What is our obligation to those who make bad decisions?

wic3One of the things I’ve tried to drill into my children is the truism that the single biggest indicator of poverty is single motherhood.  That data, incidentally, does not reflect the old-fashioned kind of single motherhood, which was the result of widowhood or abandonment.  Instead, we’re talking about modern single motherhood, the kind that sees women who are deluged with birth control choices nevertheless get pregnant with boyfriends or hook-ups who feel no emotional connection or sense of economic obligation to either mother or baby.

One of my children has a part-time job at a cafe and is, for the first time, meeting adults who have full-time jobs but who aren’t middle-class professionals living in single family homes in solidly upper middle class neighborhoods.  One of these adults is pregnant and is unhappy about the fact that the cafe, where she’s been working for only five months, will not give her maternity leave.

Inquiry revealed that the pregnant woman is not married; that she’s living with a boyfriend who may or may not be the father of her child (my kid doesn’t know), and that the boyfriend doesn’t work.  Except for getting regular nooky at night (assuming that the pregnant woman still wants that kind of attention), the mother-to-be will be, for all practical purposes, a single mother.

My child found it concerning that the boss won’t pay this single mother not to work for him.  My child was therefore stymied when I asked this question:  “Why should he pay for her foolish choices?”

I noted that, while it’s entirely possible that this woman was using enough birth control to protect six woman, and nevertheless still managed to get pregnant, the greater likelihood was that she was careless. Indeed, if she really wanted to protect against single motherhood, she could have abstained from sex until she had a ring on her finger and some economic prospects.

I threw in the fact that it’s incredibly costly to do business in California, especially in the food service industry, which have extremely low profit margins.  Employers generally are drowning in regulations, which makes businesses very expensive to run.  Add in taxes and all the other costs of business (rent, insurance, salaries, benefits, supplies, etc.), and it’s guaranteed that the employer is clearing just enough money for his personal expenses (mortgage, insurance, food, etc.).  This owner is almost certainly not living extravagantly but is, instead, living a very temperate life.

Much of the money that the federal and state government are taking away from this man, both from his business and from him personally, is going to welfare programs for single mothers, something this employer must know.  Since he’s already paying for the welfare this young woman will inevitably end up using, why should he pay twice by carrying her on the books even though she’s contributing nothing to his business?  Even if he was feeling charitable, the government has left him nothing with which to be charitable,  not to mention the fact that the government, by snatching money from his pockets, has already decided on his behalf which charities he should support — including economically foolish single motherhood.

Such a simple question:  “Why should he pay for her foolish choices, when the government is already taxing him heavily in advance to pay for all the foolish choices of intentionally single mothers across America”?

 

Help wanted for essay about inequality

Single momThe problem with making it in academia is that you don’t make it unless you play their game.  Sadie wrote to me that she has a friend who has to play that game and wondered if we could help, but help in a judo-esque way.  That is, what Sadie would like is to have her young friend write a serious, clever essay that respectfully turns the inequality trope on its head (since the young woman does want to get into the program), and that politely exposes the fact that liberal policies create the worst inequality:

I was a baby-sitter/caregiver/extra pair of helping hands/mentor/confident to a little girl many years ago. She’s almost 20 now and at home visiting with her parents for winter break from college. The poor thing applied to Columbia for a summer internship in her field, healthcare. She called me and asked me to help her with an essay idea.

Silly me, I asked the obvious, “about what?”
Chrissie: It has to be about inequality.
Sadie: What inequality?
Chrissie: Any. Local, national, global that is about race, sex, money….

You get the drift…  Chrissie got the sigh and Columbia is still Columbia.

The exchange was brief and we’ll pursue it when I see her later on this weekend. In the interim, I tossed out the idea that a child born to a single mother by choice set the stage for a basketful of inequalities. Her silence can be best summed up as a “huh” – she either didn’t get it or doesn’t yet know the world is not flat. If you have any ideas for an essay or would like to ask your readers, I sure would appreciate it.

News from the gender-wars front

Boy dressed as girl

The following three articles floated across my radar yesterday. I’ll introduce them, but leave you to analyze them.

The first is from a post that a lesbian wrote regarding her discovery that her son is a boy, not just when it comes to external equipment, but when it comes to behavior too:

One of the guiding principles my partner and I are committed to is raising our kids with as few gender limits as possible. Our intent is not to make them genderless or feminine. We only hope that by giving Avie and his little brother, Izzy, the space and support to grow and explore who they are or want to be without oppressive expectations, gender and otherwise, we will promote a foundation of emotional health for them. (This does not mean we’re raising them without any expectations, just that we’re trying to refrain from imposing those that we believe to be oppressive.)

The second reports on a newly released study about kids and daddies:

Growing up without a father could permanently alter the structure of the brain and produce children who are more aggressive and angry, scientists have warned.

Children brought up only by a single mother have a higher risk of developing ‘deviant behaviour’, including drug abuse, new research suggests.

It is also feared that growing up in a fatherless household could have a greater impact on daughters than on sons.

And the third reports on the expectation that ordinary guys will start to follow the fashion world’s push for women’s clothing on men (an older story, from July, but still new to me):

"Manly" halter top

The “manly” halter top

Androgyny and ‘feminine’ looks are all the rage on the men’s catwalks – but will guys actually wear these clothes? Yes they will, predicts Maya Singer.

As I said, I’m not offering any comments. I think these three things speak for themselves.