Federal Money for Marriage?

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thanks for watching us tonight.

Well, when we last left The Factor, your humble correspondent, and NOW president Kim Gandy, were debating the wisdom of the federal government spending tax money to encourage marriage among poor Americans.  That's the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.

I told Miss Gandy that government statistics say 58 percent of single-mom households are on government assistance of some kind, some kind of welfare, the point being that many single mothers are trapped in poverty.

Miss Gandy denied that stat, and we're working on confirming it through federal, state, and local reports.  At this point, we have this from Washington, and it's bad.  Fifty-two percent of families receiving public assistance are headed by a single mother, 52 percent.  Forty-six percent of those homes are below the poverty level, almost half.

That number rises to 55 percent when the mom is African-American, 60 percent when the mom is Hispanic.

And here's the kicker.  Only 12 percent of African-American households are below the poverty line when the couple is married, 12 percent as opposed to 55 percent.  Come on!

Surely, encouraging marriage among poor Americans is a worthwhile thing for society to do.  Surely unmarried mothers are high-risk poverty people.  So what is the real objection from the National Organization for Women?

Well, I believe it lies in the power area.  Miss Gandy and her group simply do not like the government telling women what they should or should not do, even when the advice is good.  It's similar to the abortion issue.  NOW does not believe the government has any right to tell a woman whether she can or cannot terminate a fetus.

The difficult ethical question of -- is the rights of the fetus.  That's totally dismissed by NOW.

We respect all sincere opinion and have no problem with NOW's advocacy of women's rights.  The problem comes when individual rights intrude on society.  There's no question that American women, generally speaking, are better off financially if there's a stable marriage.  But when the Bush administration proposes money to encourage the development of such marriages, they're met with ideological resistance.  Not good.

Few journalists will say it, but there is little stigma in the black community for having babies outside of marriage.  Thus 70 percent of African-American babies are born out of wedlock, as opposed to 22 percent for whites.

That is the biggest problem American blacks have.  This is why so many black families are chaotic, and that's the truth.

So all Americans should support the government for trying to encourage stable marriages.  I don't like wasted tax money, but I'm for counseling and education for young people about the real facts of life.  Want to be poor?  Have babies out of wedlock.

And guess what?  The National Organization for Women is not going to pay your bills.  The working men and women of America will have to do that.

And that's the memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day,"

Little Kayla Brodus is in kindergarten near Saratoga Springs, New York.  And before all meals, Kayla had been taught at home to say grace.  So she did that at school as well in lunch.

Well, all hell, pardon the expression, broke loose.  The school said Kayla had to stop the prayer.  Can you imagine saying that to a five-year old?  Well yesterday, a federal judge  issued a temporary restraining order against the school, ordering it to let little Kayla say grace.  The judge has set arguments for next week, which of course, is ridiculous waste of taxpayer money.  If Kayla wants to say grace, she should be able to say grace, unless somehow Saratoga Springs has been moved to China.

— You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com