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Child Support Propaganda in an Election Year
MensNewsDaily.com ^ | April 22, 2004 | Roger F. Gay

Posted on 04/22/2004 5:24:15 AM PDT by RogerFGay


Child Support Propaganda in an Election Year

April 22, 2004


by Roger F. Gay

It's that season again! This is an election year, so every half-witted politician and bureaucrat is out to maintain or sweeten if possible their share of pork from the taxpayers' pocket. Nowhere is the special-interest machinery more worn than in delivery of child support propaganda. I don't suppose child support system promoters will tire of telling the same old lies until editors tire of publishing them.

In Iowa, the Department of Human Services says it's "turning up the heat on parents delinquent in child support payments, and the efforts are working." Nothing new. Vehicle registrations are being sanctioned and contempt of court charges are brought against parents who get behind.

According to the agency, "In fiscal 2003, the recovery unit collected $1.4 million in child support payments in Washington County." But what the record actually shows is that parents paid $1.4 million in child support payments in Washington County in 2003. The word "collected," which seems to justify the expensive, hard line enforcement regime, is nothing more than an inaccurate word choice. Nationwide, the percent of what has been ordered that is actually paid has decreased in recent years. Impounding vehicles and throwing parents in jail doesn't cure unemployment or child support orders that are too high to pay. It only exacerbates the problems real people face in real life.

The Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Journal Sentinel reports on the Department of Child Support Enforcement's efforts to collect by denying hunting and fishing licenses to parents behind in support payments. Again, not a new ploy, but who's paying attention? The response? "Our waiting room is jampacked every day with people coming in to set up payment plans," according to the department's director, John Hayes. "It's incredible." Yes, I would think so. "Incredible" (as in implausible, shaky, unconvincing, preposterous, unbelievable) is exactly the right word. Wake me for the next Elvis sighting.

TheIndyChannel.com (Indianapolis, Indiana) reported a bit of overzealous behavior by child support enforcement officials, but you wouldn't know it was overzealous by reading the account. A Boone County man who was behind in making support payments took out a $21,500 loan to buy a car and made the mistake of depositing the money in his bank account. Before he could turn the money over to the car dealership, it was confiscated by support enforcement. It is in fact, not legal to force a parent to borrow money for child support.

Rationalizing the theft, Boone County Prosecutor Todd J. Meyer argued; "This case is a good example of the hundreds of cases we see each year where noncustodial parents are making the wrong decisions and have their priorities way out of whack." The fact that the man has a $21,500 debt and no car to drive to work to make the money it takes to pay support apparently didn't cross the apparently foggy mind that resides in that little pin-head. In his wacky world, everyone should blindly support bureaucrats who feel compelled to make personal decisions for others.

Back in Milwaukee, a man who was ordered to pay $1,293.75 a month is facing a life sentence for not making the payments. No word yet on whether a court might consider reducing the sentence because there is no rational connection between the needs of his children and the monthly amount he was ordered to pay. Experience says - no - they probably won't take that into account. If awards were set at reasonable levels, the state would receive less federal funding.

Roger F. Gay



Roger F. Gay is a professional analyst, international correspondent and regular contributor to MensNewsDaily.com, as well as a contributing editor for Fathering Magazine.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: cowardinsweden; deadbeatdad

1 posted on 04/22/2004 5:24:16 AM PDT by RogerFGay
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To: Pikachu_Dad
ping
2 posted on 04/22/2004 5:24:58 AM PDT by RogerFGay
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Bump
3 posted on 04/22/2004 5:39:36 AM PDT by Rocket1968 (Democrats will crash and burn in 2004.)
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To: RogerFGay
Child support :(def.) the court ordered indentured servitude requiring only one parent to a lifetime of payments, but lesser parental rights. Also results in treating the child as capital and creating permanent poverty for both parents and the child. (alt.)Modern feudalism to satisfy the establishment left.
4 posted on 04/22/2004 5:44:35 AM PDT by saveliberty (Liberal= in need of therapy, but would rather ruin lives of those less fortunate to feel good)
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To: RogerFGay
The fact that the man has a $21,500 debt and no car to drive to work to make the money it takes to pay support apparently didn't cross the apparently foggy mind that resides in that little pin-head.

No sympathy here. The article does not dispute the implicit assumption that this guy was, in fact, behind in his child support to the tune of at least $21,500. Someone in that position has no business buying any car above the bare minimum clunker required for transportation.

I suggest confining your outrage to real injustices (e.g. men stuck with child support payments after DNA proof that the kid ain't his).

5 posted on 04/22/2004 5:59:13 AM PDT by steve-b
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To: RogerFGay
Indentured servitude bump.

I have a friend who, overnight, accrued 12k in arrearages. While he and his wife were still together, he hurt his back. The attorney told him to go on welfare until he received disability. He was in construction years ago, and he has fused disks. His wife was a drug addict, and left with a man. He had custody of the kids, by reason of possession. He had a house. She decides to go into rehab, gets a lawyer, and all of a sudden, he loses the kids, gets a nice fat cs order that he can't pay...no kids, no welfare, disability hadn't been settled. He loses the house, and ends up homeless for 2 years.

His kids get SSI benefits, but the dumb bitch sicced CS investigators on him to see if he was picking up any money on the side. Turns out thanks to meth, she's bipolar and receives SSI, as does her live in bf. She calls my friend and whines about money, so he sends it to her for the kids. He receives under 800 dollars a month.

This policy of turning men into criminals and indentured servants is starting an underground economy. The minute you get a job, they'll seize your whole paycheck. How in hell are you supposed to live? Some of the arrearage figures I've seen are just unreal. No one can get out from under some of these amounts, and I think that's their goal.

Btw, excellent article...
6 posted on 04/22/2004 6:21:54 AM PDT by TheSpottedOwl (Torrance Ca....land of the flying monkeys)
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To: TheSpottedOwl
Great post. I hope that your friend can get the kids back.
7 posted on 04/22/2004 6:32:37 AM PDT by saveliberty (Liberal= in need of therapy, but would rather ruin lives of those less fortunate to feel good)
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To: steve-b
The $21,500 was the money he borrowed for the CAR, NOT the amount he was behind on for child support.
8 posted on 04/22/2004 6:42:26 AM PDT by kaylar
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To: steve-b
You pointed out a truly real injustice with the DNA matter. Here's another, and it's more widespread.

Too many parents receiving child support treat it as alimony and spend it on themselves rather then the child for whom it was intended.

Why withholding these from the child's care, as court ordered, isn't considered a form of abuse is beyond me.
9 posted on 04/22/2004 6:44:18 AM PDT by backtothestreets
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To: kaylar
So he was more that $21,500 behind in child support? Why did the AG snag the $$$ if he wasn't behind?
10 posted on 04/22/2004 6:49:41 AM PDT by Ready4Freddy (Veni Vidi Velcro)
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To: RogerFGay
I robbed a bank to pay child support... litteraly, $110,000 in credit card bankruptcy. Every one is happy now.
11 posted on 04/22/2004 6:58:30 AM PDT by JudgemAll
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To: Ready4Freddy
Because they can. Do you think that a bureaucrat is going to seize someone's bank account and take only what is owed, if they can grab the whole account?
12 posted on 04/22/2004 7:03:15 AM PDT by kaylar
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To: TheSpottedOwl
This policy of turning men into criminals and indentured servants is starting an underground economy.

I noticed that as soon as I got well oriented to the design of the new system. It's based on Soviet policy, and you know what happened there. Most of the real economy was in the black market and operated by organized crime. As soon as you realize that the child support system is also operated by organized crime, you are forced to realize that it all works out to their advantage -- all.

Btw, excellent article...

Thanks.
13 posted on 04/22/2004 8:20:59 AM PDT by RogerFGay
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To: steve-b
I suggest confining your outrage to real injustices (e.g. men stuck with child support payments after DNA proof that the kid ain't his).

I have no doubt that men who are forced to support children that aren't theirs is a real injustice, but I don't much care for playing the relative injustice game. It's not like God says I can only recognize one injustice on a list at a time. As the article says, the guy didn't owe $21,500 in child support. It's an arbitrary amount that has no realistic connection to his obligation to support. The government does not therefore, have any (fundamental) legitimate authority to collect it. And in the two wrongs don't make a right category, it's not legal for them to force the guy to borrow in order to pay -- payments are supposed to be tailored to what he can afford (but they're not).

Re: the idea that the guy had no business paying $21K for a car when he "owed" an arbitrary debt imposed on him by government -- that's not really like a new Mazaratti or anything; and there are enough payment plan options, that it might well have been an intelligent economic decision. Cheap cars are sometimes so expensive to maintain, that getting something reliable that will last longer than the payment plan is the best thing for most people.
14 posted on 04/22/2004 8:29:59 AM PDT by RogerFGay
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I hesitate to respond since I am one of those "pinheads" in child support, but I would like to offer some alternative answers.


First of all, NO child ever benefits from divorce, ever. The standard of living almost always goes down, no matter what the level of support flowing from the non-custodial parent. Attempts have been made over the years to lessen the impact by using different formulas to determine support. Is it always fair? NO, but until we can come up with something better, that's what we have.

Secondly, it has been my experience, in over 25 years as a pinhead, that emotion rules over logic and judgment. Whatever the baggage is between the parents, it prevents them from acting in the interest of the children. The parents use the children as leverage with each other. This delays the final resolution in many cases, consequently the non-custodial parent has an instant arrearage back to the date of the filing.

Thirdly, I always explain to the parties that FULL disclosure and ongoing cooperation will generally result in support orders that are reasonable, if not always acceptable. Failure to disclose income and assets, or failing to cooperate with the court can, and usually does, result in "default" judgments that are based on what the custodial parent, the child support agency, or the court determines to be "potential earnings or ability to earn" which will most likely be excessive. I am still amazed at how many individuals simply fail to cooperate or even appear in court. The old saying, "hoisted on his own petard" comes to mind.

I have seen abuses from all sides over the years. From a personal point of view, I can relate to the arguments from both sides, but the laws are designed to protect the interest of the children as much as possible. I advocate that support laws be flexible and allow for alternative kinds of support, trust funds, in-kind payments, shared custody, etc. Perhaps you whiners should seek to have the laws changed to allow for more individualized adjudication, rather than blame the system itself.

For the record please note my tagline. I am a conservative and proud Republican - as difficult as that may be to believe, but if government walked away from this responsibility I can assure you that you would not like the consequence. Whether we want to admit it or not, there are a lot of individuals who would simply walk away from the responsibility of supporting their children. I see it every day. If not for me, and others like me, the welfare rolls would be a lot bigger.

It is hard to determine what the actual circumstances are regarding the $21,500 loan, but if the child support agency took it all, he would have owed at least that much in past due support. I suspect there is a LOT MORE to the story. It comes down to a matter of priority. I believe you support your children first even if you have to sacrifice to do it. Should he pay for his vehicle on the backs of his children?
15 posted on 04/22/2004 10:02:49 AM PDT by Rocket1968 (Democrats will crash and burn in 2004.)
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To: Rocket1968
Well -- you offered alternatives? Didn't look like it to me. You said things go better if people cooperate with a program that they are obviously not voluntarily involved in. You also advance the notion that it's possible to get a fair child support order under the current guidelines? :: So long as one discloses all assets and sources of income? Aaaahhh! That's a bit more than a little disingenuous isn't it?

Also, it seems to me that you blur some issues. That the government is doing wrong is somehow tied to the emotion of divorce? You seem to be justifying overzealous government involvement by putting down parents. That's the old game that most people interested in this subject know all too well. From my perspective, you're not a conservative at all -- Republican Party supporter maybe -- but that doesn't equal conservative. A real conservative understands that the people who are keen to degrade real humans in support of an agenda filled with overzealous government control are pretty far left.
16 posted on 04/22/2004 11:51:09 AM PDT by RogerFGay
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To: RogerFGay
Hey, we are all friends here, even if we disagree on how to solve a problem. I agree that big government is a problem and I think the point in the previous post was that the horrible situations that some children would find themselves in by reducing government would get worse.

And you are right, that is the difference between the two of you. Small government folks (count me in!) believe in personal responsibility and that government actions have consequences. Many of them are not intended and are adverse to the very people who are supposed to be helped as you point out. You are also right that many of these adverse effects are not recognized by big government folks. What we also believe is that people are truly amazing in a positive way. That in truly dire circumstances, people can achieve truly wonderful and remarkable things.*

Big government folks believe that things will continue/worsen if the big program were not in place. I am asking the other poster to please consider that maybe there is merit to the idea that if the government backs off that people will take responsibility.

Neither you nor the prior poster had good or bad parents because the law or courts said so. You had good or bad parents because of the choices they made and the risks and consequences that they were willing to live with. It sounds as though you both did have good parents, but if not, then it sounds as though you overcame adversity.(see * above).

17 posted on 04/22/2004 1:45:16 PM PDT by saveliberty (Liberal= in need of therapy, but would rather ruin lives of those less fortunate to feel good)
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To: RogerFGay
Now we know what Hillary really meant with that phrase, "It takes a village". More like a Soviet gulag.

When things settle down, I think I'll reread Alexander Solzhenitsyn's, "Gulag Archipelago".
18 posted on 04/22/2004 4:30:29 PM PDT by TheSpottedOwl (Torrance Ca....land of the flying monkeys)
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To: saveliberty
I am asking the other poster to please consider that maybe there is merit to the idea that if the government backs off that people will take responsibility.

Interesting question, but it's already been answered as a matter of fact. Real research (as opposed to political propaganda) shows that parents have always taken responsibility for their children, generally speaking. The primary cause of nonpayment is that some parents cannot pay as much as has been ordered. Real "deadbeats" -- those who can support their own children but simply refuse to do so -- are actually very few and far between. Compliance with support orders has decreased since the big government enforcement program began. Thing is, the big government folks are lying. They've been claiming success in the enforcement program by labeling payments as "collections" and forcing more payments through the big government system -- counting that as an increase in "collections."

You can find more typical propaganda in this article, which I just ran across today. The article claims that 200,000 parents owe more than $1 billion, and gives an example that is implied as typical. A guy owes $20,000 (no detailed information about why he's that far behind). The truth is that the $1 billion figure represents the accumulated amount over about a quarter century of payments that have been ordered but not paid -- due primarily to the fact that parents are unable to pay all that is due. Some of the parents are dead, and a great many of the children involved are all grown up and supporting their own households. The $1 billion figure in other words, is simply produced by not making adjustments to child support orders when appropriate, and not having any sense as to when it's time to write off a debt. Certainly, it doesn't matter how many billions we invest in child support enforcement. The program still isn't going to collect from dead parents.
19 posted on 04/23/2004 6:44:24 AM PDT by RogerFGay
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To: RogerFGay
Roger, you seem to take the position that government is always wrong. You negate the impact that the parents have in these matters. I have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of instances where children are used by both sides as leverage to "get back" at the other parent for some perceived injustice. That bitterness continues post divorce and the battle continues to rage.

Courts cannot make parents behave appropriately, but can ensure that the children are supported. Most states have guidelines that combine the incomes of both parents, not just the non-custodial parents. Most guidelines contain various exemptions and deviations that can be used to level the impact, and consider individual circumstances.

Contrary to your assertion, I do not automatically blame the parents, but I am also realistic in my assesment that parents contribute to the problem. I recognize that it is not always the fault of the non-custodial parent, but I also see a fair amount of non-custdial "flight" usually for another relationship. I also see the other side of the issue, the mother who leaves for a new boyfriend and takes the children with her. I remember one situation in particular, where the mom divorced her husband, married her husband's father, stayed in the home purchased by the ex, and went on welfare to boot. All of that does not change the basic need of the children to be supported. If the government did not intervene, how many children would be left with no support?

Courts are not arbitrators or mediators. In the end, it is resposibility of the non-custodial parent to pay the support. Options are available to amend orders if circumstances change, but failure to comply with a lawful order has consequences.

As an aside, I do agree that the enforcement of visitation orders is not adequate. I can tell you that in my state, we have a family court system that has made an extaordinary effort to provide low-cost access. The courts now recognize that many future problems can be eliminated if the orders issued are balanced. It is a step in the right direction.

Rocket
20 posted on 04/26/2004 9:36:06 AM PDT by Rocket1968 (Democrats will crash and burn in 2004.)
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To: Rocket1968
We're all sick of hearing that parents are so bad they must be controlled by government. I'm sure you could make a similar argument about everyone else in society as well. Your political attitude is way far left.

Understanding the problem means understanding that courts used to make judgments based on reasonable judgments, what was true. Now that the Constitution has been abolished in relation to family issues, every family related decision is politically controlled, en masse. That's a very, very bad thing that invited corruption. We've got way too much of that now, and what we must have to fix it is a return to constitutional standards ... including returning family law issues to the control of the states, and family law decisions to the courts to be made in the context of individual rights.
21 posted on 04/27/2004 5:39:51 AM PDT by RogerFGay
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To: RogerFGay
Roger, why are so angry with me? I am not as articulate as I would like, and perhaps I am not making myself clear enough.

I suggest that you read my posts again. I believe that I clearly mentioned that the courts should (and do) have jurisdiction. It appears to me that you are confusing domestic relation laws with government welfare. State courts have always had jurisdiction over family matters. There are federal laws that require uniformity and actually strengthen the full and fair credit clause of the constitution. No longer can individuals flee to other jurisdictions to find more favorable treatment.

It is the welfare state that is the real culprit. In exchange for receiving certain benefits, individuals give up the right to support. Government (as in executive branch) is forced into child support issues. If welfare is reduced the intrusion is reduced. I agree that there is too much government. I see the impact it has on individuals every day. I support welfare reform and elimination of whole programs. I am acutely aware that the system needs major overhaul. I would like to see the standard of need include ALL benefits received and capped. It is outrageous that a 17 year old girl can have a child out of wedlock and the total of all benefits available, including a college education, can total in the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars, while intact families struggle to put food on the table.

I have three daughters to put through college. Do I get any help? No. Am I angry? Yes. Do I want to see change? Absolutely. That is why I vote the way I do. I may work for the government, but I am not a big government advocate, but I am not prepared to throw out the baby with the bath water. Until we have real reform, whether you like it or not, there will continue to be a need for people like me. For every horror story, I can cite 10 or more successes.

I have to endure your attitude all the time. I am labeled a lefty simply because I work for the government. You are wrong. I support and work for candidates that want to reduce government, even if it meant my own job. In the meantime, I will do the job I was hired to do.

Rocket

22 posted on 04/27/2004 6:25:22 AM PDT by Rocket1968 (Democrats will crash and burn in 2004.)
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To: Rocket1968
I suggest that you read my posts again. I believe that I clearly mentioned that the courts should (and do) have jurisdiction. It appears to me that you are confusing domestic relation laws with government welfare.

Domestic relations law has been incorporated into the welfare system via welfare reform -- 1975 - present. The primary effect of child support reform was to transform non-welfare family law into the welfare state. That was accompanied by the addition of billions of dollars added to the welfare system budget.

That´s how family law was transformed from a private issue to a public issue, and why the Constitution no longer protects marriage and family issues from government intrusion. And that BTW, is why same-sex marriage has been approved by the courts. Marriage is now seen as a function of government, purely defined by "social policy." As such, and with no other meaningful significance to it as a matter of law, the judges decided that same-sex couples could not be discriminated against.
23 posted on 04/27/2004 8:04:26 AM PDT by RogerFGay
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