Friday, January 13, 2012

" estimated 50,000 persons are kept in jail or in prison on any given day in the U.S. for child support arrears."

I was working on some continuing education articles today on legal issues and came across the case of Turner vs. Rogers that I thought would be of interest to readers here. In this case (which examines child support) according to an article on mental health and medical rights by Steven R. Smith, JD:

...the question was whether there is a right to have appointed counsel in such civil contempt proceedings. Typically, such civil contempt findings must be based on the fact that there is a valid child-support order, and that the noncustodial parent was able to comply with it, but failed to do so.

In a 5-4 decision the Court held that the state is not necessarily obligated to provide counsel for indigent parents facing incarceration for civil contempt related to the failure to pay child support. At a minimum, however, states must have in place procedures to ensure "a fundamentally fair determination of the critical incarceration-related question, whether the supporting parent is able to comply with the support order."

There is much more to this case than the lack of counsel being provided that I will not get into here but I was disappointed to see that Justice Clarence Thomas authored a dissenting opinion:
Thomas further argued (with Justice Antonin Scalia, but not Chief Justice John G. Roberts or Samuel Alito joining) that the majority opinion did not consider the effects of this decision with respect to child support payments, and expressed concern that the majority opinion would undermine state efforts to collect child support payments.[4]

What didn't surprise me is how many people (my guess is mostly or all men) are imprisoned for not paying child support:
A person being in arrears on child support payments is not unusual: in 2008, 11.2 million U.S. child support cases had arrears due.[1] The number of persons kept in jail or in prison for child support arrears is not generally tracked. Based on a publicly available collection of relevant data, an estimated 50,000 persons are kept in jail or in person [sic]on any given day in the U.S. for child support arrears.[2] Hence Turner v. Rogers does not merely concern a technical question of legal procedure. Being in arrears on child support payments is a situation that many persons experience. Moreover, as a result of child support debt, many persons in the U.S. are being imprisoned.

If 50,000 on any given day is accurate, it is unbelievable how many men are being kept in jail for owing money. Many people feel that child support is a different kind of debt but I disagree. Debtors' prisons are long gone, so much so that people are actually nonchalant and even contemptuous about owing others money. They know that jail is not an option for them.

I believe that the jails are full of fathers because of their sex exclusively. We have a higher percentage of deadbeat moms, but few are held accountable and I doubt that many, if any, of the 50,000 in jail on any given day are female. Why does our society allow men to be thrown in jail this way? Are there that many chivalrous men and white knights like Thomas out there who believe that men's rights end when it comes to reproduction? Are there that many totalitarian women out there who believe that a man in jail is par for the course and a source of smug satisfaction?

Given how many of our nation's men sit in jail over child support, I guess the answer is a resounding "yes."

We continue to legalize misandry but at what cost?


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Are You a Sucker or a Moocher?

I am reading a copy of a new book by Charles Sykes called A Nation of Moochers: America's Addiction to Getting Something for Nothing. Sykes is also the author of similar titles on entitlement including A Nation of Victims: The Decay of the American Character and Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can't Read, Write, or Add.

The book is good for those who feel like suckers, playing by the rules and paying for those who don't. As you read the book, you can really understand why it is that people vote for wealth redistributionists like Obama. "Roughly 60 percent of American households actually were receiving more government benefits and services than they were paying back in taxes and the Tax Foundation estimated that under the 2009 federal budget, 70 percent of households would take in more than they contribute." Why not keep the gravy train going at little or no expense to themselves? But what about the producers, those who are paying?

One of the central questions of the book is whether we are at the "tipping point." The author asks:

When do independent, self-sufficient men or women realize that they are society's suckers, being made to work for the benefit of an ever-growing, ever-shifting, and increasingly insistent and more grasping class of moochers? When do they decide to jump the line? Are we already there?

In one of the last chapters, Sykes states, "Finally, we need to recognize that mooching simply recycles wealth; it does not generate it."

We all lose if we let the moochers among us dictate our demise. The book gives some suggestions on how to change things but ultimately, it is up to us, by who we elect and our political class to make those changes. If the same losers end up in office, what are the chances? This is one reason that moochers should not be encouraged, either through policy or culture. If we make it more unpleasant to be a moocher, perhaps there would be fewer moochers among us.

So, are you a sucker or a moocher or somewhere in-between? Are you a sucker who has reached the "tipping point?" What do you feel you can do about it, if anything?