Bush’s Marriage Plan is Just Too Cheap

Flush from my success at launching an Iraq meme, here's the same idea recycled to marriage. GW Bush wants to spend $1.5 billion we don't have to spend on marriage propaganda, or skills training, or right-wing pacification, or something, with ostensible targeting towards poor people. We all know, however, that one of the (many?) things that lead to divorces are financial problems. The solution, therefore, is obvious: Bush should offer to contribute to the wedding bills.

Since this is going to be a Republican program, we'll start by assuming it's not going to be means-tested, thus saving me the trouble of finding data on marriage rates by income. Instead, I can just use the aggregate data, which tells me that there were 2,256,000 marriages in the USA in 2002, slightly down from the peak of 2,384,000 in 1997 (the rate is way down, though).

Assume that Bush plans to spend $1.5 billion over ten years (an arbitrary figure; if they plan to blow it all in the run-up to the election, just multiply my number by 10). That works out to only $66 per existing marriage per year, and less if the plan were to work and increase the number of marriages. Can't get much wedding bubbly for that. Or much marriage training either, I'd imagine.

No, what we need to do is means-test the program, then take money from the defence budget. How many Iraqs, or submarines, does it take to put on a good spread for everyone?

PS To Liz Taylor and to Beverly Hills Republicans: only one marriage per decade, please.

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