Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Genuine about reducing child poverty? Here's an original idea

So the misdiagnosers had their day in the sun as the media went potty with the headline buster, Third of children in poverty - report (DomPost front page).

The  implicit answer is more state-mandated wealth transfer.

That won't work though, because that is the policy that creates poverty; not the policy that reduces it.

So it is something of a relief, on the same day, to read a different idea.

Problem 1: Children who lose contact with their fathers do worse in life.
Problem 2: Single mothers who want to work often struggle with the cost of childcare.
Problem 3: Many non-resident fathers are without meaningful work.
All three of these problems are fairly well established in the research literature. Each also motivates a battery of policy responses, with varying degrees of efficacy. In a recent report on poverty and opportunity from a working group convened by Brookings and the American Enterprise Institute, non-resident fathers received some special attention....So, let’s see…Lots of non-resident fathers are not gainfully employed; single mothers are struggling with childcare cost; and children, especially boys, are suffering from the distance or absence of their father. Here’s an idea: have the fathers look after their children, allowing mothers to get into and stay in work. The savings for the mother would far outweigh child support payments, which could be suspended when the father is providing childcare. What if, rather than squeezing these men for every last nickel, we were to ask them to do childcare instead?

With single mothers increasingly participating in the workforce, this idea has merit - social and economic.

Ironically, it suggests a partial reverse of times gone by, when fathers dominated the workplace and mothers almost always provided the childcare. Like then, two parents should be able to manage their families financial and childcare requirements without welfare - separated or not.


aWanderer said...

Better than the left but over simplistic.

I've no data to back up my assertion but I'd suggest there's a reason why most women have kicked the dads out of their families home. I'm not sure how many would welcome them back.


Lindsay Mitchell said...

"... there's a reason why most women have kicked the dads out of their families home."

Isn't that "over simplistic" too?

Let's speculate on the various circumstances of non-resident fathers:

1/ Mother finds a more desirable partner
2/ Mother and father were never in a living-together-status (for a myriad of reasons)
3/ Father acknowledges paternity but doesn't want a permanent partnership with the mother
4/ Mother prefers 'reliable' welfare to insecure low earnings of father

Children can be 'the making' of some individuals. What a shame to deny fathers (agreed some will have questionable credentials) that same opportunity.

Anonymous said...

The problem is not children "making" parents: the problem is parents making children. The most likely case is:

5/ Father doesn't want to have to bring up a child, and give most of his income to the women and the children.

Being responsible is boring. Being an adult is much less fun than being an adolescent. Taking responsibility for yourself is more expensive and more limiting than letting the state or something else take responsibility for you.

As wikipedia puts it, back in Rome: After a woman had a baby, she would show it to her husband. If the husband accepted it, it would live, but if he refused it, it would die.

Redbaiter said...

Good God, the whole "Child Poverty" issue is a blatant propaganda strategy.

Its clear its meant to play on the emotive image of "children" living under such conditions as Oliver Twist in the Dickens story.

And what's worse is it works.

Nobody has the damn balls or brains to confront this "children" bullshit and point out that there is no such state of affairs.

There is only poverty, and even then its still only a perception.

I don't doubt for a minute that there are people struggling to make ends meet but as Lindsay points out its caused by misguided socialist policies that always have the effect of dampening economic activity.

In fact the whole country is operating under the delusion that socialism is affordable when it isn't. Mainly because there is very little going on in the country that is creating real wealth.

And this lack is again down to socialism, or more exactly, the environmental lobby that has inveigled its way into every aspect of the economy and hobbled it worse than its ever been hobbled in history.

Not only does this make it almost impossible to start a project or investment, it also makes it almost impossible for those projects to run at a real profit.

Its all going to get worse because there is no real political counter force opposing socialism and the crippling economic force of over the top environmentalism. So its heading for an eventual collapse that might then give rise to the necessary changes but even then maybe not.

The Greeks still haven't caught on. I doubt NZers will be any less stupid. 30 years of socialism has destroyed this country.

John Key should have turned it around but instead he adopted the Crosby Textor surrender strategy. You don't chart an economic course, you just drift in currents directed by the left and their media friends.

Disgusting really. The Nats election in 2009 was the chance to do something and they caved in like damn cowards. One of the reasons I have no time at all for Key.

Brendan McNeill said...

Lindsay, I suspect that anonymous 9:59pm has nailed it.

What we believe ultimately matters more than Government policy. If we believe as most Christians do, that children are a blessing and a gift from God, special and vulnerable human beings to be nurtured and valued and through whom we impart life and hope to the next generation, then marriage, faithfulness and fidelity are important, because that is what is needed to make this social contract work.

Even more important is the transcendent idea that our ability to sacrifice our own life for the benefit of others (as exampled by Jesus) makes a difference in this life and is rewarded in the next.

However, if we believe that all we have is the ever present ‘now’ and this life is all about me, what I can get, what I can obtain, what works for me, then there is no philosophical or theological basis for the kind of self sacrifice that is required to raise the next generation.

This is why an apostate Europe is not having sufficient children to reproduce itself, and why Angela Merkel is importing a million Muslims (7 Million following family reunification) to be the children they couldn’t be bothered having.

What could possibly go wrong?

I appreciate that you are focused upon the absurdity of socialism and the welfare state as the answer to child poverty. You are correct on this. My challenge to you is ‘what is the alternative’? Is it libertarianism with its ideology of open borders and blindness to religious disposition? Or do we as a nation need to rediscover our Christian roots and decide that whether we are people of faith or no faith, we are inheritors of 1,000 years of civilisation that has been animated by Christianity and its child the renaissance that needs to be defended?

I suspect we have more in common that separates us.

Anonymous said...

[Child poverty is] meant to play on the emotive image of "children" living under such conditions as Oliver Twist in the Dickens story.... point out that there is no such state of affairs.

and why would it matter if there were?