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A $100 Billion Burden

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Women in the United States who seem to stockpile children and then any kind of state benefit on top of that are the bane of taxpaying society. For 18 years or more they are accompanied by the evidence of their questionable decisions, often projecting counterproductive lifestyle choices onto their brood in what seems like an endless cycle of poverty and dependence.

Statistically these women are not making educated choices, instead relying solely on their understanding of information handed down to them from previous generations and the few public resources put squarely in their paths. (It is puzzling when the placement of free/reduced services is met with neighborhood, city and/or zoning angst such that the service is then placed with some distance from those in need, and because those who need can’t get to it, the service is deemed “unnecessary” by those who don’t need.)

While it is essential for society to hold these women accountable for the decisions they’ve made, it is worth nothing how often they are treated as if their children were the product of asexual reproduction. Even when it is acknowledged that a man was involved, his anonymity or disappearance is often accepted without question. It seems it is easier for society to assume he was/is a substandard genetic contributor than to hold him equally accountable for a decision that left yet another taxpayer pulling out her hair.

Is he substandard and deserving of our disregard? Unless he’s in jail right this second, no. Even those men who profit considerably from criminal endeavor and use this resource to provide for their illegitimate child(ren) fly under the radar that is the child support enforcement system and are not a burden to the taxpayer. I’m not saying what they’re doing is right. I’m saying their children are not on the taxpayer’s porch lapping up government-subsidized milk.

Assuming the criminal-dad must be a drug dealer is to wrongly dismiss those men who have used their trust funds, college educations, and boys’ club connections to screw others out of millions of dollars that is then used to fuel their offspring. Sure, we say we want parents to support their kids legally, but when push comes to shove, we pretend we don’t see the criminal who supports his kids when he’s not using any part of our income.

This brings us to the popular assumption that because we aren’t hearing about rich men doing bad things nearly as much as we hear about poorer men doing bad things, there must not be very many rich men doing bad things. That, however, does not explain the $100 billion of unpaid child support in this country. The stereotype that many deadbeat dads are uneducated, mouth-breathing shade-tree mechanics of little or no means is askew.

No matter how reprehensible we may think the arrangement is, a woman in dire straits is the perfect catch for the man of means who’s looking for something temporary or on the side made steady and loyal by a checkbook. When he finds himself having reproduced, though, he very often can’t be found.

Now I ask you, do we think as little of him as we do of her? We should. In many cases he denies paternity and doesn’t pay to support his child(ren), even though his decision was just as irresponsible as hers. When she can’t afford to prove paternity and goes on the public dole, we the taxpayers resent having to support her and her children.

There is a flipside to that, though, and we should stop overlooking it. Those are his children, too. We the taxpayer are paying to protect his reputation as the town’s most successful plumber, the married man’s position as the pillar of the community, or one of the country’s many publicly elected officials. Our money not only supports his children, it funds his decision to bow out of his responsibility.

Even as almost half the workforce is female, many of whom are single moms, and even as more men than ever have established themselves as a crucial presence in their children’s lives, there are a significant number of men owing an astronomical amount of money who are a tax burden to people who really are reputable and deserving of our respect. It is hoped that one day responsible parents of both genders will take great offense to the anchor that is the deadbeat dad’s choice and hold him in as much public contempt as we do the woman who totes his offspring to the food stamp office.

 

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About Diana Hartman

Diana is a USMC (ret.) spouse, mother of three and a Wichita, Kansas native. She is back in the United States after 10 years in Germany. She is a contributing author to Holiday Writes. She hates liver & motivational speakers. She loves science & naps.