I was touched by the first person narrative in “A nation in need of responsible fathers“, an opinion piece in MSNBC’s online “The Grio” by Veronica De La Cruz. Ms. De La Cruz’s name may be familiar to you, as she has been seen on both CNN and MSNBC as a News Anchor. One thing that makes this narrative so compelling is the image which accompanies the article is not a stock image but indeed an image of the article’s gorgeous author and her very young son. To me this somehow makes the words more real.
For those of you that personally know me, and have spent anytime listening to my various rants, you know that single mothers are people that if I ever won the gazillion dollar lottery, I would financially take care of each and every one of them (you). Well maybe not Ms. De La Cruz and others that seem to be doing well for themselves financially. But the fact that a woman like Ms. De La Cruz is also a single mother seems to highlight that single motherhood is not restricted to the poor or seemingly less fortunate of our society.
The article mentions a proposed “Deadbeat Dad Act”. I’m not certain if any further laws along these lines is the answer. President Clinton signed the so called “Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act” back in 1998. Even though collections may be up on child support, this bill or any similar legislation can not or will not do anything to curtail the number of children being raised by single parents. Depending on the source this number is as high as more than 1 out of every 2 children (over 50%) are currently being raised by single parents. And all sources seem to agree this number has been on an incline for some time now.
I’m afraid any legislation that could have real possible teeth to take a bite out of this epidemic would never pass even a small town’s council, let alone our do nothing Congress. But just for grins, let’s take a look at what might help. Let’s in fact, look East. Far East to China. In 1979, The Chinese Government implemented their “One-Child Policy” to alleviate social, economic, and environmental problems in China. Most of us in the west laugh at this and/or think it is barbaric. But according to a 2008 Pew Research poll, over three-quarters (3/4) of the Chinese population support the policy.
While we’re talking numbers and statistics, it might surprise some of you to know that only about 1/3 of China’s population are subject to the one-child restriction. The truth is, this policy was well thought out and is being administered in a very humane way that head on met their social and economic challenges. Even people that are affected by the policy have several acceptable loopholes to utilize. Despite what you may have heard or read, pregnant girls living in rural China are not made to endure forced abortions at gun point. The real truth is rural people are not even subject to this regulation. The policy only affects people living in China’s urban population centers, where resources are being taxed well beyond capacity. Furthermore, the policy has within it, Family Planning at every level of Government to raise awareness about the issue.
So where am I going with this you may be asking. I’m glad you asked. I think a 1 or 2 child limit to single parents living in our own urban population centers would be a step in the right direction. The implementation would be nightmarish, but it’s time our Government started substantively dealing with the tough problems at home to insure future longevity of our citizenry.
It would definitely help put a cap on many government services. Lately, we’ve been talked to or at about healthcare. No doubt it’s a problem. But it’s not the only one, so let’s quit beating this dead horse and move on to some of the others. For years, the capacities of our urban infrastructure systems has been tapped out. In many instances, our urban water and sewer systems are working well beyond the designed safety factors. This is also true for our electrical grids, mass transit systems, primary schools, bridges, roadways, etc., etc. Affluent families see this and move to the suburbs. The less fortunate do not have this as an option and remain in their urban habitats. This is a double whammy, as the higher taxed families move out and leave behind those paying little or no taxes for services that are needed.
It would also help many future single parents to cope financially, with or without government assistance. It’s basic math, the fewer mouths to feed, the less the financial strain on what is often a limited income. As our workforce shifts from manufacturing to customer service, high wages are not an option and these single parents will not realistically be able to get “a better job”. We will continue to have a class of “working poor” and this demographic will also be on the incline. We see nearly everyday where big business is taking austerity measures to reduce their cost and compete. If future single parents have any way of mimicking this strategy, it’s limiting the amount of their offspring.
I also believe such a regulation would inherently have many side benefits. For example, urban dwelling unwed males would also be limited to the 1 or 2 child policy. In fact, I might make the limit one child per unwed male. But the real benefit would come in the increased Family Planning. Having your options limited to 1 or 2 children will definitely force our young to be much more selective in their reproductive decisions. It may also mean fewer males will walk away from their only chance at having a family they can call their own.