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Male suicides, child support compliance and the US Bankruptcy Reform Act, S. 420


Woe to those who lend to the eternally-blind 
Enlightenment's heavenly torch! 
It does not shine for him, it only can ignite 
And puts to ashes towns and lands.

Schiller, Song of the Bell

On March 05, 2001, the US Senate discussed S. 420, the Bankruptcy Reform Act.   The Act would have passed long ago if it wouldn't have for Mr. Clinton's veto, given during the last days of his regime in support of radical feminist (more accurately called redfem) organizations who oppose the act.  They claim that bankruptcy is being used by non-custodial fathers (they call them deadbeat dads) to escape their child-support obligations.

Mr. Clinton is on record of having declared war on non-custodial fathers of divorce.  Now that Mr. Clinton can no longer wage his war on American families, there are still some people who do their best to carry on with Mr. Clinton's efforts and carry his torch.  One of those is Senator Wellstone. Another is Senator Biden.  The latter gave a glowing speech in the US Senate, March 15, 2001, praising the extent to which S. 420 will prevent "deadbeat dads" from welshing on their responsibilities to "mothers' children."

Contents

Senator Wellstone's submission on behalf of radical feminist (more accurately called redfems) organizations (A week for Working People)

The communist roots of Sen. Wellstone's submission

Unsubstantiated fear mongering

Women who have it all to themselves — kids, car, cash and castle — have to do it all, by themselves.

Driven to the edge of society, to the edge of life and beyond (Suicide statistics)

Beaten dead

How many bankruptcies are there?

Are bankruptcies good for anyone?

Are fathers of divorce who file for bankruptcy deadbeats?

Access denial and compliance with child-support-award orders

The impact of father absence on children

Generous fathers — 20 percent of the children whose support they pay for are not theirs

Unreliable government statistics pertaining to child-support arrears

The relationship between unemployment and child support arrears

Are unemployed married fathers deadbeats, too?

The only war ever declared by Ms. and Mr. Clinton was the war on fathers.

The child-support-arrears collection industry

The big roundup

Death sentences for fathers

The death toll of the war on men and fathers

The futility of the child-support-arrears collection effort — cost/benefit ratio 500:1

Common sense points the way to better alternatives

The ratio of funding for and against families is 1:1,000

A WEEK FOR WORKING PEOPLE
(Senate - March 05, 2001)

Mr. WELLSTONE. [snip]

...the bankruptcy bill. I ask unanimous consent to print in the RECORD a letter from a variety of women's and children's organizations—American Association of University Women, Children's Defense Fund, Center for Law and Social Policy, National Center for Youth Law, National Organization of Women Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Women's Law Center, YWCA of the United States—that are in opposition to the bankruptcy bill.

There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:

MARCH 2, 2000.

Re Women and children's groups oppose S. 420, Bankruptcy Reform Act DEAR SENATOR: The undersigned organizations write to urge you to stand with America's women, children, and working families and oppose S. 420, the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2001.

If it becomes law, this bill will inflict greater pain on the hundreds of thousands of economically vulnerable women and families who are affected by the bankruptcy system each year. Over 150,000 women owed child support or alimony by men who file for bankruptcy become bankruptcy creditors. An even larger number of women owed child support or alimony—over 200,000—will be forced into bankruptcy themselves. Indeed, women are the largest and fastest growing group in bankruptcy.

S. 420 puts both women and children owned support who are bankruptcy creditors and those who must file for bankruptcy at greater risk. By increasing the rights of many other creditors, including credit card companies, finance companies, auto lenders and others, the bill would set up a competition for scarce resources between parents and children owed child support and these commercial creditors both during and after bankruptcy. And single parents facing financial crises—often caused by divorce, nonpayment of support, loss of a job, uninsured medical expenses, or domestic violence —would find it harder to regain their economic stability through the bankruptcy process. The bill would make it harder for these parents to meet the filing requirements; harder, if they got there, to save their homes, cars, and essential household items; and harder to meet their children's needs after bankruptcy because many more debts would survive.

Contrary to the claims of some, the domestic support provisions included in the bill would not solve these problems. The provisions only relate to the collection of support during bankruptcy from a bankruptcy filer: they do nothing to alleviate the additional hardships the bill would create for the hundreds of thousands of women forced into bankruptcy themselves. And even for women who are owed support by men who file for bankruptcy, the domestic support provisions fail to ensure that, in this intensified competition for the debtor's limited resources before and after bankruptcy, parents and children owed support will prevail over the sophisticated collection departments of these powerful interests.

We urge you to support amendments to ameliorate the bill's harsh effects on women and their families, insist on bankruptcy reform that is truly fair and balanced, and vote against S. 420.

Very truly yours,

American Association of University Women.

Children NOW.

Children's Defense Fund.

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

Feminist Majority Foundation.

National Association of Commissions for Women (NACW).

National Center for Youth Law.

National Organization for Women.

National Partnership for Women & Families.

National Youth Law Center.

National Women's Conference.

National Women's Law Center.

NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund.

OWL.

The Women Activist Fund, Inc..

Wider Opportunities for Women.

Women Employed.

Women Work!

Women's Law Center of Maryland, Inc.

YWCA of the U.S.A.


 

Mr. WELLSTONE:

Mr. President, my colleague, Senator SESSIONS, was saying:

What this bill says is if these men owe child support to their former wives, they are going to have to pay; therefore, the whole bill is a good bill for women and children.

All these organizations are opposed to it, and they are opposed to it for good reason. First of all, what my colleague and friend from Alabama did not tell us was, yes, these men are going to have to pay child support to women.

It also says he is going to have to pay the credit card companies and other people who are all making claim on what little he has left.

That is not the main reason these major women's and children's organizations, civil rights organizations, consumer organizations, and labor organizations are opposed to this bill. The main reason is that it is going to be very difficult now for women and for other families who find themselves in difficult economic circumstances, through no fault of their own—50 percent of the bankruptcy cases in this country are because of a major medical bill. It is going to make it impossible for them to file for chapter 7 and rebuild their lives. That is what is so harsh about this piece of legislation.

 The communist roots of Senator Wellstone's submission

There is not a single supporter of the traditional nuclear family amongst the signatories.  All are openly declared enemies of men and traditional families.
   Never forget that all these organizations are consumed by feminist ideology that has solid Marxist (read communist) roots, and that in fact the proponents of that ideology are openly declared Marxist feminists.
   Most importantly, don't ever forget that already in 1849, when Marx and Engels published the Communist Manifesto that provided The Ten Commandments by which all self-respecting communists guide themselves, they called in strong and unmistakable terms for the abolition of the traditional nuclear family.  
   The destruction of the traditional nuclear family has been one of the major objectives pursued ever since by communists, regardless of where in the world they worked to implement their sinister agenda.

The Marxist and family-hostile organizations comprising the signatories to the declaration submitted by Sen. Wellstone neglected to provide a single piece of credible evidence to support their incredible claims.  Here is the core of the drive behind the complaint that needs to be opposed:

An even larger number of women owed child support or alimony — over 200,000 — will be forced into bankruptcy themselves. Indeed, women are the largest and fastest growing group in bankruptcy. 

That is unsubstantiated fear mongering,

  1. How can anyone accurately predict that 200,000 women owed child support will be forced into bankruptcy? 

  2. What are the figures on record from which that extrapolation has been made? 

  3. During what time frame will these women be forced into bankruptcy? Next month, next year, the next ten years, hundred years, the next thousand years? 

  4. In comparison, what will the rate of bankruptcies be for men paying child support? 

  5. What are the current rates of bankruptcies for such men and women, respectively? 

  6. What is the level of confidence for the extrapolations that are being made? 

  7. What is the proportion of child-support-paying men who are forced into bankruptcy? 

  8. What is the corresponding condition for women? Surely there are women, too, who declare bankruptcy for purely mercenary reasons, assuming that there may be some men who do so. After all, fraud and theft of that nature are predominantly female crimes. 

  9. What are the corresponding long-term trends with respect to bankruptcies for men and women? Are they substantially different? 

  10. Surely, nobody with a rational mind will base his decision in this matter only on irrational reasoning or ideologically motivated, unsubstantiated fear-mongering, but will base his decisions  instead on hard, cold and objective facts. 

  11. What evidence do Sen. Wellstone and his handlers use to decide that bankruptcy boards or committees are incapable of properly adjudicating their responsibilities? What motivates them, in fact, to allege, indirectly, that those agencies collude with men to defraud the American public and financial institutions? 

Let's not forget that women are the ones who control the finances in most families. They are the ones who most often cause the financial conditions, when it is those that are the causative factors, which lead to family break-ups. 

"A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle," Gloria Steinem said.  Others, with the active and excessive support of government, said, "A women who throws out her husband has absolute freedom and control, over 'her' body, 'her' children, 'her' car, 'her' castle, and 'her' family's income, without any interference by any man," although we know quite well, just as Sen. Wellstone and his handlers surely do, that the harsh reality of life is totally different. 

If the total disposable income of a family was so insufficient as to cause unhappiness before divorce and separation, it is hardly possible that it will be sufficient to provide eternal bliss for the detritus of the once-proud family after is has fallen to pieces. 

That's when the dollar that formerly covered one of every thing and couldn't stretch far enough to do it, will now have to stretch even farther to cover two of every thing: two homes, two sets of utility bills, two cars if only one was sufficient (and more travelling with both of those cars), two sets of household furnishings, etc., etc.. 

All of that will still come out of the expunged father's paycheque, the same paycheque he had before, but a paycheque that is a considerably less secure source of income, because many ex-wives pursue their ex-husbands with a vengeance to make sure that those lose their jobs to boot. 

Driven to the Edge of Society, to the Edge of Life and Beyond

On top of that, those poor, persecuted men have to cope with enormous legal bills. They are being driven to the edge of society, unable to participate in many social activities and associations due to being in abject poverty.  They are literally being driven to the edge of life and beyond. 

Ever-increasing numbers of them don't bother to declare bankruptcy.   They know full well that there is little point in that, because they'll never recover from the enormous financial and emotional pressure they are being put under. They simply take their own lives to escape, thereby making the last decision in their lives over which they still have full and autonomous power of control. Only the power to end their own lives is still their own. 

Graph: USA suicide numbers, 1979 - 1996
Source: USA Suicide Deaths — 1979 - 1996  

Graph: USA suicide rates, 1979 - 1996
Source: USA Suicide Deaths — 1979 - 1996

Graph: USA ratios of male vs. female suicide rates, 1979 - 1996
Source: USA Suicide Deaths — 1979 - 1996

Graph: Productive life-years lost due to deaths, USA, 1997
Source: UN World Demographics and
the costs of disregarding the value of male lives

Graph: USA Suicides, Cumulative total productive life-years lost by age group and sex, 1995
The costs of the productive life years lost due to suicides are
roughly $1.8 trillion for male lives lost and
roughly $0.3 trillion for female lives lost just for one single year

 

Beaten dead

The terrible tragedy is that for virtually all men who commit suicide, to do so is an act of desperation, but a fully conscious act chosen with great deliberation, chosen perhaps by depressed and emotionally and financially destitute men, but not men who are mentally ill. 

It is a testimony to the innate decency of the men in our nations that not more of them crack when they end their lives, but end them alone and in despair. Virtually none of them lose all rationality and end their lives while "taking somebody along." Look at the suicide statistics, you blind people who condemn men. Maybe it will open your eyes to what you are doing.

Would Senator Wellstone and his handlers have found fault with the man who wrote the following letter, perhaps for not filing bankruptcy and instead ending his life?

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN 

Last Friday my bank account was garnisheed, I was 
left with only a total of $ 0.43 in the bank. 

At this time I have rent and bills to pay which 
would come to somewhere approaching $1500 to $1800. 

Since my last pay was also direct deposited on 
Friday I now have no way of supporting myself. I 
have no money for food or for gas for my car to 
enable me to work. My employer also tells me that 
they will only pay me by direct deposit, I therefore 
no longer have a job, since the money would not reach me. 

I have tried talking to the Family Support people at 
1916 Dundas St. E. [Toronto] their answer was "we have 
a court order", repeated several times. 

I have tried talking to the welfare people in Markham, 
since I earned over $520 in the last month I am not 
eligible for assistance. 

I have had no contact with my daughter in approximately 
4 years. I do not even know if she is alive and well. 
I have tried to keep her informed of my current 
telephone number but she never bothered to call. 

I have no family and no friends, very little food, no 
viable job and very poor future prospects. I have 
therefore decided that there is no further point in 
continuing my life. It is my intention to drive to a 
secluded area, near my home, feed the car exhaust in 
the car, take some sleeping pills and use the remaining 
gas in the car to end my life. 

I would have preferred to die with more dignity. 

It is my last will and testament that this letter be 
published for all to see and read. 

Signed A.T. RENOUF 

(Source: Men who broke)

Andrew Renouf was not a deadbeat dad, but he was a man who had dared to become a father.  Therefore the system took everything he had, even his dignity and his life.   Andrew Renouf got beaten dead.  He would not have been able to escape his death sentence by leaving Canada, as he would have been ineligible to receive a passport.   Hundreds of thousands of men like Andrew Renouf in the world died under similar circumstances.  That is part of the legacy created by people like Sen. Wellstone and the radical feminist (more accurately called redfem) organizations he represents.

As sure as the Sun sets in the evening, an unfeeling heartless system in which nobody is to blame but the victim had forced Andrew Renouf to execute himself.  It is a system in which sadly all too many people have sentiments that are identical to those motivating Senator Wellstone and his handlers, people who will not rest until every boy and every man in the country is reduced to the status of a Jew in Nazi Germany. 

Walter H. Schneider

Fathers for Life 
http://fatherless.net


The following comments pertain not only to bankruptcy but also to other, related issues, and to the role of radical feminists (more accurately called redfems) and of pro-feminist politicians with respect to the detrimental social impact and trends in these issues.

Divorced Fathers — Child Support, Bankruptcy & Joint Custody and Suicide

The URLs relating to the Bankruptcy Reform Act that can be accessed at http://thomas.loc.gov/r107/r107.html, contain little that sheds any light on the questions raised in my previous message.

The concerns presented by Senator Wellstone on behalf of American radical feminist (more accurately called redfem) organizations should be dismissed as being nothing less than unsubstantiated fear mongering, unless the organizations that Sen. Wellstone represents manage to back up their claims with data from reputable sources, which they failed to do up to this time.

The following is a summary of the information I gleaned from the concerns expressed in the US Senate in relation to the Bankruptcy Reform Act (without going into who said what).

There were 1.4 million bankruptcies in 1999, maybe a little less in 2000.

Twenty years earlier there were 300,000 bankruptcies in one year.

There is concern that that is a bad situation that needs to be corrected, for various reasons. Some senators feel that people deserve protection and another chance, if they were induced through aggressive and dubious money-lending practices by predatory organizations or companies into acquiring large, insurmountable debts.

That particular opinion addressed the perceived need to protect such people by preserving their credit rating.

Other senators feel that there are people who consider bankruptcy in their financial planning and therefore deliberately defraud the public and financial institutions, creating the need for higher taxes and higher interest rates.

Are bankruptcies good for anyone?

Bankruptcy is not a good thing.  It may seem good for an individual but poses a burden to society.  The debt that is ostensibly wiped out through a declaration of bankruptcy will not go away. The only thing that gets wiped out or postponed is an individual's responsibility to pay back that debt. Someone or all of society will instead take on that individual's debt and pay it off.

The Bankruptcy Reform Act proposes to remove some of the incentives that motivate people who recklessly and deliberately pile up debts. It is intended to do that by holding people who claim bankruptcy responsible — depending on their circumstances — to pay off at least a portion of their debts.

The bill does this by providing a means test to steer filers who can repay a portion of their debts away from chapter 7 bankruptcy. The test employs a legal presumption that chapter 7 proceedings should be dismissed or converted into chapter 13 whenever the filer earns more than the State medium income and can repay at least $6,000 of his or her unsecured debt over 5 years.

Keep that figure in mind, $6,000 over an interval of five years, for all kinds of debts except one, child support. People like Sen. Wellstone and his handlers (NOW) want that parents (fathers mostly), who wish to declare bankruptcy to escape the onerous and unmanageably large financial burden that is placed upon them through punitive and excessive child support award orders, be prohibited from declaring bankruptcy.

Are fathers of divorce who file for bankruptcy deadbeats?

We know that the amounts specified in many child support award orders are excessive. We also know that, virtually without exception, fathers who fall into arrears do so for two reasons. One is that they have insufficient incentive to pay when they are prevented and even prohibited from having any contact with their children. Without any doubt, if mothers restrict child "visitations," fathers are more likely to withhold some child support later.   The other reason is that those fathers have fallen on hard times. 

Access denial and compliance with child-support-award orders

Sanford Braver and Dianne O'Connell found that about 30 percent of fathers who have a desirable and satisfactory level of involvement with their children will withhold some child support. When mothers restrict the fathers' access to their children, about 55 percent of fathers will withhold some child support payments. A similar correlation exists between the total of child support paid and the extent of contact between fathers and their children in connection with the presence or absence of access denial by mothers. (Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths, pp. 169-172, Chart 8.3)

_____________

The impact of father absence on children

The 30 percent of fathers who, even when there is no access denial, will still fall into arrears with the child support obligations placed upon them can be reduced. Sanford and O'Connell found that joint custody significantly reduces non-compliance by fathers with child support obligations, down to seven percent according to fathers' reports, and down to 11 percent according to mothers' reports. (Ibid. p. 194) They found also that when divorced or separated fathers are involved with the upbringing of their children, the latter exhibit significantly fewer reported behavioral problems — seven percent when fathers are present, and 12 percent when fathers are not present. (Ibid. 191)  Many other reputable researchers and institutions examined the question of the impact of father absence on children.
 

____________________
Related article:

Father Absence and the Welfare of Children, By Sara McLanahan

Quoted from the conclusion of the discussion paper:

Growing up with a single parent harms children for three primary reasons: A disrupted family usually has fewer financial resources to devote to children's upbringing and education, less time and energy to nurture and supervise children, and reduced access to community resources that can supplement and support parents' efforts. Fortunately, none of these factors are beyond the control of parents and society. Thus, to the extent that parents and government can address these risk factors, the effect of father absence on children's wellbeing could be significantly softened....

Note by Fathers for Life: Although the discussion paper presents a fairly good analysis of the consequences of father absence, the primary solution seen by Sara McLanahan for addressing the consequences of father absence is to bring about more and stronger child support enforcement.  That is in addition to ensuring more secure financial circumstances (out of tax revenues) for single-mother families.
   Not once does the discussion paper mention, let alone critique, the deplorable drive to systematically destroy the traditional nuclear family and to eliminate the presence of fathers in children's lives.

Generous fathers — at least 20 percent of the children whose support they pay for are not theirs

The fact that so relatively few fathers after divorce and separation refuse to make child support payments is another testimony to their generally good and generous nature.  After all, 20 percent of children born into ostensibly stable, monogamous relationship are not the biological offspring of the alleged fathers, even though in all American states but four (Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana and Ohio), such cuckolded fathers will still be held to their responsibility to be income providers to families of which they are no longer part and to which they may not even have any biological ties.  Regardless of what the judges say ("You assumed that child to be yours, therefore we'll make you pay until the child is of age or you die – whichever comes first!"), can anyone hold it against any cuckolded father not to want to pay child support?  Can we hold it against cuckolded fathers that they think that to be made to pay for being defrauded is a great injustice?   (See Advice to men — Paternity Issues)

Unreliable government statistics pertaining to child-support arrears

There are no reliable government statistics relating to payment records. The statistics pertaining to that which were being reported during the Clinton era were based solely on information gathered in door-to-door surveys and on answers provided solely by custodial mothers. Braver and O'Connell examined that aspect of child support issues objectively and included non-custodial fathers in their examination of the facts. They found the following.

Table 2.4 (Sample N 155)

Child-Support MeasuresAs Reported by
Custodial Parent
As Reported by
Non-custodial Parent
Percent paying nothing15%6%
Average amount paid ($)$2,462$3,104
Average amount owed annually ($)$3,439$3,651
Average compliance ratio (a).68.84
Percent owing nothing13%12%

____________
a) Excludes those reporting $0 owed. 
[That means that the overall compliance ratio, taking into account all fathers, falls into a range from 78 percent (as reported by mothers) to 95 percent (as reported by fathers). —WHS]

( Ibid. p. 32)

 Braver and O'Connell conclude that the "amount of child support not being paid remains in substantial dispute, but the amount actually paid by divorced fathers is almost certainly higher than most official estimates. Deadbeat divorced dads are nowhere near as numerous as the stereotype portrays." (Ibid. p. 32)

The relationship between unemployment and child support arrears

However, Braver and O'Connell found something even more important, something that makes the concerns expressed by Sen. Wellstone, in his support of the wish by NOW to crush fathers in arrears who are alleged of habitually trying to escape their child support obligations by claiming bankruptcy, appear to be at the very least somewhat ludicrous.

We found that the single most important factor relating to nonpayment is losing one's job. For example, while the father-reported compliance rate at Wave 1 was 92 percent, this figure rises to 100 percent when fathers who experienced a period of unemployment are excluded from consideration.... (According to mothers' reports, the figure rises from 69 percent to 80 percent when including those fathers who held their jobs for the entire year.) (Ibid. p. 33)

Are unemployed married fathers deadbeats, too?

In connection with that, Braver and O'Connell also comment that it is fascinating that:

...when fathers in intact families become unemployed, their financial support of their children similarly declines, but no one would ever think to accuse unemployed 'married' fathers of irresponsibility. Instead they get our sympathy.

Clearly, that makes a lot of sense, but, just as clearly, it shows that to paint all divorced fathers as deadbeats is flagrant discrimination of an underprivileged and unfortunate minority, discrimination that will thereby doubtlessly be aggravated into a deadly condition.

The only war ever declared by Ms. and Mr. Clinton was the war on fathers.

Mr. Clinton declared in his acceptance speech to the 1992 Democratic National Convention,

I do want to say something to the fathers in this country who have chosen to abandon their children by neglecting their child support: Take responsibility for your children or we will force you to do so.  
http://www.thenewamerican.com/tna/1994/vo10no03.htm

 Furthermore, Mr. Clinton, speaking on "Taking Responsibility," was quoted in the December 19, 1993 issue of Parade Magazine as saying,

Every family, every parent, has to assume the responsibility for the most sacred trust they are given: the nurturing and care of the next generation.

Ms. Clinton and Mr. Al Gore, as did Mr. Clinton, voiced and repeated the very same identical opinions on numerous occasions. They had been apprised on numerous occasions that the figures on child support arrears that they used to flesh out their opinions were massive distortions.

The child-support-arrears collection industry

Still, they persisted in their push to install a massive bureaucratic structure and organization for no other reason than to collect largely uncollectible debts. That sector of the bureaucracy now employs more than 55,000 people and costs the taxpayers in the order of $4 billion dollars per year. All that to ensure that men's paycheques are firmly attached to divorced mothers and 'their' children — with no regard for ensuring that the fathers of divorce play a meaningful and productive role in their children's lives, other than to satisfy the demand that those fathers make regular child-support payments.

The only tangible results from that effort are:

  • Lockheed-Martin and other corporations involved in the new growth-industry catering to child-support enforcement derive billions of dollars in income.

  • Increased numbers of children experience the break-up of their families and grow up fatherless.

  • Criminal and social pathologies of children are on the rise.

  • There is no end in sight of the continuing escalation of men's suicide rates.

  • Child support collection is a growth industry.  Braver and O'Connell identified in Divorced Dads — Shattering the Myths (1998) that the child support collection industry employed 55,000 people in the US.  Now, according to Senator Biden, the number of people who directly make a living from that industry has grown to 60,000 "child support professionals," plus "7,000 local prosecutors" plus an assortment of other individuals who find being employed in that work to their liking. (Incidentally, these are the only statistics he mentioned in relation to what he calls deadbeat dads.  It can therefore safely be assumed that Sen. Biden is more concerned about the welfare of the child support collection industry than about the welfare of the children whose interests are ostensibly at his heart.)

The big roundup

There is no doubt that fathers can be and are being forced, as Mr. Clinton threatened. Consequently, fathers who fall into arrears through no fault of their own will now be jailed. Their arrears keep mounting during their incarceration. If they don't eliminate all of their accumulated arrears within a month after their release from jail, they will in many instances be automatically jailed again.

That will aggravate the conditions that brought about the fact that they are in arrears, because somebody who is in and out of jail — for whatever reason — is hardly likely to find gainful employment. Most certainly he'll not have permanent and continuous employment. Prohibiting him from invoking the Bankruptcy Act will not solve the problem that society believes it has with such a man. If anything, the problem that is intended to be addressed will instead be aggravated.

Death sentences for fathers

A father in such circumstances thereby receives a virtual death sentence. Unable to pay his obligations, unable to declare bankruptcy, unable to find permanent gainful employment, and being locked up — oftentimes every second month, will leave him only two possible avenues of 'escape,' to become indigent or to commit suicide. That is in effect what Sen. Wellstone and his radical feminist (more accurately called redfem) supporters are asking for. Braver and O'Connell take a dim view of such efforts. They state:

...our findings demonstrate, more than was previously believed, that divorced fathers are voluntarily supporting their children financially, especially when they are fully employed. This fact runs counter to our society's insistence of perpetuating its divorced-dad image. Our knee-jerk reaction, to jail the deadbeat dads, may make us feel righteous, but we need to ask whether we are doing so is effective public policy, or merely an expression of outrage. (Ibid. p. 36)

The death toll of the war on men and fathers

Not only are Sen. Wellstone's and NOW's efforts evidence of ineffective public policy, but they are an instance of willful, anti-social, deadly persecution of divorced fathers who have for the most part fallen on hard times. To deny such fathers the right to obtain relief from their plight will condemn many of them to a life of abject misery and very often even death. Let's not forget that close to 30,000 men in the US each year now choose voluntary death to end their misery.

In the interval from 1979 to 1996 there were a total of 535,890 deaths in the U.S.A. that were diagnosed and reported to have been suicides.

Of these suicide victims, 421,991 were boys and men, and 113,899 were girls and women.

There was not one single age group in any year in which boys or men committing suicide did not exceed by far the numbers of girls or women who killed themselves.

The number of male suicide victims rose in virtually every year during the eighteen-year 1979 - 1996 interval, whereas the number of female victims was generally on the decline in virtually every year.

The number of female suicide victims was considerably lower in 1996 than it was in 1979, in spite of a sizeable increase in the American population during that period.  It declined from 6,950 to 5,905 annually. The number of the male suicide victims rose during the same period from 20,256 to 24,998 annually. 

 — USA Suicide Deaths — 1979 - 1996

Graph: USA suicide deaths, cumuative totals for males and females, 19080 - 1996

The annual number of male suicides in the US was considerably lower in the early sixties, before NOW rose to power. It escalated during almost every year since then. Is it not time to examine NOW's role in, and impact on, that horrendous death toll? What is to be served by making that death toll even worse? How can any individual with even the slightest trace of compassion think of bringing about measures that will most certainly make that death toll much worse?

The carnage must end! Let's worry about what happens to our children who most definitely will suffer the consequences of father deprivation, whether that is through access denial or through their fathers' suicides. There are better and far more effective alternatives for social policies that provide far healthier outcomes.

The futility of the child-support-arrears collection effort
— cost/benefit ratio is 500:1

Braver and O'Connell identify that the present coercive policies have no noticeable effect on the degree of success with child-support enforcement. That is even though literally billions of dollars are being spent annually, with more than 55,000 government employees trying to do so.

The futility and great costs of the massive effort to track down and collect from so-called deadbeat dads is best illustrated by the results of such efforts in Florida. The costs of that effort there have been five dollars spend by the taxpayers for every single cent that got collected, a cost/benefit ratio of 500:1.  Many of the Florida "deadbeat dads" whose arrears the State of Florida had been trying to collect were quite literally dead, many already for many years.  The report didn't mention why none of those men that had been beaten dead hadn't chosen the "easy way out," by declaring bankruptcy, instead of doing away with themselves.

Common sense points the way to better alternatives

There are better alternatives.  Call them bankruptcy and suicide prevention if you wish.  In their "Message to Policymakers" (Ibid. p. 197), Braver and O'Connell state that there

...is a remedy that is virtually cost-free to society that appears to make fathers *want* to pay, *voluntarily*. Coercion, punishment, garnishment are normally not needed at all. Just as important, if not more so, not only do we get paying fathers, we get fathers who visit often and who become positive forces in their children's lives.  Coercive policies, on the contrary, have been completely unable to get this kind of involvement of fathers, even when authorities have been successful in collecting financial support. (Ibid. p. 197)

Braver and O'Connell then recommend the adoption of a "rebuttable presumption" in favour of joint legal custody and state that "we need a judicial preference for having both parents retain their rights and responsibilities toward their children post-divorce."

What could possibly be wrong with that? Suicides would be reduced. Futile, expensive, destructive and coercive child support collection programs would become largely unnecessary. The outcomes in our children would be improved so that behavioral problems would be cut in half. The benefits to all of society would be enormous.

That would be making the best out of a bad situation and not make it worse. Furthermore, halting the continuing planned program of the vilification of men will perhaps induce men and women to form more lasting relationships. That would reverse the upward trend of the current divorce epidemic.

The proposal by the  redfem organizations, on whose behalf Senator Wellstone spoke, must be recognized as being nothing less than an attempt to bring about the destruction of many men. It shows no regard for the negative consequences that will have on the lives and well-being of men and children of divorce. Moreover, that proposal will perpetuate and aggravate the persecution of fathers of divorce, with that having a detrimental impact on all sectors of society. That is not how a better nation will be created.

The ratio of funding for and against families is 1:1000

The US Senate would do well to note what is being said in the Heritage Foundation report by Patrick Fagan and Robert Rector The Effects of Divorce on America, a report that identifies beyond any doubt that the epidemic of divorce is destroying society.

Each year, over 1 million American children suffer the divorce of their parents; moreover, half of the children born this year to parents who are married will see their parents divorce before they turn 18. Mounting evidence in social science journals demonstrates that the devastating physical, emotional, and financial effects that divorce is having on these children will last well into adulthood and affect future generations.

Fiscal conservatives should realize that federal and state governments spend $150 billion per year to subsidize and sustain single-parent families. By contrast, only $150 million is spent to strengthen marriage.

Thus, for every $1,000 spent to deal with the effects of family disintegration, only $1 is spent to prevent that disintegration.

Source: The Effects of Divorce on America

Not only is it time to end the outright persecution of fathers of divorce and the damage caused thereby to their children, but it is time to end the deliberate destruction of American families and to put a halt to the funding of the radical extremist organizations who promote it.

Sincerely,

Walter H. Schneider

Fathers for Life 
http://fatherless.net

See also:

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Posted 2001 03 11
Updates:
2001 03 28 (inserted headers and links to Senator Biden's speech in the Senate)
2001 04 09 (added graph for 1995 costs of sucides)
2003 05 02 (added reference to Family Law — Table of Contents
2006 03 04 (added link to Feminism for Male College Students)