Isabel Sawhill, an economist, is a senior fellow and co-director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution. She is president of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
Marriage is now a hot topic in Washington policy circles. Ensuring that
more children are born and raised within marriage is, in my view, a worthy
objective. Marriage as a value has begun to disappear from the cultural lexicon,
and affirmative efforts to underscore its importance, especially to children,
should not be dismissed. But this begs the question of what states or the federal
government realistically can do to promote it.
As the 1990s begin, peace and prosperity are in abundance but so are poverty, drugs, poor schools, contaminated air and water, deteriorating roads, and a host of other problems. Although few believe that such problems can be solved with money alone, money is surely needed. Its lack has become an excuse for doing nothing or for launching rhetorical and symbolic attacks that satisfy public opinion but little else.