$112 billion for single parents

A recent study indicates that American taxpayers spend $112 billion a year on assistance to single parents and divorces.  Wow! That’s a lot of money.  Should we eliminate assistance for single mothers?  No, that would be seriously stupid.  But the assistance needs to be much better managed.  Some responsibility needs to go along with it.

The single parents need to show that they are trying to do something with their lives.  That they are taking care of their families properly.  Perhaps that their children are actually improving in school, etc.  I know this is a complicated issue, but it seems that the politicians won’t touch it with a ten foot poll because of the fear of seeming uncompassionate.

It’s time for this country (as a society) to accept responsibility.

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11 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    I find it funny that small-government “conservatives” (the ones with a conscience, anyway) always admit that these programs are necessary but say that “something needs to be done” to eliminate abuses of the system. Do you know how much it would cost to eliminate waste and abuse? A lot more than it costs to simply fund the project and admit that some abuse happens. So we surrender to the status quo.

  2. Dave says:

    All that being said, the only (governmental) solution to this that retains a claim on compassion is to figure out a way to legislate strong families, which, of course, is impossible. This is something that truly MUST be a grass roots movement. It can’t be a top-down initiative.

    But the likelihood of it is nil. In other words, “Where are we going? And why are we in this handbasket?”

  3. Reluctant says:

    Where’s your stats that it would cost more to improve these programs than to allow the abuse? I disagree that it would cost more to administer properly.

    I guarantee if we hand over the administration of these programs to a private (for-profit) company, we would save money.

    I agree that the best way to solve the problem is a societal change. But there has got to be something we could do to make these programs more efficient.

  4. Mike W. says:

    Dan,

    This is not a role for a private for-profit company. Society, not business (unless it wants jails full of people…oh, wait we already have that) needs to assist those who are unable to feed or provide for themselves. The question is how to do it. Doing this at the federal level is not the answer. The further away the program is from the people, the more abuses and waste there is. These are programs for communities and states (at the largest level). If we, as individuals and families ignore our responsibility to our fellowman, we are left with the federal government doing it. Conservatives like to blame everything on the government, not recognizing that primarily the problem lies with us, the American people.

  5. Reluctant says:

    I fully agree Mike. My mention of putting this in the hands of a private company was only to illustrate that these programs could be administered more efficiently.

    And you are reiterating my point that the country needs to take some responsibility. I didn’t say the government needs to take some responsibility. I said society needs to. I meant it more towards those that abuse the system, but I do agree with what you said.

  6. Mike W. says:

    I think the difference is that when I say we need to take responsibility, I mean that I need to help the poor, the fatherless, the single mothers, the homeless, the mentally ill, those on the fringe of society. As long as the finger is pointing at the abusers of the system and not recognizing that we, as fellow human beings who “but for the grace of God” (the families we were born into, the things we were taught, etc.) could very easily be in that same situation, NO attempt at a solution will work.

  7. Mike W. says:

    Another small point is that this $112 billion constitutes a small fraction of what we have spent in Iraq, neither making us more secure or improving our economy.

    A further question to ask is what would be the cost to the country in other costs if this $112 billion were not spent in this way.

  8. Reluctant says:

    Agreed. As usual, you’re looking at the ideal. But in the mean time (until everyone learns to be more Christ-like), I think there are things the government can do to help those who are dependent on government assistance to become more independent.

    As for Iraq, I agree that it hasn’t improved our economy. Whether it has (or will eventually) improved our security is very much debatable.

  9. Mike W. says:

    So initially you wanted “this country (as a society)” to do something about it. Now you are asking the government to do something about it.

    The liberal solution is for the government to do something about it. The conservative solution is to do nothing about it except demand that those who use the system be more responsible. Those are both easy to talk about, but when the solution actually demands that “we” do something ourselves, we want to characterize it as idealistic and too far-fetched and unreasonable, so we settle for faux solutions that give the facade (I’m trying to see how many French words I can use in this sentence) that we are doing something about it.

    Government should be given jobs that individuals and small groups of people “can’t” do. Instead we have given them the jobs we don’t “want” to do, like clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit the sick, liberate the captivity. We’re too busy trying to make more money.

  10. Reluctant says:

    I want the government to put the burden back on the people who abuse the system.

    But Mike, I agree with you for the most part. I agree that the true responsibility lies with “us.” But I also believe the interim solution is to have the government put the responsibility back on the citizen. Specifically, they need to help the abusers by taking away the ability to abuse. 😉

  11. Mike W. says:

    How? Remove the safety net? Increase the bureaucracy by policing the system more completely? Spending another $112 billion to make sure that no one is abusing the system?

    The only way to fix this problem on a large scale is to create a non-governmental grass-roots program/system to replace the broken one. Once there is something else in place, the government program will become superfluous and hopefully fade away. Until then, it ain’t gonna happen.

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