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The Federal Bureau of Marriage?

Liberty Magazine, July 2003
The Federal Bureau of Marriage?
by Stephen Baskerville

Deadbeat Dads

To judge from initial measures, the healthy marriages project appears to be largely a vehicle for expanding the already formidable child-support enforcement apparatus.

The dishonesty of the government's claimed child-support crisis has now been exposed in so many works there is no need to belabor it here. (See "The Myth of Deadbeat Dads," June 2002.) Significantly, our awareness of the alleged problem has come entirely from government officials. No public outcry ever preceded the creation of government machinery; the public never demanded that government take action; nor has any discussion of this alleged problem ever been held in the media. In fact, no public perception of such a problem even existed until public officials began saying it did. No government or academic study ever documented the existence of a child-support problem.

cartoon: "It's time you learned,son - in-laws and outlaws aren't necessarity opposites."

The initiative has been taken throughout by government officials and quasi-governmental interest groups, whose power has greatly expanded as a result.

Prior to the creation of the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement and throughout its 28-year history, no study has ever been conducted on the reason for its existence. Several unchallenged studies have established that no problem in fact does exist.

In the realm of child support, too, machinery created for the poor expanded to the middle class. The criminal enforcement machinery was initially promoted as a means to recoup welfare costs and help single mothers off welfare. Though it never had this effect, the program expanded exponentially following its creation in 1975. HHS figures show that welfare cases now account for less than one-fifth of all child-support cases, and the proportion is shrinking. The remaining four-fifths are non-welfare cases consisting largely of previously married fathers who are usually divorced involuntarily and who generally can be counted on to pay.

Designed to reduce government spending, the federal program has incurred a continuously increasing deficit. Promoted to help poor children whose unemployed fathers had allegedly abandoned them, the new machinery became a means to loot working fathers who had done no such thing and whose children were taken from them through no fault or agreement of their own. Child support enforcement is now a multi-billion dollar industry, with interlocking agencies on the federal, state, and local level, plus private contractors. Support levels are set by the same officials and contractors who collect child support. By forcibly separating

The realization that the engine generating fatherless children is not the fathers, but the state, takes on implications few have dared to confront.

fathers from their children and imposing impossible child support burdens, these officials can create the very delinquents on which their business depends.

The Office of Child Support Enforcement oversees a force of plainclothes agents who can issue arrest warrants and carry guns. They also have powers to gather financial and other information on private citizens, including surveillance of citizens who have no involvement in child support. Child-support defendants can be jailed without a formal charge or jury trial or attorney, and may be presumed guilty until proven innocent.

Horror stories are legion. Damn White of Prince George, British Columbia, was denied all contact with his three children, evicted from his home, and ordered to pay more than twice his income as child and spousal support, plus court costs for a divorce to which he never agreed. White hanged himself. There is nothing unusual about this judgment, says former British Columbia Supreme Court Judge Lloyd McKenzie, who pointed out that the judge applied standard guidelines.

There is also nothing unusual about the result. Scholars and journalists treat court-related suicide as a problem not of justice but, again, of therapy. Pierre Baume of Monash University found that in Australia more than 1,000 men aged 25 to 44 take their own lives yearly. He found that most involve child access problems. Yet in language typical of his trade, Baume attributes this finding to relationship break-ups. Fathers therefore need, not due process of law, but, once again, counseling and education on how to express their feelings.

When Augustine Kposowa of the University of California attributed a similar suicide rate in the United States directly to family-court action, three news outlets ignored this conclusion, reporting instead that fathers lack support networks.

Next Part: The Fraud of Healthy Marriages
Other Parts:

This article originally appeared in the July 2003 issue of Liberty, PO Box 1181, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Annual subscription US$29.50. Copyright 2003, Liberty, all rights reserved.

Index to more of Stephen Baskerville's articles

Stephen Baskerville's website

See also:

Feminism For Male College Students A Short Guide to the Truth, by Angry Harry (Off-Site)

White RoseThe White Rose
Thoughts are Free

Posted 2003 07 08
2006 03 04 (added link to Feminism for Male College Students)