Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Happy Father's "Pay"? What about Wal-Mart?

Strolling down W. Adams St., in the shadow of the Sears Tower in downtown Chicago on a hot, sunny Monday June 18th, I happened to see a copy of the Chicago Sun-Times in a paper machine for sale, and saw its screaming headline: OPERATION FATHER'S PAY. A quick glance at the sub-title made it clear that Illinois law enforcement had chosen Father's Day as the day to make almost 150 arrests of fathers who were behind on their child support payments. These fathers collectively owe in excess of $1.5 million to their childern. (For the complete story, click here)

I have a few comments on this story. First of all, what good does it do to throw people in jail if they are in debt? It's kinda hard for them to earn money when they are in the pokey. And it only damages their careers so they have trouble getting that next job. While doubtless some of these men are scofflaws who simply refuse to pay knowing the money is going to their ex, I'd be willing to wager a substantial portion of my next paycheck that the majority of these men are relatively poor to begin with, and trying to get the sums of money they are talking about from them is like trying to get blood from a stone.

But here is the most galling thing of all. The whole conservative justification for child support is that taxpayers shouldn't be forced to pay the welfare benefits for these single parents trying to raise their family, that the fathers should be forced to pay. And yet when the world's largest corporation routinely pays its employees so little that they end up on welfare, costing taxpayers an estimated $1.5 billion per year, nothing is done.

So its okay to throw predominately poor dads in jail because their children are costing taxpayers money, but no action is taken against the management of the world's largest corporation when its employees end up also costing taxpayers money?

Wal-Mart is the worst deadbeat dad of all. Before throwing another father in jail, let's force Wal-Mart, McDonald's, and all other employers who do so to stop paying poverty wages.