders if "liberation" is really the right word to use for this change.
Such adjustments are ongoing. The hidden tax of inflation, combined with the growing regulation of labor markets, makes maintaining the illusion of high living standards ever more difficult. This explains Generation Boomerang, the delay in entering the workforce, the delay of marriage, unemployment among the young, the dashed dreams after graduation, and the advent of the phenomenon of the lifetime student. These fundamental indicators are not reflected in the GDP data, which count government spending as economic growth and credit-fueled consumption as evidence of rising living standards.
Please read the whole article regarding the structural issues of our current command economy.  It is Rockwell at his best.  Regardless of your political affiliation, the facts are the facts.

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