Thursday, November 07, 2013

Crowding Out the Private Sector Husband

I was listening to Stefan Molyneux and he said something that made my economic spidey senses tingle a bit:

That the average unwed mother, supporting a family, received somewhere around $70,000 per year from the government in the various forms of social services, welfare, etc.  He then went on to add if you considered public school that was another roughly $10,000 per child.

The number seemed a little high, and I cannot find the specific podcast, but I trust Stefan's veracity to ensure those numbers are correct, so for the purpose of this particular post, I'm going to assume it's true (if somebody has better data or can cite the study, please let me know).  But the point Stefan was making was how this essentially supplanted men as the role of a provider.  If the government is going to pay a single parent (typically the mother, but not always) $70,000 per year, then why would she bother looking for a husband, at least in the capacity of a provider?

Simple, she won't. 

But this got me thinking.  Assuming the $70,000 is accurate, what that essentially does is put a price floor on the marriage market.  No woman is going to consider any man who makes less than $70,000 because that's the MINIMUM she's going to get from the government.  So as a man, if you wish to participate in this market you need to make more than $70,000.

But what percent of men make that much?

Well off to do some research I went and found on wikipedia's entry on personal income that 87% of the population makes less than $75,000 per year (close enough).  Yes this included women as well, which probably increased that percent, but let's just say 80% of men make less than $75,000 for the sake of argument.  That's 4 out of every 5 men who cannot provide at the level the government does.  4 out of 5 men cannot compete in the marriage market.

Now, naturally, women don't just marry for the provider role, and there are a whole host of other variables that go into it, but the government at least at some level is crowding out men from this marriage market.  And we all know from Economics 101 what happens when you set price floors and crowd buyers out of a market -


The chart above graphs your standard supply and demand curve market.  The "supply" of women is in pink and denoted "S, women" while the "demand" for women (obviously by men) is in blue and denoted "D, men."  Had there been no government interference, the market would "clear" at an equilibrium price that would be around what the median income is for your average man.  This would be "normal" and normal women would marry normal men.  You would have a normal house and normal children.  And life would have gotten on like it always has, normally.

However, with the government essentially providing a $70,000 price guarantee, it throws the whole marriage market out of whack.  At such a high income level, many more women are willing to get married, and so the supply of women increases and is denoted by the green S.  But with only 20% of the male population making that kind of money or more, the demand drops to the green D.  The difference between the plethora of women who are willing to get married and the few men who can afford it, is a surplus of women who constantly ask "where have all the good men gone?"

Of course, it is impossible to put precise numbers on this market.  But it does go a long way in explaining, at least economically, why there seems to be a shortage of men (or a surplus of women).  Government has crowded men out of the market by making it too expensive to compete in.  It would be no different if the government came in and created a law putting the price of Playstation 4 at $5,000.  Some people would buy it, but most others would simply not be able to afford it.  However, instead of less video games being played, government's vying for the affection of women has resulted in less marriages.  Perhaps they can design a government check that will hug you back at night.

Enjoy the decline ladies!


earl said...

Outstanding...we always knew the government was the daddy to these ladies...but I like the facts and figures to prove it.

It also begins to put into the perspective of the 20-80 split we hear about men.

There's going to be a lot of wailing when that collapses.

Anonymous said...

A man would have to make more than $70k to equal $70k from the government.

The woman and her children are the only consumers of the govt. $70k.

The woman, her children, and the man would all consume his $70. Consequently, he would would have to bring more than $70k to the table to account for the portion he is consuming.

The government's $70k is likely all non-taxable income/benefits.

The man's $70k gross income would be heavily taxed. So, he would have to make significantly more than $70k to bring $70k net (after taxes) to the table.

Anonymous said...

At such a high income level, many more women are willing to get married, and so the supply of women increases and is denoted by the green S.

This claim is dubious; there would be far more women desperately seeking marriage (increased supply) if govt. assistance were withdrawn. The supply curve should be inelastic.

I think you're correct that it's a market interference problem but you're writing this piece as though a man would buy the product (woman) if he had enough cash. I have the cash ($85k income) but I absolutely refuse to buy unless the price drops incredibly. Women have priced themselves at unbelievably high levels when the fact of the matter is that for the most part they are worthless, jaded sluts who are unfit to be mothers and can't cook.

I'd say also that the problem is primarily attributable to males aged 30+ refusing to marry these unmarriageable whores, said whores having priced themselves out of the market w/welfare AND divorce laws. The value of the product (female companionship) is reduced by making the man a legal slave according to the marriage contract.

This can be seen here:
Men and women’s attitudes about marrying for the first time are not different among young adults. But among never-married adults ages 30 to 50, men (27%) are more likely than women (8%) to say they do not want to marry.

So while undoubtedly there are women who refuse to get married b/c welfare is so great, this statistic makes it clear that it's primarily men refusing to "man up" and marry these hos that is the real reason for the collapse of marriage. It's a male-driven phenomenon IMO.

Aurini said...

I'm going to channel renowned scientician PZ Myers, and reject your theory because the Y axis doesn't have numbers on it.

Anonymous said...

Renowned man who can't get laid and has a fat ugly wife.. PZ Myers

Blaximus said...

I will absolutely agree that the amount of money single mothers qualify for from the various govt. agencies is substantial, but in no way do I agree that it is anywhere near realistically approaching 70,000 bucks annually. This is an outrageously over-blown figure.

I've been in proximity of enough people getting assistance to understand that it is enough to survive off of.

The vast majority of those getting assistance do not get anywhere near the stated levels, even if you add in the erroneous 10,000 a year public school figure.

Good points are being made. I will even say GREAT points are being made, but the hyped overstating reeks of a different agenda.

The POOR and the OLD are not destroying America. Entitlement spending and programs to feed and house the poor ( a rapidly growing number of the population ) are not our biggest economic threats.... yet.

bawkz said...

I'm a fan of Stephen and yourself, but as a fan of science/econ/mathematics the argument would be more robust with actual numbers.

Here is something I've found; a single mother is better off with a gross income of 29,000 with benefits yielding a total of 57,327 relative to working a 69,000 gig to yield a take home of 57,045.

With the argument of public school education, tack on 10,615 (per 2010, probably more along the lines of ~12,000 today).

Comes out to approximately that 70K based on these loose numbers.

I would argue that the 70K floor is therefore a bit too small. Given that 70K is available to nearly all women with a bastard and a paltry waged gig, what becomes of the portion of the sample that becomes college educated/produces more than >30,000K in worth and has the sense to not get knocked up by the local badboy?

If there were anything resembling marriage material, many would reside in this group, and you can be damn sure they're pricing the pussy at far more than the 70K they could have netted by being a fuck up.

Piper said...

I've been a private sector husband. It's not that great. Julia is all yours daddy government. Just don't bring her back.

Anonymous said...

Aurini wins. Well done, sir.

Unknown said...

Having known several single women with children, I suspect that $70,000 a year includes paying for the bureaucracies administering their "benefits."

Nearly every single mother I have met has been poor, i.e. Section 8 housing, food card, Aid to Dependent Children, crummy used car, poorly educated, crummy job.

Babies from single mothers should be taken away and given to orphanages and in a divorce they should go the father.

These women hit on me all the time, including on the street.

JoeAmerica said...

I 100% agree with your observation. I will add it was even worse pre-housing crash as so many of these women had sky high expectations of a minimum of 160K a year preferring at least 250K even if they were fat with bastard children. This crowding out will not last but it may be more than a lifetime to go away. Like old laws concerning witchcraft while still on some books are no longer enforced or taken seriously, feminist man hating inspired laws will follow the same fate.

Myrddin said...


There may be a lot of wailing immediately after it collapses, but I also imagine there will be a lot of improved marriages within a year or so of it collapsing.

dannyfrom504 said...

and.....if you have even a MODICUM of game, you can have access to women. once they hit late 20's early 30's, and the cobwebs are forming in her womb, or the kid is getting older, they're craving male attention.

Anonymous said...

If you got rid of the welfare state and you got rid of alimony, today's women would act a lot different toward men. Their only way to have children would be a man. So they would have to treat that man very well in order to have children.

Instead the opposite is true. A woman has the government to help raise her kids. Throw in alimony and you see were we are at today.

When a woman says they don't need a man. I believe them.

Anonymous said...

"This would be "normal" and normal women would marry normal men. You would have a normal house and normal children. And life would have gotten on like it always has, normally."

And it would normally be a BORING life !

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps they can design a government check that will hug you back at night."

Newsflash captain, women just want the money and they don't care about the hugs.

Me too I just want a check and I couldn't care less about the hugs.

It's all about the bottom line.

Anonymous said...

As of 2013, every single state in the U.S. allows for non-consensual no-fault divorce. In addition, every state in the U.S. provides for child support where children are involved, and alimony at the court's discretion. The median length for a marriage in the US today is 11 years with 90% of all divorces being settled out of court.

Enjoying my bachelorhood and the decline! Thanks Mr. Captain!

Boom said...

Hmmm...something is off with your analysis, Capt.

If the "floor" for getting a husband is that he must make at least $70K/yr, then wouldn't only 20% of men "qualify" for marriage according your own numbers?

This would imply that only about 20% of women would ever get married (maybe a bit higher if you allow for divorce and remarriage to an "eligible" man). The percent never married among women is higher today than in times past, but it has not reached 80% among women unless you count the very young, who aren't married because the average age of first marriage is going up in the USA.

Something is off, but I don't have the time to look too deeply into it, although here is some info to work with (percent never married, broken out for men and women):

Rex Little said...

Like Bob Wallace said, that $70k figure, if accurate, has to be what it costs the taxpayer to supply those benefits. I know some single mothers, and no way do they actually receive anything close to that.

Also, without seeing a specific list, I don't know if any of the benefits would still be available if she got married. Certainly public school would (although that wasn't counted as part of the $70k).

Unboxed said...

I'm having trouble accepting that women, when dating men, actually calculate their annual government benefits against the annual income of their boyfriends, to then turn the men away. If that were so, the women's complaint would not be "where are all the men?", but something more frank, like "where are all the men who can improve my income?". One idea that explains the former question is that men are removing themselves from the supply, regardless of how much they make, because they are turned off by women's expectations of receiving money without making an emotional contribution, a one-way street that government assistance certainly has helped cause.