Social issues (family values) and the health of the economy are interrelated.

I have heard this stated before by some conservative pundits when asked about the current priorities of the Republican Party. It doesn’t make any sense to me. How can issues like abortion, gay marriage, prayer in school, etc. have any relationship to job creation and budgetary problems? Is there a rational argument backing up this claim, or it is just something social conservatives say to make their pet issues seem relevant to current events?

The latter. The Right wing has two different segments – the economic libertarians who want to get the government out of everyone’s lives, and the religious right who desperately want more government in a bunch of aspects of people’s lives. Reconciling the two segments takes some doing.

Pure pandering. Let’s face it, the base is comprised of people who, when told that the gays are also ruining the economy are much more likely to think “fuck yeah!” than “wait, what?” If they were smart, thoughtful, reasonable people, they wouldn’t *be *the Republican base.

Has anyone made any claims that the gay are ruining the economy?

Anyway, the OP forgot to mention a few other family values issues that might be related to economic health. In addition to finishing high school, a lot of people argue that not having children out of wedlock, getting married and staying married are good ways to prevent or get out of poverty. I don’t know the veracity of these claims but these arguments are sometimes made.

So, if getting married is a good thing, why support laws which prevent a segment of the population from getting married? :wink:

Unwed, teenaged mothers aren’t the cause of the economic crisis.

I’d actually have more respect for the social conservative position if the moral issues they brought up were socioeconomic in nature. And there are some. Like widening income disparities or anti-family practices in the workplace (e.g., firing employees who cannot work a double shift because they have kids to care for at home). Addressing poverty is fundamentally a moral issue; most religions pay some lip-service to compassion towards the less fortunate.

But most of the social conservatives that you read and hear about aren’t talking about issues related to poverty. I don’t know why, though. I mean, it can’t be because they don’t want a butt-in-ski government. They have no problem with the government blocking gay marriage, deciding when life begins (or when it should end), or invading your privacy in the search for terrorists. And the strange thing is that the Bible doesn’t weigh in on any of these issues, but it does provide instructions on how we are supposed to treat the poor and oppressed.

I’d love for a social conservative to say, “The economic crisis is a moral issue. It came about because of unscrupulousness and greed, from all corners of our society. There are other important moral issues that are worth discussing, but the biggest one pivots on the concept of prosperity and how to ensure that everyone benefits from it without us sacrificing the values we aspire to.” I don’t think there are very many other moral issues that are worth discussing apart from those related to civil rights, but I agree that if we must talk about morality, the values that underlie our economic system should be first on the agenda. Not who-is-sleeping-with-who ones.

First, I don’t agree with it, but I’ve heard the argument, so please keep the gunfire somewhat modest.

The idea is that if you go back to traditional Judeo-Christian values where sex is reserved for heterosexual marriage, and God is acknowledged in the school system, the other values that flow from that come to fruition.

You don’t have (as many/much) unwed births, drugs, broken families, income wasted on booze/drugs/divorces. A man and a woman work hard (another Puritan ethic) and dedicate themselves to each other, to God, and to their children, all the while honestly helping their fellow man, those in need, and not cheating on their taxes.

Then you don’t need as large of a police force because people are moral. You don’t need as much welfare because neighbors help neighbors. You don’t need as much Medicare and Social Security because throughout their lives, families have not given into material temptations and have responsibly saved enough for these things, etc.

The list goes on, but it is basically the idea of a positive feedback loop from people treating each other better.

No fire at you, jtgain, but that would be a far more credible idea if the Republican platform wasn’t decidedly *not *about people treating each other better.

Also, money spent on booze, drugs and divorce is never wasted. :smiley:

I can’t help but feel as if the goalpost has been moved. Or perhaps you moved my cheese, I don’t know. You asked about family values and how they might relate to the economy. I gave some possibilities that you missed in the OP.

When they do touch upon things like unwanted pregnancies they do so in a completely unrealistic fashion. Abstinence only education doesn’t seem to be as effective as teaching young people about proper birth control methods.

I don’t know about that. How many people living in poverty are doing so in a single parent household? How many dropped out of high school because they had to take care of one or more kids? I’m certainly not going to argue that unwed teenaged mothers are the cause of our current economic woes. However, making poor choices seems to make it difficult for people to get out of poverty.

I’m pretty sure (although monstro is of course free to correct me) that she was referring to gay marriage with that quote. Any ideas as to how gay marriage contributes to poverty?

Well, gays have fewer then average children, and birthrates are a major determiner of economic growth (granted, there’s a twenty or so year lag in the effect), so there probably is some negative effect on the economy from gay people.

Granted I think thats a pretty stupid argument against protecting gays rights, but if I had to make one, it’d be along those lines.

Also as an aside, I think OPs like this one are better served by actually linking to someone making the argument in question. Otherwise it gets to easy for the thread to get to bogged down with strawmen and hypotheticals. YMMV.

Huh? 1 Corinthians 7 doesn’t talk about marriage? Jeremiah 1:5 doesn’t talk about fetal personhood? It’s pretty clear on those issues. Christians certainly aren’t pulling their opinions our of thin air, misguided though they may be.

Social values and the economy are interrelated, to some extent anyway.

Social values impact decision making, decision making impacts the economy. For example, if frugality was considered a virtue, the way it has been in societies past, the economy would be vastly different in most of the western world. If equality was considered more important. . you can see where this is going.

Social values are quite different in Europe from the US, these differences lead to quite different economies, in the way resources are allocated.

All economics studies is how to allocate resources within a society. Standard, supposedly value-free neo-classical economics would claim social values have no impact, as they are exogenous to the various models. But those models don’t describe real life, and in real life, differences in social values do lead to differences in the economy.

Of course, gay marriage itself as an issue probably has very little effect. But in contrast, the drug war has a huge effect on the economy, particularly in the US. A huge proportion of your labour force is in prison, either not working, or working as ultra-cheap labour that can undercut regular labour. This obviously affects the economy.

Abortion affects the economy through demographics, which then affects the labour force, future growth and other things. I find it hard to imagine what effect praying in school would have, but there is probably some tiny effect somewhere.

Almost everything that affects people also affects the economy. Note how businesses get a boom at certain times - Superbowl, if the national side does well in the World Cup (soccer), or other sports-related events. The economy is the sum of transactions between people, and how those people are feeling makes a difference in how they behave.

Pretty much this. As it is now, this country is full of people who create a drain on the economy. This group is made up of unwed mothers, generations of latchkey kids raised with poor values and poor educations who, even if they manage to aviod prison, often need public assistance to get by for most if not all of their lives, and of people even from middle class homes whose quality of education won’t provide for a self-sufficient income.

Plus in the wake of the breakdown of family values, the government has been seeking more and more to provide for everyone’s needs while at the same time inexorably raising the definition of “poor” to the point where half the country’s income earners are exempt from federal income tax. This has created at least a couple generations’ worth of people who expect that the government should rightfully provide for them rather than they should rightfully provide for themselves.

Then there’s education. When “family values” prevailed, kids were expected to learn and had to answer to their parents if they didn’t. And often the parents were expected to meet with their kids’ teachers in an effort to bring their kids’ performance up to par if they fell behind. Also, kids were disciplined, if necessary, both at home and at school, which helped not only to create better students but responsible, better-behaved human beings.

The last fifty years has seen a huge increase not only in government spending on behalf of people who ought to be providing for themselves, but also an increase in the number of people who are simply incapable of taking care of themselves.

50 years ago you could raise a family on one wage earner’s income. The wealthy have gamed the system such that it takes 2 incomes now and it’s getting worse. As the wealthy feed off the middle class, more and more poor are added to the rolls.

It isn’t a zero sum game, but the pile of resources is while indeterminate, limited.

I submit that this is because during the women’s rights movement, women were being encouraged to abandon the housewife role and seek careers of their own, and so people’s lifestyles expanded to accomodate those dual incomes, with their lifestyles, purchases and indebtedness increased accordingly. 50 years ago people weren’t living in houses the size of those being built these days, and they weren’t driving as many new or newer cars, nor with the sophistaction of today’s automobiles. They weren’t spending money on computers, HDTVs, cable and satellite services, internet connections and cell phone plans, etc., etc. If people lived today like they lived 50 years ago, one income likely would still support a family.

In other words, no one’s income possibilities are harmed in the slightest because rich people have more money. The people living disadvantaged lives today are doing so because of the environment they grew up in and the substandard education and values they picked up along the way. People earn money according to their worth in the marketplace. You will not make one dollar less in your life because rich people have more money, and you would not make one dollar more if they lost it all. It is specious to believe that a country’s economy consists of a finte amount of money and that the more money the wealthy have the less there is for everybody else. Money is not finite. Money is created through productivity. Become productive in a way that has value and all the money that that value is worth will be there. In short, no one is earning less in their life because the rich have “soaked” up all the money. This is a specious belief which is fostered by politicians and activists who prefer a system of forced income redistribution, which in turns fosters an even greater lack of productivity and an ever greater dependence on government, both of which serve only to drag the country down even further.

I think I’ll pop some popcorn, pour myself a Pinch, and sit back to see how the same-old-same-old plays itself out this time.

Starving Artist, you are correct in a strictly material sense. But from a utility/happiness point of view, concepts such as relative wealth and fairness are also important, not just the absolute value of whatever you earn/own.

I love how every one of the hundred people that have said this to me this year, not a one has ever been able to supply an example of how the rich have supposedly gamed the system. When asked, they say they buy the politicians. When shown that politicians aren’t bribed, they claim that campaign funds count. When shown that campaign funds don’t win elections, they claim that it’s lobbyists that do the influencing. When shown that politicians vote overwhelmingly how their constituents, not lobbyists, want them to vote, and hey, there are rich people on both sides of the political spectrum anyway, they finally fess up: “Look, I just want someone to give me money. And I think asking me to have a marketable skill first is asking too much, OK?”

I wonder if you’re overthinking things: in what way are those family values?

As far as I understand their POV:

It’s not rocket science but the basic societal unit is the family. Stable families mean less state expenditure because the children will be happier and more likely to succeed and less likely to be delinquent and become criminals when adult, and they’ll look after their parents when the latter get old, and form an in-built support network. Single parents need more state support, as do delinquent children, imprisoning criminals costs money and requires a larger police force, etc. Delinquent children are less likely to succeed and more likely to become criminals…

Different pundits then recast that and embellish it for target audiences.