Marriage Is the Ticket Out of Poverty

Why are some millennials more financially secure than others? The
answer has to do with individual life choices.

Americans who graduate high school, start working, get married,
and have children—in that order—are significantly less likely to fall into poverty than others. These four core life
choices, when sequenced together, provide the best path to a prosperous future.

This formula, known as “the success sequence,” is the key to both financial and general life success. Studies show that 97% of young adults who follow this sequence are more likely to work their way into the middle- or upper-income tiers by the time they reach their late 20s or 30s. 

In particular, tying the knot before having children offers the most benefits. In their study on the “success sequence,” W. Bradford Wilcox, a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, and his colleague Wendy Wang, director of research for the Charlottesville, Virginia-based Institute for Family Studies, found that 95% of millennials who married before having children had higher family incomes than millennials who had children before marriage.

That remains true even for millennials from low-income families
and different racial backgrounds. 

Children from two-parent families are also more likely to enjoy financial security than children from single-parent families. Recent research conducted by the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution suggests that the increase in child poverty between the 1970s and the 1990s was a direct result of “the decline of stable marriage” and that child poverty would be significantly lower in the United States if more Americans had strong marriages.

The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector summed it up perfectly when he said “marriage remains America’s strongest anti-poverty weapon.”

With all the clear benefits of marriage, one would think Americans would eagerly jump to tie the knot. But that’s not the case: Marriage rates in America continue to plummet.

Americans are also getting married later. In recent years, the average age at first marriage for women is 27.8 years old and 29.8 for men. That’s a dramatic increase from 1960, when the average age was 20 for women and 23 for men. In addition, reports from the Urban Institute and Pew Research Center predict that a large number of millennials will remain unmarried through age 40 and that 25%, once they reach their mid-40s to 50s, are likely to have never been married. 

To that end, we should all be worried about the social and economic costs that declining marriage rates have on society. Research shows that divorce and having children out of wedlock cost taxpayers $110 billion each year. 

Regrettably, children are the ones who pay the price. Those
born into single-parent homes are more likely to experience a whole host of destructive life events, such
as dropping out of school or abusing drugs and alcohol.  The bottom line
is that we need to incentivize more marriage in America, not less. 

When it comes to policy, one way Congress can help is by
eliminating the “marriage penalty” that exists in the tax code, which taxes two
people more as a married couple than they would be taxed if they filed

That’s why I’m proud to have joined a colleague, Rep. Vicky Hartzler,
R-Mo., to introduce a bill to eliminate this “millennial marriage penalty.” The
bill would allow both spouses in a marriage to claim the $2,500 student-loan
interest deduction instead of just one. 

Fundamentally, the tax code should not financially stand in the
way of two people getting married. Strong families are the building blocks of
strong nations and Congress should do more to remove existing barriers so that
marriage is easier for more Americans.

To learn more about The Heritage Foundation’s preferred tax policies and federal education policies, check out “Four Priorities for Tax Reform 2.0.

The post Marriage Is the Ticket Out of Poverty appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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Some marriages are literally made in Hell.

Some marriages are literally made in Hell.

On 29 February 2020, 29 lucky couples get the chance to get married in Hell.

“HELL, MI – Happy couples have the chance to go to Hell and tie the knot for free. The tiny town of Hell, Michigan seeks 29 couples from anywhere in Michigan and around the country to take the leap on leap day.

Hell is located about 20 miles northwest of Ann Arbor. On Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 2:29 p.m., Reverend Vonn will marry 29 couples for free in a mass ceremony outside the chapel. Reverend Vonn says the ceremony is almost full, but there’s still room for a few more lovebirds looking to go to Hell and get married.”

Wait, a reverend is going to officiate a wedding ceremony in Hell?

Is Saturday Night Live actress Kate McKinnon not available?

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Harry Langdon as The Shrimp is a vintage comedy gem

Review and observations by Doug Gibson

During the years 1929 and 1930, Harry Langdon starred in eight talkie comedy shorts for Hal Roach Studios. A screen shot from the film, “The Shrimp,” is above. Thanks to the “Frank Capra Fibs” legacy, Langdon’s Roach shorts have been breezily derided and scorned for decades. The truth is, five of the six films I have seen (two have lost sound discs) I find better-than average examples of early-early sound comedy shorts.

And “The Shrimp,” I believe Harry’s penultimate film with Hal Roach, is a gem. I consider it a classic within its admittedly small genre, sound comedy shorts prior to the early 1930s. Co-stars include an already-established comedy star, Max Davidson, a budding star, Thelma Todd, and a reliable heavy of the genre, Jim Mason. I’ve read that Hal Roach Studios was a fun place for actors to work, and the cast seems as if it’s having some energetic fun.

The plot involves Harry living in a boarding house. He’s weak, timid and easily bullied. He does admire the daughter of the house (Nancy Drexel), and she seems to like him, urging him to stand up to his tormentors. Harry, in a halting sing-song, toddler-like voice, one that was used in his vaudeville appearances and some films during his entire career, says he will stand up to them.

However, dinner is a disaster as Harry is viciously and sadistically bullied by Jim (Mason), and his girlfriend (Todd). Most of the other boarders unfeelingly laugh at his plight. The cruelty does allow the talented Harry Langdon to create a lot of pathos. One particularly funny scene is Harry trying to get at least one bite as food is passed around the large table.

We soon find out that Harry works, or volunteers, as a product tester for a goofy, well-known scientist (Davidson). In a highly publicized event, courtesy of the experiment, Harry assumes the personality of a rambunctious dog. Harry quickly runs away from the event and returns to his boarding house with a whole new attitude, and aggression.

As mentioned, these are early talkies and somewhat crafted in the style of a silent film. I think the same movie, without changes, could also have been as effective as a silent with subtitles. I wonder if “The Shrimp” played older movie theaters as a silent?

I will not give away too many details of the hysterically funny climax of the film where Harry settles scores with, among others, the lazy father of the boarding house, and in a big fight, with Jim the bully. It is fast-paced and funny, and the credit goes to Langdon, who despite no changes in his body or even tone of voice, become head of the household, and “the boss,” through the sheer brute will and tenacity of, say, a bulldog. In the last scene, Harry’s focus is taken away by the presence of a cat, that, of course, needs to be chased. For a second, Harry eyes a telephone pole with interest, a nice subtle joke, the type of mild, off-color humor Langdon used in the late ’20s, particularly in his penultimate silent feature, “The Chaser.”

Readers can find “The Shrimp” on the Internet if one searches thoroughly. I’m not going to give a link for two reasons. One, I don’t want it lifted, and two, Kit Parker Films (also known as Sprocket Vault Classic Films) is releasing via DVD, in April, Harry Langdon at Hal Roach: 1929-1930. It will have all eight films I have read, and that must mean the two without sound discs will be included. There will also be a Spanish version of one of the Roach shorts, which will be fascinating, and other extras. To my knowledge, this may be the first factory release of any of Langdon’s talkie shorts. I am extremely excited about this release. I have already pre-ordered it.

This review is cross-posted at the blog Plan9Crunch here.

The post Harry Langdon as The Shrimp is a vintage comedy gem appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

Russia Backing Sanders Again

Yesterday afternoon, news broke that US intelligence agencies have briefed Congress that the Russian government is once again seeking to influence the US elections, including the party primaries. Now, the other shoe has dropped.

Shane Harris, Ellen Nakashima, Michael Scherer and Sean Sullivan report for WaPo (“”):

U.S. officials have told Sen. Bernie Sanders that Russia is attempting to help his presidential campaign as part of an effort to interfere with the Democratic contest, according to people familiar with the matter.

President Trump and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have also been informed about the Russian assistance to the Vermont senator, according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.

It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken. U.S. prosecutors found a Russian effort in 2016 to use social media to boost Sanders’s campaign against Hillary Clinton, part of a broader effort to hurt Clinton, sow dissension in the American electorate and ultimately help elect Donald Trump.

This was my surmise this morning and it makes sense. As Julia Ioffe has been reporting for years, the rationale is obvious:

But there is a distinct difference in how Sanders is handling the news vice how Trump has going back to 2016:

“I don’t care, frankly, who Putin wants to be president,” Sanders said in a statement to The Washington Post. “My message to Putin is clear: Stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do.

I sincerely hope Sanders is not our next President, unless the alternative is another four years of Trump. But despite his being something of a useful idiot in his younger days, I believe he is sincere both in rejecting Russian interference in this campaign and in wanting to protect the sanctity of his country’s elections more generally.

Tuberville and Sharia Law

Tommy Tuberville, former head coach of the Auburn Tigers (as well as Texas Tech and the University of Cincinnati), is a candidate to be the Republican nominee for US Senator in Alabama to face Doug Jones in November. He is running against Representative Bradley Byrne (AL01) and Jeff Sessions, who held the seat prior to leaving to be Trump’s Attorney General.

What limited polling I have seen suggests that Session and Tuberville are headed to a runoff. I would then wager that whoever wins the nomination will defeat Senator Jones in November.

A story from the campaign trail caught my attention this week via Yellowhammer News: At Republican forum Tuberville warns of ‘Sharia Law’; Byrne touts Trump connections.

In what was perhaps the most interesting comment of the day, Tuberville said, “I’ve been in the cities, folks, you can’t drive through a neighborhood. Why? Because terrorism has taken over. Sharia Law has taken over. Folks, there [are] places you can go in this country that you’re not wanted. In our country. I mean this is not the Middle East.”

This is just so much irresponsible nonsense intended to do nothing more than play on people’s fears. He’s been “in the cities”–which ones? Terrorism has “taken over”–what does that even mean?

“But my goodness, if we’re going to allow them to change our culture, and our country. Because they’re going to get their hands on the Constitution one day, and when they do it’s over. They want to get it for one reason: that Electoral College. If they ever knock that out we’re done, we’re done,” he added.

And this may now be my favorite defense of the Electoral College: as a bulwark against Sharia Law. (Apart, of course, from the fact that that paragraph is mostly word salad).

The Tuberville campaign later clarified Tuberville’s Sharia Law assertion that “Sharia Law is taking over.”

“If 9/11 taught us anything, it’s the fact that there are those living among us who wish to do us harm. Those individuals place Sharia law ahead of the U.S. Constitution. Terrorism takes many forms, and it is constantly evolving. We must be vigilant not only against terrorist efforts to do harm with bombs and other methods, but also against efforts to infiltrate our government and use it to spread ideas and philosophies that are not in America’s best interests,” a statement from the campaign read.

I must confess, the reporter is being generous with the usage of the word “clarified.”

Ironically, in his speech he talked about the need “to get God back into our lives” (~2:05) and at the ~2:30 mark says that we ought to “blow up” the Department of Education in DC.

He also noted that “liberals” run the Department of Education (someone needs to tell Betsy DeVos). Further, because of those liberals in the DoE, socialism and communism are being taught in the schools and 18 to 35 year-olds would vote for either socialism or communism.

So, we have in one speech of less than 8 minutes the specters of Sharia law, terrorism, socialism, AND communism. An impressive four-fecta.

He also utterly misunderstands what the Department of Education does, as he makes it sound like the curriculum for K-12 is dictated by Washington and he wants the states to do that (which is how it works right now).