Jack Hoff's Give 'n Take: Deadbeat Dads & Steve Cooley
DN Headline: Hounding low-income dads won't pay
JH Headline: Hound The Bastards, It'll Pay Dividends For Everyone!
By Jeffery M. Leving and Glenn Sacks Jeffery M. Leving is a family-law attorney and the author of "Divorce Wars." Contact him through his Web site, www.dadsrights.com. Glenn Sacks writes on men's and fathers' issues.
Jack Hoff grew up with(out) his deadbeat dad. Now he writes for no money on a crappy political blog.
LOS Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley and Child Support Services Department Director Steven Golightly have announced a sweeping new campaign against "deadbeat dads." They say their new Most Wanted Delinquent Parent list is modeled on the FBI's fabled 10 Most Wanted list. On paper the 10 offenders owe over $2 million, but it's very questionable that Cooley and Golightly will be collecting much.
Do you think that's the entire point? It's a campaign. Campaigns are about communicating a message or position. Think hard, what could that message possibly be?
(More after the jump...)
Golightly's action is particularly remarkable considering that the California Department of Child Support Services, which supervises the CSSD, issued a report in January that contradicts any possible rationale for this campaign.
I see you've already missed my point.
According to the CDCSS, there are four primary factors creating child-support arrearages in California: "high child-support orders established for low-income obligors"; "a limited number of child-support orders adjusted downward"; "establishment of retroactive child-support orders"; and "accrual of 10 percent interest on child-support debt." Over a quarter of these arrears is interest.
Is this the "apples" part of your argument, or the oranges?
Unlike the Most Wanted Deadbeat Parent lists put out by most states and counties, the CSSD's list does not contain the occupations of the "deadbeats." One can understand why.
Lemme guess...it gets boring putting "unemployed" under each name?
Nationwide these lists are never comprised of well-heeled businessmen, lawyers and accountants, but instead of fathers who do low-wage and often seasonal work, and owe large sums of money, which they could never hope to pay off. It is rare to find a person with even a college degree on these lists.
Let's all take a moment to pity the uneducated deadbeat dad who travels the country earning his low wage, yet liberally "spreading his seed" throughout the land...
In recent years there have been several highly publicized actions similar to CSSD's, generally coupled with arrests.
Praise the Lord, somebody's gotta do something!
For example, Virginia's Most Wanted list was topped by a laborer, a carnival hired hand and a construction worker, who collectively somehow owed over a quarter-million dollars in child support.
Fifty states in the union, and you choose Virginia to establish your fundamental argument?
Similarly, Kentucky's list during its campaign sported only one obligor with an education, and the most common designation for occupation was "laborer."
See above, add "deadbeat dwarf shot out of cannon." And btw, sure glad this is about L.A. County, Cooley & Golightly...
How do men of such modest means end up with such fantastic arrearages?
How do turkeys drown when they look up in the sky during a cloudburst?
The child-support system is largely impervious to the economic realities working people face, such as layoffs, wage cuts, unemployment and work-related injuries. According to the Urban Institute, less than one in 20 noncustodial parents who suffers a substantial drop in income is able to get courts to reduce the support obligation.
Because, jackass, nobody lowers the cost of food and clothes for children who need something to eat and wear just because daddy lost his job again or the price of a six pack just went up...
To Cooley's and Golightly's credit, they did explain that some of the "deadbeats" they're pursuing may be able to use California's Compromise of Arrears Program. COAP allows some obligors to settle their artificially inflated paper debts to the state for realistic amounts.
Ah, there is a rainbow after the storm. Now low-wage deadbeat dads can hire a lawyer like you...for $350/hr.
The problem is there has been little outreach done on COAP, so few obligors are aware of it.
See, that's the problem, you can't do "outreach" to deadbeat dads who refuse to leave a forwarding address...
Fewer than 5,000 have used it since its inception in 2003.
Not surprising. How'd you find them, at another one of their weddings or baptisms?
Moreover, it's unlikely that those on the list will view the Most Wanted approach as much of an invitation to turn themselves in.
Ahahaha....So smug. Where is my vomit bag?
Golightly says he's doing this so the "deadbeats" will "take care of their children." This is misleading, because 70 percent of California's child-support debt is owed to the state, not to custodial mothers and fathers.
Okay, you're not gonna win any friends on this blog by trying to make that point....
It is understandable that taxpayers want money spent on welfare benefits to be repaid.
Yet it makes little sense to hound low-income fathers, particularly since research shows that in some cases, were it not for child support, the men would still be playing a role in their children's lives.
Oddest point of all...conclusion being that "if these men didn't have to support their children, they would still be in their lives, uhm, supporting their children, yeah, that's it!"
The Cooley/Golightly approach may be good politics, but it's counterproductive policy.
What's counterproductive, sir, is that your potential client base (absentee fathers, deadbeat dads) is largely responsible for the gang problem in our city, the high dropout rate in our schools, drug and alcohol abuse amongst teens, and myriad other ailments in our society. Try taking a look at that research some day....
And get back to us!!