Ralph Reed Blames Income Inequality on No-Fault Divorce

What Women Really Think
March 18 2014 3:35 PM

Actually, Ralph Reed, It Should Be Harder to Fire Your Secretary Than to Divorce Your Wife

This week in conservatives looking to blame anything but income inequality and unemployment for poverty: Ralph Reed went on Morning Joe on Tuesday and laid the problem of poverty on the feet of men who toss their wives out the door once the crow's feet start coming in:

I personally think the no-fault divorce revolution in the '60s and '70s has not been good for society. Certainly, I recognize that couples are not going to be able to stay together. That’s been true throughout society, but do we really want to make it easier for a man to discard the wife of his youth than it is for him to fire his secretary. To basically go in and say goodbye when 40 percent of all child support is never paid? And when we know, 40 percent of the women and children that are thus cast aside end up in poverty. A woman is far more likely to end up in poverty. A man’s income goes up. So, a lot of the poverty problem in America is a problem of women and children abandoned by the husbands and fathers.
Advertisement

Reed's fantasy of what no-fault divorce is like—well-off men tossing aside their old families for greener pastures—is so quaint that it's almost not offensive. Or wouldn't be, anyway, if it wasn't being treated like a legitimate opinion on MSNBC. But actually, Ralph, it should be harder to fire your secretary than it is to divorce the wife of your youth, especially if you're concerned about poverty. While there is a connection between divorce and poverty, there's an even stronger connection between unemployment and poverty. (What if that secretary is a divorced mother whose ex-husband is evading child support?)

The reason that divorced women are more likely to live in poverty is not because they were all housewives with no marketable skills whose husbands abandoned them. It's because wages are so low, especially for women, that many households need two adults working full time to make ends meet. The real solution to women's problems is better jobs with better wages. Women shouldn't have to pick between living in poverty and living with a man who makes them unhappy, and men shouldn't have to stay in a marriage to fix income inequality.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 2 2014 6:00 AM Can’t Stomach It I was shamed for getting gastric bypass surgery. Should I keep the procedure a secret?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?