Too often, we complain about the system being broken, understand there are changes that need to be made, yet struggle with how best to do that. Anyone with common sense should be able to look at certain situations and know they need to be rectified, yet there continues to be inaction for lack of knowing what to do. This story is one of those illustrations. Earlier today I was treated to some incredible reading material from a friend. The title of the story was, "Man Who fathered 30 Kids Needs a Break - On Child Support." Oh, yeah, I dare you to read that headline and not dive head-first into the story. I began reading...and was shocked, appalled, angered, frustrated....all these things...in no time. Here is the story:
Desmond Hatchett, 33, of Knoxville, TN has fathered 30 children. He's had 4 kids in one year - twice! In 2009, after reaching a total of 21 children, he said he would not have any more. I suppose we know how THAT turned out. Since then, he's had nine more kids - 3 per year. Some of the mothers took him to court as they said they were not receiving child support. Of the mothers that DO receive support, some get as little as $1.49/month. Yes...per MONTH. This guy works a minimum-wage job and the state takes more than half his paycheck. He began having kids when he was 18. There's the story. Period. Oh, and the final statement in the article read that, "The state cannot do anything because he hasn't done anything illegal." Nice.
Okay....time for MY rant. I remember years ago, living and working in Philadelphia, when a pregnant woman came into the office with her three children. She was out of work, collecting welfare and food stamps and I, being a bit forward, asked if she thought it was going to be difficult adding another child to the mix? Wouldn't it be harder with 4 than three? Her response has stayed with me for these past 25 years - "I get more money if I have more kids." There it is. The answer to, "Is the system really broken?" Yes, it is. I cannot believe it is ignorance, yet to have someone think they are getting more money if they have more children and not factor in the cost of raising that child, is beyond comprehension. Yes, ma'am, I understand they give you another $240/month for that child (#4), but you realize it will cost you a total of $500.00/month to raise them as an infant, right? (Yeah, I used a round number to illustrate my point - work with me!) I'm sorry - math wasn't your strong suit? Let me help, lady - they give you $240 and it costs $500. You're in the hole $260 for every kid, every month. So, in essence, you are actually LOSING money. Capiche? Of course, given the fact that you will let the child wear diapers for three days, only feed them every other day, and have no running water will allow you to cut costs. Then, you'll have enough for when Desmond comes around again. You'll be able to afford the crack or the smoke so you can get high and....**POOF**....another kid on its way. Cynical? Damn right, I am. Oh, and are you ready for the 'Big Reveal"? Wondering what he looks like? Want to know if this is a TN southern redneck? Here he is:
Here's the problem, my friends - WE are paying for this! You're hearing this from a man that has not EVER missed a child support payment, nor do I have time for deadbeat dads. Sorry, it's just the way I feel. It's your child. If you could be there for the fun part (whatever length of time that might have been), you'd better be there for the next 18 years. It's the 'Yin' to the 'Yang' of those few fun moments. For this irresponsibility to be allowed in our society today is utterly ridiculous. If the government wants to know why we are ready to rebel, simply read this story. I have no doubt these people are abusing the system - do any of you? This HAS TO bother you! I want my tax dollars going to the couple that, without warning and through no fault of their own, lost their job. I want it to go to their kids so they can eat and be fed. I want them to be able to sustain themselves until they can return to the workforce. Do you want to know the best part of this group of folks, though? They try to shy away from any help from the government. I have a lifelong friend that was in such a position. He did everything he could to continue to raise his children and NOT use the system. He succeeded...and is now back in the workforce without ever having placed ANY burden on his fellow citizens. Listen, I know it happens. Like I said, it's always been a, "There but for the grace of God," kind of thing in my eyes. I want to help those that are willing to help themselves when they are in need. THIS, however, is NOT one of those times.
So the question is, how do we go about fixing it? Court-ordered sterilization? Mandatory birth-control? I think we all know that will not happen for either solution. Change the laws and put them in jail? That system is already overcrowded because we, as a country, are too busy trying to fight a war on drugs we cannot win so we put stoners in jail. By 'stoners' I am speaking of marijuana users. Seriously, they are too tired to hurt anyone - why not leave them under house arrest? Wow...I digress, eh? I firmly believe we must consider, in cases like this, the sterilization option. Yes, we could limit the funds we provide, but what of the earlier couple? You KNOW it will then come down to a race issue....right? I don't know what the solution is, but I cannot believe this is the only case like this in the US...and sadly, most of it IS a racial situation. That brings me to one last 'off topic' portion of the rant - Star Jones. Yesterday, on the Today Show, a few of the professionals they interview were asked about Mark Zuckerberg wearing a 'hoodie' to meet with investors on Wall Street. While Donnie Deutsch and Nancy Snyderman both remarked that, like Steve Jobs and his turtleneck, this was Zuckerberg's "brand" and image, Star could not resist. She thought it was interesting that only a few weeks ago Trayvon Martin, while wearing a 'hoodie', was gunned down and that it's because it was racially-motivated. The hoodie, not the shooting. Seriously, folks...if you want equality, stop playing the race card. We have given everything we can, some more willingly than others, but to use 'race' for every issue is beyond belief. Stop it...and go make sure Desmond Hatchett stops procreating, please. Your fellow citizens, both black and white, will thank you.
Until next time...........