The family lives, US panel says

The White House Conference on Families has presented its final report, which conference chairman Jim Guy Tucker says firmly rejects the pundits who say families are dying or unimportant. He adds that the agenda will "disappoint those who said ordinary people could not discuss these issues because they were too complex or emotional."

The conference's top recommendation was "a call for family-oriented personnel policies -- flexible working hours, leave policies, shared and part-time jobs, transfer policies." It also called for new education and news-media initiatives to prevent alcohol and drug abuse.

It urged elimination of the "marriage tax" -- the higher income tax some couples pay, compared with singles -- and changes to revise inheritance taxes and recognize the contribution of homemakers for social- security and other purposes. Proposals also dealt with tax and housing policies, and assistance for the care of aging and handicapped family members in the home rather than in institutions.

Other recommendations: more pressure on the communications media to stifle excess violence, sex, and stereotyping; an analysis of all laws and regulations for their effect on families; greater efforts to combat employment discrimination; and development of a coherent energy and inflation policy.

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