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Right Turn
Posted at 02:40 PM ET, 10/13/2011

Santorum connects the family and the economy

A conservative blogger makes a good point about the debate on Tuesday: “Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum answered next and he said something that a number of candidates should have been echoing, but none did. Mainly you can’t think that social problems are not a root cause to our economic ills. Santorum said that he agrees with [Texas Gov. Rick] Perry, but then went on.”

This is the Santorum answer to which the writer is referring:

. . . the biggest problem with poverty in America, and we don’t talk about here, because it’s an economic discussion — and that is the breakdown of the American family.
You want to look at the poverty rate among families that have two — that have a husband and wife working in them? It’s 5 percent today. A family that’s headed by one person? It’s 30 percent today. We need to do something, and we need to talk about economics. The home — the word “home” in Greek is the basis of the word “economy.” It is the foundation of our country. We need to have a policy that supports families, that encourages marriage, that has fathers take responsibility for their children.
You can’t have limited government — you can’t have a wealthy society if the family breaks down, that basic unit of society. And that needs to be included in this economic discussion.

Santorum is right, of course. There are questions about how much government can do to promote family unity. And there are differences of opinion as to whether the federal or local governments can do this better. But it is remarkable that so few candidates make this connection between family and values, on one hand, and economic success on the other.

One of the things we do to assist moderate- or low-income families, for example, is the child tax credit. As the IRS Web site explains, “The credit is limited if your modified adjusted gross income is above a certain amount. The amount at which this phase-out begins varies depending on your filing status. For married taxpayers filing a joint return, the phase-out begins at $110,000. For married taxpayers filing a separate return, it begins at $55,000. For all other taxpayers, the phase-out begins at $75,000. In addition, the Child Tax Credit is generally limited by the amount of the income tax you owe as well as any alternative minimum tax you owe.”

Herman Cain looks at this, identifies it as a complication and throws it out. Santorum looks at this differently, as a reflection of values and promoting positive social behavior.

The media tends to regard social issues as discrete, limited to gay rights and abortion. But the values — not the religious beliefs — a candidate holds matter greatly, and how he translates those values into legislation and policy makes all the difference in the world.

By  |  02:40 PM ET, 10/13/2011

Categories:  2012 campaign

 
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