New York Times liberals praise a modern-day slave plantation for black men

The New York Times ran a piece on the subject of trying to squeeze cash out of low-income deadbeat dads such as Walter Scott (my posting on the same subject). The comments are kind of interesting, considering the self-professed liberal nature of the readership.

Sara Rainey:

At York County Prison in York South Carolina, those who are incarcerated due to child support can be put on a work release program after passing a background check and a drug screen. If they already have a job, they can be put back on their job that day, or the following day. If they do not have a job, the work release coordinator will help them look and obtain a job outside the facility. Then the inmate gives their check to the work release coordinator who takes 55% for child support, a small percentage for the facility room and board and save the rest for the inmate. These inmates can pay down their child support, and pay the county for the incarceration and have a job and money saved when they are released. Although most inmates that obtain a job while incarcerated do not keep that job once released. It is a win/win situation for the inmate and the county. This needs to be researched more.

Given that a high percentage of people imprisoned for failure to pay child support happen to be black men, how is this different from an 18th century cotton plantation? I wrote a response to her comment: “Can I buy a big cotton farm in South Carolina, build some basic dormitories, then ask the government to send me some healthy adults to live in my dorms and pick cotton during the day because if they run away the government will hunt them down, shackle them, and return them to me? Since I want to make sure that the workers are young, strong, and fit, perhaps I can go to a government-run auction and bid on the defendants who seem best suited to the work on my farm?” In other words, getting whatever child support a court has ordered has become so important to liberals that they are willing to advocate for a plantation system staffed with chained black men.

Kate in Virginia:

The reason these mothers are not required to work when their children are young is that the US does not pay a living wage. If the woman cannot earn a decent salary, it doesn’t make economic sense for her to work outside the home.

But let’s not pretend that mom’s not working. Taking care of little kids is work.

Because women cannot get a fair deal in the labor market, in other words, low-income black men should be put into prison unless they compensate women for the unfairness of the patriarchy.

(Her comment “taking care of little kids is work” is also interesting for its assumption that the modern-day parent collecting child support is actually taking care of children. It turns out that getting the loser parent ordered to pay for commercial day care or after-school care, in addition to guideline child support, is the trend in most states. But much political support for child support that yields a profit over actual expenses is based on the idea that the winner parent should be paid by the loser parent to perform child care tasks.)

sfdphd (from San Francisco):

Jail or revoking driver license doesn’t make any sense at all. These people need to be kept working and their wages garnished, not put in circumstances where they cannot work to earn the money the child needs. Then in jail, the taxpayer is paying for the guy. That’s just stupid.

I also believe that if they cannot support the first kid, they should be required to get a reversible vasectomy until they can afford to support their children….

Quick summary: Since most low-income black men will eventually get ordered to pay child support and fall behind on payments, most low-income black men will eventually be forced by the government to have vasectomies.

The article and comments are both interesting for how few people mention the profitability of children for adults. An adult with no child is not entitled to much in the way of welfare. An adult with a child gets benefits that cost over $ 60,000 per year (, i.e., more than $ 1 million over an 18-year period. Can putting a bunch of black guys into prison (with or without letting them out during the daytime to work on a plantation) cause low-income Americans to ignore this opportunity? The Times doesn’t write about the government workers getting paychecks from the system: a $ 6 billion payroll in the state and federal offices of child support enforcement, judges, prison guards, etc. The typical low-income child is actually hurt by the child support system, even when child support is paid (see “Child Support and Young Children’s Development” (Nepomnyaschy, et al, 2012; Social Science Review 86:1), a Rutgers and University of Wisconsin study of children of lower income unmarried parents), but plenty of (mostly white) adults benefit financially when low-income black men are pulled into court and then prison.

The comments contain a lot of attacks on low-income low-education black Americans by white liberals with, presumably, advanced educations and New York Times subscriptions. According to the attorneys we interviewed for Real World Divorce, highly educated white people are avid seekers of tax-free child support profits, and periodically there are newspaper articles about some spectacularly rich (white) people seeking to add to their cash hoards through child support (see for some links). The vast majority of the women that we learned about who made money by selling abortions (go to bar, get pregnant with high-income guy, hire attorney, get fetal paternity test, market abortion at discount to net present value of expected child support payments) were white. But somehow it is poor blacks who are behaving badly and must be scolded.

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

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