November 28, 2007

Arguing from Opposite Sides of the Dollar

Justin Katz

As an early-grave-working father of three children, whom my wife and I deliberately brought into the world at a relatively young age ourselves (by modern standards), with nowhere near the income nor savings that an accountant might require to balance out the cost of progeny, I find myself strangely split in my agreement with both parties of the following exchange from the Dan Yorke show:

URI Feinstein hunger center director Kathleen Gorman: How is a woman going to go to work making a minimum wage job or a low wage job if she doesn't have some help with child care?

Dan Yorke: Why did that woman have a child in the first place, not to be able to afford it on her own?

Gorman: You think only wealthy people should have children? That's crazy!

Yorke: Yes! Now we're getting somewhere! Only people who can afford it should do it. That's the core philosophy! Only people who can afford it should do it. We got there. Do you agree?

Gorman: Absolutely not. If all people waited until they had enough money to support their children, there would be no children in the world.

I suspect, however, that my agreement with Ms. Gorman might be superficial: The emphasis on money and affordability, it seems to me, allows a spin (or else a delusive elision) by which practitioners in the welfare industry steal more agreement than they actually deserve.

I don't believe that only "wealthy people" should have children, and I suspect that Yorke does not either. Moreover, the notion of having enough money requires clarification: Have my wife and I come up with the resources to keep our children healthy and well nourished? Obviously. Do we currently have any feasible plan for paying for the grander expenses of the future, such as college? Nope.

Life requires a bit of playing by ear. (And I'd note that Yorke and my shared Church requires us to believe that God is ultimately calling the tune.) Indeed, it would be a mistake to leave out the possibility that having children can play a crucial role in fostering responsibility in the parent — a point of principle that applies regardless of socioeconomic standing. The irreducible notes in the melody are not income and savings, but openness, intentionality, and a willingness to sacrifice.

If it's all about the money, then the Gormans of the world can create the easy illusion that single parents who persist in having children ought to be seen as in familiar circumstances to anybody who ever had to take a night job to cover the cost of braces. That's clearly how this Gorman framed her rejoinder, and I worry that a too-resounding "Yes!" from Yorke may strike populist chords that need not resonate beyond the gimme choir.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

There's a HUGE difference between 'How will be pay for Tracy's braces?' and 'Don't worry, the state will pay for my kid's food, healthcare, daycare, etc....'

Welfare programs should be a 'hand up' to get yourself on your feet and in a position to be a valued member of society. They should NOT be a system whereas the rest of society carries the lazy on our backs.

Posted by: Greg at November 28, 2007 8:19 AM

I didn't notice the word 'man' in Gorman's remarks.

Posted by: chuckR at November 28, 2007 8:51 AM

You Might Be A Progressive......

If you become apoplectic when someone says it's a "bad idea" for an impoverished unmarried woman to have children.

Posted by: Mike at November 28, 2007 9:41 AM

How would y'all feel about the one child per household law like China has? There's your solution to welfare reform LOL.

Posted by: rhody at November 28, 2007 11:02 AM

How about this one, Rhody? "Take responsibility for your own actions and get out of my wallet!" Nobody has a child delivered to them by the stork. It's never a surprise. Nobody wakes up pregnant and exclaims "How did this happen?!"

Posted by: Greg at November 28, 2007 11:38 AM

"How would y'all feel about the one child per household law like China has? There's your solution to welfare reform LOL." - Rhody

As a responsible HUMAN BEING, my wife and I did not have kids until we knew that we could provide a decent life for them. It wasn't/isn't always easy and no one should expect that. Family and friends are needed to help if possible.
Unlike animals in the wild the human is capable of knowing what the consequences will be and planning accordingly. When someone becomes a parent, they should know what course their lives are going unlike a pack of wolves that live from day to day hoping a lame dear will appear and provide enough food for them and their young. I think we as humans have developed further along than that. I know I have! Evidently some are still in the early stages.
Why should I, as a responsible person be pickpocketed by those that feel NO responsibility for themselves, their babies or the rest of us? That money of MINE (that I have earned) would be much better spent on helping MY family in anyway I see fit.

There are many in very serious need but why should we or ANYONE promote this behaviour? That's what the present system is doing and if you disagree, why has the need for these programs lessened over the years?

Posted by: Jake4ri at November 28, 2007 2:14 PM

That last line should read - "why has the need for these programs NOT lessened over the years?"

Posted by: Jake4ri at November 28, 2007 2:17 PM

Morbid irrelevant cracks aside, Rhody, you've been posting here a while. You sound pretty responsible. Why aren't you willing to hold other people to a minimal level of responsibility?

For that matter, why aren't our elected officials?

Posted by: Monique at November 28, 2007 2:22 PM

If you are unable to support a child, it is absolutely immoral to bring that child into the world. It should be criminal to do otherwise. It is merely premeditated robbery. For crying out loud we make you get a license to drive a car; should the ability to bear children receive less consideration?? This is nuts!

Lacking any merit in the debate, Gorman resorts to the typical class warfare tactic - that people like me say you need to be wealthy to have children. NO! That is not what I am saying. I simply say you need to have a plan to take care of your children on your own or, with your family, and NOT WITH MY MONEY! I AM TAKING CARE OF MY OWN CHILDREN!
And yes, despite all the insane rhetoric from liberals, that plan should include a father and a mother. It doesn't guarantee success, but it sure does increase the odds dramatically.

This perverted notion by Gorman that one need not determine beforehand how one will care for the child is a minnumbingly dumb thought process. Here again, you have people with the morals of prostitutes (in that they can rationalize anything for a price) merely advocating a position for their own well being.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at November 28, 2007 2:27 PM

Rhody - as JK alluded to, you need to be willing to take on faith that your financial ability to take care of your growing family will grow as they do. Then you have to make it happen. If you have no confidence in your potential and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, maybe its best you not have kids.

Nobody is guaranteed more than this moment in time. Gorman's strawman - that you shouldn't have to have your future fully assured for a couple of decades before having kids - is a ridiculous bit of misdirection.

Posted by: chuckR at November 28, 2007 4:10 PM

The "only rich people" argument is a diversion. It is not that you must be rich to have children. It is that you personally must do what it takes to raise the children you bring into the world. Work two jobs, cut back on non-necessities, take the bus, whatever. Only then should the state step in to help those who still cannot make ends meet.

Posted by: mikeinRI at November 28, 2007 5:40 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.