Republican Says He Ran For Congress To Prevent Single Mothers From Getting Welfare (VIDEO)

Louis Gohmert ran for Congress to make single moms get married.

Portrait photo of Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) from Wikimedia Commons.

Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) displayed his sexist colors in a speech about single women and welfare. Specifically, single women and welfare are why he’s in Congress to begin with. According to a video posted on The Raw Story, Gohmert says:

“It began to really eat away with me that in the 60s the federal government, desiring to help poor moms who were dealing with deadbeat dads, decided, ‘We’ll help, we’ll give a check for every child you can have out of wedlock.'”

Of course, Louie Gohmert says welfare is what created the problem in the first place.

He complains that the war on poverty created the problem of single mothers. Louie Gohmert evidently saw enough women in his courtroom for welfare fraud to decide that women were having babies out of wedlock so they could drop out of high school and collect government checks.

There is a growing number of single-mother families that are in poverty, that’s true. But the connection has very little to do with the conservative “welfare state” enabling people to suckle off the government teat instead of earn an honest living. Conservatives love saying that marriage is the way to solve child poverty, but they’re only touching on one tiny part of a very large issue.

Conservatives’ solution — get married and stay married — is overly simplistic and unrealistic.

What Louie Gohmert and company say is The Solution is far harder to achieve than they seem to think. Former presidents have tried to address poverty this way, and spent at least $1 billion on marriage programs for low-income couples. They were basically marriage counseling; classes designed to improve understanding and communication skills. But those efforts have mostly failed. In fact, social psychologist Benjamin Karney, of UCLA, said:

“But lower-income groups are significantly more likely to say having a job is more important for marriage. Having money in the bank is more important for marriage. And the problems that they have are not relational problems, they’re economic problems.” [SOURCE]

So lower-income people are more likely avoid marriage altogether until they’re in a better economic situation. However, Louie Gohmert is not likely to understand that. Someone who’s having trouble paying the bills will wonder how they can possibly consider expanding their household when they can barely take care of themselves and whatever children they already have. This is a basic reality of being poor that out-of-touch conservatives like Louie Gohmert don’t get.

Single mothers live in a world that Louie Gohmert doesn’t even try to understand.

According to a recent paper, single mothers do want to get married, and stay married. The reason they don’t is because they understand the realities of severe economic hardship. They know their situations aren’t conducive to successful marriages, so they stay away from it.

Kristi Williams, who wrote that paper for the Council on Contemporary Families, programs that help young women get their educations and find better jobs, and programs that help them pay for childcare so they can go to school or job-training, or even work more, would work better than programs aimed towards getting them to marry.

Williams also said programs that help women prevent unintended pregnancy would help more than simply telling them they are the problem because they either can’t find a suitable husband, or can’t keep a suitable husband.

To Louie Gohmert, though, if government programs disappeared, then women would be forced to get married. Single motherhood would go down, and the number of children in poverty would go down, and the overall poverty rate would go down. If only…if only women knew their place, and government stayed out of it.

Watch him for yourself here: