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Tommy Thompson's Reign Of Terror

2002 09 12

My Free Congress Foundation radio commentary ["Tommy Thompson's Reign Of Terror"] has been published on their Notable News Now site (also circulated on their email list), with a somewhat stronger title.



Tommy Thompson's Reign of Terror

By Stephen Baskerville
September 12, 2002

The government claims a crisis of unpaid child support. Leading scholars have declared these claims to be everything from a "myth" to a "hoax." Yet some in the Bush administration seem determined to continue the failed policies of the Clinton years. Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson recently announced mass arrests of parents he says have disobeyed government orders.

The Clinton administration's "Project Save Our Children" illustrates that more political chicanery is perpetrated in the name of children than any other cause. The secretary has begun a "nationwide sweep" to arrest (what he calls) the "most wanted deadbeat parents." By the government's own figures, however, the "worst of the worst" amount to only 69 fathers worthy of prosecution.

Even assuming these few men may be scoundrels, why don't authorities simply arrest them and be done with it? Why all the fanfare from the federal government? Perhaps because these prosecutions are political.

"We will find you," President Clinton would intone against fathers. "We will make you pay." In Maryland, government billboards announce, "We're Looking for You, Child Support Violators." No government warns bank robbers or drug dealers that the government is watching them. This is not law enforcement: It is terror.

"More notable than any one arrest," we are told, is the "message that the administration is sending" that it will use federal agents to enforce divorce. In other words, the aim is not to prosecute lawbreakers but to spread fear. Terrorizing citizens into obeying its orders is not an appropriate role of government in a free society, even when the orders are legitimate.

In this case, the orders are not legitimate. They are creations of a divorce industry eager to encourage divorce by making it more lucrative. A child support "obligation" is simply what judges and bureaucrats decide a father must pay to have his children taken away.

Most divorces are filed by women, usually with no legal grounds. Most obligors have therefore done nothing to incur the imputed obligation, which is set by the same enforcement personnel who collect it. These officials have an interest in separating children from their fathers, imposing impossible child support burdens, and then arresting parents who inevitably fail to pay.

By the government's own account, what is billed as "child support" is little short of plunder. Among those arrested was a man earning all of $39,000 a year and ordered to pay $350 a week for one child, almost two-thirds of his likely take-home pay.

These men have no hope for a fair trial; they have already been pronounced guilty in the media by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, with no platform to reply in their own defense.

The divorce industry has corrupted local government throughout America. Now its poison is reaching up to the highest levels of our government. The administration is soiling its hands in some of the worst sludge left by the Clintons.

Stephen Baskerville is a professor of Political Science at Howard University and a contributor to FCF News on Demand


For media inquiries, contact Steve Lilienthal slilienthal@freecongress.org

Visit our website at http://www.freecongress.org

This publication is a service of the Free Congress Research and Education
Foundation, Inc. (FCF) and does not necessarily reflect the views of the
Free Congress Foundation nor is it an attempt to aid or hinder the passage
of any bill.

Free Congress Foundation * 717 Second Street, NE * Washington, DC  20002 *
202.546.3000 * Fax: 202.544.2819

 * Copyright * 2001  Free Congress Foundation - 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 2002 10 25
2006 03 04 (added link to Feminism for Male College Students)