Don Mathis: It’s Time for Newspapers to Remove the Word ‘Deadbeat’ from Their Lexicon

Background: My recent co-authored column, Passport Rules Unfair to Child Support Debtors (San Antonio Express-News, 9/8/07), criticizes the new child support/passport rules which are so overwhelmingly popular among the editorial boards of our nation’s newspapers. The column was a response to the Express-News’ recent editorial “Federal law catching up with deadbeat parents’ (8/23/07). I commend the paper for its willingness to publish such criticism.

Texas shared parenting advocate Don Mathis had a letter published in the Express-News concerning my column, in which he called upon the paper to “remove the word ‘deadbeat’ from its lexicon.” His letter is below, and can also be seen here.

Dads are dead broke, not deadbeat

The statistic from the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement quoted by Jeffery M. Leving and Glenn Sacks is more than interesting (“Passport rules unfair to child support debtors,’ Sept. 12). It was reported that fewer than 4 percent of the national child support debt is owed by those earning $40,000 or more a year.

Why is it that if a poor custodial mom cannot make ends meet, we offer her assistance? And if an impoverished noncustodial dad has the same problems, we make him a criminal?

It is time for the Express-News to remove the word “deadbeat’ from its lexicon. “Dead broke’ is more like it. Being poor should not be a crime.

–Don Mathis,
Sherman, Texas

To write a Letter to the Editor
regarding Passport Rules Unfair to Child Support Debtors (9/8/07), write to

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