There are some good points made in the article. The gist of the argument is that employment prospects for women have risen over the past few decades, whereas those of working-class men in the US have declined. Therefore, there is a much smaller pool of potential breadwinning partners for white working-class women. Those men who actually are in a good position to marry have so much choice that they're in no hurry to settle down. Rather than marrying a man who will be, in effect, a dependent, white working-class women are making the "logical" choice to become single mothers.
I can't vouch for how accurately the article portrays the situation facing young women. What is interesting, though, are the remedies proposed.
The writers of the article are adamant that women should still have the autonomy to raise children by themselves via state aid if they so choose:
Those who would promote marriage seek to do so largely by taking away Lily’s independence...Charles Murray would cut programs such as Medicaid, food stamps, early childhood education and child care, mandatory family leave, and other policies that make it easier for women like Lily to raise a child on their own.
So what do the writers recommend? Well, this:
In our view what would make the most difference to this unfair marriage market are policies that would increase the number and quality of jobs available to working class men, retraining and unemployment benefits that fill in the gaps between jobs, and ongoing support for women’s autonomy.
Let me say, first, that it's a step forward that white working-class men are not being portrayed as privileged oppressors but instead as a group that is losing out in significant ways in modern society. It's true, as well, that it's important that quality jobs be offered to these men to allow them to play a breadwinning role within a family.
But I doubt that you will ever have a stable culture of family life when female autonomy is made such a moral aim. If young women are told that it is their right, as an autonomous individual, to raise a child alone supported by the state rather than by a husband, then some will inevitably take that option (see here for an extreme example of this).
The idea that female autonomy is untouchable seems to run deep: KJ Dell'Antonia wrote a column criticising the Slate article, but even she asserted that,
Should working-class women (or, for that matter, all men and women) be able to raise children alone? Absolutely, and the more we tailor policies, school hours and cultural expectations to reflect the fact that many parents are both solo breadwinner and single caregiver, the better off all families will be.
But if it's OK to decide to raise a child alone, then what is wrong with the trend for white working-class women to do so? KJ Dell'Antonia reaches for the "it's not an authentic choice" option:
No parent “should” raise children alone unless it is a real choice, not a choice created by a culture that is determinedly setting so many young people adrift after high school without the wherewithal to envision, plan for or create a better life for themselves.
She then goes on to provide evidence of how outcomes for children in single mother homes are statistically worse than for other children, particularly for boys (but this then raises the question of whether a government should encourage single parenthood through its welfare policies - why do this if the outcomes for children are, on average, worse?).
It seems we've reached an interesting moment in politics. It is now being recognised on the left that white working-class men have been left behind to the point that they are now in a poor position to marry. That then means that women have to raise and support children by themselves (and with state aid). Perhaps these leftist writers recognise that autonomy for these women is not such an easy or happy path - or perhaps they are hesitating at the brink of accepting a regress to societies in which men exist unproductively on the margins.