Sunday, May 08, 2011

If it's now the state's job to support mothers to be at home...

The Labor Government has a new policy on teenage single mothers. Teen mothers will receive a welfare payment for 12 months, but will then be expected to finish high school if they want to continue to receive money from the government.

The Government is concerned to avoid a situation like the one in England, in which a growing number of single mothers live off welfare and raise daughters who do likewise (53% of the daughters of single mothers become single mothers themselves).

I don't often write about the issue of welfare, but this one is relevant because if large numbers of young women choose to be supported by state welfare, then what happens to the men who would once have married them? As one English researcher wrote of teen girls choosing to become mothers:

Traditionally they would not have been able to do this without finding male partners and motivating them to help as family providers.

But the welfare state has changed all that, by stepping in as a direct provider itself, rendering many potentially helpful men redundant in the process.

So it seems to me that the Gillard Government policy is a reasonable compromise. It gives the teen mothers a year to look after their newborn children, but then imposes some work/education expectations.

Susie O'Brien, a Herald Sun columnist, doesn't see it this way at all. She wrote:

Let's stop picking on teenage single parents. Most of them are doing it hard enough already, without the threat of losing their livelihood.

Their livelihood? That's an interesting way of describing a welfare payment. It's as if Susie O'Brien wants to treat the single mother payment as something so normal and run of the mill that it fits into the same category as earning a living through a trade or profession.

Why would she do this? There's a clue, I think, in her follow up comment:

Why have a paid maternity leave scheme encouraging mothers to take time off to be with their kids, but force teen mums back to school or work once their kid is just one year old?

At first I didn't understand this argument. The paid maternity leave scheme doesn't allow women to spend all that long with their children. It allows women 18 weeks at the minimum wage, paid for by the government, before they are expected back at work. So if working mums are expected back at work after just four and half months, why not expect teen mothers to go to work after 12 months?

But then I got the connection. In traditional societies it was expected that a husband would support his wife when she was at home with their children. Men were therefore paid a living wage and given tax breaks if they had kids. But with the advent of the paid maternity leave scheme it is now official that the government has taken over this role. Therefore, it makes sense for Susie O'Brien to look on the government as being the legitimate provider enabling women to be at home raising their children. It makes sense for her to see the government payment as a legitimate "livelihood" for women who choose to raise children, with the absence or presence of a husband no longer being as relevant. And if you think it's a good thing for women to be at home with their kids, then you'll start to believe that the government should pay for them to do so - since that is now the government's role.

It confirms my belief that paid parental schemes should be opposed. I know that the money will be very welcome to some people, including to some of my readers. But there are other ways for the state to support families financially, such as through tax breaks.

To repeat, one of the major problems with a paid maternity leave scheme is that it legitimates the idea that it is the government which is to play the provider role and allow women to mother their children at home. Once this principle is accepted, then it will quickly become a "right" for women, whether married or not, to have the government pay for them to raise their children. Those women who want to be at home raising their children will increasingly look to the government to fund this desire.

I'm not sure how far the government will go in meeting such expectations. A lot of feminists prefer women to work rather than to be at home and it would be expensive for governments to write a blank cheque to fund the tremendous costs involved. But we can see from the attitude of Susie O'Brien that there are going to be women who will think it reasonable for the government to fulfil such expectations.

16 comments:

  1. No feminist will every escape the fact that even if men, husbandry and fatherhood is made completely irrelevant, it is still primarily men who will contribute to the tax coffers by which these females' lives are subsidized. Women simply cannot live without men. Men are essential. Subtract men, and you are walking down the path towards bankruptcy and barbarism.

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  2. I agree with Kilroy. The welfare state will always eat itself in a democratic nation. People will always vote themselves goodies from the treasury.

    Bigos

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  3. There's not enough political will to roll back Big Government enough to prevent the eventual collapse.

    The only end to this is when the bond market decides that enough is enough.

    After that happens, we'll be forced to come up with a better system that rewards production instead of sloth. Or maybe we'll just become Ukraine. Who knows?

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  4. Feminists really only want working women to be in the glamorous professions. The type of working women who would accept a welfare payment would be in menial employment field. No glamor there so bring on the welfare cheque.

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  5. Re Greenlander, the bond market did decide that enough was enough in Ireland, Portugal, and Greece. Has the long march of statist feminism through the institutions of those countries been checked thereby for one moment? If so, where?

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  6. Susie O'Brien has been clueless since the day she started her inane column.

    Yet another middle class professional woman with very little idea about the realities of the world who feels entitled to spew her uninformed opinions.

    You are 100% spot on with the welfare comments Mark, the primary effect of raising welfare seems to be taking money from men to give it to women.

    Since many men [and traditionally nearly all men] already transfer a large chunk of their wealth to women this puts the system even further out of whack.

    And we wonder why young men feel little to no compulsion to grow up. There is a smaller and smaller payoff for doing so, both in terms of respect and support from the wider society.

    Then those young blokes go out and beat the crap out of each other in the city while Susie O and her ilk tut tut about how evil and violent men are and how we should be more like women.

    Only a world run by women could make so little sense.

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  7. ""the bond market did decide that enough was enough in Ireland, Portugal, and Greece. Has the long march of statist feminism through the institutions of those countries been checked thereby for one moment? If so, where?""

    Not a fair comparison Arnold, the Bond markets and welfare states of those countries did collapse. And was then propped up by the EU, and then mostly by it's chequebook Deutschland.

    But Ireland, Greece et al are now forced to pay back the bailouts, essentially making those entire countries debtors of the EU and its financial friends.

    What we have seen is the beginning of what I suspect will be a very slow dominoe fall.

    But you are right, the welfare state collapsing will not bring back a traditionalist way of life. You need total social collapse or something even more dramatic.

    Of course economic collapse CAN bring about such collapses, and I suspect in this case the chances are better than even.

    What will arise out of the ashes though is undetermined, it might be a collapse of liberalism, it might be liberal totalitarianism or something else entirely.

    As you can tell by the length of these posts I find this a very interesting subject.

    The welfare state has changed our society so dramatically in the last 60 or so years who could possibly predict what would happen if it fell in on itself?

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  8. rendering many potentially helpful men redundant in the process

    They aren't redundant. By edging closer to the perfect feminist state, in which men are functionally enslaved to provide for women (whether or not those women are their wives), the proposed scheme makes them very important. They have resources that can be stolen for the benefit of women and the government bureaucrats that work for them.

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  9. I'm not sure how far the government will go in meeting such expectations.
    To a total collapse.
    And when it comes to the future after collapse, look at the world, how many pre-feminism Western Europe like prospering societies there are... That shows a probability of returnning back to pre-feminism values.

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  10. Almost seems like a communist for radical individualism. Destroy the family and weaken it to attain total control over them.

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  11. "In traditional societies it was expected that a husband would support his wife when she was at home with their children"

    In traditional societies men do not go about impregnating women to whom they are not married. The illegitimacy problem is a consequence of male irresponsibility and fecklessnes in fornicating with women to whom they are not married.

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  12. In traditional societies men do not go about impregnating women to whom they are not married. The illegitimacy problem is a consequence of male irresponsibility and fecklessnes in fornicating with women to whom they are not married.
    What planet are you from? Those men just used situation primarily created and supported by women.

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  13. The illegitimacy problem is a consequence of male irresponsibility and fecklessnes

    Anon, you can't look at these kind of issues outside of the culture of relationships in society. If there is one certain rule of society, it's that men and women influence each other in their dating and sexual behaviour.

    If, for instance, women favour player type men during their teens and twenties, then you will get player type men. If numbers of teen girls embark on single motherhood as a lifestyle choice, then there will be men who will think of that as a path to fatherhood.

    It's not enough for Christians to object to the manifestations of what is happening. They need to engage with what the dynamic is and why it's happening and intervene in the larger trends in society.

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  14. ""What planet are you from? Those men just used situation primarily created and supported by women.""

    Right.

    No wriggling out of female responsibility for feminism [the hint is in the name].

    You "did it for yourselves" sisters so don't try to man-blame now.

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  15. It is axiomatic in economics that if you want less of something, tax it. If you want more of something, subsidize it.

    In the 1980's it was obvious that by subsidizing never married women's children, more single mothers were being created. And nothing was done of any substance, not in the US, not in Europe, not anywhere. Now in the US, single mothers are increasingly the norm.

    This is simply another logical step in making government the ultimate parent of all children. It is ironically similar to some of the notions proposed by 19th century and early 20th century Marxists.

    Single mothers by and large are a net drain on the government. As they become a substantial plurality and soon a majority, governments can only wind up spending more and more for their upkeep. The US gets around this by borrowing, but that only works because the US is borrowing in dollars, in its own currency. We see from Greece and Portugal where this leads for countries borrowing in some other currency.

    In the long run it is not sustainable. The pathologies that affect children of single mothers are not a secret. I've read elsewhere the notion that "if there was a disease that did to children what single parent-land does, there would be a scream for a vaccine".

    Hypergamy has been unleashed, and the results are plain to see. In some parts of the industrialized world, de-evolution is the norm. Low intelligence parents are giving the world plenty of even lower intelligence offspring.

    This will end in tears for a lot of us, including the idiots like Susie O'Brien.

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  16. "Anon, you can't look at these kind of issues outside of the culture of relationships in society. If there is one certain rule of society, it's that men and women influence each other in their dating and sexual behaviour."

    Men are the dominant influencers of society and women are largely followers. If men showed some self control and stopped fornicating women with whom they are not married then there would be few sngle mothers. In the past men who impregnated women and abandoned them were stigmatised and held to account for their actions. The maintenance of the internal order of society is the responsibility of men and players in the past were punished.

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