Santorum: "Strong Marriages" Will "Turn This Economy Around...As Much As Any Tax Plan"
Former senator and current presidential candidate Rick Santorum doesn't have an economic plan on his website, but today he did explain to Fox News' Megyn Kelly his vision of how to eliminate poverty in America. Santorum noticed that rates of poverty differ between one-parent households and two-parent households, and concluded that obviously the best way to tackle poverty in America is more marriage (but definitely not gay marriage). According to Santorum, "family stability and strong marriages and families" will do "as much as any tax plan or spending plan" for the economy.
SANTORUM: If you look at my speech, I mean, I talk about the role that values plays in our economy. I mean, if you look at the strength of the family in America, that's— it's one of the— If you want to snap your finger and change things in America to eliminate poverty, the best way to do it is to go from families where there are two parents in the home as opposed to one. The poverty rate among parents, when there are two parents in the home instead of one is 5 percent with two parents, 30 percent with one.
So, should we have policies that encourage fathers to take responsibility for their children, that nurtures and actually supports people in relationships so they— so they can not have children out of wedlock, or help them through a difficult situation with respect to divorce. ... You know, we have a president out there talking about obesity. Yeah, obesity's a problem, but family stability and strong marriages and families and reducing the out-of-wedlock birthrate, you want to turn this economy around that will do that as much as any tax plan or spending plan.
Unfortunately for Santorum, his ability to twist any issue to fit his socially conservative dogmatism doesn't mean that mainstream voters — or even very many Republican primary voters — are going to be convinced that "marriage" isn't a laughable approach to job creation and economic policy. "Everyone get married" is hardly a viable economic platform, especially amid recession-fueled unemployment, increasing income inequality, and declining government revenues.
Santorum's not alone in believing that social factors (and not, say, the recession) are a primary cause of economic difficulties. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has opined that "we're in fiscal trouble because we've done so much damage to our culture," while Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has blamed "social moderation" for the national debt and prescribed 'getting the culture right' as a solution.