As the campaign rhetoric begins to flow toward this fall’s elections I offer a small anecdotal observation to support the idea that whatever the government subsidizes results in more of the same.
My wife and I often revisit the same restaurant and have become acquainted with several of the waitresses there. There are three that are currently unmarried and either pregnant
or recently gave birth to their second or third child. Unlike in days of yore there appears to be no societal stigma to this and they discuss it openly. The fathers in these cases are “around”, but it’s not clear just what the domicile arrangement is. We asked one of the girls whether she had medical insurance and she cheerfully replied, “Why, yes, of course! I have MediCaid.”
It occurs to us that the avoidance of marriage is purposeful to facilitate the MediCaid eligibility. This augurs an increasing role of government in providing what used to be, to use one of those hot-button words, personal responsibility. I suggest that there is virtually no limit to how much public assistance people will accept because there is no longer any stigma to it.
At the same time, I have been trying to research some of the demographics of society and find a disturbing trend. In addition to increasing single-parent births, we are incarcerating more people than ever before. I believe, and many professionals agree, that it is probable that there is some linkage between fatherless households and increased crime rates. The average annual cost to keep each prisoner seems to range between $50,000 and $60,000. This graph (from Wikipedia, “Incarceration in the United States”), shows the trend:
I realize these are only symptoms of a gigantic Gordian knot of a problem with the national debt. I believe that the cost of these kinds of trends is unsustainable. If government will not restrain itself, then natural forces will cause the financial system to collapse.