What is the cure of poverty?

Honest labor and marriage, according to a provocative editorial yesterday in the DC Examiner:

“The data here are rather startling. As The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector and Kirk Johnson point out, the typical poor family works only 800 hours per year. Just by expanding the hours worked to the full year of 2,000 hours – that’s one adult working 40 hours a week – Rector and Johnson estimate that three of every four children officially classified as in poverty would be lifted out of that status.

“Similarly, based on Census Bureau and other federal data, the scholars at the conservative think tank estimate that if marriage became the norm among poor couples rather than absent fathers, two-thirds of the children in these communities would be lifted out of poverty.

“It would be refreshing to hear all the presidential candidates in both parties address these facts. The road out of poverty has been the less traveled one for most government programs since the Great Society. As Rector and Johnson observe: ‘While work and marriage are steady ladders out of poverty, the welfare system perversely remains hostile to both. Major programs such as food stamps, public housing, and Medicaid continue to reward idleness and penalize marriage. If welfare could be turned around to encourage work and marriage, remaining poverty would drop quickly.’

“We will listen closely to the candidates on this issue in the months ahead in the hope of hearing some genuinely new ideas rather than more of the same tired War on Poverty-inspired nostrums.”

An excellent piece in City Journal also shows how the demise of the family played into the execution-style murder of three teens in Newark.