I pit an adorable baby girl (well, her parents really)

I have known the woman who is now my mother’s assistant at work for 10 years. (I worked with her before my mother did.) She is one of those women who has never seen a happy ending when she wasn’t eating popcorn.

She is within a year one way or the other of my age (I’m about to turn 38). She married when she was about 19; she wasn’t pregnant when she married but her first child was conceived in the first few months. She had three children with her husband before the marriage turned hopelessly sour. She divorced when she was in her mid-twenties and he was a terrible ex- a deadbeat dad who gladly went to jail rather than pay child support or alimony. She has routinely worked part time jobs in addition to her full-time job, probably working easily 70 hours per week but, because of her lack of education and skills she has never made much more than $20,000 per year, which with three kids isn’t much. (She has a GED and a couple of semesters of junior college- I’d say she’s of average to even perhaps above average intelligence, though I’m convinced she has an LD as her writing is attrocious). She has had to go on public assistance and or move in with relatives more than once.

In addition to her other problems her taste in men is in a classlessness by itself. When I first knew here she had just learned she was pregnant by a man she was dating who turned out to be married. She had an abortion and was majorly “messed up” emotionally for some while thereafter.

Anyway, skip ahead to the present- I’ll call the co-worker Tracy. Tracy’s oldest daughter, “Julie”, is a natural athlete and she was offered a full basketball scholarship to a major state university, an opportunity to get out of the hand-to-mouth existence of her entire life and perhaps even help her mother and sisters. Instead, she found out just before high-school graduation that she was pregnant, which of course voided the scholarship as she couldn’t very well place basketball while heavily laden. The girl briefly considered abortion (I would never express an opinion to anybody on so personal a topic, but I’ll admit that it seemed a good idea to me as well), but Tracy told her it was murder and insisted that she keep the baby and she, Tracy, would help raise it.

The baby’s father is a piece of shit dumbass who works part-time at Wal-Mart and also wanted Julie to keep the baby. He promised to help: he did, using his employee discount to buy some baby outfits. Otherwise he never contributed $.01 to the mother’s pre-natal care or even to the mother’s maternity outfits. He also has cheated on her and made a pass at Julie’s 15 year old sister- swell kid; he also makes fun of her sisters because both want to be teachers, which he thinks is stupid because teachers don’t make any money. (He makes minimum wage or just over at Wal-Mart with no full-time benefits.) He and Julie tell everybody they plan to marry at some point, but not yet.

So Julie had a fairly non-eventful pregnancy and a few weeks ago gave birth (just a tad premature) to a beautiful little girl. Julie is still dating the child’s father and is taking online college courses, telling her mother (who is my age and a grandmother) that “You’re the one who insisted I have the baby, you should take care of her a lot more”, and so Tracy, still working 60-70 hours per week, babysits when she’s not at one of her three jobs. Julie meanwhile continues to have a social life, something Tracy probably can’t even remember ever having.

Tracy also uses the baby as a chance to proselytize. “Can you believe there are people who say babies should be murdered in the womb? Look at this little girl and tell me she should have been murdered.” She’s right in that the baby is beautiful, BUT if only to me her argument is roughly the same as “Can you believe that there are people who say dumbass penniless irresponsible kids should fuck around without protection? Just look at this beautiful little girl and tell me that boys should use condoms!”

So here’s my rant: because Julie has no money and the father has no money and Tracy has no money, this baby gets every form of public assistance imaginable. WIC, food stamps, ADC, state subsidized daycare, medicaid, you name it. Meanwhile women I know who do have degrees have to go without new clothing and drive ratty cars because they can barely afford daycare even without two parents working full-time. Julie doesn’t appreciate this in the least; I honestly think she believes the government is sitting like a dragon on a huge treasure and the few pieces of gold tossed her way are created by magic. She sees no connection between my tax dollars, my mother’s tax dollars, her mother’s tax dollars, etc., and her child’s sustenance. If every penny I pay in income tax went into one pool earmarked for Julie’s daughter, it wouldn’t be nearly enough to pay for its medical care and other benefits.

I don’t have a problem with people who are working and doing the best they can but, because they have some problems, have to turn temporarily to public assistance. That’s what it’s there for and there but for the Grace yada yada. But this kid and dipshit boyfriend who had a choice of keeping her own pants on or not letting her boyfriend stick it in, has a baby that drains the public coffers, and they’re only two of millions of people who have babies that cost more than I and millions of other people pay in taxes to take care of. And I see no answer: I’m not heartless enough to say “let the baby go without” or “put it in a workhouse”, but at the same time I don’t think that I should have to pay for a dumbass kid who is already talking about wanting to go ahead and have another baby in the next couple of years so that her child (Candice) will have somebody to play with and “two aren’t any harder than one”. It’s just fucking sick and wrong and hopeless, especially considering the odds that in fifteen to seventeen years adorable little Candi is probably going to be getting the hot beef injection herself from some piece of shit guy just like her mom and grandma did and repeating the cycle.

No point really, except I think kids who have kids without any regard for the imposition it makes on other should be horsewhipped and forced into porn.

I hear you.

Not to hijack your pitting, but I and my parents are dealing with a similar situation, where my brother is the boy in question. He’s always paid child support (even while still in high school, and still, even though they technically have “shared parenting” [50/50]) but the mother (still a kid) and her family just survive off public assistance. It irritates me to no end; I don’t want my nephew growing up thinking it’s just okay to do that. (Gonna stop now or I am really gonna hijack your pitting. :))

I love my nephew more than anything, but I’d love to really sit both mother and father down and ask them what they were thinking.

So yeah… horsewhipping.

Since this is the pit I’m just going to say that I agree with you.

If you don’t have a means of supporting the child don’t have it. I hate when people have children they know they can’t afford and then go on welfare. Being a parent is the hardest job in the entire world. Why not wait to conceive until your life circumstances are as easy as possible?

I have a daughter. If she turned down a college scholarship in favor of early motherhood the last thing I’d do is tell anyone about it, let alone act at all pleased with her idiotic choices.

Everyone involved in the story you tell sounds like a complete putz.

I don’t think anyone would disagree with the notion that we should keep them from the harsher realities of their own stupidity but if I were charge I would personally ask the young lady in question to go to High Schools everywhere and use herself as an example of what not to do in life.

It bothers me too because it gives welfare a bad name and takes help away from those who can’t help their situations. (And I’m an old Liberal!)

Very often I had teenaged mothers who would show up just a handful of days a semester at school – enough to get their Aid to Dependent Children. It made me ill. Very often, the grandmothers raised the babies. Girls intentionally became pregnant to have someone to love them, to keep a boyfriend, or to show off. They truly loved their children once they were in the world, but they didn’t know how to raise them or support them.

I have absolutely no solutions because almost anything I can think of might hurt the innocent child.

This breaks my heart too.

Semi-regularly on this board the subject of teenaged sex comes up (no, really?) and sometimes, when the conversation strays in that direction, a couple of wet blankets (me included) will ask, “What are you gonna do if there is an unwanted pregnancy?”

Some people get huffy when such a question is brought up, but you know, when the grandparents often get sucked into taking care of an unexpected bundle of joy, and the taxpayers end up supporting it, I think that the question needs to be asked.

Sex is not always “mature private decision” that two people make—not if they are destined to expect everyone else to pay for the possible consequences of it. This is especially true when the people making the decision to have sex are underage and are still being supported by the parents. How do they possibly think they will support the baby on their own? I think that in most cases they know they can’t—which explains the annoyance at being asked the question.

Isn’t it still possible for the baby to be given up for adoption? Not that the mother or the idiot boyfriend would be keen on that idea, but it would certainly guarantee that the baby would have a better life.

This is just a sad story all around. And think of how many other young people have their dreams crushed by their unfortunate choices. She’s just one in a million.

My ex-wife and I were both 19 when we found out she was pregnant. When my son was born I was making $5.50 an hour, up to my armpits in swamp water, running from gators and snakes, swinging a ditch bank blade in southern most Alabama as a land surveyor. I didn’t know how to do anything else. I had dropped out of school in the 9th grade and had no skills.

I admit, I had to use public assistance. We were on food stamps, WIC, and medicaid. We were on these programs for about 1 year while I worked and read books to teach myself to be a network engineer. Every since I landed my first computer job everything has been pretty much gravy.

I have no problem with public assistance as long as people use it for what it is intended. If you need help, then the programs are there to help, until you can handle things without the assistance. But if someone puts no effort into bettering thier situation, then that is when it pisses me off. Pretty much what everyone else has said, I reckon. But since I’ve been there myself, I really get worked up about people not even trying to provide a better life for thier kids or teach them that it is better to provide for yourself. Take the help when you need it, but do what you have to do so that you can support yourself and your family by your own means.

In our case, the mother fought her father’s wishes that she have an abortion and just had the baby. (And at the time, who, exactly, the father was was in question.) That was over two years ago. Lately, she stays at a friend’s house most of the time, with her boyfriend, while her father has the child one week, and we (my parents and I - my brother is in the Navy) have the child the next week.

I don’t think she HAD any dreams. She does horribly in school (when she goes) to the point of failing several classes and being looked for by the truant (truancy? whatever) officer. As far as I can tell, she never had any positive influence from her family. Her mother is in jail until 2006 for child abandonment or endangering them or something, her father doesn’t have a job. So on and so forth. I guess I think she thought by having him and at least making sure he ate he WAS having a better life. Though really, I don’t know what the fuck she was thinking.

Ain’t the welfare state great? Raise my taxes, baby, I love the fact that I have to work harder to support deadbeats. Why bother to teach responsibility, or that there are consiquences for your actions? Let’s give away more money, that’ll surely solve this problem!

At 16 I made the incredibly wise and mature decision to marry, and by the time I was 20, I’d had two kids, dropped out of high school and was divorced. Big surprise, right? For a few years, I relied upon food stamps, medical assistance and subsidized housing to help my kids (never, never did we receive a “check” from the state though). I worked and went to school and eventually got a degree and we were able to cut out all state funded assistance. However, if it hadn’t been for that period of time where we received assistance, we would have been eating dumpster offerings and sleeping in a shelter. When I applied for assistance, it was never with the plans of making it a life’s support.

The other thing is, that when a person applied for state assistance, the state’s office is privy to everything, simply everything about you–Are you behind on your rent? You must inform the welfare office. How much money do you have in your checking account? You must report that, as well as where every single penny came from. Own a car? It can’t be worth a certain dollar amount, and yes, you must report that. In addition, every single time you use food stamps, everyone who is in that grocery line knows you’re receiving government assistance. Nothing like a good dose of shame to go along with that gallon of milk and loaf of bread.

I’m not defending anyone who is on welfare, and I certainly don’t support generational poverty/welfare assistance, however, I can see where it is necessary. It pisses me off just as much as anyone else when I see my tax dollars supporting family member, after family member who have made their career of welfare support. Truth be known, there aren’t any right answers.

Kudos to you. Your description is exactly why it should be there. The assistance gave you the support you needed while you worked your ass off and took responsibility for your life. Having been there and needed the help , it must be doubly frustrating for you to hear stories like the one in the OP, which is so far removed from you. I met a woman at a writing conference who used welfare assistance when she was a single working mom/student after hubby/father skipped. She is now an engineer, has been off assistance for many years and has raised 3 productive children. She is writing a book about stories like hers and yours to try to separate out the responsible users of assistance from those who just suck off the tit and expect more, more , more and give nothing…not even honest effort.

Gives it all a bad name and puts a bad taste in my mouth. Almost as bad as when people generalize and lump people like you and my writer friend in the same group with welfare manipulators.

:wally a pox on the lot of them

I am glad to hear the story of somebody who used the system properly, but I suspect this last sentence is the key to why it worked for you. I bet that was a big incentive to work your way out, no? All too often I see people who have no sense of shame when using their oh-so-ironically named “Independence” cards, even to the point of arguing loudly with the cashiers when the checkout register won’t allow them to use the card for non-approved items (although lobster and shrimp are A-OK :rolleyes: ), demanding that they be given what they are entitled to. What they are entitled to is a 3X6 plot in potters field, anything else thy have is by the grace of a compassionate society, and I don’t even mind giving it to them, as long as they realize it is temporary assistance for hard times and not their God given right. We’re(society) providing it because they deserve help in hard times, because they are human too, NOT because they deserve to suck off of the rest of us for the rest of their lives.

Because the fact that some small percentage of people are irresponsible in their use of the programs means the programs have no value. Check.

Because the programs themselves don’t have adequate checks on them to prevent abuse, they are of negative societal value. Check.

You know, it is possible to grow up on welfare and not end up an instant deadbeat. I’m 23, graduated from college, and I’m still waiting for that "hot meat injection that going to make me bilk taxpayers for money. My mother was nineteen, got pregant by a loser, and was on public assistance for some. I’m certainly glad she didn’t give me up to strangers, because she is a loving mother and part of a wonderful extended family that taught me the value of an education. We were pretty poor before mom dropped out of college to take the first stable and decent paying job she could get (e.g. not WalMart or McDonalds, which have a small chance of leading to a better future) but I was never without love and support. Now mom has worked at her job fifteen years and is making money hand over fist and I’m getting ready to apply to grad school.

These people CAN have futures. Although it’s bad to have a baby when you can’t afford it, please don’t assume that the parents are not loving and that everyone involved is doomed.

Ugh. That’s ugly.

However, I’m not sure I really feel Julie is at fault here - irrespective of if you agree with abortion, Julie said she wanted one so she could go to college on scholarship, Tracy said “No, no - abortion is evil (despite having had one) I’ll take care of the baby.”

So now Julie is holding mom to the deal. Personally, I can’t get too worked up at her - she knew she wasn’t ready to be a parent - had Tracy stayed out of it and let her daughter make her own decision, this issue wouldn’t exist. I suppose neither would the baby - however, that’s really neither here nor there for this particular point - you can’t miss what you’ve never had.

What would you consider evidence of “adequate checks”? 1% abuse? 0.5%? None?

You’d have to define abuse for me to answer that question, but at the very least there should be a hard time limit for receiving benefits. I am not averse to the idea of extending that time period if absolutely necessary, but I would require some work after that. (Want to collect welfare for more than 2 years? Fine, but you have to spend 20 hours a week on a work crew cleaning up trash in poor neighborhoods, for example) Also a rule that if a woman goes on welfare, she must have Norplant or an IUD inserted (at government expense, naturally). You have the right to have children, but you have no right to expect the rest of us to pay for them, have them when you can afford to pay for them yourself. You claim you can’t because of your religion? Fine with me, let the church care for you. Welfare is secular, superstitions are none of the State’s concern.

I realize that many-most-people do not abuse the system, but those that do, in addition to taking advantage of you and I and every other taxpayer’s generosity, frequently breed generations (of ever increasing size) of people who are going to do the same thing, forever and ever, amen.

That’s how I read it too. Julie was willing to make the hard decisions and do what she had to do to continue with her life. Tracy took that choice away from her, and now Tracy is raising the kid. shrugs Maybe Tracy should have minded her own business.

You’re the one who said that the abuse of the programs meant they had negative societal value. What’s *your *definition of abuse, and of “negative societal value”? For me, the programs are worth it. Fewer children grow up hungry and deprived, and that’s damn near priceless.

My aunt, who worked in social programs in rural southern Iowa, would disagree most heartily with you on time limits. The vast majority of people on public assistance desperately need it to do things like feed and clothe their children. Imposing a hard time limit on benefits means denying basic necessities to those children when the benefits run out. Two-year old children are slightly less needy than newborns, but not much. And requiring the single mothers of those children to spend 20 hours a week working doesn’t make the program any LESS expensive, since the children need childcare during those 20 hours.