As the "Great Society" started its "War on the Poor," one of the architects of our welfare state, Pat Moynihan, warned of something very dangerous; "Aid to Families with Dependent Children" contained a provision he called "father out of the home." To receive benefits, a mother could not be married to the father, or even living in the same house.
Predictably, mayhem broke out as fathers were pushed out of the lives of their children, and the number of people on assistance exploded as people figured out it was "easier than working." Part of this was helped with the 1996 welfare reform act that required work, but it appears that the "father out of the home" rule still applies.
Here's a look at the program today. It appears that somewhere between three and four hundred million dollars is being spent to support about 100,000 families.
That's about 10% of the million families with children in our state, and given limited eligibility (5 year limit), that means that something like 20-30% of kids in our state spend time supported by this--at a cost of something like $35000 per family--yes, that's a middle class income for a mother and a child.
Seems to me like it's about time that we got rid of the "father out of the house" rule. Two minimum wage jobs lift a family of four above the poverty line, after all. It might not hurt, either, if administrators required recipients to name the father of their children to allow child support to be collected.
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