I came across this article today, although it was written in 2000 it still rings true today and it really points out how far the government will go to alienate and starve it's own people.
Starving Dads for Dollarsby Stuart A. Miller and Gregory J. Palumbo, Ph.D. , April 2000
In the new Child Support Report, the official newsletter of the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), it was announced that a new program is underway, which some humanitarian groups in Washington have dubbed, "Starving Dads for Dollars". This program prevents poor fathers from receiving food stamps. In addition to extorting money from relatives and friends of fathers who cannot afford to pay child support, OCSE expects to save $25 million in costs to the food-stamp program by kicking poor fathers off of the program if they cannot afford to pay child support.
There are many problems with this new federal policy of which one is that many fathers who qualify for food stamps are the custodial parents of their children. They owe child support already in many states for Medicaid received by the mother while pregnant, for birth, and care of the neonate. Gender is important because mothers are not held liable for pregnancy costs by law if poor, a big loophole.
The increase in father-headed single-parent households with children under 18 living in poverty is no small problem. The increase has been dramatic according to Census figures. Whereas in 1975 there were 65,000 of these families, there were 412,000 in 1996, and there are even more today.
In Oklahoma, soon poor custodial parent dads will also find themselves hungry because they are classified as deadbeat because they are dead broke. Senate Bill 1336 by Senator Bernest Cain will do just this by making fathers responsible for prenatal and birthing costs, and it already passed out of the Senate Judiciary committee unopposed. Oklahoma will be just like other states that will now be able to starve custodial parent fathers who are unfortunate enough to be poor and have custody of their children.
You think there are other alternatives available for these dads? Well it gets worse. Currently, all 50 states are required by OCSE to confiscate hunting and fishing licenses from fathers who cannot afford to pay child support to make sure that they cannot legally hunt or catch food to eat. This new program will close some of the loopholes that allow these deadbeat and dead broke dads to continue to eat and feed their children.
In conjunction with this effort, OCSE is pushing to lower the $5000 child support arrears threshold for passport revocation to $2500. Officials are optimistic that lowering the threshold will halt the flood of poor fathers trying to escape to countries that might allow them to eat.
Other new programs have also been announced such as President Clintons initiative to allow poor mothers to drive expensive cars and still receive food stamps. This is already the law in Oklahoma. Officials denied that the Presidents new initiative would in any way dampen the agencys efforts to publicly humiliate poor fathers by putting pink and blue boots on their cars, with big stickers on the windshield labeling them as deadbeat dads. "Its just like putting these deadbeat dads in stocks in the public square," said one commentator. Now not only can these poor dads not eat, but they cannot work either.
Under the Clinton administration, OCSEs budget has more than doubled, going from $2 billion to over $4 billion per year. Yet, when asked why OCSE keeps adding more penalties to a program that has failed to increase child support collections in welfare cases by more than 1% since 1975 (hint: research shows the dads are as poor as the moms), it was quickly pointed out that all the benefits of its programs have not been fully appreciated. For instance, in Los Angeles County alone in 1998, OCSE was getting child support orders in place against nearly 4000 men per year for children that were not theirs. We do that too in Oklahoma.
And by the way...more and more mothers are finding themselves in the same boat as fathers. Maybe it is time to evaluate these tax policies that flow from Washington, D.C.
Stuart Miller is a federal lobbyist and Senior Legislative Analyst for the American Fathers Coalition in Washington, DC. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Gregory J. Palumbo is Executive Director of Oklahomans for Families Alliance in Oklahoma City.