Although frustrating and imperfect, government regulation often leads to better lives. We notice, for example, that seat belt use in 2012 reached a record high with 86 percent of motorists buckled up as compared with 58 percent in 199485, and we know that smoking bans have directly and quickly led to reductions in heart attacks and other ailments.86 “Fracking” technology necessary to our current natural gas drilling boom was significantly propelled by more than $100 million in government subsidies and much more in tax breaks.87 Given those successes and many others, do we need more aggressive government intervention in America’s endangered family life? At first glance, most Americans would probably say “no,” but a 2012 University of Virginia (UVA) study argued that government intervention is needed to restore the institution of marriage among the 60 percent of our population that does not have a college education. In the 1980s, about 13 percent of American children were born outside of marriage; now that number is about 44 percent. The UVA study estimates the cost to taxpayers at over $100 billion annually when stable families do not develop.88 The study suggests, among other things, various tax and welfare policy changes to encourage marriage Is marriage a private and personal affair that should be left free of further government intervention? Explain. [For more information, see stateofourunions.org]
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