President Ronald Reagan directed every Federal agency to ensure that the rights of the family be considered in the construction and carrying out of policies, and to assess all regulatory and statutory provisions ‘that may have significant potential negative impact on the family well-being.’
Before implementing any Federal policy, agency directors had to make certain that the programs they managed, and the regulations they issued, met certain family-friendly criteria.
Specifically, they had to ask:
Does this action strengthen or erode the authority and rights of parents in educating, nurturing, and supervising their children?
Does it strengthen or erode the stability of the family, particularly the marital commitment?
Does it help the family perform its function, or does it substitute Government activity for that function?
Does it increase or decrease family earnings, and do the proposed benefits justify the impact on the family budget?
Can the activity be carried out by a lower level of government or by the family itself?
What message, intended or otherwise, does this program send concerning the status of the family?
What message does it send to young people concerning the relationship between their behavior, their personal responsibility, and the norms of our society?
I believe these questions still need to be asked, and that good government is that which supports, rather than supplants, the family.