Tuesday, September 24, 2013

NOM's intellectual misadventures in marriage economics

Jennifer Roback Morse
National Organization for Marriage is not exactly known for its collective acumen. Due to the fact that they shut out all others (particularly those with different opinions), they reinforce their own failures of logic, fact-finding or reasoning. Apparently Mr. Peters has been replaced with an even dimmer bulb. In a post titled “The ‘Least of Illinois' Concerns,’” he or she writes:
At TownHall.com, Sarah Jane Seman offers a response to a recent claim by an Illinois lawmaker that by not redefining marriage, Illinois is "missing out on [an] economic opportunity."

Seman references our friend Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse's able take-down of the arguments from economics:
[A leading report on the economic advantages of same-sex marriage] give[s] the illusion of precision, however, the entire report is incorrect because premises are flawed, Morse explained.

For example, it calculated a fiscal increase from weddings between in-state residents. This is not added money to the economy, it is merely redirecting cash. The only increase to the state budget would come from out-of-state residents.
I love an able take-down as much as the next person but this isn't it for several reasons:
  1. If couples travel out of state to celebrate their marriages and to benefit from federal laws, those revenues are lost by Illinois' travel and tourism industry.
  2. Morse's argument seems to be that money spent on marriage would otherwise be spent on other things. That only makes (limited) sense if none of the money comes from savings which Morse is in no position to determine. For that matter, weddings are often paid for by parents who may not live in Illinois..
  3. Morse deliberately understates the importance of cash coming in from "out-of-state residents." That is not just limited to visitors attending weddings. It also includes residents of other states that do not recognize same-sex marriage.
To summarize, one of NOM's depressingly dumb staffers is an admirer of the work of Sarah Jean Seman who is, by the way, an undergraduate at Biola University, A Christian institution located in Orange County, California. Seman, in turn, is an admirer of Jennifer Roback Morse. Not because Morse makes an elegant argument that Seman likes. Rather, it is because Morse makes a conclusion that Seman likes. The soundness of the argument is irrelevant. In some form of anti-intellectual contagion, NOM's staffer makes the same error in critical thinking as young Ms. Seman.
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