Eroding The Foundations Of Prosperity

The most important foundation of prosperity in America is the two-parent family. Unfortunately, the number of two-parent families has decreased in recent years.

This is a chart from the Pew Research Center posted on December 17, 2015:

On April 10, 2014, The Washington Post reported:

It’s clear in America that family structure and poverty are intertwined: Nearly a third of households headed by single women live below the poverty line. And just six percent of families led by married couples are in the official ranks of the poor. Poverty, meanwhile, touches an astounding 45 percent of children who live without a father.

Recent research by Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendron, Patrick Kline, Emmanuel Saez and Nicholas Turner also found that intergenerational income mobility was lower in metropolitan areas with a larger share of single mothers, a bold-faced finding that touched off a new round of public debate over what this relationship means.

But there is another troubling fact regarding the future prosperity of America. On November 2, Bloomberg reported:

Nathan Butcher is 25 and, like many men his age, he isn’t working.

Weary of long days earning minimum wage, he quit his job in a pizzeria in June. He wants new employment but won’t take a gig he’ll hate. So for now, the Pittsburgh native and father to young children is living with his mother and training to become an emergency medical technician, hoping to get on the ladder toward a better life.

Ten years after the Great Recession, 25- to 34-year-old men are lagging in the workforce more than any other age and gender demographic. About 500,000 more would be punching the clock today had their employment rate returned to pre-downturn levels. Many, like Butcher, say they’re in training. Others report disability. All are missing out on a hot labor market and crucial years on the job, ones traditionally filled with the promotions and raises that build the foundation for a career.

The article at Bloomberg includes the following chart:

In October 2015, TIME magazine reported:

For the first time since the Census Bureau began collecting data on higher education attainment, women are more likely to have a bachelor’s degree than men.

Last year, 29.9% of men had a bachelor’s degree, while 30.2% of women did, the bureau reports. A decade prior, in 2005, 28.5% of men had bachelor’s degree, while only 26% of women did.

Young women are driving the change. In the 25-34 age group, 37.5% of women have a bachelor’s degree or higher, while only 29.5% of men do. (Rates of college attainment for men and women in this age group are increasing roughly equally.) But for the over-65 crowd, only 20.3% of women have such degrees, compared to 30.6% of men.

Historically men have been the main providers for their families. Young men have been encouraged to get a good job, get married, and have a family. These ideals have been undermined in recent years by the cultural war against traditional families, traditional roles of men and women, and family values. What has been overlooked by the people fighting traditional values is the role traditional values play in the prosperity of America. The report by Bloomberg is a further indication of the overall decline of our society and the future decline in prosperity.

Does Marriage Have Value?

Yesterday the New York Daily News reported that a Manhattan judge has given a couple who are just friends the green light to become legal co-parents to an adopted girl. What happens to that child if one of the friends meets someone and gets married? Who gets custody of the child? Is it possible to divorce a friendship?

The article reports:

The pals identified, only as LEL and KAL, met in 2000 and have been close friends since, according to court papers.

Several years ago, KAL decided she wanted to become a mom, and LEL offered to be her sperm donor.

But when she couldn’t get pregnant, they “decided to instead adopt a child together,” the court papers say.

“They spent years planning and hoping” for a child, and their dream came true in 2011, when KAL was able to adopt a child — identified as G. — from Ethiopia.

They traveled to Africa together to bring the baby home, but because they weren’t married, only KAL was able to adopt, filings say.

When they returned to the U.S., the pair petitioned Manhattan Surrogate’s Court to have LEL named as a second legal parent, even though they don’t live together and are not romantically involved.

In a landmark ruling, Judge Rita Mella did so.

“From the moment they met G,, more than two years ago now, KAL and LEL have functioned as her parents,” the judge wrote in a decision from last month.

It’s not a puppy–it’s a child. What example of a loving family will this child grow up with? If the family is one of the building blocks of our society, then what impact does this ruling have on the foundation of our society?

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Website That Doesn’t Allow Change

Once you sign up for ObamaCare on the website, you are locked into your current marital status, family size, and profile forever–there is no way to make adjustments if a new baby arrives in your family, if a family member dies, or if you lose or change your job. You cannot edit your profile once your insurer is chosen.

Breitbart.com is reporting the following today:

The Associated Press is out with a report this morning that pregnant women have an entirely new set of headaches to expect from their ACA-triggered coverage, namely, that HealthCare.gov is not designed to accept any changes in status that would include or exclude a person from coverage. When a baby is born, there is no way for parents to notify the federal government that the baby now exists and needs coverage.

There is also no way to notify the federal government of marriage or divorce, of a death in the family, or of a new job or loss of a job.

The website allows one to open a profile, but not to edit it once an insurer is chosen. All of these changes could potentially affect those insured or open new options for coverage from different insurers or types of insurance. They may also result in higher premiums or more expensive coverage. These would all be options and possibilities if HealthCare.gov had any way of editing one’s information on the page.

What a mess.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Personal Impact Of The Budget Deal–One Person’s Story

Somehow because of the size of our government and the amount of money taken from taxpayers to run it, we sometimes forget what some of the spending represents. Every now and then it’s a good idea to look at a story that illustrates where the money goes and why. Here is a story that explains one aspect of government spending.

Stacy Huisman posted an article at Militaryspouse.com recently. The article explains how the recent budget deal will impact her husband’s retirement pay and her family. The money cut from his retirement pay was the money they had planned to use to pay for their children’s’ college education. Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It illustrates beautifully the price our military families pay when one of their family members serves in the military.

There are a few aspects to the cut to retirement pay. First of all, that retirement pay was promised to our military when they signed up–they earned it. It was assumed that the cost of living increases in that pay were included in that promise. There is also the aspect of the price military families pay for having a family member in the military for twenty or more years. One on my own granddaughters is in fifth grade. She started attending her third elementary school in six years in September. Another granddaughter is in third grade. She is attending her second elementary school in three years. That is a high price to pay. She is living near her grandparents (my husband and I) because we chose to move to be close to her family–not because her family had a choice as to where they would live.

The thing that really bothers me about the budget deal is that military retirement was cut, but civil service retirement was not cut. Public sector workers make more than private sector workers to begin with. The public sector workers are now required to contribute a small amount to their pensions–something private sector workers have been doing for years, but they are still better compensated than the private sector.

The chart below is taken from a 2010 post by the Congressional Budget Office. As you can see, unless you have an advanced degree, it pays to work for the government.

 

The budget did not need to be cut at the expense of our military–there was enough pork in the public sector to avoid breaking a promise to those military families who serve our country.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sometimes There Are Just No Words

This is a copy a letter suggesting a link to Thanksgiving dinner conversation guidelines put out by Organizing for Action, a group that supports ObamaCare. The photo below is posted at HotAir.

of

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. Can you image the outrage if an organization supporting President Bush had put out this letter? Do these people ever stop campaigning? Do you really want a political group giving you talking points for the family holiday dinner table?

A website called TheFederalist gives the correct response if someone in your family took the above memorandum seriously:

Here’s a sample response you might use. “That would be great. Except that I’m going to be washing dishes and cleaning up for a bit. How about you go into the guest room and use the computer in there to sign me up. As soon as you’re done, you can have some pie.”

The key is to get them to make a commitment not to come out until they’ve finished signing you up. Remember their conversation tip — Ask them to make a plan, and commit to it. Ask them to commit to finishing the sign-up before they come out of the room.

Since nobody can actually sign up for Obamacare, they’ll be busily trying to operate the web site for the duration of your visit. And the beauty of the disaster zone that is the Obamacare website is that whether you plan to visit for hours or days, the crazy family member will be out of your hair. For added giggles with the sane portion of the family, be sure to follow the last tip — Don’t forget to follow up: “Have you signed up yet?”

Every time you pass the room, knock on the door loudly and ask them that exact question. Once your crazy uncle is holed-up with a laptop in the guest bedroom, you and your more tolerable relatives can enjoy the rest of the holiday in peace.

What an amazingly creative solution!

Enhanced by Zemanta

This Was Posted On Facebook By One Of My Daughters

One of my daughters posted the following on Facebook. It made me very proud:

I am the spouse of an active duty Marine…who will one day be a veteran. I move my children, my household goods, my pets, two cars, a motorcycle and my life every two to four years, whether I want to or not. I leave behind friends that have become my family and family that I never expected would be far from home.
I have no retirement plan. I can never stay in a job long enough to become vested in a 401K or any other plan. I receive no pay from the military for my sacrifices, instead I support a husband so he can stay focused on his job—defending our freedom.
I am forceful, independent, and fiercely loyal. I come on like a rabid dog when I move to a new place, hoping to find that one person who can help me replace those I left behind. I never really replace those I leave behind, I only add, or subtract as life changes, and friendship changes.
I have chosen this life. Do not pity me. Do not cry for me. Do not think that I cannot handle it. I knew what I was getting into on that day I said “I Do.” I knew the pay scale. I knew it would be hard to find a job every few years. I knew I would leave one job making great money to only find the same job making a lot less somewhere else. I clip coupons. I use Groupon. I shop at the end of seasons for the following seasons. I have to say “no” sometimes, even when I don’t want to. I have to sometimes go without so that my children or spouse can have just that much more. But I am happy, happy that the sacrifices my husband makes allows me to make sacrifices for him and our children.
Would I do it again? Yes. Would I have my children do it again? Yes. I have the most temperamental, frustrating, well rounded, worldly children you will ever meet.
Do have compassion for my children. Do have compassion when I am having a bad day. Do have compassion when I have not seen my spouse in months. Yes, I am used to him deploying, going on trips, being gone for a week, a month, a year, but that does not mean that I miss him or love him any less.
Most of all, one day, when he becomes a veteran, remember he started out as a child of 18, fresh in the military, and has now, a veteran, made way for another child to take his place, to lead, to fight for our country, and to have a family that makes sacrifices for us all.
The circle is never ending. Whether you fought way back when, are fighting now, or have yet begun to fight, there are sacrifices that have been made, are being made, and will be made.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Prepare For An Exponential Increase In Government Intrusion

Yesterday The Examiner posted an article about a provision of ObamaCare that has not gotten a lot of publicity. The provision allows government agents to engage in “home health visits” for those in certain “high-risk” categories. Doesn’t sound too ominous until you look at the “high-risk” categories.

The article lists the categories:

Families where mom is not yet 21;
• Families where someone is a tobacco user;
• Families where children have low student achievement, developmental delays, or disabilities, and
• Families with individuals who are serving or formerly served in the armed forces, including such families that have members of the armed forces who have had multiple deployments outside the United States.

Missing from the list given in the article is families with firearms, but that is now included in the questions your doctor is supposed to ask you.

The article explains how this program will totally invade the privacy of Americans and undermine the authority of American parents:

Constitutional attorney and author Kent Masterson Brown said that despite what HHS says, the program is not “voluntary.”

“The eligible entity receiving the grant for performing the home visits is to identify the individuals to be visited and intervene so as to meet the improvement benchmarks,” he said. “A homeschooling family, for instance, may be subject to ‘intervention’ in ‘school readiness’ and ‘social-emotional developmental indicators.’ A farm family may be subject to ‘intervention’ in order to ‘prevent child injuries.’ The sky is the limit.”

Joshua Cook said that while the administration would claim the program only applies to those on Medicaid, the new law, by its own definition, has no such limitation.

“Intervention,” he added, quoting Brown, “may be with any family for any reason. It may also result in the child or children being required to go to certain schools or taking certain medications and vaccines and even having more limited – or no – interaction with parents. The federal government will now set the standards for raising children and will enforce them by home visits.”

The Health and Human Services Department has allocated $224 million for these home visits.

This needs to be stopped before it begins.

Enhanced by Zemanta

When Good Organization Do Bad Things

The National Audubon Society was incorporated in 1905 by John James Audubon. Audubon was a naturalist who painted, cataloged, and studied the birds of North America. The organization is dedicated to teaching and encouraging conservation of our natural resources in America. So far, so good. However, in California, they recently overstepped their bounds.

On April 1, CBN News posted a story about a family in California who lost their family vacation retreat to a fire in 2004. The family had owned the retreat since 1924. When the family proceeded to rebuild the five homes destroyed in the fire, they found themselves in a legal battle with the Audubon Society.

The article reports:

To rebuild, the families would need to upgrade the roads leading across Audubon land to accommodate their heavy construction equipment.

But after decades of everyone sharing these roads, Audubon said no and then hit the families with yet another bombshell: It said it had proof their very best acres, the flat ones where their houses had been, were actually Audubon land.

The family engaged in a lengthy legal battle to reclaim their land, researching old property markers, etc.  The new boundaries the Audubon society claimed would have moved the families houses into a part of the land where building homes was not feasible, so the family fought to hold on to their retreat.

The story continued:

Then another stunning surprise in 2010 after years of legal wrangling: Audubon caved and said it would accept the original property lines and let the families use the roads unimpeded.

“They completely capitulated,” Prows stated.

No one outside of Audubon knows why this capitulation, but one more shock was ahead. In 2012, the families’ lawyers discovered with a subpoena that at the start of all this, Audubon had held back from family members some of the surveying maps it had commissioned.

They had also altered the maps they presented to prove Audubon’s claim.

“Audubon had actually doctored the drawings that it showed to our clients,” Prows said. “It took white out, and we have emails from Audubon’s very top people talking about putting white-out on the maps – removing the lines that its surveyors had put on the maps that Audubon didn’t like, showing that the boundary really was in the right place all along.”

The family is now suing the Audubon Society for fraud.  Unfortunately, the donations of well-meaning people will go toward defending and eventually settling this case. The thing to keep in mind here is that the case should never have existed in the first place. Even good organizations are occasionally capable of doing very bad things.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Bad Things Happen When People Are Not Free

CBN.com posted a story today about Spanish babies who were taken away from their mothers at birth and sold on the black market.

The article reports:

Beginning during the Franco dictatorship in 1939 and continuing until the 1990s, newborns were stolen from hospitals and trafficked by a secret network of doctors, nurses, priests, and nuns.

It began as a system for taking children from families considered politically dangerous to the Franco regime to re-educate them.

The story came to light as a result of a deathbed confession:

What began as a system of political control gradually turned into a giant money-making operation. And it never came to light until a man named Juan Luis Moreno sat by his father‘s deathbed and was told that both he and his childhood friend Antonio Barroso were both purchased from a nun.

“It was horrible, first to know that my father was dying, but then to learn that my father wasn’t really my father and that my best childhood friend was stolen just like I was,” Moreno told CBN News.

Barroso recalled, “When I was a boy, other boys at school said that my mother wasn’t my real mother. So I asked my mother, and she said, ‘of course you’re my son.’ But when I did a DNA test with my mother, the probability of maternity was 0 percent.”

The article concludes:

The victims’ group Anadir has filed more than 900 lawsuits over stolen babies, but most have been thrown out because of lack of evidence.

Even if the Spanish legal system gets to the bottom of this crime, it can never repair the damage done to so many Spanish mothers and the children they never knew.

This is the video covering the entire story:

Enhanced by Zemanta

After They Are Done Destroying The Family, The Government Is Going To Destroy The Family Farm

Clint Farm tractor

Image via Wikipedia

I did not grow up on a farm. I am not sure I have ever been on one (other than school trips and a friend who has a barn and various animals). However, I am aware that the food in the grocery store comes from farms–many of them family-owned. The attack on the family farm through the estate tax is obvious–many family farms are land-rich, but do not have the liquid assets to pay off estate taxes–many of those families have to sell the family farm to pay the estate taxes. Now there is a new attack on the family farm and the culture and work ethic it represents.

Townhall.com reports that a new sweeping set of rules proposed by Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor, will change the dynamic on the family farm.

The article reports the proposed changes:

  • Prohibit children under 16 who are being paid from operating most power-driven equipment, including tractors and combines. Some student-learners would be exempted from the ban on operating tractors and other farm implements, but only if the equipment has rollover protection and seat belts.
  • Bar those under 18 from working at grain elevators, silos, feedlots and livestock auctions and from transporting raw farm materials.
  • Prevent youths 15 and younger from cultivating, curing and harvesting tobacco to prevent exposure to green tobacco sickness, which is caused by exposure to wet tobacco plants.
  • Prohibit youths from using electronic devices such as cellphones while operating power-driven equipment.

Solis believes that some farm work is “too hazardous for children to be engaged in.”  How she knows this is anyone’s guess since she apparently has never lived or worked on a farm, nor do we find any evidence that she has children of her own. 

My experience is that the children who grow up on farms learn a lot of things other than how to drive a tractor. They learn to contribute to a family business. They learn the value and satisfaction of a job well done. They learn a work ethic. Many of the jobs this law would prohibit those under 18 from doing are the jobs those children do to earn money to go to college. Parents are the best judge of what equipment their children are able to operate–not the government.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta