Britain Scraps Child Support
Agency -While Republicans Remain Sedimentary
Britain Scraps Child Support Agency While Republicans Remain Sedimentary
by David R. Usher
Posted Aug 08, 2006Last week, British ministers announced their intent to demolish the national Child Support Agency (CSA). They have realized it is an overbearing, expensive failure hurting marriage, driving divorce, and placing the government in the middle of never-ending power-squabbles over money and children. They plan to return responsibility to parents who (for the most part) will be expected work out their own support and parenting arrangements.
Lord Hunt called for a new agency: “One which puts children first, gets more children out of poverty, actually gives responsibility back to parents to try and resolve child support issues themselves. But where they can’t, you have a strong organization … strong on enforcement and is efficient. The problem with assessments … is the agency has to keep track of ever-changing circumstances. At the same time it’s in the middle of warring parents.”
The new agency is slated to focus on parents who refuse to pay anything. This is as it should be: shared parenting and reasonable support of children will never take place so long as governmental focus is solely on extracting the largest possible sums money by making them childless.
British author Melanie Phillips painted a profound portrait of Britain’s child-support state (which is quite tame compared to ours), in her treatise "Why Labor Despises Family":The result has been such a catastrophic failure in parenting, particularly among the poor, that the Government is now assuming the role of surrogate state parent, with an oppressively detailed and prescriptive strategy for telling parents how to bring up their children … Thus, the state takes draconian control of our lives, parents are radically disempowered, freedom is grossly undermined — and the social catastrophe of family disintegration still continues apace.While British Conservatives are cleaning house, America’s party of limited government and compassionate conservatism insists on ignoring the existence of our cruelly-invasive, niggling federal system that drives random illegitimacy and divorce-for-the-hell-of-it. America’s child-support-state is propelled by trillions of dollars and bestowed with beastly taxation and collection powers that the old (and hated) IRS never even dreamed of.
The failure of the (now-Republican) Great Society to deliver any palpable social improvement for the horrendous expenditures squandered proves points I will repeat until the Republican Party assumes room temperature. Personal responsibility means not entitling mass irresponsibility and radical-feminist social deconstructionism. Compassionate conservatism means that most men and women will make the right choices when government refuses to entitle wrong choices. We must end the war on marriage now, and let the marriage-market revivify naturally.
When we reform the child-support-state, most men and women will choose partners more wisely to begin with. Women will avoid childbirth until marriage (or look to marriage to naturally resolve the occasional accidental illegitimate birth). Most spouses will work through the normal problems and processes of marriage and aging. Finally, most couples will reasonably share childrearing and support responsibilities when divorce is necessary.
Astonishingly, Republican leadership (and nearly all of Congress) remains statuesquely torporific on these issues of tremendous national consequence and wide voter antipathy. Republican analysts do not think the votes are there. Just ask the next 100 people you meet on the street to prove them wrong.
At the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in March, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman confessed to a history of sedimentary inertia when given a cameo opportunity to answer a few simple questions about basic child support, domestic violence, and marriage issues. His response: “I’m going to give you a non-Washington answer because I don’t know enough about this to comment, which you don’t typically get out of Washington.” If this is all Republicans have, we should send in the National Guard immediately.
Republicans who think feminists will vote for them under any circumstances have yet to meet Ann Coulter. Begging for the Streisand vote, they placed Sen. Joe Biden (the inheritor of Sen. Paul Wellstone’s harem of drive-by feminist gangsteresses), in charge of VAWA Reauthorization. Then, the Senate leadership backed Biden when he refused to allow conservative organizations and real scientists to testify. It was truly a Dick Gephardt moment.
The House just voted to increase VAWA funding. Fortunately, President Bush wants a 15% cut, but for the wrong reason. VAWA should be cut entirely because it is largely a very destructive feminist divorce-entitlement system, not because fiscal conservatism calls for across-the-board spending cuts.
The House unceremoniously dumped the marriage amendment into the Potomac attached to a concrete block imported from San Francisco. Gay marriage aside, not one candidate in the 2006 races has stood honestly on conservative social issues. And, not one leading 2008 presidential contender has seriously weighed in on social policy.
As if blocking sensible social reform is insufficiently conservative, party leadership is stonewalling potential Presidential candidates calling for change. Dr. Mark Klein, running for the 2008 Republican nomination, has done surprisingly well at state conferences despite a complete absence of political history. Were Dr. Klein not a virgin barging into a cavernous temple full of narcoleptic mummies, new life and ideas might be breathed into the party, and the disengaged conservative base might have something more useful to do than watching Bill Maher debate the few real Republicans that still have anything worth hearing.
Republicans, understand this: Your situation is now desperate. The motivated male and equalitarian-female majority vote that won past elections is now fully-detached and fervently looking elsewhere. Playing the “war on terror” card is old news and will not carry upcoming elections.
Social reform under policies Republicans pursued for the past decade is a failure. The overall birth rate is at record lows, while the proportion of all births to unmarried women increased to 35.8% in 2004, the highest ever recorded. The Republican child-support-state has not palpably reduced poverty. More Americans are cohabiting in weak relationships, and fewer are marrying to begin with. Divorce rates are still very high, at 3.8 per 100,000 population (the small decline in divorce rates parallels declining marriage rates).
Unsurprisingly, we have more (disengaged) men in prison, as a percentage of population, than any other free nation. In fact, our ratio of 726 inmates per 100,000 population is more than 500% that of Great Britain. Many of these men became the social deportees the welfare state raised them to be.
Moral: when a young boy is brought up expecting not to be a father and a husband, is raised by a feminist-dominated educational system and a television set, has no father in his life, and is eventually sold into feminist servitude, the future of America is not what it used to be.
Mr. Usher is senior policy analyst for the True Equality Network, and president of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, Missouri Coalition.