It's Brittney's fault. She mentioned this in passing this morning. I was going to let this be a Friday and just leave my blog post about TV (not On The Fritz) as my big contribution to the world. But then my Libertarian hackles were raised.
If you contribute half the DNA for the makeup of a human being, you are responsible for that human being's welfare until they turn 18. Period. End of story. You can deal with this responsibility by being there, paying others to be there or electing to relinquish your rights through adoption. If you don't then you're pond scum.
But the government has no business acting as a bill collector for your private debts, whether to the mother of your child or the Sears store for your overdue credit card.
Giving the government that much power over lives encourages them to violate everyone's privacy. The Deadbeat Dad scenario is the prime example of the way a Nanny State interferes with it's citizens.
1. Give the problem a Cutesy Name. Deadbeat Dads turns it from being a chronic problem with many varied individual components into a societal sitcom. We stop thinking about everything from case-by-case point of view and therefore rob the citizens in question of their individuality.
2. Villainize the suspect class you've created with your cute nickname. No longer is Joe Jones a man who got laid off from his factory job after Wal-Mart started buying TVs from China. He can no longer afford the court-ordered child support and can't afford an attorney to get his payments lowered. He's now a Deadbeat Dad with no reasonable side to the story. I'm positive there are some guys who blow their babydaddy money on hoochie and cootchie. But I'll also bet it isn't everyone.
3. Announce programs of growing intrusivness into the lives of the suspect class. Take away their right to move freely. You can start requiring registration of their address with the court. Their job and earnings. Get your nose good and up in their business. It's all good. It's for the children. And--bonus. You've got the apparatus in place for minding someone else's business. Now you can start figuring out other ways to get other private citizens' every move in your book.
Child support should be handled solely by private debt collectors, who can't do things like require you to register a change of address, take away your driver's license and throw you in jail.
And yes, in case you wondered, I also think Bankruptcy should be privatised.