In a speech to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the war on poverty, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said no government program can solve poverty, but marriage can.
Rubio suggested consolidating federal poverty programs into one agency, before stating that no government program can sufficiently battle poverty.
“Social factors also play a major role in denying opportunity. The truth is that the greatest tool to lift people, to lift children and families from poverty, is one that decreases the probability of child poverty by 82 percent,” he said. “But it isn’t a government program. It’s called marriage.”
“Fifty years ago today, when the War on Poverty was launched, 93 percent of children in the United States were born to married parents,” he continued. “By 2010, that number had plummeted to 60 percent. It shouldn’t surprise us that 71 percent of poor families, poor families with children, are families that are not headed by a married couple.”
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Research doesn’t support Rubio’s claim, ThinkProgress reports. Kristi Williams, an associate professor of sociology at Ohio State University, found that two-thirds of single mothers who married were divorced by the time some time between age 35 and 44.
Divorce, in fact, left mothers with more financial hardship than when they were single.
“The new unions that single mothers form tend to have low levels of relationship quality and high rates of instability,” Williams wrote. “[W]e found no physical or psychological advantages for the majority of adolescents born to a single mother whose mothers later married.”
Rubio told “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning that income inequality isn’t relevant to poverty – it’s opportunity inequality.
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“The president’s focused on income inequality — the difference between the rich and the poor and the gap that’s grown,” Rubio said. “That’s the wrong focus.”
“The issue is not whether the cashier at Burger King makes less than the CEO,” he said. “The issue is whether that cashier gets stuck being a cashier for five, ten, 15, 20 years and can’t move up.”