Monday, August 11, 2008

Reasons to be on the DPB

So here's a test I'm applying to think about this one - what of the following are a good reason to claim the DPB? I am talking of women here for sake of simplicity.

1. Woman gets pregnant (accident or deliberate is neither here nor there since it is impossible to prove one way or the other), father doesn't want to know. Woman wants to keep the child (I mean as in raise, not adopt) and become a mother. ANSWER: State should pursue father as being legally obliged to provide adequate support to pay for child.

2. Woman gets pregnant, in de facto relationship, relationship ends for whatever reason. ANSWER: State should pursue father as being legally obliged to provide adequate support to pay for child.

3. Woman gets pregnant, whilst married. Couple separate or divorce. ANSWER: State should pursue father as being legally obliged to provide adequate support to pay for child.

4. Women gets pregnant, father of child died. ANSWER: Couple should have made provision for life insurance, other whilst welfare state remains, DPB remains until youngest child of that father, is of school age.

5. Any of the above scenarios, father too poor to pay for child. ANSWER: Father still responsible to pay proportionate child support, mother claims unemployment benefit whilst welfare state exists.

Quite simply, if people choose to breed, which includes taking the risk of breeding, they bear the consequences of it. At the moment the consequences are to be paid and to be not responsible for paying.

If this is moral then I'd like supporters of the DPB to answer why those who raise children by their own financial means shouldn't stop working and just let the state pay - except of course, there wouldn't be any money then to do so!

8 comments:

ZenTiger said...

5a. Father fathers several children in several relationships and is unemployed.

How do you suggest we prevent, stop, dissuade or punish this scenario?

ZenTiger said...

The other issue is that it's not just the parents "bearing the consequences", it's the children.

How do we teach responsibility to the irresponsible, without harming the children, who are already on the back foot with such parents in the first place?

If we took away the benefits, perhaps more children would be given up for adoption. I suspect that the parents would soon be back in the same situation though.

Sex education cannot be just about using a condom. Nearly 50% of abortions site contraception failure as a reason.

Responsibility and consequences must be part of that education process, and the advice that the absolute best option is to wait. And wait longer. And wait more. Maybe kids wont listen, but they'll be clear that they got the message.

That's different than "we know you'll do it anyway, so here's a rubber".

Mr Dennis said...

You are right that the father needs to be pursued. We need a comprehensive set of policies to address the problem at each stage:

1) Sex education. As ZenTiger says, people need to be taught abstinence as the FIRST option (then given info about contraceptives in case they still decide to behave unwisely). This would reduce unwanted pregnancies and STDs. In addition, abstaining until marriage results in stronger marriages, so it could lower the divorce rate, again reducing the amount of single parents.

2) Teach children about childcare in school, as part of sex ed, to ensure there is a clear understanding that sex is to make children rather than just a bit of fun.

3) Enable the Family Court to order paternity tests when in doubt so the father will be known in (virtually) all cases.

4) Pursue runaway fathers and ensure they actually pay child support.

5) Make sure teenagers are taught in school about the fact they will be responsible for their children and the true cost of this.

The DPB is the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. We need to stop people falling off the cliff in the first place.

ZenTiger said...

cite, not site. (If you didn't notice, then ignore this comment. If you noticed other mistakes, then I appreciate your silence)

libertyscott said...

The breeding father should pay for each child, even if it is a nominal minimal amount like $10 a week. This should be deducted from the unemployment benefit. So he has to survive off charity? Tough.

Children are harmed by the status quo now, by parents who rather spend on alcohol and drugs than clothes, good food and books.

I disagree on sex education, I think part of the problem is misuse of contraception. I know plenty of people who never have accidental conceptions, which is virtually unknown for women on the pill. It is about responsibility first though. Sex is a tradeoff of intense pleasure and intimacy, and risk. Most people most of the time are willing to take the risk with someone who they get to know. I don't believe it is "unwise" and people react negatively to being told what to do about their bodies when it hurts no one else - but telling of the consequences is something almost everyone accepts.

However I agree with Mr Dennis on all other points!

and Zen, it's ok, I appreciate your contributions.

Mr Dennis said...

The problem with sex ed in NZ isn't that it promotes contraception, it is that it ONLY promotes contraception and assumes that virtually all teenagers will have sex, here, have a condom.

Most teens don't have sex, or at least didn't used to, but that is changing as people are indoctrinated to think it is normal.

The point I was making on sex ed is that abstinence is the best option (as it prevents pregnancy and STDs and results in stronger marriages). It therefore needs to be promoted as such. If someone chooses to have sex then they need info on contraceptives too. And they need info on the consequences of both STDs and pregnancy, and how to deal with these (such as childcare).

But the current programme promotes sex (I know, it isn't that long since I went through it) and is run by Family Planning whose representatives I have found on more than one occasion to deliberately lie to promote teen sex - I have no idea why. This makes the problem worse.

Teens need all the info so they can make an informed choice. They don't just need condoms.

Ruth said...

Good post Scott. I like this blog becuase you always show your humanity - a lot more than many 'libertarians'.

This post may interest you. It's not about economics so much, but the writer makes an excellent point. The blog doesn't have proper archiving so I will paste it.

I don’t remember how old I was when I learned my mother’s terrible secret. She had been “illegitimate.” She told only a handful of people in her lifetime. Even now, with my parents and grandparents dead, I feel uncomfortable writing about this.
Her mother had been infatuated with on older man in the neighborhood. She knew nothing about sex, but one time, when the two were alone, he had sex with her. She became pregnant, but he refused to acknowledge that he was the father of her child...

A number of feminist issues that persist today resonate with me because of my family history. I’m irate that some conservatives want to use shame to try to keep unwed girls and women from becoming pregnant.
This is a case of conservatives forcing their values on others. It reinforces the idea that females must be sexual gatekeepers because they bear the brunt of the shame. People may never know that a man is an “unwed father.” Shaming contributes to the instability of families, and it can result in mental and physical harms to the children. Shaming has economic consequences.
Thinking of my grandmother, I wish all children could get comprehensive sex education. My grandmother could be a terror, but her unhappiness may have stemmed from feeling trapped and abused. That’s another story, but suffice it so say that she knew my grandfather could destroy her life and Mom’s if he had told the truth.
I long for a world in which women have more freedom in entering and exiting relationships, and no child is born into shame.


This is why we have to be cautious about the conservative agenda, I think. They would have us all back in the bad old days.

Mr Dennis said...

Speaking as a conservative, I completely disagree Ruth. We have problems in society. Promoting the best solution (abstinence) as the first (not the only) option does NOT equate to returning to 'the bad old days'.