Friday, November 6, 2009

Re: Inner Life

Many thanks to Beth for sending us a link to a site which features a frame by frame explanation of what's going on in the video titled Inner Life of a Cell. If you go to the link scroll down about a page or so to find the explanations.


Ending the Cycle of Poverty

Andrew submits a very thoughtful and perhaps provocative response to a post that appeared on Viewpoint last August titled Why No Supermarkets?. I thought it might be worthwhile to put his reply on the Home page rather than the Feedback page and invite your comments. Here are his thoughts:

Your [Viewpoint's] assessment that the lack of responsible fathers in the inner-city certainly hits on an element of the problem with inner-city populations, but I think that the largest part of the problem goes a little further. This is a tough topic for me because it raises feelings and thoughts that are hard to temper. I should point out that my observations may come off as leaning toward racist; however, I would like to state outright that for any observation I make about the inner-city population, it will almost wholly apply to certain population groups that are Caucasian. My gripe is not against any particular ethnicity, but about the sub-culture that propagates the cycle I am about to describe. Reader be warned, this could get hairy.

We can thank Lyndon Johnson for our society's current state of affairs with the inner-city population. His social programs and desire for a Great Society amounted to a Great Dependence on government for Americans everywhere. Following the lead of his predecessor, FDR, Johnson set forth and accomplished the goal of setting a precedent for the government to help "people in need." The only problem is, the system creates entire generations of people in need from their parents who were themselves people in need.

My wife is a counselor for a large organization that provides counseling for children in inner-city schools. I want to point two things out. The organization only operates in inner-city schools because that is where the kids who have government assistance go to school. Second, as a result of the former, her company does not provide services in non-inner-city schools; not because those children don't have needs but because it is not profitable to operate in a school where each individual insurance company has to approve therapy and certify the counselor. Translation, money for the state is easy to get.

Here is the great trap. No one wants to take from children. I completely understand. Children are the true victims here. But as soon as they cease to be children, they become propagators of the problem. If you get nothing else, walk away with this:

The cycle of systemic dependence hinges on the benefits paid for the continual irresponsible conception of children.

The children that my wife counsels have "diagnosed" disorders. These disorders range from ADHD to aggressive tendencies toward authority. Problem is, I would speculate that most of them are not the product of genetics or genuine medical conditions, but instead the product of being raised in an environment where the child is not nurtured and/or properly cared for.

It basically works like this. A non-working mother with a diagnosed child can get Supplemental Security Income in the amount of about $650.00 for the first child. Now, no one is going to get rich off of $650.00 per month, but a single mother who receives SSI is immediately eligible for Section 8 housing and an entire swath of other government programs from welfare and food stamps to cash assistance.

So the cycle operates like this. Woman has child (or children) before she even finishes high school. With no system of family support she cannot go to work so she goes on welfare and government assistance. Not knowing how to raise children, she treats them like [crap] because it is the only thing she has ever known. Naturally, the children are misbehaved, subsequently diagnosed [with a disorder], and she receives more money from the government. Her children follow her pattern and the cycle continues.

Now, you might be tempted to brush this off as an overly racist, broad stroke stereotype of the inner city. I will concede that, clearly, not all people in the inner city are like this, but I believe that the problem has reached critical mass and is now like a reaction that cannot be controlled... at least not in our current state of affairs. Let me throw out some real-life scenarios.

My wife has a client who has two brothers (all three receive services). The three of them have sixteen cousins from one daddy spread over seven mommies. The government is tossing money at these parents for having kids.

Children in the inner city are starving. My wife's greatest tool in positive reinforcement therapy is KFC. They eat like it's their last meal.

Women who walk their children to school typically drop them off wearing pajamas ... and pick them up six hours later wearing the same slippers and pajamas. Maybe they just work third shift, right?

The mommies who do actually get dressed look like someone you would expect to take 'cash for services'. Hey, let's not knock the hip-hop look... but let's do point out that they dress in designer clothes while their children wear what amounts to barely more than unwashed rags.

On the day before mandatory PA Act 80 half school days, every child has a big, round, bright orange sticker placed on his or her back alerting parents to the fact that the next day is a half day. When the school dismisses early there are anywhere from 50 to 100 children sitting in the hallway outside of the office. Most of them sit there until 3:00 pm.

Children get dropped off from cars with thumping bass and shiny wheels. They come to school hungry, unbathed, and with tattered clothing, [but] there's a playstation or xbox in almost every home.

Drive through any section 8 housing area and count the number of satellite dishes hanging off the side of the building.

If a woman plays her cards right and has children she can receive benefits well into her 50's if her last child is born when she is in her late 30's.

The bottom line is this. The inner city isn't producing fathers capable of raising children. Further, the inner city is systematically producing generation after generation of dependence on government programs.

I have a solution that guarantees that I'll never be elected to office. Here it goes:

For every man/woman [below the poverty line? RLC] that has a child, the government offers a $10,000.00 tax-free check (for each parent) to undergo reversible sterilization (tube-tie and snip-snip). Parents who accept government assistance will be required to be self-sufficient within 10 years. If they are not, their children are taken away. Men who father children but do not pay adequate child support are imprisoned in labor camps that produce certain resources needed for infrastructure (asphalt, etc). These aren't slave labor camps. They work 40 hours per week and receive compensation which is first dispersed to their children, then given to them. They stay in prison until their child turns 18. The 10 year period of government assistance will be accompanied by generous assistance for education or vocational training. The government will require insurance companies to pay for the reversal procedure for a person who becomes self-sufficient and wishes to have more children.

The idea here is to get the cycle below critical mass by causing a decline in the population that is misusing government funds. Only then can social programs function as they were intended. As it stands right now, a man and a woman can multiply themselves by factors of 10 or more causing the cycle of dependence to grow geometrically. By reversibly sterilizing willing participants and imprisoning men who recklessly procreate we can start to send this sub-culture into population decline.

My plan would take decades, but I think it would save money right off the bat. What do you think?