The Left’s War on Father’s Day

Lifestyles“We know the statistics,” said President Barack Obama, “that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves.”

The Journal of Research on Adolescence found that even after controlling for varying levels of household income, kids in father-absent homes are more likely to end up in jail. And kids that never had a father in the house are the most likely to wind up behind bars.

Tupac Shakur, the rapper killed in an unsolved and possibly gang-related murder, once said: “I know for a fact that had I had a father, I’d have some discipline. I’d have more confidence.” Tupac admitted he began running with gangs because he wanted structure and protection: “Your mother cannot calm you down the way a man can. Your mother can’t reassure you the way a man can. My mother couldn’t show me where my manhood was. You need a man to teach you how to be a man.”

Where have all the fathers gone?

When I was a child, my father and mother often complained about “people going on the county,” a term they used for the rare young mother in our neighborhood who relied on government welfare. My parents, who often disagreed politically, saw eye-to-eye in their opposition to what they called wrongheaded incentives that encourage people to have children without marriage. “The worst thing that ever came down the pike,” Dad would often call “county money.”

In “Dear Father, Dear Son,” my latest book, I write about my rough, tough World War II Marine staff sergeant father, whose gruff exterior I mistook for lack of love. Born in the Jim Crow South of Athens, Ga., he was 14 at the start of the Great Depression.

He never knew his biological father. The man with the last name of “Elder” was one of his mother’s many boyfriends, only this one stayed in my dad’s life a little longer than the others. A physically abusive alcoholic, Elder would give my father’s mom money from his paycheck to ensure it would not blow it on booze and gambling. After a couple of days, Elder would get drunk and demand his money back. She would refuse. He would beat her and take the money back.

My father witnessed this ugly scenario over and over. “Why she just didn’t give him the damn money,” Dad told me, “I’ll never understand.”

One day, my father, then 13, came home from school, and his mom’s then-boyfriend accused him of making too much noise. They quarreled. His mother, siding with the boyfriend, threw my father out of the house. He never returned.

Growing up, I watched my father work two full-time jobs as a janitor. He also cooked for a rich family on the weekends and somehow managed to go to night school to get his GED. When I was 10, my father opened a small restaurant that he ran until he retired in his mid-80s. “Hard work wins,” Dad would tell my brothers and me. “The world doesn’t owe you a living.” My parents drilled into us the importance of education and self-reliance. “Go out into the world unprepared,” Dad would say, “and you’re going to get your behind kicked and your feelings hurt.”

Studies back up the link between the explosive growth in government welfare — begun in the ’60s — and the increase of out-of-wedlock births.

In 1960, 5 percent of America’s children entered the world without a mother and father married to each other. By 1980 it was 18 percent, and by 2000 it had risen to 33 percent. Today, the number is 41 percent. For blacks, out-of-wedlock births have gone from 25 percent in 1965 to 73 percent today. The ethnic group with the next-highest percent of births to unmarried mothers is that of Native Americans, at 66 percent. For whites, out-of-wedlock births stand at 29 percent. For Hispanics, out-of-wedlock births are at 53 percent.

In every state, a woman with two children “makes” more money on welfare than were she to take a minimum wage job. The array of federal and state programs amounts to over $60K spent for every poor household. But because of costs, the recipient household ends up getting far less.

How do we know that the welfare state creates disincentives that hurt the people we are trying to help? They tell us. In 1985, the Los Angeles Times asked whether poor women “often” have children to get additional benefits. Most of the non-poor respondents said no. When the same question was asked of the poor, however, 64 percent said yes.

People, of course, need help. A humane society does not ignore those who cannot or even will not fend for themselves. But good faith does not substitute for sound policy. The welfare state is an assault on families.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • Insecticide

    Let’s cut off state child subsidies and pay the poor to take care of cats and dogs

  • CowboyUp

    Like everything else about the welfare state, this applies to everybody. Minorities are just further along the curve because they were the initial targets. My personal experience with it is regarding white folks, so when I’m called a racist for opposing the welfare state I just laugh in their faces. If I wanted to keep minorities down, and poor people poor, I couldn’t come up with a ‘better’, more certain way to do it.

    • Seek

      The masters of the welfare state are those who collect. The slaves are those forced to pay. Here’s the longstanding arrangement: Blacks collect, whites pay. We, the whites, are the ones being kept down. We are the slaves.

      • CowboyUp

        The master of the welfare state is the government. It collects from the productive, whatever their color, redistributes to the unproductive, whatever their color, and lives high on the hog off the skim and perks of office. Both are being kept down.

        There may be a higher percentage by group of black freeloaders, but there is a higher gross number of white freeloaders and we are catching up by percentage. I couldn’t care less what color the freeloader’s hand is, only that its’ in my pocket.

        As long as you are blaming black people, and black people are blaming you, nobody is blaming the state, and both will foolishly turn to the state to solve their state created problems. Both are being played off of each other. I refuse to be played.

        • mountaindaisy

          Excellent comment…and point!

      • Sheik Yerbouti

        More like unwilling caretakers. I would personally be glad to pay higher taxes if it meant putting most of these low-lifes into their own communities. I admit I miss the days of housing projects and would gladly pay to see them return. Section 8 based forced integration is simply asking for the very problems we now see daily in ALL communities. Even the gated ones it seems.

  • Western Spirit

    The government has replaced the father with his paycheck. The lack of discipline is the result because the government doesn’t discipline it just pays.

    The problem with the government taking over the father’s place with only a paycheck is that usually the father is the family disciplinarian as well as wage earner, because he’s the big guy in the home.

    My little mother was a joke when my 6’3″ brothers hit puberty but the big guy, my father wasn’t, he still commanded respect and obedience.

    Even teenage elephants are ruled by the older male elephants keeping them in line. Remember a few years ago when the older male elephants failed at this task and the young male elephants ran amok, just as human youth do under the same circumstances. Its a law in nature, the older males teach the younger males discipline.

    The lack of discipline isn’t determined by melanin in the skin, but is determined by the lack of discipline that fathers provide. And as white people become more promiscuous due to the culture and fail to provide fathers for their young, we’ll have the same problems as blacks have in their neighborhoods.

    So the operative word is culture because all cultures are not equal, as the foolishness of political correctness proclaims. But our culture determine the values people live by and people flourish or despair by what these values teach, such as the need for discipline of the young that father’s provide.

  • Suzyqpie

    We get more of whatever government subsidizes. The government subsidizes poverty and failure. Additional influencing factor is genatalia ATM.