Bashing the Poor

stewartpoor

Jon Stewart has recently taken on Fox New’s shameful and completely irrational effort to claim that the poor in America are moochers and are somehow ripping off the American people.   After FOX news responded to the first report, Stewart doubled down and completely demolished Eric Bollingsworth’s effort to “school” Stewart.   Why don’t pundits ever get that Stewart lives for such responses and uses them to create some of his best work?

Fox’s argument was straight forward.   The poor in America are moochers.  First, they aren’t really poor.  They have refrigerators, they can use EBT cards at organic markets, purchasing stuff like “wild organic salmon.”   To be poor, apparently, means you have to live in third world conditions, barely scrapping by.   Government aid should be used to buy the cheapest food possible, preferrably expired, definitely not organic.  And you shouldn’t have a television or any modern convenience since those aren’t actually necessary for survival.   If you’re not suffering, you’re not really poor.

Poverty is always relative; you compare wealth within a country, not to some objective standard that applies to the third world and the past as well as now in the US.

Poverty is always relative; you compare wealth within a country, not to some objective standard that applies to the third world and the past as well as now in the US.

The second point is that the poor are able to game the system.   But they can’t prove how often this happens.   Instead they find anecdotal evidence, like “Surfer guy” who did truly abuse the system, and claim that he “literally represents millions of poor.”   He doesn’t, they offer no proof that he does, they just try to ignite anger and emotion from their viewers.

Stewart’s ire is correctly tuned on Fox news here because they are engaged in a cheap propaganda ploy designed to support an ideology that argues against community or anything but the so-called “free market.”   Never mind that free markets cannot exist without a strong, effective state.   Unregulated markets collapse, because there is no check on the abuse of power by those with the most wealth and clout.

Fox relies on the ignorance of Americans about just how skewed wealth distribution is towards the very wealthy, and how far it is from the ideal Americans hold.

Fox relies on the ignorance of Americans about just how skewed wealth distribution is towards the very wealthy, and how far it is from the ideal Americans hold.

And, of course, poor people really live rough lives sometimes.  I know poor students who work 40 hours a week, study, and have to live off the cheapest food possible.  Yes, they do have refrigerators – and stoves, heat in winter, and cupboards.   Compared to the third world, or American life in the early 1800s, they have conveniences beyond belief.  They even have electric lights!   Often they have computers (necessary to study) and even a TV.   But that does not make for an easy go at things.

Single parents find the situation even more difficult.  To work they need child care, child care is expensive.  They want to feed their kids healthy food, but that’s more expensive.   To get good food for their kids, they often sacrifice their own diet.   They might have nice clothes for their kids and themselves – but usually that’s been purchased at a second hand or thrift store.   Or perhaps they find cheap made in china toys and clothes at Walmart.

Through 1979 the wealth gap was decreasing, since then there has been a radical relative shift of wealth from poor to rich

Through 1979 the wealth gap was decreasing, since then there has been a radical relative shift of wealth from poor to rich

So when the poor are demonized as moochers, it’s really a “big lie.”  The poor are worse off.  This affects nutrition, makes it less likely they will get adequate health care, dental care, and educational opportunities.   Yes, they will have a TV and a refrigerator, but won’t have access to what most of the country takes for granted.

I took my kids to swim at the fitness center today.   I skied all winter with them, amazed at how they mastered the mountain (and scary jumps) at such young ages.  I purchase shoes that help me avoid a recurrence of planter fasciitis.   My wife and I eat out when we decide we want to, and sometimes take all four kids (each of us has two from a previous marriage).   We’re hoping for a vacation this summer – nothing fancy, but getting away and doing something fun.   We’ll go to water parks, buy camping equipment, even if we use it in the backyard.   And while it was a stretch, we splurged on a hot tub.

Every well off family has these opportunities.  The very wealthy have no boundaries, they can’t spend all their money on stuff, so they look to invest it to create more money.   In theory that should be good for the economy, but in practice so much money seeking only to make more money inflated bubbles.

After taxes and transfers the US has the biggest gap in wealth in the industrialized world.  Our tax system is the least progressive.

After taxes and transfers the US has the biggest gap in wealth in the industrialized world. Our tax system is the least progressive. GINI index measures wealth distribution; the lower the number the more equal the distribution.  It is used by the CIA and seen as the best measure, especially in a comparative sense.

The poor struggle.  Drive through rural Maine, or the rural south.   Go into the inner city and look at living conditions.  Talk to people who are struggling.   It is perverse that a working class man not on welfare sees the single mother with an EBT card as the enemy, while the upper crust chuckle about how they rigged the game and make it seem like those with the least wealth and power are the problem!   Fox news is their propaganda wing.

 

Although the wealthiest Americans are the wealthiest in the world, our median - the middle of earners - is not close.

Although the wealthiest Americans are the wealthiest in the world, our median – the middle of earners – is not close.  Our middle class is worse off than most middle classes in the industrialized world.

So if you look at the real picture, the very wealthy have been using deregulation and a warped ideology to try to convince those losing out that somehow less taxes and less regulation is good for them.  More “freedom.”  That, again, is the big lie.   The most perverse aspect of all of this is how it’s built on massive debt.   That has created an economy that while still huge, no longer is sustainable.   Unless things change, Americans will soon look back at the 20th Century as the good old days now gone, nostalgic for the time America’s middle class was envied.  Those days are already gone, America is no longer the best place to live in the industrialized world, especially for the poor and the middle class.

Total debt  - public and private - is at unprecedented levels.  Only during the height of the great depression did it get close, and that was short.  This is a sign of endemic economic weakness.  Our foreign debt is 100% of our GDP - creating real vulnerability.

Total debt – public and private – is at unprecedented levels. Only during the height of the great depression did it get close, and that was short. This is a sign of endemic economic weakness. Our foreign debt is 100% of our GDP – creating real vulnerabilities.

The reality of these statistics will ultimately shape the politics of this country.   People are not going to take this, and they’re not going to take how wobbly our economy has become.   A few can still believe that somehow America’s the envy of the world and has the best standard of living, but that’s simply not true any more – and things are likely to get worse.

It’s important to break the misguided ideology of free markets, ultra low taxes and deregulation.  That does not increase freedom, it destroys the fabric of our society – and ultimately will send the US on a downward spiral.

 

Hard to read:

Hard to read: Box one, Trump (as Bill the Cat): My God, this is such a quality country.  Little Girl: What do you mean, Mr. Trump?  (2) Trump:  My Palm Beach cottage has 118 rooms, how many rooms does your cottage have?  Girl:  One, but we have nine beds; Reynalda sleeps in a box.  (3)  Trump:  I have a boat, do you have a boat?  Girl: When the plumbing breaks our sofa floats.  (4)  Trump:  I have a dream, a dream that one day I might get six points on margin for the Eiffel tower deal.  (5)  Trump:  What do you dream about?  Girl:  Dinner.   (6)  Trump: And imagine in this great, quality nation, folks like you haven’t strong folks like me up by their intestines.  (7)  Doll:  Yet.  Girl: Hush.

 

 

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  1. #1 by rlp152 on March 26, 2014 - 19:47

    Makes you shake your head. After you stop laughing, of course!

  2. #2 by pino on March 26, 2014 - 21:47

    Jon Stewart has recently taken on Fox New’s

    First, Stewart is a comic and can’t be taken seriously. Your points below may be valid, at least valid arguments, but he is certainly not a serious political commentator.

    Hilarious? – Yes.
    Serious? – No

    First, they aren’t really poor. They have refrigerators, they can use EBT cards at organic markets, purchasing stuff like “wild organic salmon.”

    Well, there is a valid point there. We certainly wanna help people who, through the vagrancies of life, find themselves without the ability to purchase food, safe housing or utilities. However, it is the height of incredulity to claim someone is poor because they have no money after paying for salmon, cell phone data contracts, iPhones, cable TV and manicured nails.

    THAT is not poor. That is middle class making poor financial decisions.

    If you’re not suffering, you’re not really poor.

    There’s an article:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/03/are-the-suburbs-making-people-live-paycheck-to-paycheck/284586/

    Middle class to wealthy families living hand to mouth.

    If we think that we need too support people with 3 large screen TVs do you think that we need to support people who invest ALL their money in an IRA and now can’t afford the mortgage or food?

    Unregulated markets collapse, because there is no check on the abuse of power by those with the most wealth and clout.

    This is a constant meme here. And I’m sure it plays well in certain circles.

    Can you give me a specific example of an “abuse” you are referring to?

    Single parents find the situation even more difficult.

    They should not be single parents. I get divorce in the extreme cases and certainly death, but more and more we are seeing children BORN out of wedlock.

    THAT is a poor decision that we should not encourage or subsidize.

    They might have nice clothes for their kids and themselves – but usually that’s been purchased at a second hand or thrift store. Or perhaps they find cheap made in china toys and clothes at Walmart.

    I am a top 5% earner occasionally and certainly I’m in the top 10%. I attend business meetings with executives wearing jackets I purchase at Good Will. I interviewed for a 6 figure job in a shirt and slacks I bought at Wal Mart.

    The poor are worse off.

    Being poor in America is better than being middle class in Europe.

    In theory that should be good for the economy, but in practice so much money seeking only to make more money inflated bubbles.

    No. In practice this has lead to the greatest poverty reduction program in the history of the world. Global poverty is on the run.

    It is perverse that a working class man not on welfare sees the single mother with an EBT card as the enemy,

    Not at all. In most cases it is the decisions of the single mother that got her to her EBT place.

    How often did she give birth before marriage? Before her 20’s? How many such children does she have? Did she graduate high school?

    • #3 by Scott Erb on March 26, 2014 - 22:39

      No, middle class and poor in America is not as good as middle class and poor in many European countries. America is no longer the best economy, or the best place to be middle class – and that’s due to the high debt, and the shifting of wealth to the very wealthy at the expense of the poor. Your attitude to people who are poor or are single parents is shameful. But the only thing to do is use politics to defeat you. And in teaching, to shift the culture to one that is more community oriented and not cruel in regards to single parents. And that’s my job!

      • #4 by pino on March 26, 2014 - 23:02

        No, middle class and poor in America is not as good as middle class and poor in many European countries. America is no longer the best economy, or the best place to be middle class

        We’ve been through this – America IS the best place to live.

        Your attitude to people who are poor or are single parents is shameful.

        Tell me Scott, what does the data suggest as to the attainment of children to single parents? It’s horrible.

        And people who have kids out of wedlock, time and time again, are simply ignoring reality. And we as a society are enabling that behavior.

        It is NOT okay to have kids when single. It is NOT okay to get divorced. It is NOT okay to buy salmon when you are receiving benefits, It is NOT okay to let other labor for your needs.

      • #5 by Scott Erb on March 27, 2014 - 06:27

        The data can’t be denied. To be middle class or poor in the US is not better than many other industrialized states. The US is not the best place to live. That is based on objective facts.

        Single parenting is reality, and that’s not going to change. You have to accept that. To say it’s bad or wrong is irrelevant, and even a bit bigoted given all the situations that cause it. It is OK to get divorced. It is OK to be a single parent. Your judgmentalism is a kind of bigotry. You don’t have the authority to make those claims, it’s just your opinion, and you know what they say about opinions…and anyway, your opinion won’t change reality or the culture. It’s like your ideology about the market. You have a simplistic theoretical perspective that doesn’t reflect reality. That’s why your perspective leads to false interpretations of reality – that’s why you’re wrong: a simplistic theory extrapolated to reality doesn’t work.

    • #6 by lbwoodgate on March 27, 2014 - 08:32

      ”First, Stewart is a comic and can’t be taken seriously.”

      And you think Fox and Friends can be? Example

      ”it is the height of incredulity to claim someone is poor because they have no money after paying for salmon, cell phone data contracts, iPhones, cable TV and manicured nails.”

      As it is equally the height of incredulity to presume this happens with most people dependent on food stamps to feed their families. Got some data to let us see what the number really are on your claim here Pino?

      ”do you think that we need to support people who invest ALL their money in an IRA and now can’t afford the mortgage or food?”

      WTF? Who does this? And yet isn’t this on some level what conservatives have been trying to do by pushing for privatizing Social Security?

      ”Can you give me a specific example of an “abuse” you are referring to?”

      Really pino??? You are unfamiliar with oligarchies and kleptocracies in this world? After the fall of the Berlin Wall Russia became the biggest example of this. That’s why Putin is popular in Russia because he is trying to reestablish a semblance of order that existed under communism, regardless of how weak it was below the surface.

      ”They should not be single parents. I get divorce in the extreme cases and certainly death, but more and more we are seeing children BORN out of wedlock.”

      Thank you St. Pino for your morally superior take on unwed mothers and how people should stay in bad marriages.

      ”Being poor in America is better than being middle class in Europe.”

      Sounds not only absurd but arrogant. Is this what you believe or are there some data to support this crock of shit?

      ”Global poverty is on the run.”

      How’s that pino? When you account for inflation nearly 80% of people world wide still live below the poverty line. So what you may see as improvements in global poverty still doesn’t put most outside a life that comes close to comparing to the squalor our poorest in the U.S. are expected to endure.

      You have made claims here that are reminiscent of Romney’s “takers” and moochers speech to a wealthy elite group. Like he, you also have failed to substantiate your claims with any credible data. It is the work of doubt mongers like you to make specious claims that carry much emotional baggage with them but little hard evidence.

  3. #7 by tom on March 26, 2014 - 21:54

    Stewart can at least be taken AS serious as any commentator on Fox

    • #8 by Scott Erb on March 26, 2014 - 22:41

      Indeed,Stewart skewers Fox with satire because he shows their hypocrisy and lies. FOX is propaganda, Stewart is satire – and satire is one of the most powerful forms of social critique going all the way back to Juvenal.

    • #9 by pino on March 26, 2014 - 23:05

      Stewart can at least be taken AS serious as any commentator on Fox

      No. You are simply wrong. He can’t.

      He edits interviews. Changes news for laughs. And makes up content out of whole cloth.

      You are simply wrong and biased.

      • #10 by Scott Erb on March 27, 2014 - 06:23

        Fox does all the same things. You can’t simply dismiss Stewart, you have to actually point out where he’s wrong – you have to get into the content. That’s what Stewart does to FOX news – he shows where they are hypocritical and wrong. That’s the power of satire.

  4. #11 by Norbrook on March 27, 2014 - 06:08

    One of the things that Fox never points to are places like West Virginia, where there’s insane levels of poverty, crime, drug addiction, poor education,and so on. All the things they’d like you to believe exist only in minority urban environments, except it doesn’t. Objective reality is not a conservative strong point these days.

  5. #12 by Titfortat on March 27, 2014 - 13:41

    We’ve been through this – America IS the best place to live.(Pino)

    Ever been to Canada? ;)

  6. #13 by Titfortat on March 27, 2014 - 13:44

    Scott

    Pointing out the obvious, like single parenting is not a wise move if entered into voluntarily, is not bigotry. Its a fact.

  7. #14 by pino on March 28, 2014 - 22:11

    To be middle class or poor in the US is not better than many other industrialized states.

    The wealthiest EU nations are poorer than 43 of our 50 states. Denmark – the wealthiest, is poorer than Kentucky. Spain, Portugal and Greece are poorer than ALL 50 states ranking below Mississippi.

    The “poor” in America live in dwellings larger than the average European.

    Single parenting is reality, and that’s not going to change.

    Except it IS changing. From the Atlantic:

    Single parents have more than tripled as a share of American households since 1960.

    And given that it is changing, we can change it in the positive -rather than the current destructive, trend.

    in 1970 the birth rate for unmarried mothers was 26.4. In 2012 it is 45.3.

    Data Here on page 70

    To say it’s bad or wrong is irrelevant, and even a bit bigoted given all the situations that cause it. It is OK to get divorced. It is OK to be a single parent. Your judgmentalism is a kind of bigotry. You don’t have the authority to make those claims, it’s just your opinion, and you know what they say about opinions…and anyway, your opinion won’t change reality or the culture.

    There’s so much wrong about that stream of thought there.

    It is bad. Single parent households is a devastating condition for our nation’s children. Being born into single parent households more so. The data is incontrovertible.

    It is NOT okay to get a divorce It is NOT okay to have a child out of wedlock.

    My son came home from school after having gotten into trouble for talking back to his teacher. It is NOT okay to talk back to your teacher. Does this mean I don’t love and cherish my son – a ridiculous conclusion and one that is drawn in this debate to paint the opponent with an ugly broad brush.

    It is NOT okay to talk back to your teacher, to cheat on a test, to get divorce or to have kids while single.

    And you think Fox and Friends can be?

    Okay. I’ll accept the fact you cede Stewart can’t be taken seriously by the fact you compare him to someone who you think is also not serious.

    But really, up your game.

    Thank you St. Pino for your morally superior take on unwed mothers and how people should stay in bad marriages.

    Children born to single parents achieve at a dramatically worse rate than those born to two parent families. It is pure and simple fact.

    Two kids, exactly the same in every way except for makeup of family – the single parent kid does worse.

    And, children of divorced parents approximate kids born to single parents. And they do not rebound when the divorced parent remarries.

    To be sure – this is in general and does not speak to every single specific example.

    For example, my parents are divorced, both remarried. My siblings and I have done fine – in my case, better than fine.

    Sounds not only absurd but arrogant. Is this what you believe or are there some data to support this crock of shit?

    See above. Also here

    This data is especially devastating to your position. Being in the bottom 10% in America is better than being IN THE TOP 10% in many countries.

    Fox does all the same things. You can’t simply dismiss Stewart, you have to actually point out where he’s wrong – you have to get into the content.

    Falling victim to the same as woodgate. Plus I only have to point to Stewart when he himself claims to not be serious – only a comedian.

    places like West Virginia, where there’s insane levels of poverty, crime, drug addiction, poor education,and so on.

    West Virginia is wealthier than Mississippi. And Mississippi is wealthier than Spain, Portugal and Greece.

  8. #15 by Scott Erb on March 29, 2014 - 00:03

    First, you have no status to make your opinions into objective truth. People are free to divorce, they are free to be single parents, and in fact that’s a choice more and more people are making. You may have the opinion that’s “not OK” but opinions are like a$$h###s, everyone has them. It’s also impossible to claim kids are worse off – you’d have to control for all other factors that relate and one factor is paramount in determining if kids are worse off: class status of parents. In the US the best measure of where you’ll go in life is the socio-economic status of the parents. So to use your words, it’s NOT OK to have a gap between the rich and the poor, by your logic, we should be redistributing wealth to make sure the children of the poor do better.

    In any event, the culture has already changed and the world you’d like to see is gone. The good news is that now divorce is no longer a stigma and doesn’t have the kinds of effects it had when it was rare. Some of the best parents I know are single parents, with very good kids. To try to say that what they’re doing is “not OK” because you can point to supposed studies that lump everyone together is the kind of thinking that is used by authoritarian governments to deny freedom – “big brother knows what’s better for you.” Shame on you, a supposed libertarian, for engaging in that kind of mindset!

    You are also objectively wrong in thinking America is better for the middle class, the data in my post shows our median wealth level is far below most other countries. The US also has higher debt and worse economic conditions than many other OECD countries. Deregulation and tax cuts have created a death spiral for the middle class. I don’t know where you get your data, but you cannot and have not countered what’s in this post.

    • #16 by pino on March 29, 2014 - 16:43

      First, you have no status to make your opinions into objective truth.

      I don’t know what that means. But the facts I state above are just that – facts. Greece is poorer than Mississippi.

      The EU is poorer than Kentucky.

      It is better to be in the bottom 10% of Americans that the top 10% of Italy {or nearly so].

      People are free to divorce, they are free to be single parents, and in fact that’s a choice more and more people are making.

      I’m not advocating for legislation against divorce or single parenthood. I’m just saying that as a society we should be correctly associating the “This is not the way stable and healthy families are built.”

      It’s also impossible to claim kids are worse off

      You’re losing your mind. There isn’t anyone – left or right – that thinks children are netter off in single parent or divorced households.

      The data is irrefutable.

      In the US the best measure of where you’ll go in life is the socio-economic status of the parents.

      This is not true. The best measure is IQ.

      Socio-economic status IS an indicator, to be sure, but not the best one.

      we should be redistributing wealth to make sure the children of the poor do better.

      Except that wouldn’t matter. You could take half my paycheck and give it to the poor – it wouldn’t help them in the slightest. The decision making process that finds them in poverty is not going t be altered by money. This is why this comment is true:

      “You could redistribute ALL the money in America equally – and within 10 years it would all be back in the hands of today’s wealthy.

      In any event, the culture has already changed and the world you’d like to see is gone.

      Yes – and we are worse off for it. We are poorer for it.

      To try to say that what they’re doing is “not OK” because you can point to supposed studies that lump everyone together is the kind of thinking that is used by authoritarian governments to deny freedom – “big brother knows what’s better for you.” Shame on you, a supposed libertarian, for engaging in that kind of mindset!

      What are you talking about? Who is advocating government largess. I’m simply stating that out of wedlock births and divorce lead to the erosion of the intact family. A fundamental aspect of a successful society.

      Save your shame.

      Even if the studies are true saying two parents are better than one

      Stop.

      There is no “even if” here. There is no doubt – none.

      it is a logical fallacy to assume that it is not OK to be a single parent. You commit the ecological fallacy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_fallacy

      I have accounted for this above:

      Children born to single parents achieve at a dramatically worse rate than those born to two parent families. It is pure and simple fact.

      Two kids, exactly the same in every way except for makeup of family – the single parent kid does worse.

      And, children of divorced parents approximate kids born to single parents. And they do not rebound when the divorced parent remarries.

      To be sure – this is in general and does not speak to every single specific example.

      For example, my parents are divorced, both remarried. My siblings and I have done fine – in my case, better than fine.

      • #17 by lbwoodgate on March 29, 2014 - 17:24

        ” But the facts I state above are just that – facts. Greece is poorer than Mississippi.”

        I’m sure I’m as intrigued as Scott probably is but I am curious to see where your got your information from pino. Merely saying they are facts and demonstrating it by displaying the research that validates it are not one and the same. What criteria are used to make such comparisons. Would your college professors allow you to hand in research papers without showing your sources?

        No doubt Greece and one or two other countries in Europe that have been suffering under austerity programs are indeed poorer than some U.S. states where social services at least haven’t been essentially eliminated, as they have been in Greece.

        Why are you failing to support your contentions about poverty in both countries pino without supplying a few links to studies that back you up? You may not want to answer me but it’s clear that all of your responses thus far have avoided sharing any resources that support your views.

        “You’re losing your mind. There isn’t anyone – left or right – that thinks children are netter off in single parent or divorced households.”

        Seriously pino? Kids raised in two-parent families where there is fighting, drinking and abuse are going to be happier in a one parent family where such things don’t exist? It isn’t the number of parents. It’s the structure and love a kid is raised in that gives them stability

        “A new study finds that children who who are born and grow up in stable single-parent homes generally do as well as those in married households in terms of academic abilities and behavior problems.” SOURCE

        See how I backed up my fact pino with a source? Can you do that?

      • #18 by pino on March 29, 2014 - 19:01

        I am curious to see where your got your information from pino.

        http://www.timbro.se/bokhandel/pdf/9175665646.pdf

        Page 13 of the report, page 14 of the pdf.

      • #19 by lbwoodgate on March 29, 2014 - 20:11

        The Timbro report you furnished is damn near 10 years old pino. Four years before the crash of the Great Recession. Are you saying this data is relevant to conditions today? Have you got anything more recent?

  9. #20 by Scott Erb on March 29, 2014 - 08:12

    Quicker response to Pino: Even if the studies are true saying two parents are better than one, it is a logical fallacy to assume that it is not OK to be a single parent. You commit the ecological fallacy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_fallacy

    In particular, if a relationship is dysfunction, or one partner harmful to the kids, then it is often BETTER to choose divorce or single parenthood than to stick with the harmful situation. If a couple has no kids and they grow to hate each other, divorce is far better than having kids! In fact, I find it good to keep a listing of logical fallacies, they happen so often: http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

  10. #21 by Scott Erb on March 29, 2014 - 18:04

    The EU contains Malta, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece, and a whole bunch of poor countries. Note you’re trying to twist evidence, cherry picking Greece or a poor country in the EU so you don’t have to deal with the ones that out perform the US. Or take the whole EU to compare to Kentucky. That’s always the sign of a weak argument. I agree that life in the US is better than Greece and most of those East European states I list above. Again, look at the data in the post. It’s not controversial.

    Larry’s study seems to suggest single parenting isn’t as bad as you think, even over the whole spectrum. That fits with what I’ve read and observed, I’m not sure why you think it’s so bad, or why you think it’s obvious, when from my experience that’s not the case.

    As for IQ, it’s a poor measure, and probably is related itself to socio-economic status. If you’re born to wealth, you’re almost certain to remain wealthy. If you’re born in poverty, it’s unlikely you’ll rise above that. That’s why we need to rebuild the middle class, to create real opportunity.

    • #22 by pino on March 29, 2014 - 19:22

      Note you’re trying to twist evidence, cherry picking Greece or a poor country in the EU so you don’t have to deal with the ones that out perform the US.

      The timbro data has Denmark the wealthiest of the EU nations – it ranks behind Kentucky but ahead of Maine.

      The UK is behind Kentucky. And Maine. And South Carolina, Idaho, Alabama and Oklahoma. Then France, Finland, Germany and Italy. At east they beat Arkansas.

      Larry’s study seems to suggest single parenting isn’t as bad as you think, even over the whole spectrum. That fits with what I’ve read and observed, I’m not sure why you think it’s so bad, or why you think it’s obvious, when from my experience that’s not the case.

      It’s settled science:

      Even when controlling for economic and racial differences of the family, children from two-parent households outperform children from one-parent households across a varietyof measures (Downey, 1994; Kim, 2004; Krein & Beller, 1988; Mulkey, Crain, & Harrington, 1992; Teachman, 1987). McLanahan and Sandefur (1994) summarize the research by writing:

      Children who grow up in a household with only one biological
      parent are worse off, on average, than children who grow up in a
      household with both of their biological parents, regardless of the
      parents’ race or educational background, regardless of whether the
      parents are married when the child is born, and regardless of
      whether the resident parent remarries.

      – Controlling for economic differences
      – Regardless of race
      – Regardless of educational background
      – Regardless of parent remarries

      • #23 by lbwoodgate on March 29, 2014 - 19:58

        “It’s settled science”

        Settled Science? This one study? Has this one even been peer-reviewed?

  11. #24 by lbwoodgate on March 29, 2014 - 20:07

    Here’s another thing pino that needs to be considered too when considering one-parent families. Young girls who get pregnant out of wedlock are not part of the divorce problem in this country. Add to this the number of unwanted pregnancies by women who are denied an abortion because they are not emotionally and economically stable enough to raise a child on their own.

    If you really want to fix how a lot of kids are raised without a stable two-parent family you may want to consider how denied contraception and legal abortion plays into this social problem

    • #25 by pino on March 29, 2014 - 20:15

      Young girls who get pregnant out of wedlock are not part of the divorce problem in this country.

      Piercing insight.

      Add to this

      So far we have nothing to add to.

      Add to this the number of unwanted pregnancies by women who are denied an abortion because they are not emotionally and economically stable enough to raise a child on their own.

      Right now there are no women who are denied abortions in the United States – it’s the current Law of the Land.

      denied contraception

      There is no documented case of denied contraception.

      legal abortion

      Abortion. Is. Legal.

      Already. What in the hell are you talking about?

      • #26 by lbwoodgate on March 30, 2014 - 05:40

        Technically your right of course pino, except I thought you would be perceptive enough to realize that social mores being what they are and new laws making it tougher to access contraception and abortion, especially for the poor, do in fact create more scenarios where unwed mothers and unwanted pregnancies add to the unstable single family population. So if Mark Barajas figured this into his data concerning father-absent families, this kind of weakens your case about divorce contributing to single parent families and the instability this affects, no?

        Part of your original argument focused on divorce to reduce kids raised in single-member families I recall? The other part that talks about discouraging children born out of wedlock has to do with women facing obstacles in getting the contraception they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies and abortions to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. I agree that we need to be supportive of two-parent families but we also need to prevent unwanted one-parent families other than preaching down to women about the “choices” they make. Furthermore we also need to help educate willing two-parent families better on what it takes to provide a stable environment for their children. It goes beyond the passion two people have for each other that leads to marriage only to see that passion die a few years into a marriage with kids.

        My objections to some of your comments is that you are too subjective in drawing the conclusions you have, leaving me, and I’m sure others to believe, that you think there are absolutes in places where there really isn’t. Why do I say this?

        Anyone who makes an absurd statement that asserts any science is “settled” based on a single study really doesn’t understand how science works, IMO. Scientists can be settled in their views but the science is usually ongoing and those scientist can later re-think their previous views based on any changes that result from on-going research.

  12. #27 by Scott Erb on March 30, 2014 - 10:28

    Social science is rarely if ever settled because unlike the natural sciences, there is a myriad of complexities. Moreover, as culture changes, so do the social results. Being from divorced parents in 1970 is qualitatively different than today since divorce rates are so high that there is no longer a stigma to that status. Children are affected by socio-economic status, education of parents, geography, genetics, peer pressure, quality of schools – and parenting…so any study that claims to be definitive about one variable is inevitably questionable.

    I suspect that one parent households often have lower socio-economic status. So what is causal if there is a particular outcome? Divorce now affects more than half the kids, is it really a big deal? Some parents after divorce put the kids first and make things relatively easy, others use kids as pawns in their struggle. That makes a difference. Most of the single parents I know are doing a superb job, and many extricated themselves from a worse situation. If I went just by my own experience, I’d say single parents are just as good. But I know there are exceptions, especially among populations I don’t hang out with.

    So it’s complex and yes, it defies simplistic broad generalizations.

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