Child Support & Welfare Reform (was RE: working class civil society)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Sun Mar 26 17:52:43 PST 2000

>>*How many* fathers of kids on welfare make 32K, have the family income of
>>70K, and a house worth 85K??? That's what I'd like to know. Empirical
>>stats please.
>well, thanks to child support enforcement, very few. in those situations,
>they make sure that men cough up the lousy 5200$/year plus pro rata
>childcare. with that and 10k as a fulltime adjunct we can live quite well,
>thank you.

You are not answering my question, though, Kelley. You don't imagine that most fathers of kids on welfare make 32K, do you? What works for you, because of the income level of your ex, doesn't work for other poor women, does it?


Conventional wisdom says the economy is booming. And it is true that inflation and unemployment are low and the stock market and corporate profits are high. But if you think that you're struggling more financially than your parents did, you're probably right. Our just-released "State of Working Ohio, 1999" found that 80 percent of Ohio's workers make less money in real dollars per hour than comparable workers 20 years ago.

Men in general, black men in particular, high school dropouts and those earning less than median have been especially hard hit. Vast inequalities remain with women lagging behind men, minorities lagging behind whites and those with less education lagging behind those with more. The poor have become poorer. But so has the middle class, and both lie further than ever from the wealthy. To abuse a clich: The rising tide has not only failed to lift all boats, but it has left most Ohio workers toiling harder than ever to just stay afloat.

Real wages have dropped for the typical Ohio worker - the person right at the midpoint - from $12.47 per hour in 1979 to $11 in 1997, a 13 percent fall. While the drop was steeper during the 1980s, the wage continued to erode over the decade of the '90s.

Women still earn considerably less than men in Ohio. This "gender gap" has narrowed over the last 20 years, but the narrowing is due to a drop in men's wages, rather than an increase in women's. Women's real median wages have continued to hover just above $9 an hour since 1979. Men's real median wages were more than $15 an hour in 1979 and fell to just $12.66 by 1997, a significant drop, but still 37 percent above what women earn.

Minority workers in Ohio also get by at a substantially lower wage. Ohio's black male workers have been hardest hit, with a 28 percent plunge in their real median hourly wage, from $13.88 to $10. Because of this dramatic decline, a race gap continues to exist and indeed to widen in Ohio, despite drops in white male wages. While white women's real wages increased slightly between 1979 and 1997, black women's real wages declined over the period.

Workers without high school diplomas - a full 24.3 percent of Ohio's over-25 population in 1990 - saw their median wages plunge from $11.17 an hour in 1979, to a dismal $6.75 in 1997, a 40 percent drop. Though dropouts struggle most, workers in every educational category through college completion lost earning power between 1989 and 1997.

Wage inequality grew dramatically between 1979 and 1997 in Ohio. Although wages eroded for workers across almost the entire income spectrum, those who were already earning less had steeper declines. The lowest earning 10 percent of workers had the largest median wage drop, 17 percent from $6.47 to $5.36. But all workers below the middle had wage drops of between 14 percent and 16 percent.... *****

If they are regularly employed at all, I'd think that most fathers of kids on welfare earn wages which fall into the category of the lowest earning 10 percent of workers, making about $6.00 or so. That's barely enough to support one person, it seems to me.

>most people can't get TANF

Thanks to tight eligibility definitions, end of entitlement, etc., legitimated by the rhetoric of personal responsibility.

>child support enforcement isn't about welfare. the feminist movement to
>insist that men pay did not have anything to do with welfare initially. it
>had to do with making sure that men took care of the children they brought
>into the world and for keeping women out of poverty--which doesn't mean you
>collect welfare. that is NOT the issue re child support enforcement.
>child support enforcement is for ALL women and children regardless of how
>much they make. got that?

As the subject line shows, I'm not talking about ALL women and children; I'm talking about the rhetoric & reality of child support collection in the context of welfare reform. I've already said that those who can pay -- like your ex or the ex of Max's sister-in-law -- should pay.


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