Fox News host Tucker Carlson started the new year with an intense monologue on the problems facing American families and the integral role families play as a foundation for American society. His blunt commentary sparked conversations on both sides but particularly on the right.
Responding to critics on Monday, Carlson cited a rather unlikely source to buttress his defense — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — who wrote a book in 2003 lamenting many of the same issues faces middle class families.
Working mothers have proven detrimental to families
“Back in 2003, Warren was still a Harvard professor. That year she published a book, written with her daughter, entitled, ‘The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke,’” said Carlson.
“The central thesis of the book was that the mass entry of mothers into the workforce has been a disaster for families, and most of all for women,” he continued. “Mothers who work have to spend far more time away from their kids, which for many isn’t liberating so much as it’s deeply sad.”
“As Warren points out, you’d think families would be much richer with two parents working. That hasn’t happened. Virtually all of the income gains have been consumed in an arms race to maintain the status quo. Most things in American life are cheaper than they were 50 years ago, except for the things that middle-class families need most,” Carlson said.
“These are all much more expensive: Health care, daycare, college tuition, housing in places with good public schools,” he noted. “Buying these things now requires two incomes, rather than one. That puts a strain on families in which both parents work. It absolutely crushes single-parent households.”
Consequences of two-income focused society
Carlson proceeded to read a direct passage from Warren’s book:
A generation ago, a single breadwinner who worked diligently and spent carefully could assure his family a comfortable position in the middle class. But the frenzied bidding wars, fueled by families with two incomes, changed the game for single-income families as well, pushing them down the economic ladder.
To keep Mom at home, the average single-income family must forfeit decent public schools and preschools, health insurance, and college degrees, leaving themselves and their children with a tenuous hold on their middle-class dreams. Such pressures have taken these women out of the home and away from their children and simultaneously made family life less, not more, financially secure. Today’s middle-class mother is trapped: She can’t afford to work, and she can’t afford not to.
The Fox host reiterated that these words came from Warren, not a group of Mennonites or “some Christian right think-tank,” and proceeded to lay out the dire consequences that Warren herself had noted just 15 years ago: “More families go broke. This increases the rate of domestic abuse, divorce, and broken homes. Some people simply decide not to have children at all.”
Warren can’t say the same today
Carlson read another relevant quote from Warren’s book:
Many view parenthood as nothing more than another ‘lifestyle choice,’ not so different from joining a commune or developing a passion for windsurfing, but it isn’t true for society at large. What happens to a nation that rewards the childless and penalizes the parents? If middle-class men and women stop making that parental lifestyle choice, who will care for them in their old age? Who will pay taxes, build infrastructure, and keep the economy afloat? And most important, who will populate the great middle class of America’s future?
“Again, and we can’t say this enough: Elizabeth Warren wrote that. Not in 1936, but in 2003. The modern era. We had jet planes and frozen yogurt. Elizabeth Warren said that out loud. Nobody seemed to mind,” stated Carlson. “She’d never say that today. It’s not allowed, like so much else that’s true and important.”
“We’d love to talk to Warren about her book anytime,” he added. “Obviously, she won’t come on. She can’t talk about the things she believed 10 years ago. No modern Democrat can. They can’t say that protecting and encouraging married, two-parent families ought to be the goal. That’s not their base anymore.”
These are uncomfortable truths about our society that most people recognize but nobody wants to talk about. That the support for Carlson’s thesis comes from a prominent hero on the left, Elizabeth Warren, proves that these issues transcend partisan politics, even as partisan politics make the issues worse.