Since yesterday was Father's Day, I thought I'd write a post on fatherhood. Specifically, why the "deadbeat dads" that everyone loves to bash on Father's Day shouldn't be required to pay child support to the women they impregnated. Yes, you heard it right. I think men should be allowed to father children and then walk away without ever giving their baby mamas a cent. Why? Because maybe, if women know that they will be forced to raise any children they have out of wedlock completely on their own, they might make damn sure they have a ring on their finger before they let someone in their pants.
Here's the deal: young people don't need money to be raised right, they need fathers. Boys need to grow up with a man who can hold down a steady job, stay out of prison, and treat his wife with dignity so they can learn how to do the same thing. Girls need a father like that, too, so they know what to look for in a man. Everyone's seen the statistics that show how children from single-mother homes are more likely to drop out of high school, go to prison, be poor, and father children out of wedlock or become single parents themselves than those who grow up in two-parent households.
Child support does what it is supposed to do: it makes it easier to get by when raising a child on your own. This goal, while compassionate, is definitely harmful to society. 40% of babies are born out of wedlock these days, and the unemployment rate for young blacks, the hardest hit group with an OOW birth rate of 70%, is hovering around 30%, three times the national average. I humbly posit that if it were harder to be a single mother, fewer women would do it. They would be more careful about who they have sex with and whether or not they use birth control. Instead, even though it's for admittedly well-intentioned reasons, we're still basically paying people for single motherhood. Plus, it's not like 40% of babies in the United States are born as a result of rape. Those women chose to have sex, and future women can choose not to.
Why weren't prospective fathers deterred by the prospect of having their wages garnished for 18 years for the benefit of children they evidently cared little for? I don't know, but for some reason, they weren't. The overall out-of-wedlock birth rate has increased from 5% in the 1960s to 40% now, and the black OOW birth rate jumped from 25% in 1963 to a crippling 70% today. Child support, which was introduced in 1975, has not reversed this trend. It's time we gave women a chance to do what men have not by taking responsibility for their sexual actions.
I don't believe fathers should be required to pay child support in cases of no-fault divorce, either. Children of divorced parents, while not in as bad shape as those who grow up without ever having a father present, still suffer psychological harm that can impact their happiness and success later in life. According to Margaret Brinig of the University of Iowa and Douglas Allen of Simon Fraser University, more than 70% of all no-fault divorces are initiated by women. Perhaps wives wouldn't be so quick to pull the trigger if they didn't think they could take their husbands' incomes with them along with his kids, or perhaps they might think twice about who they marry.
I'm not saying we end child support payments tomorrow. That would be reckless and cruel. Rather, if I were made dictator, I would announce that any child born a year from now will not merit the mother any child support regardless of her marital or economic status. There might be a "baby boom" in nine months, but after that, I bet things would settle down REAL fast.