The words may have come from former President Barack Obama, but the truth they tell is something conservative talk show host and author Larry Elder wants to communicate.
“A kid without a dad is five times more likely to be poor, nine times more likely to drop out of school, 20 times more likely to end up in jail,” Elder said at a recent event to promote his latest book, a memoir titled “Dear Father, Dear Son: Two Lives… Eight Hours.”
“I didn’t say it, Obama did,” he added.
Larry Elder, author and conservative talk show host
The event featured a question-and-answer session with audience members that was mediated by Chicago Morning Answer host Dan Proft, a principal at Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication. A video of the event was uploaded to YouTube on May 20.
The statistics about the impact of fatherless homes came up in the context of a discussion on the government's role in poverty. Elder recalled reading a 1965 report by future New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan titled “The Negro Family: A Case for National Action.” The report pointed out that “25 percent of black kids were born out of wedlock at the time.” He said Moynihan labeled the statistic “outrageous” and called on the government for a solution.
A generation later, the numbers are worse. Elder said that 73 percent of black children today are born into fatherless homes, whereas the figures for white and Hispanics are 25 and 40 percent, respectively.
Public policy decisions, like expanding the welfare system, are one reason families have weakened, according to Elder.
“It’s not just black families,” Elder explained. “What we’ve done is incentivize women to marry the government, [and] we’ve allowed men to abandon their financial and moral responsibility. And it’s an outrage."