How essential is marriage for aspiring middle-class families? On The Gist, economist and Brookings fellow Isabel Sawhill explains her often-cited “success sequence” and declining marriage rates in the developed world. She’s the author of Generation Unbound. For the Spiel, why Dr. Ben Carson currently has no plans for the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha.  Today’s sponsors:, where you can buy and print official U.S. postage right from your desk using your own computer and printer. Use the promo code THEGIST to get a no-risk trial and a $110 bonus offer. And Draft Kings. Start this football season by winning 2 million dollars! Use the code GIST to play free for a shot at 2 million dollars in the Week One 10 Million Dollar Millionaire Maker. Go to  Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at

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