Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Assumptions about single parents....

The article below highlights one of the biggest reasons why you should not listen to the religious right when it comes to families. 


"The study documents for the first time that divorce and unwed childbearing -- besides being bad for children -- are costing taxpayers a ton of money," said David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values.

"Scafidi's calculations were based on the assumption that households headed by a single female have relatively high poverty rates, leading to higher spending on welfare, health care, criminal justice and education for those raised in the disadvantaged homes. The $112 billion estimate includes the cost of federal, state and local government programs, and lost tax revenue at all levels of government."

I think that if you look at the tax brackets of single, head of household filers with at least one dependent then you do not have to make any ASSUMPTIONS.  This data should be available at the Census bureau so that assumptions don't have to be made.

I was a very big proponent of Focus on the Family and the religious right for a long time, but they are making statements and attempting to exercise power and judgment on people and situations that they do not understand.  Instead of spending time and money on a study, Jesus would have lent two working hands.  Many religious groups will not allow women into leadership roles, many will not allow men that have been divorced into leadership roles.

The article discusses how divorce is harmful to children, but what about dysfunctional and abusive marriages?

Having done my taxes as a single parent for the last six years I can tell you that single parents are already taxed at a higher rate than married couples, why penalize them more or force them into relationships that will probably end in more divorces and even more warped children?  Aren't there better solutions?  Maybe if more churches spent more time working in the communities they are in then they could have a more positive impact on the families that are splintering apart.  Maybe if more churches worked on getting irresponsible families out of debt then fewer families would be split and fewer Government resources would be needed to bail them out.  Maybe if more churches spent less time telling people how to live their lives and more time working with people and helping through the crisis they are in, then the Government could save a lot more than $112 Billion.

GRRRRRRR.  Now is the time to really bust the molds and the barriers come up with TRULY unique solutions and ideas.

"Until you forget what you think you know and what you think is possible, you will never know what is truly attainable."


  1. I agree, I can positively say my unwed status hasn't made a bit of difference, as a gainfully employed - private insurance kind of gal, it's hard not to take offense at this group's stereotypical opinion. More often I feel like "what's the government going to do for me in the future after I give it a huge chunk of my paycheck year after year"?

    We could probably think of 112 billion ways the government could save money elsewhere, and the first ones that pop into my mind have nothing to do with single parents.

  2. How very obnoxious. I tried finding the article I recently read - citing the problems usually dumped on single parents are actually based on income brackets, not number of parents. Alas, no luck.

    I guess this is an easy way to ignore the real problem of unemployment and poverty -- just point the finger at single parents - again.

    Ugh. Blech. and Phooey!

  3. Well, I just signed up for this bllog site today and I was kinda shopping around at what people blog about and I came across your entry today, and read back through the last couple months of entries as well.

    What I don't really get is that you point out (correctly so) that there are a lot of problems that need to be fixed, and that we need to "come up with TRULY unique solutions and ideas", but you offer none such solutions and ideas.

    Well, you do blame "the church" a lot. Well, churches are made of of people. People like.... Crazy Computer Dad. So....

    Maybe if more Crazy Computer Dads spent more time working in the communities they are in then they could have a more positive impact on the families that are splintering apart. Maybe if more Crazy Computer Dads worked on getting irresponsible families out of debt then fewer families would be split and fewer Government resources would be needed to bail them out. Maybe if more Crazy Computer Dads spent less time telling people how to live their lives and more time working with people and helping through the crisis they are in, then the Government could save a lot more than $112 Billion.

    I didn't see anything in any of your blog entries that answers any of those questions.

    So what do you do to help with those problems? I mean, if you're going to rant and rave about how important it is, but do nothing of the sort, doesn't that make you a hypocrite?

  4. Delightful,
    The article was from CNN and obviously designed to be inflammatory. It got me. I'm a huge proponent of meeting the need that is right in front of you. Helping and encouraging the people around you. My blog isn't a crusade, it is simply a way for me talk about whatever is on my mind, and more often than not kind of call out for help on the many things that perplex me about my son. I whine a lot here because it helps me stay mostly sane and keeps me from taking things out on my son or girlfriend in some way. They are grateful that I don't spend hours exposing them to expository torture over something that isn't really a big deal anyway. Here I can say it and move on.

    All that being said, there is much about my life that I don't post here. There are many things that I don't share. While there are many ways that I make a difference on the topics like this one, there are many times I look back and realize I could do or could have done more. I also have good friends that let me know when I'm just being stupid. :-)(some of them read this blog and they may not comment, but they do call...some even show up and wag a finger at me).

  5. Certainly it's a near impossibility to get a complete sense of who someone is by reading their blog. Can anyone be that transparent in writing? I doubt it.

    But I think first reactions say a lot about who a person really is. You may not like it when you go back and read it again, or when someone brings something to your attention, but it's probably a good look at who you really are, what you really feel.

    FYI, I'm not a fan of the religous right and all their rediculous legal BS. I stopped going to church because of it, because there was so very much talking and so very little actually happening.

    Obviously it's a good idea to sheild you child from a lot of the bad/difficult things that enter your life. But him seeing some from the start, then seeing you overcome those things may be very beneficial.

    Your girlfreind... I doubt she'd see any of this as "taking it out on her". I'd bet she reads your blog first of all (she does know about it, doesn't she?), and I'd bet she'd love to talk about this stuff with you from the get go. Wouldn't it be better for the two of you to know the way you react to things before your relationship goes to perhaps the next level (engagement, marriage)? That's not the kind of thing you want to find out about later is it? And if she knows that you're not sharing these things with her from the beginning now, is she going to believe it'll change later? Is she going to share things with you that you need to know?

    Wow, I ask lots of questions, don't I? :-)

  6. Delightful,
    I'm in the middle of a draft post that is about her and I and our relationship over the past six months. The school year specifically. She knew about my blog before we started dating. I do actually talk about a lot more things with her than I share here too. :-) She doesn't read a lot of blogs, so I talk about what I read and send her links now and again.

    Every blogger on my blog roll (and I need to update it again) is a great writer, thinker, sharer, and often tackle issues with far greater finesse than myself.

    My son sees a lot of my ups and downs, setbacks, and triumphs. We talk about them all the time, the right way to handle things, and so much more. I try to instill and demonstrate that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. I try to work hard at making sure I'm not putting adult level stress and anxiety on his little shoulders. Parenting responsibly is an incredible amount of work, far more so that I ever imagined.

    Asking questions is one of the first steps to real knowledge. Most of my life I haven't asked the important ones, now I'm learning to.

  7. Kudos to you, by the way, in regards to your son. Your description of the challenges you sometimes face seem often dramatic and intense. Most men couldn't make it through that. I can't imagine what it must be like.

  8. This whole topic irritates me in so many ways - lets see if I can count just a few.....first it assumes that it's the governments job to "save" us from ourselves (again). Marriage and public policy should be two mutually exclusive things. Assuming that tax revenue is lost because those darn slacker single parents can't their act together and hold a reasonable job is like assuming every one of those same single parent families takes welfare, doesn't pay their bills, and are churning out future felons. All because they don't have a second parent in the house.

    Want solutions.....If you want to help the single parent that needs the help, and wants the help, then work on affordable childcare, job training, and making higher education more affordable. Wanna increase household income, then add tax incentives for the Domestic Partner....oops, that may include gays (gasp!) so that certainly wouldn't be advocated. This "study" is obviously directed right at the poor and minority population since they're lumping in welfare, criminal justice and healthcare.

    One thing that won't solve this....is enforced or incented marriage.

    I left organized religion long ago because of the hypocrisy that pervades throughout. You only need to look throughout history and see what man does in the name of religion to know that man has continually twisted the words of his god(s) to fit his own desires. (for the female readers, I mean to use "man" in a wholly encompassing manner...but it usually is men who screw this up royally) I still have my faith - but it's not in a priest/preacher/reverend or in a building - it's in my actions and my thoughts. It's how I raise my kids and how I treat my neighbors and not in any misguided attempt to please a congregation.

    The government and the uninvited religion, need to stay out of my business. I wonder if anyone has done a study on the lost tax revenues due to church tax exemptions - my guess is it's much greater than $112b.

  9. as a quick followup - my solutions above are intended to be done by the churches. Affordable childcare/job training/higher ed can easily be handled by these organizations - even if it's in the form of stipends, low or no interest loans, partial or full scholarships, volunteers teaching workshops on trade skills, etc. It doesn't have to be, and in my opinion shouldn't be, the government's job to provide this service. Got a poor church? Then partner with other churches. Set your differences aside for the good of the community.

    If that is ever achieved, then the church is truly serving it's community, and not vice versa.

    Alright, I'm done now. Back to your regular programming.

  10. Now, you see, this is what gets my goat. Enzo says these things should be done by the church, but doesn't go to church.

    So, therefore, Enzo points out these things need to be done, but since Enzo doesn't go to church, Enzo's not responsible for getting it done.

    How incredibly convenient!

    How about evading your own hypocrisy, getting in to a church, and launching such a program, Enzo?

  11. Hi! Found you from Single Mom Seeking and I had to chime in on an issue like this that hits very close to home...

    When I became a single mom I was surprised at the attacks made on single parents by the religious right (Focus on the Family specifically) but, being the religious right, didn't let it get to me (too much).

    But when you try to involve the government on this anti-single parent campaign, I really get worked up.

    I am a single mother of two young boys. I work full time, make good money and don't cost the government a dime more than an (to use F on the F's words) unbroken home does.

    To imply that marriage strengthening programs are the solution to this problem is outrageous. Keeping adults and children in abusive and harmful situations/relationships is better than divorce? Really!?!

    Thanks for bringing our attention to this article...and for getting the discussion going.


  12. Where in the article does it say there is an aim to "keep adults and children in abusive and harmful situations/relationships"?

    It doesn't.

    Let me clarify my position on this - I don't think it's the governments job to make marriages stronger, I think the church can help (but that requires people who are willing to be active, and I suspect that number is small), but more than anything it is OUR responsibility as individuals to help others.

    Its OUR responsibility as individuals to make good decisions about relationships, to be able to make the tough decisions, to ACT as opposed to just sitting around and talking about what needs to be done.

  13. Well Delightful - my point in showing how churches can make the difference was to shine a light on what they could be doing instead of lobbying politicians and inserting more government into our lives. which I think we all seem to agree on that point.

    I'm already involved in many community activities that help children, feed homeless, and work to solve local problems such as blight. None of which involves a church. So before launching missives about my "hypocrisy", perhaps we should calm down a bit before flingin' the poo. If you just wanna play the "one-up game" then you should announce that at the start so we all know that we should nit-pick each other instead of having a conversation.

    So, my main point is that local problems get solved locally - and not through big government.

  14. Enzo, I am glad to hear that you are involved. It wasn't my intention to "sling the poo", but when, in one sentence you say you stopped going to church because there's so much hypocrisy in the church, and then you throw it back on the church to fix these problems... well... that's a little confusing! It's like arbitrarily agreeing with what someone else things even though its not what you've experienced.

    Now knowing that you are involved in these things you just outlined, why not say from the start that outside the church you stand up and make a difference in these people's lives? That's what you living, right? That's you example. And it a GREAT example of how a person can make a difference by getting involved on their own.

    I too work with the homeless and poor to help provide food and shelter, and its extremely rewarding. It has nothing to do with any church, it has to do with how I care about people and this world.

    Kudos to you Enzo. Thanks for being involved, and setting a good example :-)

  15. I think if we're looking at the article that this post was based on, what we see is a government making "assumptions" about the cost of single parent families. What I think Crazy Computer Dad did an excellent job of was shattering the stereotype of the "single-parent as welfare recipient" family.

    Churches have their place, and government has its place. Neither should be telling the other what to do with its organization. I mean, please, one teaches us right from wrong, and the other governs.

    Where's the "assumptions" made with regard to the billions of dollars the government spends on failing corporate entities? How would that figure compare to what the government actually provides single-parent families?


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