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Friday, February 20, 2009

Oy! The Octuplets Case Gets Worse

Sorry if you aren't interested in hearing more about the Octuplets (see previous post). The story continues to intrigue me for numerous reasons and I know I'm not alone.

So the newest turn in the story is not only was the mother bankrupt earlier this year, but the grandmother's house, where the daughter her children are living (and in the case of the Octuplets are supposed to live), is under foreclosure.

The grandmother is a caregiver to these 6 children before the Octuplets and reports that she spends her entire retirement check raising the 6 children prior to the birth of the octuplets. But obviously her check doesn't stretch far enough because soon they won't have a roof over their head should the bank follow through with the foreclosure. May 5 is the date the bank can auction off the house.

I think the story intrigues me so much partly because the mother, despite coming off very sympathetically, appears to suffer from a terrible case of entitlement (entitlement on steroids), a subject that has its own tag on this blog. She bankrupts, moves in with her mother, continues to have children through IVF she pays for, continues to go to school while her mother spends herself into foreclosure. She has stated that she will need a tremendous amount of help when the Octuplets come home (if there is a home to come home to) and expects her friends to volunteer. What's next? This is beyond ridiculous.

I'm a mad taxpayer and I don't even live in the currently broke State of California.


Commenter Abbi said...

I don't think it's entitlement the woman really suffers from. She's clearly mentally ill and the doctor who kept implanting her should be sued for malpractice by the state.

Ezzie said...

Ah - and now the grandfather is asking people to not "punish the children".

rosie said...

Mental health professionals who have commented on the case feel that these children are in for a miserable life. They have no father and their mother thinks that this is all a game. This is not some infertile couple whose quest for a child led to a litter of babies. This is a disturbed woman who reproduces without regard for those upon whom she dumps her kids on.

Anonymous said...

I do think this woman is mentally ill and a great deal of the goes to the fertility dr. for her most recent pregnancy as well as her prior pregnancies. I hope all the anger generated in the media is not taken out on these vulnerable children

ProfK said...

I agree with Abbi that the doctor who implanted her bears a lot of the fault here. While I do have sympathy for the children who are going to suffer for this, the mother reminds me of that man who, having murdered his parents, threw himself on the mercy of the court because he was an orphan.

Anyone else but me see a conflict between the mother's statements previously that she didn't grow up feeling loved and cherished and her giving over her own kids to be raised by the same mother she blames?

ProfK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I share your anger SL (mostly at the drs.), but where do you draw the line? Lots of people have kids who don't have the means to support them without some or a lot of government or parental assistance. Is it ok to have one kid if you are on food stamps or get section 8? How about two? Three?
Should a woman wait to finish college and get a job before getting pregnant? What if she is older and her biological clock is ticking?

Anonymous said...

rosie said...

There is an article on Vosizneias by Shmuely Boteach on the hatred that Nadia Suleman has generated by having a family that she cannot support. Both she and her agent have received death threats. Shmuely feels that the large family is under attack at the same time that the octuplet mom is under attack and that people look at having large families as something that happens only when people are very religious or are uneducated. Apparently in today's economy, large families are viewed negatively as taking more than their share of the resources.

Commenter Abbi said...

Large families are really only looked on negatively when they explode under extremely irresponsible circumstances. If Ms. Suleman was independently wealthy, had a husband who even made a halfway decent living, I think people would think she's weird but leave it at that.

Death threats are extreme,but this woman is a publicity seeking loon and had 14 children on the taxpayers' tab. People are going to get angry about that.

This has nothing to do with religion or undereducation. This has to do with responsibility, plain and simple.

ora said...

Abbi, that's totally untrue. Large families are often looked down on no matter what their financial situation is.

Many of the comments I've heard about the Duggars (Christian family with 17 or 18 kids, self-supporting with their own house and cars and everything) were way too nasty to repeat here.

And in general even families w/fewer kids get occasional mean remarks, if they have more than whatever's considered "normal."

OTOH I agree that the issue in the Suleiman case is not family size alone -- even people with 9, 10, or more kids think she's nuts.

Manya Shochet said...

Suleiman is nuts, but the Duggers are doing their own thing independently, which is great. It seems obvious to me that larger families are less wasteful of resources--reusal of baby equipment, clothing, etc. It's the one-child family that's un-green.

But you've got to take responsibility and deal with the means to support your kids. The Duggers do, Boteach does, Suleiman doesn't.

rosie said...

What I meant by resources is that if a family sends 10 kids to public school, the taxpayers must foot the bill. Even if the government is not feeding or housing them, they pull more current resource wise than a family of fewer children. Personally, I don't see much difference in giving a family WIC or in giving a family free public school education. The taxpayers support families, period.
The problem with people like Suleman is not just the financial responsibility that she has neglected but exactly who will care for her children?

SephardiLady said...

Your average taxpayer sees the benefit of providing public education to all legal citizens. There are those who growl about families that "overpopulate," but I grew up around plenty of kids from large families (non-Jewish) and never once have heard about them taking up too much room in the public schools.

The difference between WIC and public education is huge, at least in my book. I don't expect the majority of Americans to be able to provide their children with an education as a matter of course. Feeding your children is another matter.

rosie said...

In some underdeveloped countries, children cannot attend school for free. Also, many die of starvation. That doesn't stop their parents from giving birth to them. The underclass of hungry, uneducated people is a source of cheap labor.
Luckily in America, no one is forced to be hungry or uneducated because the taxpayers provide for that. Some public school children receive breakfast and lunch on the taxpayer's dime. Even if taxpayers are feeding them begrudgingly, they will still continue to be born.
Whether or not people complain about it, some families use more taxpayers dollars than others do.

Dave said...

It is considered normal in mainstream American culture for education to be publically provided. No one, therefore, gets angry at people for sending children (regardless of how many they have in their family) to the public schools.

It is also considered normal in mainstream American culture for parents to be responsible for feeding, clothing, and housing their own children. The safety net is considered just that; something used in an emergency and that hard-working people strive to get off of, not as a planned way of life.

To put it another way, if you plan on having your children educated at the public expense, people are neither surprised nor upset.

If you plan on having your children fed at the public expense, people are upset.

If you fall back on public support or community food pantries because of unforseen issues (loss of jobs, the general economy, etc), as a temporary measure, that doesn't seem to generate any opprobrium, although it is often considered embarassing by the recipients.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of people are angry at Ms. Suleiman because it's obvious that she had no means of fully supporting the children she had, let alone the octuplets. I think she was hoping for some income from television shows/ product endorsements (like the Duggars and Gosselins), but given public reaction to her situation, that's an unlikely prospect.

Regarding the Duggars, they homeschool their children so they don't use taxpayer resources to fund their education. Personally I don't think it's a good idea to make an older child responsible for all of the day-to-day care of a younger child, including bathing, feeding, and dressing. Nevertheless they are self-sufficient in the sense that they do not depend on food stamps or other public aid (although I believe they receive help from volunteers) so it's really their business only.

rosie said...

It is estimated that sometime this year there will be 28 million Americans on food stamps. If we as a society expect to educate our citizens, why do we resent feeding them? Are we saying that the poor should not have children? And then we qualify it with giving to the newly poor but begrudge those who were already poor enough to "know better". If the government does not have a cap on how many children of a given family they should educate, then if person A has 10 kids that he educates on the govenment's dime and person B has 5 kids that he feeds on the government's dime but does not send his kids to public school, how can we resent person B more than person A? It would only be "fair" if the government capped how many per household that it would agree to feed and educate.

SephardiLady said...

I think plenty of voters would be happy if politicians would vote to curtail benefits for additional children born into welfare families. Michael Savage talks about this on his program and I think it is bound to pick up more public support.

The American public does not equate feeding and educating students, even if many in the frum world do.

rosie said...

WIC and Food stamps are not the equivalent of welfare. Many working families qualify for WIC. Fewer qualify for food stamps but they could be holding down jobs and receiving them. WIC is very lenient in whom they approve.

SephardiLady said...

Funny you should agree these aren't welfare programs. Part of the outrage against Ms. Suleman is that she considers her food stamps "benefits" rather than welfare.

Of course these are welfare programs, even if the thresholds are lenient and they are creating tremendous dependency.

rosie said...

My problem with Mrs Suleman is not that she qualifies for WIC, but that it is impossible to physically care for so many children. Premies may need more care for months after they are released from the hospital. Unless she has numerous eager to stay up all night volunteers, it will be impossible to care for those babies. Her kids will get scant amounts of her attention.
In countries where there is no government aid for food, babies are born but they starve. That is not a deterrent to having children. They are not dependent on anyone but they do not thrive. In many countries, children are sold as slaves and prostitutes because their parents cannot feed them. Their parents often have many children and end up selling them, putting them in orphanages, etc. As we know in China, for many years abortions were done by force and IUD's were inserted after one birth.
If people are so open to funding education, what happens when every type of special needs requires the taxpayers to pony up big bucks? If the special needs population demands the more expensive inclusion programming, we taxpayers rush to fund it, even if those children inevitably end up in group homes as adults and not out in society. We wouldn't dream of telling someone who had several special needs children to stop giving birth so that their fellow taxpayers could have a break. If the government is giving hard-working but struggling families a break with food costs, why is that encouraging dependence?

SephardiLady said...

Here is a letter in the Yated that demonstrates how welfare is causing tremendous dependency in our own communities.

The wife fears if her husband goes out and works that they will be WORSE off when they loose their benefits of food stamps, Section 8, WIC, etc.

And she is right. They probably will be worse off and much more frazzeled.

Dave said...

I actually expect to see a big pushback against the emphasis and funding for special needs students over the next few years.

rosie said...

There are people in society that work but who do not make lots of money. Now I am sure that there are those who feel that these people, lets say that they are janitors or trash collectors, should not have children because that impinges on the rights of taxpayers, but it would be tragic for people to live their lives in loneliness because they could not afford children without some taxpayer assistance. These people are filling vital roles in society and are getting paid although not enough to raise children on without help. Should the government insist that they be sterilized?

ProfK said...

Rosie, let's not jump from 14 children to no children. And you are talking about people who are working, not those who do not work and live off the public dole, the octuplet's mom being one such person. You also need to rethink how much you think the sanitation workers earn. In NY they are unionized, earn more than a passable living, get a slew of benefits and a pension fund as well. They don't qualify as low income unless they are trying to support 12 kids on that income. No one is insisting that anyone be sterilized. But some common sense would be nice. It should be the mantra for everyone, regardless of job title: you can't/shouldn't have more children than you can afford monetarily and time/mental wise. Having babies is the easy part--it's raising them that is difficult.

Anonymous said...

The Suleman case is so weird that it has caused a backlash. Knowing the incidence of special needs in multiple births, sane, caring parents should not knowingly pursue higher order multiple births. (Even twins are much riskier than single births). Since the great, great majority of parents are not intentionally bringing needy babies into the world, the Suleman case is not relevant. What ProfK says is correct -- personal responsibility should be taken when deciding on family size.

(Personally, I don't doubt than there are some parents undergoing infertility treatment who desire multiple births and would be thrilled with triplets, but knowing the risks, I think pushing for this is foolish and I hope this is not widespread).

rosie said...

I just google searched the salary for sanitation workers in New York City and the salary qualifications for WIC. The starting salary for a sanitation worker is about $27,500 per year and it goes up to $44,000 in five years. A family with one child who makes under $32,500 per year can receive WIC. Therefore, a new garbage collector with one child under 5 will still be on public assistance. Would someone like to double check these figures?

rosie said...

correction: those who feel that the sanitation worker's wife should put the child in day care and work so that they would not be eligible for WIC would be correct that he and she together would not qualify. If they are living only on his salary, they clearly qualify.
Now to say that it is unacceptable for her to be a SAHM on the governments dole: unacceptable to whom? The government has currently (and for decades) decided that it is acceptable. Now there are those who resent this and feel that it should change. Maybe someday the law will also change to say that those above a certain income will have to pay something toward their public school tuition (above what they pay in taxes).

ProfK said...

Taken from the official Sanitation Department site "The annual starting salary for Sanitation Workers is $30,696; after five years it increases to $48,996. The job has excellent medical benefits, pension, and paid vacation. Sanitation Workers operate various types of heavy equipment involved in street cleaning, waste and recycling collection, waste disposal, and snow removal." The starting figure was for 2003; they have gotten two contract raises of 3% each in that time period bringing starting salary to over $32K, as well as raising the mean salary number after five years. That's in addition to the raises that are automatic over the first five years and beyond. And let's not overlook the benefits package which frees money to be used for other purposes.

In addition, I don't imagine that most of those who are sanitation workers have taken time off to go to college; therefore, they may be starting with the sanitation department at some time between 19-21 years of age. The census department shows that for the non-Jewish, non-frum world marriage and having children comes later, not earlier. They tend to marry in their late 20s to early 30s. By the time that sanitation worker has to worry about a child under 5 years of age, he is making higher than the starting salary.

rosie said...

Ok, so let's use this example. A person who already has 2 kids (under 5) needs to get a job and decides to start working as a sanitation worker. WIC will still cover him until his salary is $39,000. For at least the first year or 2, until his salary increases, his kids can get WIC. WIC does not really encourage dependency because #1)It cuts off when the child turns 5, and #2)It cuts off when his salary increases. Even if we grant his wife the right to stay home with the 2 kids until the younger one is 5, (which she may have already lost WIC due to the salary increase) she returns to the work force when her youngest is in school, saving her a lot of money in child care and allowing her to give the attention to her kids. Most people will not begrudge a family of having 2 kids, even if they are entitled to WIC for a short period.

Anonymous said...

What is this "right to stay home with the 2 kids"? This may be a personal choice, it may be a personal sacrifice, it may be a luxury, but I don't know when choosing to stay home with the children became a "right."

Dave said...

WIC is, to be blunt, about the children.

A child who is malnourished for the first few years of life suffers cognitive impairments that can never be repaired.

It exists to prevent a child (as much as we can) from suffering irrevocable damage due to parental inability to provide proper nutrition.

The fact that some people have decided WIC means that they don't have to work, or don't have to work as much, or can in other ways choose dependence is an unfortunate side effect of an important program.

Most of America still believes in a work ethic; that is why programs that help people who are working are more popular than programs which help people who are not.

And yes, if you need two incomes to feed your children, you should be going out to get those two incomes.

rosie said...

Dave, let's look at the word "should" as in she "should" go to work or that she doesn't have the "right" to stay home with her small children. "Should" according to whom? I doubt that our newly hired sanitation worker's wife is hiding her head in shame when she buys baby cereal with WIC coupons. I don't think that she stops for a minute to consider how resentful the taxpaying public is of her choices. The government is satisfied with helping her stay home with her kids while her husband works a low enough income job that they qualify.
This program is helping the working poor who are starting families. It is a little harder to justify the granting of WIC to families of 10 who make approx $80,000 (see WIC table of eligibility) but as a frum Jew, (who is not on any kind of assistance) my pocketbook comes out healthier when my fellow frum Jew is not asking me for help feeding his kids. Does he have the "right" to have those kids and does the mother have the "right" to stay home with them? At this point, the government does not consider it immoral or illegal and grants them that "right" just as it grants the right of those to send any number of children to public school. People have the "right" I suppose to pass judgment of those on the government dole or to protest their taxes going to feed people. At this point, though, if government help is available, I would not advise frum Jews to curtail having large families so as not to take advantage of taxpayers. As long as they are doing it legally, the government (but not the bloggers) considers them entitled.

Commenter Abbi said...

Rosie, so according to your line of thinking, people on welfare have the right not to work because the government considers them entitled to welfare benefits. People on unemployment have the right not to work because the government considers them entitled to those benefits. Does that really make sense to you?

Just because something is "legal" does not make it morally and ethically right. In addition, government programs are intended as to be used as temporary measures to help struggling families to get back on their feet. They were not intended as long term sources of income. So misusing them, even when its technically legal, is ethically wrong.

It's a simple matter of knowing the difference between right and wrong and valuing a basic work ethic.

I have no problem advising frum families who can't afford to support themselves stop having kids. It's simply wrong to l'chatichila mooch off the government to support your family.

It's one thing to be caught in a bad situation and use the government safety net to get back on your feet. It's quite another to use the government as the financial bedrock of your future.

rosie said...

I used the specific example of WIC which is self-limited to the period of time in which a low income couple is caring for a small child. It is not immoral for a mother to stay home and care for her child. The government will subsidize the child's food for it's first five years. That does not pay for any of the child's other expenses. Even large frum families who get WIC only get it for those under 5 and then it stops.
The misconception that I see here is that if the government stops feeding children, people will stop having them. That just simply isn't true. As I pointed out, in countries where children are not fed by the government, they still continue to be born and they starve or live a life of prostitution and slavery.
As to the frum world, some frum people work off the books to get government money illegally. This is a different matter and is not morally correct.
If a person sends 10 kids to public school, and as a result of their family size get federally subsidized lunch at school as well as breakfast, and if they are special needs, the government supplies a shadow that allows them access to mainstream classes, why is this more moral than the frum person who does not educate his kids at the government expense but receives WIC for his small children?
The government is not demanding that his child not be born so why should we?

Commenter Abbi said...

It's not immoral to be a SAHM. It's immoral to be a SAHM on someone else's dime. Finagling a living from WIC, food stamps and Section 8 is immoral when you're perfectly capable of working to provide the essentials for your family.

Being a SAHM is a luxury, not a right and not a necessity. If a woman has a husband that is capable of making a living to support the family- wonderful. If not- it's off to work. The government does not owe anyone the luxury of being a SAHM.

I'm not sure where you get this leap of logic about whether the government does or does not want people to have children. I really don't think the gov't cares one way or another. We're talking about taking responsibility for feeding and clothing your own family- it's called being a grown up.

Your analogies simply do not hold up- special needs services are delivered based on need and not income. School lunches possibly but no one has 10 kids with the intention of nourishing them with subsidized school lunches.

We're talking about financial planning based on government subsidies-which is objectively wrong.

Once again, the subsidies were intended to tide families in need over until they were back on their feet again. Not to subsidize SAHMs.

rosie said...

The government does not care if people have children or not. One thing that the government knows though, is that people will have children whether or not they can afford to feed them. Many people would like to see all subsidies done away with or given only for a very limited time. Some of this has taken place already. It is not possible anymore for most people to receive unemployment or welfare for indefinite periods. WIC is limited to the child's 5th birthday. Food stamps don't get most people through a full month. While there are those responsible folks that don't have children that they can't afford, many others would have children that would be forced to go hungry. That has been happening for generations and and happens today everywhere on earth. Lack of means to feed a child does not mean birth control; it means child hunger. That was why WIC was created. Would a more moral society force a poor family to abort the child? How about forcing them to give it up for adoption?
I think that there are numerous children from large ghetto families fed by the federal school lunch program. They are children of mothers who have often have numerous children by different fathers. While that is immoral, so is letting the children starve. Do they plan families around these subsidies? I think that they know that their children will be fed by someone.
As to the SAHM, if she can find decent child care and still has something leftover from her salary, then going to work is her best option but if she is going to be forced to leave her child in substandard care, and also have nothing to show for it, then what has her family gained? If the government subsidizes her childcare, she is still putting her responsibilities on the government so we are back to square one. Personally, I would not want to stand in judgment of someone who had to make those choices because I am not sure that I wouldn't make the same choice if I were in their shoes (chas v'sholem). I would not want to avoid having children, be forced to leave them in substandard care, or forced to watch them go hungry. If the government was willing to help, I would turn to the government for help.

Anonymous said...

Rosie, yes, I would avoid having children if I thought it meant hunger or substandard care. No ifs, ands, or buts, I would not count on the government, or anyone else, to support them.

rosie said...

Let's look at a real life WIC case. Mrs R is a SAHM pregnant with the second child. Her husband was doing OK financially when they conceived the 2nd child but then his company laid everyone off and went under. He got another job luckily but it only paid 2 thirds of what the first one paid and they clearly qualified for WIC. They also qualified for food stamps and the GOVERNMENT sent them a letter urging them to apply but Mr R (not an American citizen yet) has a green card and while WIC is OK with a green card because it is for Mrs R and child #1, the food stamps are not OK with a green card. Mrs R was vomiting constantly in the first trimester and could not have worked. I am not sure who would hire her now that she is closer to term and if a job that she could get would pay enough for day care. Mrs R is not trained in a profession. When the second child arrives, day care would only go up unless she would find someone to come to the apartment and take care of both. Still, how much could she make and how much would this cost? The government is offering her WIC and hopefully her husband's parnassah will increase so that she won't continue to need WIC but at the moment, she does. I am sure that she is relieved not to have to dump her kids in some substandard situation. Now maybe some judgmental folks would figure that no matter what, she is obligated to go out and work, no matter how she feels. Maybe these people feel that she and her husband should both work different shifts to have someone home with the kids but the government is willing to give her the WIC. And the truth is, if WIC is not for her than who is it for? And if she would go to work when her husband comes home, would the taxpayers really see the money back in their pockets? I see that in some neighborhoods the government even complains when benefits have been made available and not enough people are coming to claim them. Now Mrs R is Jewish and I hope that their situation improves but I would not tell her to prevent child #3 in order to keep the taxpayers happy. I feel that Jews are an endangered species and that Jewish life is precious and if the government is not complaining, let the judgmental taxpayers bark in the air. And the folks at the WIC office couldn't have been nicer. They were concerned that Mrs R had not gained any weight and that child #1 had not grown in months and immediately set out to counsel Mrs R in how to eat and feed her child properly. Our tax dollars at work!

rosie said...

I would urge anyone to go on the USDA WIC website. They encourage breastfeeding and it says so loud and clear. That is hard to do when leaving the baby all day. Pumping is possible but does not always work with every mother. The WIC program, by promoting breastfeeding is basically telling mothers to stay with their babies. If there are too many SAHMs out there BLAME WIC. Nowhere does it state on their site that they only help families to get on their feet and I see nowhere where they are discouraging low-income mothers from giving birth. In some places there is a waiting list and the neediest families get served first. Now WIC has added fresh fruit and vegetables to their allotment so they are offering pregnant and nursing mothers and their babies even more help. To qualify, a mother or her child must have some nutritional risk and these workers will usually help to identify this risk.

SephardiLady said...

Actually, I need to find my information, but some of the welfare programs were originally designed to tide over divorced and widowed mothers before they entered the workforce.

My issue isn't so much staying home vs. going out into the workplace, as much as dependence on the government as a lifestyle.

What if the government decides to close shop on social programs?

Anonymous said...

Rosie, WIC also covers formula and many if not most recipients are buying formula. If they were really promoting breastfeeding and SAHMotherhood they would limit the formula quantity allowed.

rosie said...

WIC was founded in 1974 to improve pregnancy outcomes in low-income women and prevent nutritional deficiencies in their children. It had nothing to do with the marital status of the mother. Although they promote breastfeeding, yes, they do cover formula. Not all women are willing or able to breastfeed but by promoting breastfeeding, they are not encouraging these women to get off of WIC and find baby care and go to work.
Is it a way of life for some? Yes because they are low-income and will possibly always be low-income and still want to have children. That is a very basic and understandable human desire. If the government stopped giving food aid some children would end up in orphanages or eventually jail. Either way it costs the taxpayers. Just because everyone "should" work does not mean that they can find work or that it pays enough to live on. There are store clerks who live in their cars. What kind of life is that?

Anonymous said...

WIC is intended as a supplemental nutrition program. It is not intended to provide all of the food a child or pregnant/ breastfeeding mother needs. (In fact, a pediatrician once told me that if a parent says the formula provided by WIC is enought to feed the child, he knows the child is underfed). Besides formula for bottlefed babies, WIC also provides cereal, juice, milk, cheese, and beans, in certain brands/ sizes and limited amounts. Monthly WIC vouchers for a pregnant woman with 2 children under 5 probably still are under $150. If this amount of assistance really makes it possible for a parent to stay home with young children, then I don't have a problem with it.

rosie said...

WIC has added some whole grains, fresh produce, and has always provided peanut butter. Formula is about $15 per can and most older babies go through 2 cans a week. The chalav yisroel formula is actually cheaper than Mead-Johnson. Even if WIC gives one can a week, in a month, they have given that baby $60 in formula.
Families who have 0 dollars to spend on food and are on WIC and food stamps still end up at food banks as well so neither provide everything a family needs to provide nutrition.
Still a no-welfare diehard would tell this woman to work the night shift rather than eat on someone else's dime.
As my mother, may she rest in peace always said, the rich get richer and the poor get children. There have always been poor people and they have always had children. (And the rich have probably always begrudged the poor).

Commenter Abbi said...

Rosie, just because the poor always have had children without planning makes that choice the correct responsible thing to do? Throwing around cliches about the rich getting richer is meaningless. We're talking about what is the right thing to do and you deliberately ignore it. People who can't afford to have children, should not be having them. period. If they've had them and they don't make enough to provide the basics then yes, WIC is great to supplement their food bill so the children won't starve.

Yet you seem to think that people shouldn't stop having children because "the government is willing to help". The government not wanting children to starve is a far far cry from "wanting to help". The government is not a rich father in law who loves that his son in law learns in kollel. The government wants you to get a job and pay taxes like law abiding citizen. That's what the government wants you to do. Twisting the meaning of government programs to suit your "interesting" world view does not change the facts.

My neighbor is a nurse and yes she works the night shift so she can be with her children during the day and provide them with what they need- she has never needed government support. That is the correct responsible thing to do. Your comments about night shifts and breastfeeding seem to suggest that women are poor helpless creatures that need to government to save them. I couldn't disagree more. Millions of women support their families despite having small children and even breastfeeding in many cases. If you can't make ends meet and the night shift is your only options, than yes, that's what you need to do. If you've chosen to have children, then you need to be an adult and PROVIDE FOR THEM.

It's warped thinking like yours that has caused so much of the mess that we are in today.

Although the really responsible thing to do is not to have them until you can at least provide the basics like food and clothing.

rosie said...

Many people, like the Mrs R that I mentioned were capable of providing their own food until her husband lost his job and had to take a lower paying job. Now Mrs R would not come out ahead no matter what shift she worked if she had to pay a baby sitter and realistically who would hire someone that they know will be on maternity leave?
And who can plan their lives so seamlessly? If a child is conceived while the father has a good paying job and he loses it, that is not their fault. WIC and food stamps do not pay for cars, clothes, phones, houses, etc. Even section 8 does not allow a family to live in luxury. It keeps them off the street. Ever try going to a doctor while on Medicaid? They give you a few minutes of their time and if that is not good enough; too bad.
I don't blame government help or the large Frum birthrate for the "mess" we are in. I blame the fact that many frum Jews have decided to sit and learn and not work at all and also that the standard of living is way too high for the life that they have chosen to live. Many get government money illegally by working off the books and by other shtick and scams. There is no way to consider that moral behavior. I don't however see telling Jews to curtail their family size so as not to qualify for government benefits as moral. The US government was given the opportunity to save many Jewish lives from the ovens of the holocaust and turned down the opportunity. If they have to help some frum families so that the mothers can stay home, breastfeed, and not leave their kids with some uncaring illegal immigrant, I don't see that as so terrible. We Jews need to rebuild our people and those who need government help to do so should get what they are eligible for. Many non-Jews are on the government dole because they start having children while they are in their teens and never have a stable relationship. Each child has a different father. I already said that that is neither moral or responsible. These children, despite government schooling, housing, food, drug rehab, etc, often turn out to be violent criminals. I think that the government would have stopped funding these people but see that they will continue to reproduce anyway.
We as Jews should not be advocating reduced family size unless the family cannot emotionally cope. This happens often enough anyway and is a very legitimate reason for birth control and rabbonim should push it when it comes to that. You will not find a rabbi however that will tell a couple to avoid having children in order to avoid government aid because government aid has become an accepted way of helping families in today's society. (I know that you do not find it acceptable but many do). As I said before, no one is getting rich off of the government if they are getting government aid legally and if they want a better lifestyle they need to get job training and get better jobs. As frum as I am, I would like to see seminaries for frum girls close and that these girls should learn a trade instead. I would like to see more job training for frum men and see kollel limited to 2 years post- marriage. I think that parents who marry off their kids young should be ready to help financially. It is wrong to turn them loose to have children with no plan in place at all. My kids married young and we helped them and they worked. None sat full time in kollel. They all live very frugally. I do not sit in judgment of my fellow Jew that needs government help nor would I wish that there would be even one less Jewish baby born because of it. I also prefer seeing a Jewish baby fed from the government than left with an uncaring caretaker. I have read numerous articles about the lack of caring that these illegal immigrants show their Jewish charges. Sickening.

rosie said...

Also, everyone should log onto the WIC table of eligibility. A family of 10 members can be earning somewhere in the neighborhood of $80,000 and still collect WIC on pregnant and post-partum women and small children. Most of us would not think of a person who earned $80,000 per year as poor enough to require aid but the GOVERNMENT says that he does require it and is eligible. Somehow the government is not telling this $80,000 a year worker who would be paying lots of taxes, to stop having kids and give the money to the government. I may have an "interesting" way of viewing government help but the government is giving food coupons to the wealthy. They must have a reason for doing that.

Scraps said...

I don't think that anyone begrudges Mrs. R. her WIC coupons. That is the sort of situation that WIC is meant for - to alleviate hardship in time of need, which this clearly is. What people have a problem with is l'chatchila using WIC, food stamps, Section 8, etc, as a way of life, which it unfortunately is in many frum areas. Just because non-Jews do it, too, doesn't mean that it is right.

Dave said...

What people have a problem with is l'chatchila using WIC, food stamps, Section 8, etc, as a way of life, which it unfortunately is in many frum areas. Just because non-Jews do it, too, doesn't mean that it is right.

What is being described here is almost a textbook example of a "moral hazard".

In the past, and sadly in much of the world today, parents who are unable to provide enough for their children, whether through misfortune or poor planning, were faced with the malnutrition, and possible starvation of their children.

As a nation, we decided that that was unacceptable, and built a safety net. It is designed to protect the children (who are, after all, by definition not at fault), and also to provide a measure of protection against misfortune.

Unfortunately, it also enables people to, rather than relying upon it when something goes wrong, simply rely upon it. And that is what tends to make people angry.

Sorry, I see no difference between "you owe me money so I can take care of my children because I want to" and "you owe me money so I can take care of my children because of the Holocaust".

Actually, I take that back. The latter claim offends me deeply. The former I just find to radiate a sense of entitlement.

rosie said...

What I meant about the holocaust is that some people feel that Jews are not "entitled" to the same help that non-Jews receive. They also feel that Jews should limit their family size, even though we have not recovered our population to pre-holocaust levels. As we see, some of those who feel that way are Jewish themselves.
BTW, WIC claims to save money for the government due to improving the health of children. Usually low income mothers are that way due to lack of education which includes health and nutrition education. They prefer corn chips to real food. WIC is trying to correct that by supplying the exact food that the nutritionist prescribes. Most Jewish mothers are nutrition saavy but if they don't have professions (such as the registered nurse on the night shift), they end up as low income and therefore qualified for WIC. I admit that this is something that badly needs to change. Instead of sem, train our girls to be nurses.
As far as tax payers, tax payers who earn less that $110,000 per year can take $1000 per child deduction. One can make a point that an average wage worker who has a large family is not much of a tax payer but the government has not removed that "right".