A study was released in early spring on the cost to taxpayers of divorce and out of wedlock births. The cost to taxpayers nationally is $112 billion a year. And that's a conservative estimate.
The costs include lost tax revenues, burdens on the justice system, TANF/welfare expenditures, medicaid costs, SCHIP and child welfare.
I think this is a significant study which will start drawing attention to the absolutely critical importance of marriage and children having their mom and dad in their lives. As the family goes so goes the society.
It's important to understand that as the family breaks down, government will invariably be called on to fill the gap. And with that comes greater dysfunction in society. People begin to expect government to takeover family responsibilities in an ongoing way. That costs a lot of money, doesn't ultimately solve the problem, and often makes matters worse because it breaks down a sense of personal responsibility on the part of the individual, e.g. it's the government's job to educate, feed and support me and my children.
Government should do no harm to marriage and in fact affirm and promote marriage in it's existing programs. A big help would be moving away from the no fault divorce system.
But of special importance is the role of churches and private groups to begin speaking out on the importance and nature of marriage and helping people prepare for marriage and support them once they are in married.