Thursday, January 19, 2006

Refining Public Policy

One of the better parts of the great blog conversation is the ability to debate openly and come to consensus. State's responded to my response to the whole welfare-subsidized tubal ligation issue: Oh It’s Good, Good, Good. Like Brigitte Bardot!

First off, there are some who might feel that State's linking my substantive post to the fluff "what sex symbol are you" test has demeaning implications, as though any opinion I advocate equates to the fluff generated by blonde bombshells.
If I win this debate, I pledge to do all I can to save puppies and promote world peace.
My opinion? A) Controversy drives debate, people. B) High heels and brains are not mutually exclusive. The more the stereotype is thrown out there and proven false, the better. C) Except if I prove it false too many times I can no longer fake ditzy to get out away from obnoxious sales people and such, dammit. Oh, well, link away.

On to substance:

State asks: Did anybody read the original story and comprehend what it was about?

Um, yes.

Then points out: "The main point of the program, at least from the Federal angle, is to reduce the number of taxpayer-financed births. The hope is that the Feds reduce their costs by getting more poor women in Iowa checked and, ostensibly, get them on a female-initiated birth control plan. Fewer Fed-paid births equals fewer State-paid bennies down the road.

Can we all agree on that? Good.

Yep, I'm with you there.

But then, the clarification: "In closing, the point of the program is to reduce Federal and State costs of bringing another poor child into the world. Right? So all we're asking is that an additional choice be offered.

Choice? Get it? Choice."

If that was the intent of the original post, then I agree that the choice should be made available. The problem was, I didn't read that into the original post or the follow-up. The entire commentary from the original post reads:
The State of Iowa, or maybe even the Feds, would be better off paying poor women to get their tubes tied. Give them something like $2000 cash money and a free operation. That will save the taxpayers a lot of money in the future and will eliminate any future welfare dependents. Then they can screw every dirtbag loser in the county and not make any more babies. That's what we call a "win/win" situation for all. In the retail world they call this a "loss leader." (emphasis mine)

To me, the use of "better off" connotes substitution, not supplementation. I presumed you were stating that tubal ligation should be instituted instead of the free birth control and annual exams for which the Department of Human Services has received funding. This apparently mistaken impression was reinforced in the next post, which states in part:
The ultra-lefties can wring their hands all they want about "poor women" and how anybody who dares to criticize their plight must consider these women "whores" or whatever, but that doesn't solve the problem. Neither does giving the women "free" checks for herpes, warts, gonorrhea, crabs, and lord knows what else before slipping a packet of "free" pills into their purse - pills you just know that many will neglect to take properly.
How do you break the cycle of dependency upon the taxpayers? Free birth control? Grants to go to the local community college for a semester and a half? Job training so you can work at the local casino or TouchPlay Slottery convenience store? No way. That's not it.

"Family planning" should also involve a time in which the State decides that enough is enough. We're not getting all China on the welfare bums, but an incentive to a 19 year old mother of two with no hopes or prospects is the kind of loss leader that might pay some dividends down the road. Rather than stringing the mother and the kids (and some of the fathers) down the road until she's 39 with 20+ years of welfare, ADC, food stamps, heating assistance, Hawk-I, Medicaid, or never-ending battles in court over child support, how about giving the family an option to quit while they're behind only a little bit.
(emphasis mine)

Now, to be fair, the post does use the language "giving the family an option." However, it's preceded by a diatribe on how free birth control is not the solution, and, if given, will only be ineffective because women on welfare are too ignorant or flightly to remember to take a daily pill. For a substantive answer to that argument, see my earlier post. My point here is merely that it appears State is actually in agreement with my position, diatribe aside. We discover that once the language is taken down a notch and bring out the issues. . . .

Which is precisely why I don't use inflammatory rhetoric.

Dan comments:
You both are arguing the same thing. State used the openly inflammatory lingo to get you to buy into the program.

And you did.

You took State to the woodshed just like Brer Bear took Brer Rabbit to the briar patch. At least Brer Bear realized when "his better was got."

Um, Dan? I been around this briar patch longer than you might realize. I am well aware that State takes a deliberately inflammatory approach to incite conversation - why do you think I thanked him in the last post for stirring the pot? My niche in all this is to do the brain-bleed analysis. I'll occasionally be snarky, but in general it's mainly straight-up logic.

Oh, and as far as buying into the program goes: do you think I just made up that example on my prior post out of thin air? Or perhaps could you sense I was a tad outraged and tried to help that mother before having to step back and watch her life fall to pieces that can never be put back together again? I'm afraid my position on this debate was cemented a good ten years or more ago, by someone who made the point far more eloquently than any of our blogs or comments can.

Chris Woods responds to our responses here:
Adding tubal ligation has part of the choice in family planning is an interesting idea and deserves more real thought and consideration than just a couple of bloggers. I’d like to see some kind of research center take up the idea, if they already haven’t (I haven’t really done any research to see if there is a similar policy already).

State 29 also responds to SNAD’s post with something actually reasonable and worth the read (while barely inflammatory).

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