The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

The High Cost of Divorce

A report out on tax day (available at our website) suggests that American taxpayers are paying about $112 billion annually (more than $1 trillion per decade) because of family fragmentation.

What is more, West Virginians are paying the associated costs of divorce and unwed pregnancies to the tune of $231 million annually.  The report makes one thing abundantly clear:  the issue of marriage is no longer simply a social concern; it is definitively a legitimate concern for the taxpayer.

In reading through the report, what has been interesting to see is how many times the authors state that their estimates are “cautious,” meaning, it is likely that the report underestimates the actual cost to our state an nation.  While the economists authoring this report are clearly trying to make an economic point (that marriage is an economic institution the strength of which will affect the rest of the economy), the authors use social studies to prove their fiscal point.  The thrust of those social studies suggest that a strong marriage between a man and a woman for life results in a greater potential for wealth, raises healthier kids, keeps children from crime/drugs, and is the locus for a broad amount of philanthropy.

In short, this study makes the case that our leaders ought to make the family – and the marriages at the center of them – the very first priority, not an afterthought.  Marriage, it would appear, is not simply a matter for moralists or churches.  It is plainly a legitimate taxpayer concern, one that our leaders should endeavor to encourage and fortify with their leadership.

The war cry for West Virginia politicians has been the creation of jobs.  While laudable, perhaps our leaders would be well-served to do all in their power to encourage and strengthen marriages.  For the good of our families.  For the good of our economy.


Written by Jeremy Dys

April 16, 2008 at 7:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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