Who is responsible for this bad economy? Republicans? Democrats? President Obama, or George Bush? Pushing aside our partisan passions, we could probably all agree that no single individual is responsible either for a good economy or a bad one. Although all politicians like to claim credit for the good times (and point fingers of blame during the bad), the truth is, our economy is not driven by any individual. Rather, it is driven by all the individuals who make up our country. Together, we control the economy.
A recent article by David Goldman in First Things points out what might be the single most significant factor underlying our economic woes: The loss of the nuclear family in America. If Goldman is right in his assessment, the loss of the nuclear family in America means that our present housing crisis is only just begun and will not improve without an increased priority on the family. Although the population of the United States has increased by 50% since 1970, the number of two-parent families has remained the same. The number of houses built for families has kept pace with the population increase. However, there are just not enough families to fill the houses. This demographic downgrade of the family means that there are not enough young families capable of investing in the future of America.
Where have all the families gone? Well, it turns out that while everyone has been focused on the “important” issues on Wall Street and in Washington, DC, the most important issues were being cast aside into the crate labeled “controversial.” Though a few folks like Dr. James Dobson have been raising the alarms in defense of the family, most have silently acquiesced to the cultural accommodations on abortion, marriage, and no-fault divorce. The last few decades have indeed brought a bulging economy, but at what cost?
While the economy appeared to be booming because of borrowed money, the family was failing. Now that the economy is failing, we are finding out that the heart of the American family is barely beating. The family heart rate may not be sufficient to supply the investment America needs for her future. So, Wall Street and the White House will keep shuffling a billion here or a trillion there, but their solutions may simply be a study of a forest without any trees. The disintegration of the family is to the United States what deforestation is to the rain forests. Sure, it makes you seem prosperous for a day, but it is killing your every tomorrow.
If Goldman’s article is correct, then the deforestation of the American family may well be the de-funding of the American dream. My prayer is for a revival of family life in America.