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Union Leader - Santorum's Good Point: The Family-Poverty Connection

Op-Ed

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When he was finally able to get in a few words during Tuesday night's so-called presidential candidate "debate" up in Hanover, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum made a profound, and undeniably correct, point about poverty and personal behavior.

"...the biggest problem with poverty in America, and we don't talk about here, because it's an economic discussion -- and that is the break down of the American family," he said.

"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."

According to the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan, here are the hard numbers: "In 2010, 31.6 percent of households headed by single women were poor, while 15.8 percent of households headed by single men and 6.2 percent of married-couple households lived in poverty."

The Annie E. Casey Foundation reported last year that 36 percent of single-parent households with children live below the poverty level. For two-parent families with children, the figure is 8 percent.

"We need to have a policy that supports families, that encourages marriage...that has fathers take responsibility for their children," Santorum said. "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."

Yes, it does.


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