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DATE 2009-12-01

HANGOUT

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MESSAGE
DATE 2009-12-04
FROM Ruben Safir
SUBJECT Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Fathers - Optional
From lestw-hangout-at-mrbrklyn.com Fri Dec 4 00:04:49 2009
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http://www.fathermag.com/107/family/

New Wave Pro-Family Advocates Leave Fathers Out of Family

by Roger F. Gay


Groups of "pro-marriage conservatives" have received a lot of attention
lately. They argue that the breakdown of the two-parent family is the
root cause of welfare dependence, and that millions of Americans will
remain trapped in poverty unless the nation fosters a culture of
marriage in poor communities. Among other proposals, they ask that
welfare workers encourage recipients to marry. Those who have been
listening to the debate for many years may recognize a subtle but
important reversal. Conservatives have argued for decades that the
welfare system caused the breakdown of the family, not the other way
around.

It is ironic that some conservatives are choosing to alter the
definition of the problem now. Evidence is mounting that the past
quarter century of welfare expansion has increased and intensified the
barriers to family formation. Welfare mothers are convinced that they
cannot survive marriage. Welfare fathers tremble at the thought of being
formally recognized as fathers. Further contributing to family
breakdown, many middle and upper income mothers benefit economically
from divorce. Many divorced fathers, even those with reasonably good
income, are left with too little to pay the often high cost of seeing
their children regularly.

The last wave of welfare reformers blamed welfare dependency on men who
abandon their children to government aid. The wave of reform that
followed was particularly rough on fathers. Those who cannot keep up
with arbitrary demands face devastating consequences. A 1997 government
study explained; "The disincentives are sufficiently compelling to have
prompted the emergence of a phenomenon dubbed "underground fathers" --
men who are involved in the lives of their children, but refuse to
participate as fathers in formal systems."

The child support issue was used to expand the use of welfare policy and
its destructive effects to families at all income levels. Welfare as we
knew it consisted of a set of programs that provided support for needy
families. Today, the vast majority of so-called "collections" in the
child support enforcement system are actually non-problematic regular
payments by one middle-income parent to another. Billions of dollars in
"increased collections" have been reported, brought about largely by the
inclusion of more such cases in state "collection" systems. States then
receive more federal funds based on the amount they "collect." Welfare
reform has led to an arbitrary increase in the amount of "child support"
awarded as well, which further increases the amount "collected."

Contrary to popular myth, the typical divorced mother is doing pretty
well financially. Fathers rights advocates and an increasing number of
social policy analysts are saying that many are now doing too well. The
evidence is in the divorce rate and the fact that mothers initiate
divorce 3 to 4 times as often as fathers do. In an in-depth study of
divorce, Sanford Braver, an Arizona State University Professor and
author of "Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths," discovered that the
reasons women divorce today are often quite trivial. Another study by
the Children's Rights Council found that states with laws favoring
shared parenting and appropriate child support awards have lower divorce
rates.





Lack of family formation related to teen pregnancy is much higher on the
list of causes of poverty. But once again, conservatives have long
argued that the welfare system provides support that encourages single
parenthood. Once established, the members of a poor family may be
trapped in the cycle of poverty. Poverty is much harder to escape once
family obligations become more important than personal development,
especially through education and training. Children may carry on the
welfare lifestyle established by their parent.

Kentucky family policy analyst Ann Swango says that we fund what we do
not want. Current child support policies coupled with custody practices
that dramatically reduce one parent's ability to remain involved have
brought about basic changes in society. After adoption of new child
support laws, the number of paternity cases has risen. Paternity has not
been established in a large percentage of welfare cases. She adds that
multiple marriages with children have increased in higher income groups.

For approximately half of all single parent households, there is no
related child support order. This single fact explains the extremely
poor rate of return on the government's huge investments in child
support enforcement. There is no order to enforce. If welfare provides
better support for a single mother than the father can, then remaining
separate may be the rational economic choice. Refusing to identify the
father to welfare workers may also be the rational economic choice,
making the vision of welfare workers encouraging marriage difficult to
understand. If she says she doesn't know who the father is, who do they
suggest she should marry?

Surveys have shown that a significant number of fathers of children born
out of wedlock do not know that they are fathers, or are at least very
uncertain. Mothers do not always know who the father is. But many do. We
know that many fathers do, or believe they do, because men often show up
at the hospital when children are born to give their personal support
and pay doctor and hospital bills when they can. Many of these men
cannot offer sufficient financial support on an ongoing basis, and the
rational economic choices are as clear to them as they are to mothers.

The new wave of "pro-marriage conservatives" hold fast to their
philosophy. The case is based on sound moral and practical values.
Marriage is good. Broken families are not good. Many policy analysts
would generally agree that marriage is best for children and parents in
a great variety of ways and that there are negative consequences to the
breakdown of the family. To make good policy we need to become a bit
more righteous in understanding the details of the problem, and how our
expectations actually affect families.

Welfare is always seen as a problem, and always subject to the next
philosophical wave. Finding serious solutions is much easier when a
problem is accurately defined.


Copyright 2001 Roger F. Gay. All rights reserved. This article first
appeared in TooGoodReports.


Roger F. Gay is the lead researcher in Project for the Improvement of
Child Support Litigation Technology, a research project focused on the
science and design of child support guidelines. Since it began in 1989,
the project has developed an in-depth understanding of child support
decision-making and contributed, often with strong criticism, to the
process of state review of child support guidelines. Commentary,
testimony, and research reports are available at the project web site.
E-Mail Roger at picslt-at-mail.lawguru.com

  1. 2009-12-01 mrbrklyn <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] I'm just sick of it
  2. 2009-12-02 Robert Menes <viewtiful.icchan-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] I'm just sick of it
  3. 2009-12-02 Paul Robert Marino <prmarino1-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Next NYLXS Meeting
  4. 2009-12-03 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Google DNS Services
  5. 2009-12-03 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Patent Wars to cripple blackberry - you almost want to cheer if
  6. 2009-12-03 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Pickard Solar Plane
  7. 2009-12-03 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Pickard Solar Powered Flight
  8. 2009-12-04 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Fathers - Optional
  9. 2009-12-04 From: "Michael L. Richardson" <mlr52-at-michaellrichardson.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] [Fwd: [kde-announce] KDE Software Compilation 4.4 Beta1 Released]
  10. 2009-12-04 From: "Michael L. Richardson" <mlr52-at-michaellrichardson.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Fw: The trains are running!]]
  11. 2009-12-05 Amy Coleman <acoleman-at-mrbrklyn.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Next NYLXS Meeting
  12. 2009-12-05 Amy Coleman <acoleman-at-mrbrklyn.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] I'm just sick of it
  13. 2009-12-06 Elfen Magix <elfen_magix-at-yahoo.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] I'm just sick of it
  14. 2009-12-06 From: "Stan Davenport" <stan-at-Etrtechcenter.com> RE: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] I'm just sick of it
  15. 2009-12-09 Amy Coleman <acoleman-at-mrbrklyn.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] I'm just sick of it
  16. 2009-12-10 mrbrklyn <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] I'm just sick of it
  17. 2009-12-10 mrbrklyn <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Fw: The trains are running!]]
  18. 2009-12-10 Elfen Magix <elfen_magix-at-yahoo.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] A Possible Solution?
  19. 2009-12-10 phantom21-at-mindspring.com Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Green Lantern rings and ...
  20. 2009-12-10 mrbrklyn <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] A Possible Solution?
  21. 2009-12-10 Elfen Magix <elfen_magix-at-yahoo.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] A Possible Solution?
  22. 2009-12-10 Mark Halegua <phantom21-at-mindspring.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] A Possible Solution?
  23. 2009-12-10 mrbrklyn <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] A Possible Solution?
  24. 2009-12-10 mrbrklyn <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] A Possible Solution?
  25. 2009-12-10 mrbrklyn <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Green Lantern rings and ...
  26. 2009-12-10 mrbrklyn <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] A Possible Solution?
  27. 2009-12-10 Kevin Mark <kevin.mark-at-verizon.net> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] A Possible Solution?
  28. 2009-12-10 mrbrklyn <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] A Possible Solution?
  29. 2009-12-11 Mark Halegua <phantom21-at-mindspring.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] A Possible Solution?
  30. 2009-12-11 Mark Halegua <phantom21-at-mindspring.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Green Lantern rings and ...
  31. 2009-12-11 mrbrklyn <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Green Lantern rings and ...
  32. 2009-12-11 phantom21-at-mindspring.com Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Green Lantern rings and ...
  33. 2009-12-12 From: "Michael L. Richardson" <mlr52-at-michaellrichardson.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Look MA it works!!!
  34. 2009-12-12 From: "mlr52-at-michaellrichardson.com" <mlr52-at-michaellrichardson.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] onlime
  35. 2009-12-12 mrbrklyn <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Green Lantern rings and ...
  36. 2009-12-12 mrbrklyn <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Look MA it works!!!
  37. 2009-12-22 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Arcive not working yet
  38. 2009-12-22 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Arcive not working yet
  39. 2009-12-22 swd <sderrick-at-optonline.net> RE: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Scotch rebates for December 2009
  40. 2009-12-22 From: "Michael L. Richardson" <mlr52-at-michaellrichardson.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Scotch rebates for December 2009
  41. 2009-12-22 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Server Upgrade report....you really have to read this
  42. 2009-12-22 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Server Upgrade report...part II
  43. 2009-12-23 Mark Halegua <phantom21-at-mindspring.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Server Upgrade report...part II
  44. 2009-12-25 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Monster groups
  45. 2009-12-30 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] NYLXS domain
  46. 2009-12-30 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] NYLXS domain
  47. 2009-12-30 From: "Paul Robert Marino" <prmarino1-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] NYLXS domain
  48. 2009-12-30 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] NYLXS domain
  49. 2009-12-30 Paul Robert Marino <prmarino1-at-gmail.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] old but good and cheap server motherboard with CPU's
  50. 2009-12-30 Paul Robert Marino <prmarino1-at-gmail.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Re: old but good and cheap server motherboard with CPU's

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