Stephen Baskerville on the Child Support System: ‘From Welfare State to Police State’

“Child support became politicized by the early 1990s, when parents who allegedly fail to pay–‘deadbeat dads’–became the subjects of a national demonology, and child support went from being a minor matter affecting a few people on the margins of society to a sacred political cow in the national vocabulary. ‘On the left and on the right, the new phrase to conjure with is ‘child support,”‘ writes Bryce Christensen, who notes that politicians see it as ‘the best rhetoric in the world’: ‘a rhetoric unifying political figures’ from both parties.

“Although Ronald Reagan seems to have coined the term deadbeat dads, it was Bill Clinton who took it on the campaign trail. ‘We will find you!’ he famously intoned at the 1992 Democratic National Convention. ‘We will make you pay!’ During the debate leading up to welfare reform, George Gilder warned of the bipartisan bandwagon being marshaled to punish private citizens who had been pronounced guilty by general acclaim:

“‘The president wants to take away their driver”s licenses and occupational accreditations. Texas Governor George W. Bush wants to lift their hunting licenses as well. Moving to create a generation of American boat people, Senator Bill Bradley is leading a group of senators seeking to seize their passports. Congressman Henry Hyde wants to expand the powers of the IRS to confiscate their assets. Running for president, Lamar Alexander wants to give them ‘jail time,’ presumably so they won”t vote. Also running for president, Alan Keyes suggests caning, recommending ‘a trip to Singapore to learn how to administer a civil beating.’ Governor William Weld in Massachusetts wants to subpoena their DNA, put liens on their houses, and hound them through the bureaucracies of 50 states.'”–Stephen Baskerville, PhD

Stephen Baskerville’s new article on the child support system is aptly titled–“From Welfare State to Police State” (The Independent Review, Volume 12 Number 3, Winter 2008.) Baskerville explains:

“Welfare reform in the United States has shifted the role of welfare agencies from distributing money to collecting it–not from taxpayers but from divorced fathers. Despite the stereotype of the “deadbeat dad’ as a wealthy playboy squiring around his new trophy wife in a bright red Porsche, federal officials have acknowledged that most unpaid child support is uncollectible because it is owed by fathers who are as poor as or poorer than the mothers and children.”

The full, 22 page article can be seen here. Baskerville also deals with this subject in his book Taken Into Custody.

The child support enforcement system has enormous powers, and is rife with abuses. To learn more, click here or see my recent co-authored columns below:

Passport Rules Unfair to Child Support Debtors (San Antonio Express-News, 9/8/07)

Child Support Enforcement System Victimizes Military Personnel, Innocent Citizens (World Net Daily, 6/27/07)

Most Illinois ‘Deadbeats’ Aren’t ‘Reprehensible’ — They’re Broke (Chicago Daily Southtown, 6/20/07)

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