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Bad Parents, Poor Kids
Townhall.com ^ | January 26, 2013 | John C. Goodman

Posted on 01/26/2013 6:21:08 AM PST by Kaslin

Am I the only one who thinks it is immoral to bring children into the world if you don't have the means to support them? I must be one of the few. I rarely see anyone else make the point. Before anyone objects, let me concede up front that a lot of things in life are unpredictable. Women become pregnant despite their best efforts to avoid it. Women can lose their husbands from accidents, war and even homicide. Few of us have a tenured job. Few of us are safe from the economic reversal that would attend the loss of a job.

Still, when you find that:

•Almost four in every ten children is born on Medicaid,

•One in every four children is living in a food stamp household,and

•Entire classrooms — no entire schools, wait, even in entire areas of whole cities — all the children are on the school lunch program.

And,you just can't write it all off to bad luck! What we are witnessing are patterns of behavior. All too often it's intentional behavior.

From teachers we hear a constant drumbeat of anecdotal evidence. Some parents don't care what their children learn in school. They don't encourage learning. They may even belittle it. Also, more and more scarce education dollars are going for what should be parenting rather than schooling functions. The school lunch program exists because tens of thousands of parents apparently can't afford lunch for their children. Now, schools across the country are subsidizing breakfast as well — for the same reason.

Charles Murray has warned that the really important inequality that has been emerging — a dangerous inequality — is not inequality of income. It is the separation of two cultures. Upper-income, highly educated households (including politically liberal households) tend to respect traditional values. They may say they are cultural relativists. But they don't practice cultural relativism. These tend to be intact households — ones with mothers and fathers — where parents invest a lot of time, money and energy in their children. Among lower-income, less-educated households there is starkly different behavior.

Harvard researcher Robert Putman finds that there is a "growing class gap in enrichment expenditures [day care, tutors, games, etc., but not private school] on children, 1972-2006." At the bottom of the hierarchy, the expenditure has increased about $400 per child over the past 40 years, but at the middle income it's gone up $5K.

The time people invest in their children — reading to them, etc., but not including diaper changing time, etc. — shows a growth gap between those with more education and those less. In the 1970s, mothers with only a high school education were investing slightly more time with their kids. Now the number of minutes for both is going up. But the growth has been "much, much faster" among college educated moms. When you add in the dads, the gap grows even larger — it's up to an hour a day of more quality time with their parents.

Moreover, the gap in parent time with children is even greater the younger the child. That is, higher-income, more highly educated parents devote the most extra time with their children during the years when parental involvement is thought to make the greatest difference.

It would be a mistake to think that this is primarily a racial or ethnic divide. Murray's study focuses only on white families, ignoring blacks and Hispanic whites. Putman and his colleagues recently made a PowerPoint presentation at the Aspen Institute. One graph shows that the gap in math and reading scores between black and white children has actually gone down over the past 40 years. But the gap between high- and low-income children (of whatever race) has been progressively widening.

Another stunning graph shows a trend in out-of-wedlock births among non-Hispanic whites. For college graduates, the number is less than 10% and there has been little change in the past 15 years. However, among those with no more education than a high school degree, the number has been soaring and is now above 50%!

I don't have an immediate answer to this problem. Here is one proposal to take the children away from rotten parents. I'm not in principle opposed to that proposal, I'm just afraid there are way too many children for this to be a practical idea.

There are two very bad ideas in Putnam's Aspen Institute presentation that need to be nipped in the bud, however. One is the idea that the behavioral problems of the underclass are caused by poverty. Wrong. Their behavior is what is making them poor and keeping them poor; not the other way around. One hundred years ago almost everyone in the whole country was poor by our standards. That didn't keep our ancestors from building the greatest country on earth.

The second bad idea appears on the last slide of the Aspen PowerPoint presentation. It says, "These are all our kids." But, of course, they aren't all our kids. They are in the custody of some adults rather than other adults. And the adults who have custody are all too often bad parents.

Lloyd Bentsen IV helped with this editorial.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: children; education; family; incomeinequality; parenting; poverty; trends

1 posted on 01/26/2013 6:21:16 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

You don’t need a lot of money to love & care for & support & encourage & protect your children. You just need the discipline to put your children above your own desires.


2 posted on 01/26/2013 6:29:05 AM PST by grame (May you know more of the love of God Almighty this day!)
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To: Kaslin

The welfare state is the problem, not the parents or the children. Provide a temporary safety net but every person should be responsible for themselves.

If they don’t want to work then they can starve.


3 posted on 01/26/2013 6:32:19 AM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Kaslin
For me .. and everyone I know ;

The key to parenting and family is being born again.

I believe "Ye must be born again ..", and with THAT (Him) you can do all things.

I met my first wife in church .. I in the tenor section and she out in the congregation ..

(Hint to young men looking ... join the choir .. take your pick .. jus' sayin')

We were both in the same place in the same book on the same page ... PERFECT basis for marriage.

We determined to marry under Him, live with and for Him and trust Him for all our needs.

I worked every day, always had sufficient money and the vehicle was always the right size as our family grew.

When Debbie started home schooling, The Lord provider another car for her so I could go to work and not have to shuffle the car thing.

The only way to be married and have a family is as born again believers.

Yep .. I AM dogmatic about that .. close minded and unmoveable.

4 posted on 01/26/2013 6:37:48 AM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: Kaslin

Our society is failing - because the professional and employed class are not having babies - they are making the choice to live their comfortable lives without sacrifice - while the unemployed are having children to get more entitlement money - they don’t care these kids are born with mental and physical disabilities - because they get more money with that - in the end - those that don’t want the burden of going through the process of cashing in - abort their child —

I adopted 2 children out of the foster care - both have special needs - one mental and physical - this is what needs to be done a the moment - our society will collapse if we don’t start producing future generations that will sustain and grow our values...not the liberal “sit on your ass and we’ll take care of you” method — but real US traditional values!!!


5 posted on 01/26/2013 6:38:00 AM PST by BCW (http://babylonscovertwar.com/index.html)
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To: grame

That kind of talk is not good for the economy!

I’m being only half-sarcastic. Those who stood to benefit from consumerism are the ones who invented the adoption and the compulsory schooling movements, thereby freeing up parents to work outside the home.

(Don’t tell that to the anti-homeschooling crowd though. They’ll get upset.)


6 posted on 01/26/2013 6:39:49 AM PST by LearsFool ("Thou shouldst not have been old, till thou hadst been wise.")
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To: Kaslin

Government is not the solution. Government cannot provide the solution. Government enables more of the problem.

Remedial action must come from families, friends, neighbors and churches, without taxpayer money.


7 posted on 01/26/2013 6:39:59 AM PST by lurk
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To: Kaslin

if you don’t have the means to support them

I applaud Judge Judy when she says this on her show. She should be made the welfare czar.


8 posted on 01/26/2013 6:43:03 AM PST by FES0844
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To: driftdiver
If they don’t want to work then they can starve.

A practical solution that would work.

But there are a lot more votes in squishy solutions like “we can’t let the poor starve on the street.” Or “You heartless conservatives want to take food out of the mouths of children”

9 posted on 01/26/2013 6:43:46 AM PST by Pontiac (The welfare state must fail because it is contrary to human nature and diminishes the human spirit.)
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To: grame

Agreed. Are we talking good parenting, or economic status? The two have little to do with each other. Love, values, respect are free.


10 posted on 01/26/2013 6:48:48 AM PST by kdot
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To: Kaslin

There are a lot of immoral things in this world.
Yes ,it’s bad to have kids without the means to support them, but if you love them, and you don’t want to suck off the Government, you will find the means.

Worse is murdering them because you cannot support them, or for whatever other reason one feels they need to be killed in the womb.

How moral is it for child agencies to turn over a child to two perverts ?


11 posted on 01/26/2013 6:53:15 AM PST by Venturer
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To: Kaslin
We as a society once understood the concept of personal responsibility. We did not allow people who could not care for children to keep them. The ramifications such as those discussed in the article were understood and referred to as justification. Our current predicament was, at the time of the great degradation that began in the 60’s, predictable and predicted.
12 posted on 01/26/2013 6:56:03 AM PST by TalBlack (Evil doesn't have a day job.)
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To: Kaslin
Am I the only one who thinks it is immoral to bring children into the world if you don't have the means to support them?

This is an immoral statement because of the way if frames the issue. God brings all children into the world and He certainly has the means to support all of them. As long has He provides me the means to exert myself and provide for my children, it would be immoral to not do so.

1 Timothy 5:8
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

13 posted on 01/26/2013 7:03:51 AM PST by Theophilus (Not merely prolife, but prolific)
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To: Pontiac

Well I started to deliver newspapers at 9 yrs old to make money. Mostly so I could buy clothes.

So I’m so heartless and think children can work a reasonable amount at reasonable tasks to help out the family.

You’re correct that this message doesn’t fly with the pansies and lazy people.


14 posted on 01/26/2013 7:14:32 AM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Kaslin

Can’t feed ‘em, don’t breed ‘em. If we eliminated all welfare, this problem would solve itself. I am not being harsh, I fully expect private charities to help the people who are really needy. I also expect charities to require prayer, worship and other conditions such as being drug free to receive charity


15 posted on 01/26/2013 7:14:45 AM PST by ConservativeInPA (Molon Labe)
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To: Kaslin

The New Deal and the Great Society have both failed to do anything other than subsidize poverty. Nobody should be surprised that, once handouts were given, then there would be people who lived off of handouts. Nobody should be surprised that there would be government officials who make their living on being re-elected because of the amount of handouts they give, and to whom. Thus nobody should be surprised that the Treasury is essentially empty.

As to intact families, well, there should be no surprise there. Once divorce was made easy, and there was no stigma attached, then people got divorced rather than make smart decisions like not to get married in the first place, or get married to someone who was actually worth a crap. And nobody should be surprised that the government would encourage this- it makes lots of work for divorce lawyers, and since politicians are generally lawyers, it should come as no shock that they aided this. Plus, broken families equal more people getting government handouts, which means more votes for the politicians....etc, etc.

And then somehow, someone always says “Well, if we just worry about jobs and budgets being balanced, all this will go away.” The fact is, a sewer can have a balanced budget, but it will still be a sewer. It should be made plain and obvious than the only successful way to maintain a society is based on the traditional nuclear family. Of course, this would not match up to postmodern foolish notions about alternative lifestyles or some notion that liberty means to do whatever you please in all matters. There is a such a thing as duty, and such a thing as order. Without these, liberty doesn’t last long.


16 posted on 01/26/2013 7:24:14 AM PST by GenXteacher (You have chosen dishonor to avoid war; you shall have war also.)
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To: ConservativeInPA
I totally disagree with your attitude up to this point: I also expect charities to require prayer, worship and other conditions such as being drug free to receive charity

Who are you to "expect" a private charity require anything, most especially prayer and worship? Unless of course you are running it and funding it, then you can set the rules.

17 posted on 01/26/2013 7:28:56 AM PST by Gabz (Democrats for Voldemort.)
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To: ConservativeInPA

My apologies. My first statement should have read: I totally AGREE..........


18 posted on 01/26/2013 7:33:32 AM PST by Gabz (Democrats for Voldemort.)
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To: Kaslin

I read an article recently that argued that this was an unintended consequence of the pro-life movement. Single motherhood is becoming more common because women in lower economic strata who get pregnant are choosing to keep their babies. In turn, single parenthood makes it less likely that they will succeed or that their children will get out of poverty.

At the same time, “blue state” women will not keep a pregnancy until they are married and settled.

At least, this was the argument put forth in the article. If you think single parents are a situation to be avoided it seems like widespread birth control availability is really important.


19 posted on 01/26/2013 7:37:23 AM PST by PoeToaster
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To: driftdiver
You’re correct that this message doesn’t fly with the pansies and lazy people.

Well yes, but that really wasn’t my point.

My real point was that politicians be they Democrat or Republican are not really interested in leading the country or even making decisions in the best interest of the country or the people.

Politicians are interested in being elected and reelected and holding power.

So even though it is painfully obvious that the Federal Government has a spending problem that can only be remedied by cutting social spending neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are proposing real and substantial cuts in social spending.

Politicians know that being the barer of bad news gets one beheaded.

20 posted on 01/26/2013 7:46:33 AM PST by Pontiac (The welfare state must fail because it is contrary to human nature and diminishes the human spirit.)
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To: Kaslin

“The school lunch program exists because tens of thousands of parents apparently can’t afford lunch for their children.”

Yawn. The usual GOP hack oversight - it was certain midwestern GOP Congress critters beholden to farming conglomerates like Bob Dole that instituted the school lunch programs.


21 posted on 01/26/2013 7:49:30 AM PST by KantianBurke (Where was the Tea Party when Dubya was spending like a drunken sailor?)
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To: driftdiver
NO pity for the Lazy...
22 posted on 01/26/2013 7:56:00 AM PST by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: Kaslin

The more kids they have, the more free money they get. The more kids, the longer the span of years they can collect free money. Make the older ones watch after the younger ones so your style ain’t cramped. Life is good.


23 posted on 01/26/2013 8:01:50 AM PST by bgill (We've passed the point of no return. Welcome to Al Amerika.)
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To: Kaslin

Personally, I think that any woman who relies on welfare should be sterilized after the first child. We waited until our mid thirties because we wanted to be sure that we COULD be responsible for a child.


24 posted on 01/26/2013 8:55:18 AM PST by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like it)
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To: PoeToaster

Maybe at the fringes, but not mostly. It’s true that “blue state women”, i.e. educated liberals, don’t keep their babies unless married and settled, but they also generally use a lot of protection, and so rarely get pregnant by accident. Most of them don’t actually even sleep around as much as they think women have a right to, or how they’re portrayed on TV. The article is dead on correct that the highly educated liberals promote these libertine lifestyles, but most of them actually live fairly conservatively. They don’t sleep around much, and although you’ll see them move in sometimes with their “boyfriends”, it’s usually after a long period of dating and in the way to a big wedding.

The group that’s having babies on welfare and unmarried are not “pro-life”. They are the same people who are getting abortions, contracting STD’s, etc. It’s all of a piece.


25 posted on 01/26/2013 9:13:23 AM PST by Behind the Blue Wall
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To: Kaslin

I think it is bad to bring children in to the world if you have no reason to believe you can support them.

BUT, once they are conceived, I think they are brought into this world. I therefore oppose abortion.

ALSO, I’d like to point out that many have reason to believe they can support a child/children, but then things happen. We can’t perfectly plan out the next 18 years.

I think the solution is to wait until you are reasonably certain you can provide for a family; then marry and have one or more. If bad times hit, your family should support you; and your church; and if you willfully refuse to care for your children it should be a criminal offense.

Wait! That’s what the Bible teaches!! And that’s what our laws used to reflect!


26 posted on 01/26/2013 10:01:32 AM PST by Persevero (Homeschooling for Excellence since 1992)
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To: Kaslin

There is no need to take children from their parents to solve this problem. Simply mandate fool-proof contraception like IUDs and Norplant as a condition of receiving welfare, WIC, food stamps / SNAP and Medicaid. All girls in these homes over the age of 12 gets contraception too. The number of illegitimate children to the poor goes down, while they get an incentive to get off welfare or marry someone to support them.


27 posted on 01/26/2013 10:55:40 AM PST by tbw2
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To: tbw2

Where’s the like button?


28 posted on 01/26/2013 4:15:52 PM PST by PoeToaster
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To: Kaslin
•Entire classrooms — no entire schools, wait, even in entire areas of whole cities — all the children are on the school lunch program.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Generations of indoctrination in our nation's godless, socialist-entitlment, compulsory, and single-payer K-12 schools is almost guaranteed to produce VERY BAD PARENTS!

Children who attend our nation's government owned and run godless and socialist-entitlement schools risk learning:

1) To be comfortable with socialism and government compulsion. If the government can give them tuition-free school, why not **lots** of free stuff? Gee! If government is their redeemer and savior, who needs to listen to the wisdom of their extended family? Who needs a husband to head the nuclear family. The government god will take care of them.

2) They **WILL** learn to think and reason godlessly while in their godless classroom. They must just to cooperate with the government teacher. So? Will thinking godlessly help in parenting or hurt. (It's and easy question.)

29 posted on 01/26/2013 4:27:14 PM PST by wintertime
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To: Kaslin
Walter E. Williams sums it up perfectly. To avoid poverty: Finish high school. Get married before having children. If you get married stay married. Get a job, any job. Stay out of trouble with the law.

Do these things and you will not be poor.

30 posted on 01/26/2013 6:55:54 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: Gabz; ConservativeInPA
We used to have charities that operated as CIP suggests. It was the only way they succeeded. Then the "Progressive era" did as you seem to prefer, and put the kiboshes to them. A handout without expectations is just welfare by another name.
31 posted on 01/26/2013 7:03:26 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: tbw2

how about guys keeping their flies on their pants zipped up and girls their legs crossed?


32 posted on 01/26/2013 7:44:48 PM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: PoeToaster

I don’t think Free Republic has one.


33 posted on 01/26/2013 8:16:24 PM PST by tbw2
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To: Kaslin
Am I the only one who thinks it is immoral to bring children into the world if you don't have the means to support them? I must be one of the few.

No you're not and you are not alone.



34 posted on 01/26/2013 8:30:46 PM PST by rdb3 (We're all going to get what only some of us deserve...)
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To: Kaslin

The illegitimacy rate today demonstrates that’s not good enough anymore.


35 posted on 01/27/2013 7:23:22 AM PST by tbw2
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