Amanda Marcotte and knee-jerk liberalism: We need more welfare because its for Teh Kidz!
posted at 5:11 pm on June 9, 2010 by Cassy Fiano
The most predictable liberal reaction you can get is that something is “for the children”. It’s ironic that people who advocate the deaths of millions of children every year would act as if they are some kind of children’s champion, but they do it — just like they claim that something is for the Jews, the blacks, the women, the gays… you name it, and they’ve got a victim group set up and ready to exploit it. The cure for all social ills against any group they’re currently exploiting is, of course, more government. Government is the end-all and be-all. If you just make government bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger, all social ills will miraculously disappear.
So of course, I guess we really shouldn’t be too hard on Amanda Marcotte. For flaming liberals like her, it’s a knee-jerk reaction. Suggest that the government is not the solution to all problems, and you’ll get hysterical shrieking that you don’t care about the __________ (and you just fill in the blank with whichever aggrieved group said liberal is currently pretending to champion). The most recent example? Amanda Marcotte’s insane rant about howthe Heritage Foundation hates teh kidz and wants them all to starve!!!!!!1!1!!!11! Like, ZOMG! We need more government funding, STAT!
Marcotte referenced a USA Today article saying that currently, approximately 1 in 5 children live in poverty. It will climb this year to 22%, the highest in two decades (thanks Obama!). The article states that 18% will live with an “insecure” source of food — which means what, exactly? That they literally cannot eat? That they have to suffer through cheap budget wonders like Ramen noodles and Kraft Mac-n-Cheese instead of steak and lobster? It’s not made clear what an “insecure” source of food is, but I guess we’re just supposed to take it at face value and start panicking that children in poverty must be starving because USA Today said so. Meanwhile, Robert Rector from the Heritage Foundation pointed out that most families in poverty receive government assistance, which isn’t always a good thing.
Judith Palfrey, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says family poverty increases many risks for children, including low birth weight, premature delivery, learning problems, asthma and other health problems. But the conservative Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector says the index offers little new information. He says the report doesn’t mention that poor children’s family incomes are supplemented by programs such as food stamps and housing assistance. “Most of the report is an advertising tool for more government programs and spending, which are pretty ineffective in increasing child well-being,” he says.
Cue Amanda Marcotte’s rage.
In other words, “We found a highly qualified doctor to explain how it’s not so great for kids to have lack of access to health care, housing, and nutrition. And we found some asshole to say that he thinks a little starving should do ‘em some good. Don’t forget to weigh these options equally, dear audience.”
Needless to say, Robert Rector considers himself “pro-life”. You’re precious to him on a cellular level, but once you start breathing and feeling and eating through anything but an umbilical cord, you’re on your own.
Right. So basically, we should ignore anyone who espouses fiscal responsibility instead of massively bloated welfare programs, because, jeez, people standing on their own two feet instead of relying on the government to get by is awful. And we should believe that someone from the American Association of Pediatrics is a credible source of information on the well-being of children.
Why does that seem wrong to me on some level? Oh, wait. Now I remember why. The AAP — and Amanda Marcotte, by the way, a supposed feminist — supported female genital mutilation and said it should be practiced here in the United States. It’s not female genital mutilation anymore, it’s “cutting” and a little nick never hurt anyone, right? Right? Because clitoral mutilation, according to Marcotte, is nothing compared to the torture and misogyny of western wedding traditions. Because, you know, most girls scream in horror at the thought of getting married. Spending your life devoted to another person, loving them and being faithful to them, is just terrible. Getting your clitoris mutilated? No big dealz! Needless to say, the outrage over the insane policy decision from the AAP to endorse female genital mutilation caused the AAP to ultimately reverse that position. But I don’t forget that the AAP — an organization supposedly devoted to the health of children — endorsed female genital mutilation. I certainly wouldn’t trust their “expert opinion” on anything.
Aside from that obvious point, what do poor people in the United States actually live like? Marcotte, of course, does not bother to find this out. It’s easier just to bleat out rage towards conservatives than to actually do research and icky stuff like that. Luckily for her — and for me, really — the Heritage Foundation actually did that. They published a report on poverty in the United States based on Census information, and it doesn’t exactly fit with Marcotte’s hysterical screeching.
The following are facts about persons defined as “poor” by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:
- Forty six percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three bedroom house with one and a half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
- Seventy six percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
- Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two thirds have more than two rooms per person.
- The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
- Nearly three quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.
- Ninety seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
- Seventy eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
- Seventy three percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.
Not exactly the decrepit lifestyle Marcotte was surely envisioning, but why let facts get in the way of her arguments? And it also turns out that poor children are actually not typically undernourished. They actually tend to be overnourished.
As a group, America’s poor are far from being chronically undernourished. The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle class children and, in most cases, is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than do higher income children and have average protein intakes 100 percent above recommended levels. Most poor children today are, in fact, supernourished and grow up to be, on average, one inch taller and 10 pounds heavier that the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II.
While the poor are generally well nourished, some poor families do experience hunger, meaning a temporary discomfort due to food shortages. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 13 percent of poor families and 2.6 percent of poor children experience hunger at some point during the year. In most cases, their hunger is short term. Eighty nine percent of the poor report their families have “enough” food to eat, while only 2 percent say they “often” do not have enough to eat.
So the overwhelmingly vast majority of families in poverty are not starving, like Marcotte would like us all to believe. And to her, the problem isn’t government welfare. It’s the horrible assumption that the best household for children to grow up in is one consisting of the child’s mother and father!
Of course, I know that this mindless assholery goes straight back to the built-in conservative assumption that the only thing that children need is a parent with a penis and his sidekick servant called “wife”. In Wingnut Land, children don’t need food, shelter, education, or health care. They just need a heterosexual couple to raise them. The result is a worldview that makes child-hating assholery inevitable. And not the kind of child-hating that creates 200 plus comment threads, where some childless person says, “Oh I hate it when some baby is crying in a movie theater” and the pile-on begins. No, we’re talking about a topsy-turvy situation where “pro-life” conservatives are coming out against children doing well and for children starving and sleeping on the streets. Because not only do you have Robert Rector railing against food stamps that keep kids from starving (sort of), but you also have all the angry wailing at the news that lesbians are raising healthier kids on average than straight couples. Dammit, the only index we need is the penis index! One adult penis per household—no more, no less—that’s all you need to know.
Of course. A misandrist feminist thinks that you don’t need fathers to raise healthy, well-adjusted children. This is patently false, and if Marcotte had taken two seconds out of her life to do a little Googling, she could’ve seen for herself: the effects of fatherlessness on children are grim and tragic. The facts do not back up her theory, but that’s of course not exactly surprising.
The truth? Fatherless homes are devastating for children.
These statistics translate to mean that children from a fatherless home are:
- 5 times more likely to commit suicide.
- 32 times more likely to run away.
- 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders.
- 14 times more likely to commit rape
- 9 times more likely to drop out of high school.
- 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances.
- 9 times more likely to end up in a state-operated institution.
- 20 times more likely to end up in prison.
It doesn’t end there, either. Daughters of single-parent households (read: fatherless households) are more likely to marry as teenagers, are significantly more likely to have a child out of wedlock, are more likely to get divorced, and are more likely to be teenage parents. Children in fatherless homes were more likely to suffer child abuse and live in poverty as well.
90% of all children who are homeless and runaways come from fatherless homes. 71% of high-school dropouts come from fatherless homes. 63% of youth suicides come from fatherless homes. 80% of rapists come from fatherless homes. And 85% of all youths in prison are from fatherless homes.
Sorry, Amanda. The facts aren’t with you. In fact, it’s pretty dang clear. The worst thing for a child is to grow up in a single-parent home. Children, as much as fascist misandrist feminists like Marcotte wouldn’t like you to know it, need fathers in their lives. And the argument in question — that two-parent homes don’t decrease the risk of poverty — is demonstrably false. 20% of two-parents homes live in poverty according to this study, compared to 75% of single-parent homes.
The truth is clear. Robert Rector was right. Amanda Marcotte is wrong. Welfare does not help children to rise out of poverty; if anything, it forces them to stay in it. Once you’re in the grip of government assistance, it’s hard to break free. It’s like weeds choking the flowers in your garden. A few might still grow and bloom, but most of the flowers will be strangled and suffocated. Once you’re on welfare, it’s hard to survive without it. All increased government assistance does is make people living in poverty even more dependent on the government to survive. And really, considering the state of the poor in the United States as referenced above, it doesn’t seem like it’s exactly impossible for the poor to live without welfare — it just might mean going without a second car and a third TV. (OH NOES!)
But we can’t really judge Amanda Marcotte too harshly. She’s a liberal, after all. She can’t help her knee-jerk reaction, which is to ignore all of the evidence to the contrary and blindly call for the government to swoop in and save us… especially if its for the kids.