The Fallacy in Santorum's "Family" Argument

Before the final results for the Iowa caucus were fully tabulated, Rick Santorum delivered what I felt was an effective speech, a speech that plays very well with middle class Americans.

A Rick Santorum candidacy would be a family values candidacy. The family unit is extremely important to working class America. It is to these working class voters he was addressing and referring to when he said:

"They share our values about faith and family. They understand that when the family breaks down, the economy struggles. They understand when families aren't there to instill values into their children and into their neighbors as Little League coaches, as good neighbors, of fathers and mothers being part of a community, that the neighborhood is not safe and they are not free. These are the basic values that American's stand for and these are the values that we need if we are going to go up against Barack Obama and win this election and restore the founding principles of our country to America."

The implication is that the Democrats are responsible for broken families. If the breaking up of American families is truly the cause of our economic failures, which is an incredibly weak argument, he may want to point his finger at Republicans like himself.

What he fails to mention is that the reason that the parents are not there to instill values into their children and coach their baseball teams is because those mothers and fathers are working their ass off. While Republican governors such as the likely former candidate for President Rick Perry seek praise for their ability to create minimum wage jobs, the people working those jobs realize they simply do not pay the bills. They need two of these jobs and their wives need one and none of them provide adequate health care.

It is hard to make sure your kids do their homework when you can barely keep your eyes open. It is hard to know what your kids are doing at night when you are in the middle of your second shift of the day.

Since the 1970's when the work force was thirty percent unionized and the middle class was strong we have followed the Reagan model of trickle-down economics and declared war on unions. The result is that we have a shrinking middle class and stagnant wages, wages barely able to keep up with the cost of inflation. Today we have roughly eleven percent of Americans in unions and some Republicans fighting to eliminate the minimum wage.

In this same speech Santorum spoke fondly of companies like Walmart because they do not ship their famously low wage jobs overseas, ignoring the fact that a large percentage of the products sold by Walmart are made overseas.

Republicans think that the only way we can compete with foreign manufacturing is to drive down wages. Let the race to the bottom of the pay scale begin. This is how we win, this is how corporations improve profits and this is also how the middle class disappears.

The economic stress experienced by American families has wreaked havoc on their ability to stay strong and stay together.

Santorum must be confused unless he feels that personal bankruptcy represents the values that people want to bring back to America.