Ben Carson’s tenure at HUD is an example of all the excesses of the Trump administration, using his position that is designed to help some of the most vulnerable people in the country to do anything but. This includes rolling back Obama-era policies as well as his infamous dining room set and mounting lawsuits from employees. Newsone reports that a latest comment he made pretty much sums up his entire mentality about the poor.
The comment came from a Tuesday meeting Carson had at Winridge Elementary in Memphis, Tennessee. He met with a woman named Shakila Boyd who was once homeless with her child and was saved because of HUD programs. Local news reports that “I’m going back to school now and everything,” Boyd said through tears while holding her daughter, K’Yanna. “I have a house. They helped me get a job and I’m doing better now.”
Carson’s response? “Number one: finish high school. Number two: get married. Number three: wait until you get married to have children,” Carson said. “Just those three things, and you’re two percent less likely to live in poverty.” Not only does this show a lack of social skills on the part of the HUD secretary, but it is also parroting points that have been made by conservatives for ages, and have largely been disproven. Education and having children not so much, but it’s been proven that marrying out of poverty is rarely a solid plan.
As Kristi Williams of the Ohio State University told The New York Times in 2015, “It isn’t that having a lasting and successful marriage is a cure for living in poverty. Living in poverty is a barrier to having a lasting and successful marriage.”
Williams also said, “Even the marriages that last don’t end up offering women much of a lifeline. Her researchers found that the pool of potential partners in low-income communities doesn’t offer single mothers many chances for finding stable partners with economic resources. ‘The new unions that single mothers form tend to have low levels of relationship quality and high rates of instability,’ she writes. Meanwhile, those who do marry and stay together still don’t see a lot of payoff. ‘[W]e found no physical or psychological advantages for the majority of adolescents born to a single mother whose mothers later married,’ she reports.” This also doesn’t account for the higher amount of social programs in the past decades where conservatives like to report that marriage rates were higher.