Friday, December 26, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

How Obama could rescue millions from poverty

ambrose column sig

By
From page A7 | February 06, 2014 |

Getting people to quit cigarettes and saving families with children from destitution have nothing in common, right? I think they do, and I think it could be President Obama’s single most significant legacy if he would sponsor something comparable to a surgeon general’s 1964 report on smoking killing people.

This time, the report would show an epidemic of single-parent homes wrecking lives all over the place.

Of course, even the most alert government reports don’t always produce results. Look, for instance, at a 2001 national commission report warning that terrorism would slam us hard if we didn’t watch out. Though it was quite naturally pulled off the shelves for further insights after 9/11, some major news outlets yawned to the point of no stories at all when it was initially released.

By contrast, the report of Surgeon General Luther Terry was greeted as a crucial wake-up call, although, in a way, it was old stuff. Official warnings about tobacco had been around since at least 1604.

That’s when a governmental treatise, not here but in England and authored by King James I, excoriated tobacco as “loathsome,” “barbarous,” “stinking” and “venomous.” By the 20th century, the adjectival onslaught had been supplemented by data showing cigarette linkages to lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease and bronchitis. In the late 1950s, the federal government announced the evidence of a cancer connection was huge. Oh, ho-hum, said smokers, smokers everywhere, sucking the venom in, blowing it out and dying prematurely.

Health organizations said this won’t do, one account reminds us. They insisted on a national commission, they got one, it analyzed thousands of studies and then the surgeon general put out a whopper of a report that received big-time attention generating big-time follow-up. The benefits over the past half century? Smokers used to constitute about 43 percent of the population. Now they’re about 18 percent. Something like 8 million people have been saved from early deaths.

Now we come to the family, venerated by great thinkers as crucial to humanity as far back as Aristotle and viewed in the 20th century by Daniel Patrick Moynihan as unraveling in the black community.

A cerebrally gifted social scientist who later became a U.S. senator, Moynihan was an assistant secretary of labor in 1965 when he put out a report observing that a startling 24 percent of black women were having babies without being married, compared to a national average of 7 percent. This phenomenon could put black progress in a cage, he said.

Others have noted how his work was dismissed by many and how the situation has since spiraled, not just among blacks, whose illegitimacy rate today is 73 percent, but among just about all groups as the national average has climbed to 41 percent. While the lone mother is sometimes successful and two-parent homes are sometimes a mess, the rise of one-parent homes has been a catastrophe.

They usually heap hardship on the mother as they leave children more likely to live in poverty, to turn to crime, to drop out of school. Parenting is a two-person proposition, government is no substitute for Daddy, and studies by think-tank analysts both liberal and conservative have shown that nothing would begin to lift millions of the poor to middle-class status as more marriage.

President Obama has preferred to point to other causes as limiting opportunity, and, of course, there are other causes, just none that can compare to this. He has also demonstrated that he gets it, as in preaching in 2008 to a black congregation in Chicago about the detrimental consequences of absent fathers.

He was a U.S. senator then. Now, as president, he needs to preach to the nation. He told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly on a pre-Super Bowl interview that he brings the subject up a lot, but, it seems to me, not so anyone notices much. I propose he do more with a commission issuing an experts’ report masterfully written and masterfully publicized and reaching well beyond a 1993 commission on urban families that heeded about as much as the commission on terrorism.

If enough of a thoroughly justified exclamation mark, it could lead to all kinds of rescue attempts and make a historic difference.

Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for McClatchy-Tribune. Readers may send him email at speaktojay@aol.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • The MisterFebruary 06, 2014 - 7:10 am

    How Obama could rescue millions from poverty... he could nationalize the Federal Reserve and member banks. It worked in Brazil and India and brought them back from the economic depths. To learn more about how this works, search Ellen Brown. Ellen is currently running for CA Treasurer. If you want any hope of CA becoming a better place to live, then get behind Ellen Brown.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Here's how to save millions from povertyFebruary 06, 2014 - 6:11 pm

    Wouldn't it be easier to end poverty in our Country just by putting all registered democrats in concentration camps? This way we can stop these genetic mistakes from breeding and that in turn will make the cart easier to pull for the producers in this Country?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • RalphFebruary 06, 2014 - 10:40 pm

    beached whale

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Area churches bring joy, toys to children

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Rear ends, reunions define 2014 in music

    By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B1

    Santa spreads Christmas cheer at Bridge to Life

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Word of Mouth ready to ring in 2015 at Dimitri’s

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

    Solano’s 2014 art scene: A year in review

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

     
    Get your blues on – for a musical cause

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

    A look back at 2014 Back in the Day columns

    By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

     
    ‘America’s Got Talent’ auditions Feb. 7 in Bay Area

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B2

     
    Weather for Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

    Suisun City police log: Dec. 24, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Fairfield police log: Dec. 24, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    .

    US / World

    Mother uses grief to help murder victims’ families

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    San Francisco creates court only for veterans

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    California plane crash victims were father and son

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
    Man shot with stun gun dies at border crossing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

    California officials issue caramel apple warning

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
    Christmas brings California cooler weather, gusty winds

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

    Audit highlights state employee wrongdoing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
    US traveler released from East Timor jail

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Obama personal chef to hang up apron after 6 years

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    More protests sparked after shooting near Ferguson

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 4 Comments

    Nevada goats help eat, recycle Christmas trees

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Hundreds of theaters begin screening ‘The Interview’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Streaming release of ‘Interview’ test for industry

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Militants attack AU Somalia base, at least 5 dead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Monkey gives first aid to electrocuted friend

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Saudi women drivers referred to terrorism court

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment | Gallery

    Police and fire officials save California family’s Christmas

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Living

    Today in History: Dec. 26, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community calendar: Dec. 26, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Dec. 26, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

     
    Sister’s angry outbursts may be a medical issue

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

    .

    Entertainment

    Week in Preview Dec. 26, 2014 – Jan. 1, 2015

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: B1

     
    ‘Frozen’ is named top entertainer of the year by AP

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Entertainment calendar Dec. 26, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

    Warsaw’s lost architecture portrayed in miniature

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Review: ‘Unbroken’ is beautiful, but impersonal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    Angelina Jolie’s latest incarnation: filmmaker

    By Maureen Fissolo | From Page: B6

     
    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

    .

    Sports

     
    2014 sports quirks: In year of odd bounces, reality bites at World Cup

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

    Colin Kaepernick weighing his offseason approach

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    James hears plenty of cheers in return to Miami

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

    Fresno State pushed around in in Hawaii Bowl

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Arians reportedly to go back to Lindley as starter

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Former TE Ben Utecht delivers musical message

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    K-State’s Snyder still penning old-school notes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    This date in sports history for Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

    D-I’s youngest coach also has inexperienced team

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    No. 17 Wisconsin hopes program back on steady ground

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    Rookie Martin makes quick impression in Dallas

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    Eagles have quarterback questions going into 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    New OT rule in minor-league hockey generating buzz

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    To reduce elitism, British horse racing educating spectators

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    Bad news for Balotelli as Liverpool alters system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    LeBron James, Steph Curry lead NBA All-Star voting

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    Former NBA All-Star Marbury fan favorite in China

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

     
    Signups for Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

    .

    Business

     
    Bad Santa? 5 tips to tackle your holiday gift returns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

    .

    Obituaries

    Thomas A. O’Neill

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9