June 11, 2012

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood… [bh]

In comments, motionview points to a nice piece by Kay S. Hymowitz in the latest City Journal.  Here’s a taste:

Defenders of the single-mother revolution often describe it as empowering for women, who can now free themselves from unhappy unions and live independent lives. That’s one way to look at it. Another is that it has been an economic catastrophe for those women. Poverty remains relatively rare among married couples with children; the U.S. Census puts only 8.8 percent of them in that category, up from 6.7 percent since the start of the Great Recession. But over 40 percent of single-mother families are poor, up from 37 percent before the downturn. In the bottom quintile of earnings, most households are single people, many of them elderly. But of the two-fifths of bottom-quintile households that are families, 83 percent are headed by single mothers. The Brookings Institute’s Isabel Sawhill calculates that virtually all the increase in child poverty in the United States since the 1970s would vanish if parents still married at 1970 rates.

I should probably add something thoughtful or humorous here but everyone should just be happy that I was able to resist tritely ending the post with the last line of that Frost poem.

You’re welcome.

Update:  This isn’t particularly interesting, I suppose.  We all knew this already, right?  Perhaps it would be more entertaining and worthwhile to suggest solutions.  Bonus points if they don’t involve new government programs.  Double bonus points if they do involve centaurs.

Posted by bh @ 7:36pm
122 comments | Trackback

Comments (122)

  1. I have no idea what you are talking about as far as the poem goes.

  2. The divergent paths are one parent or two parent families and…

    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

    (“The Road Not Taken”)

  3. Walt Whitman, maybe? The one that ends in “Stay gold”. It’s about youth and uses an analogy about the seasons of desiduous trees as it applies to the seasons of life.

    Or I could be totally wrong, too.

  4. As I suspected: totally wrong.

  5. When in doubt, you can always guess that I’m quoting the most pedestrian of verse because it’s all I know.

  6. it’s ok if you go down one road and just check it out and then you and your horsey execute an elegant three-point turnabout and double back as long as you still have the light but later when the woods are lovely dark and deep you just need to get your ass home

    cause of you have to keep your promises

  7. Screw the promises, usually it’s cause the icecream is starting to melt.

  8. you have the soul of a poet Mr. sdferr

  9. If parents got married at ’70’s rates he says? All that married then children syndrome ended for the fashionable liberal sorts just about when this not-a-poem-but-still-all-lyrical-n’shit came out…

    Well, I just got into town about an hour ago
    Took a look around, see which way the wind blow
    Where the little girls in their Hollywood bungalows?
    Are you a lucky little lady in the city of light?
    Or just another lost angel
    City of night
    City of night
    City of night
    City of night
    Woo, c’mon!

  10. If I’m still on the road I damn well better have miles to go before I sleep. Then again, I’d rather go like my uncle, and not screaming in panic like his passengers.

  11. That’s the most evocative comment I’ve read in quite awhile, McG.

  12. Social issues are cool.

  13. I’m here for the centaurs. I am entitled to centaurs.

  14. We have centaurs? No one tells me anything.

  15. Is this a social issue, Abe?

    I thought it was an economic issue. There are numbers and everything.

  16. Destroy Hollywood, let a thousand flowers bloom.

  17. If you’d had centaurs destroy Hollywood, that would have been bonus, bonus points, mv.

  18. I only glance at the text in posts due to ADD or reading being low on my multitasking priority list. More the latter. I will accept your characterization of this as being about the economic consequences of hoochies and jezebels popping out units sans a proper baby daddy.

  19. single mothers are fucking losers

    there you go now it’s social

  20. I only glance at the text in posts due to ADD or reading being low on my multitasking priority list. More the latter
    That sounds positively Presidential Abe.

  21. The obvious answer is that it’s both a social issue and an economic issue.

    Kids being raised with half resources matters in both respects. It’s just not the same thing as arguing over which Teletubby might be gay.

  22. most kids what are raised by the gay parents grow up in relative affluence I would imagine

    bless their hearts

  23. most kids what are raised by the gay parents grow up mind-warped disordered perplexed and confuzzled I would imagine

    ftfy

  24. The Teletubby with the purse was the gay one, I think.

  25. Happyfeet is correct. The average single person wastes a fortune on dating alone. Just think of the nest egg you’re building by sucking cock in truck stop bathrooms.

  26. most kids what are raised by the gay parents grow up mind-warped disordered perplexed and confuzzled I would imagine

    That’s necessarily true, jdw. And, happy is correct that many gay couples are relatively affluent. Plus, the kiddo was not unwanted, which can’t always be said about straight moms and dads.

    Anyway, people are individuals and kids growing up in the same family can have totally different outlooks on life regardless of who their parents are.

  27. not necessarily true, that should be.

  28. We were talking about our use of terms in the other thread and I’m feeling verbose so why not do so here as well?

    I don’t really like the term “social issues”. It’s too nebulous and strange for my ear. How about moral issues? That’s what we’re talking about, right? So let’s just say so.

    Now, I might think of “morals” as “mores” but I’d still say there are certain behaviors that work better than others and so they’ve become institutionalized. Others will describe it differently. But, all of us would be talking about habits and defaults that aren’t so much arbitrary and judgey as they are time-tested and prudent.

    So, yes, this is a moral issue. Why wouldn’t it be and why should we run from this area of thought? Especially when it’s so obviously fundamental as the shift between kids having two parents and their having one parent.

  29. I’m not talking about gay vs straight couples here, btw. Not at all.

    I’m talking about one parent vs two.

    However important any of us find the gay version it’s objectively a very, very small issue compared to straight parents.

  30. I think this topic falls under what we used to call problems, not issues. (I’m with you: everything is a damned “issue” anymore.)

  31. The gay thing is a side-bar and not really on topic.

  32. Unless they’re gay centaurs who don’t work for the government, leigh.

  33. Just think of the nest egg you’re building by sucking cock in truck stop bathrooms.

    I don’t have any comment on that, I just thought we should see it again.

  34. ching chong it means i love you

  35. I’ve never found myself thinking of female centaurs. Could be something peculiar to the Greeks that way though, I guess.

  36. I have the same attitude towards celebrating single mom-dom like I do towards the libertarian mantra about legalizing drugs…

    I’ll agree as long as you first get rid of the welfare state.

    This is not a “social issue” as much as it is a Nannystate v family/local community issue.

  37. That’s the most evocative comment I’ve read in quite awhile, McG.

    Stolen from, I believe, Emo Phillips.

    BTW, I’ve “published” one of my short stories for the Kindle. It’s almost certainly overpriced but I don’t have the option of advising anyone to steal it.

  38. we made poodles so gay-looking they had to be super-smart to survive

    does anyone doubt they made a killing on the facebook ipo?

  39. yes lets get all upset about 2% of the peeps. the mbm tells me i must.

  40. the gay thing is kinda of “positive feedback” keep humping it meghan mccain

  41. It’s 2.1%, newrouter. You’ve gotta leave room for obvious yellow pikachus who can’t bring themselves to come out of the closet just yet.

  42. to quote a famous intellectual:

    “resist we much”

  43. omg that’s the gayest thing you’ve ever said Mr. Froman

    gay people are always going on about how this one or that one is gayer than greg loughanis on a pogo stick made out of dildos

  44. of course a lot of times they’re right

  45. I don’t think even Greg Louganis is gay enough to type “omg” on a blog.

  46. Greg Louganis is gay?

  47. we made poodles so gay-looking they had to be super-smart to survive

    around gay and meghan mccain peeps?

  48. BTW, I’ve “published” one of my short stories for the Kindle. It’s almost certainly overpriced but I don’t have the option of advising anyone to steal it.

    I’m going to put up a post on this and if you delete it I’m just going to post it again.

    Cheers, man.

  49. I don’t think even Greg Louganis is gay enough to spell Greg Louganis correctly on a blog

  50. baracky is gay ax his bicycle helmet or pitching arm.

  51. I bought now using one-click but I don’t have a kindle yet I want one but I decided I can have mine after all the kids in my life get theirs first – and the last of them get theirs in late July, so I can read your short story shortly thereafter, along with Mr. Ric’s story about the space janitor

  52. How very Pee Wee Herman of you. Jeff accused you of being more Paul Reubens in a theatre, but you’ve accomplished his duality quite well.

  53. yeah well Mr. Jeff is a wee bit aggro where I’m concerned Mr. Froman

    it’s a thing

  54. I might could say that he’s a bit too laid back. Most people would cage a puppy who shits all over the living room.

  55. i like these east-west cage matches.

  56. the only people what would cage a puppy what shits all over the living room live in apartments, where you shouldn’t have puppies anyway

  57. it’s a thing

  58. You can read Kindle books on your computer too. Download is here under free Kindle reading applications. Then when you get an actual Kindle you can copy them over to it and have them either place.

  59. I already downloaded it Mr. geoff it just doesn’t work for me somehow

    cause of I have the same ADD Mr. Abe has I think

  60. but Mr. Kevin and Mr. Ric they’re both in my cloud, which is a good thing they’re in good company

  61. Given: A clear and preventable cause of poverty is single parenthood. Prog framing: That choice is the right of any woman. Conservatives are such prudes. Now, who likes to fuck? And who likes money?
    Classical liberal perspective: you can fuck till you turn blue for all I care Jack; I’m not paying for it.

  62. I did put up a post on McG’s story, btw.

    And people really should consider both buying it and putting up reviews. Like, if you don’t, I’m probably going to judge you. I won’t mention it but I’ll be judging you.

  63. Given: A clear and preventable cause of poverty is single parenthood. Prog framing: That choice is the right of any woman. Conservatives are such prudes. Now, who likes to fuck? And who likes money?
    Classical liberal perspective: you can fuck till you turn blue for all I care Jack; I’m not paying for it.

    True, that. I was just giving bh a little misplaced shit because in Jeff’s absence this place tends to turn into a dime store culture warrior blog.

  64. the evils of single parenthood is something what planned parenthood-sponsored abortions address really rather efficaciously

    but that’s only if you notice

  65. the evils of single parenthood is something what planned parenthood-sponsored abortions address really rather efficaciously

    but that’s only if you notice

    Is it that simple? Did my post and later comments make you think I was talking about the evil of single parents?

    Nah. I’m thinking it’s more like life is life and shit happens but then you try and do the best you can and empirical evidence says the best you can probably involves pooling your resources with another adult if you can make that happen.

    These theoretical adults will both empathize with what happened during a bad day at work and have sex with you.

    How’s that so bad?

  66. It’s not so bad is the answer.

    It’s about all we can hope for during our time living on this planet is the answer.

  67. Newrouter was a long-haired, dope-smoking hippie in a past life.

  68. Two roads met in the woods and they both got poison ivy on account of they were inattentive having all that sex and business. True story. And the centaurs couldn’t help.

    But laugh.

  69. no Mr. bh I just went on a tangent is all

    cause of just to make sure it was a clear that yeah jes maybe this post is mayhap social in nature

    well, comma, socio-economical anyways

    kinda like Detroit

  70. oh mo this one popped out of rotation:

    I Just Heard the N-Word 30,000 Times

  71. Newrouter was a long-haired, dope-smoking hippie in a past life.
    The kind that would have supported a Panther for Congress?

  72. oh.

    I been thinking this guy looks like Mr. Kris Kristofferson (sp?) (he who penned Me ‘n Bobby McGee (per se)) after plastic surgery what would make Melissa Rivers blush

    yeah that’s him

    God love him

  73. I had a very long and boring comment about that, ‘feets.

    But, yeah, I do think it’s a moral issue. I’m not denying it. Doesn’t mean I’m doing so in some weird way that’s all unseemly and looking in people’s windows.

    Here’s the thing. We know adults so we don’t want to be dicks with them. So we stroke their hair and say how brave and awesome they are.

    We don’t know kids so we don’t speak up on their behalf in even abstract ways.

    That doesn’t always work out so well for those kids. It’s not something they can run away from like we do.

  74. Newrouter was a long-haired, dope-smoking hippie in a past life.

    so was everybody else. one time to see the dismantlement of america is enough.

    President Ronald Reagan – Liberty State Park

    Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill

  75. Mr. bh but who’s in charge?

    I say it’s the hoochie what’s contemplatin’ the birthings.

    Very controversial pov, that.

    Elseways it’s “someone what knows better.”

    And who am I to argue?

    A pikachu, that’s who.

  76. here we go Mr. newrouter

    hello old lady I know your face well

  77. I say it’s the hoochie what’s contemplatin’ the birthings.

    personal tango what?

  78. Our wires are crossed, I wasn’t really thinking of this as an abortion thing.

    Seriously, who’s talking about either gay people or abortions here?

    No. We’re talking about kids. Actual kids. Kids who might have one parent or two based on what those adults decide to do.

  79. I wasn’t really thinking of this as an abortion thing.

    sure. but your framing needed halps.

    for to make the comments.

    I volunteered! (The thousandth point of light am I never not?)

    meanshilst I’m left to wonder why me neighbors are being treated to the jazzical stylings of steely dan

    thank you router nouveaux

  80. Is it that you know and like/love a/few single mothers, ‘feets?

    Is this why you don’t address the point? I don’t mind this. I really don’t. I’m trying to do be an enormous asshole even where I do actually mind.

    I’m great friends with some single mothers. Me and my siblings (my siblings and I, fine) still set a place at the table for one such.

    That personal, anecdotal baggage is something we can let go of though when we speak abstractly. When we do this empirical thing.

    We have to do the empirical thing though. We have to. We can’t dodge it because of people we know and like. The truth matters more. Little kids matter more.

  81. I’m trying to do be an enormous asshole even where I do actually mind.

    I thought about fixing this but I’m not sure what it could even mean.

  82. i used to know and like/love a few single mothers but that was back in Texas

    it’s not so much a socal thing really

    but little kids of course always matter

    this is why we buy them kindle fires

  83. (at this point most of the single mothers I knew have rectified their situation)

    ok most meaning all

    […]

    none of this shit is static

  84. I’m very tempted to say that shit is indeed static.

    With all caps and maybe some bold.

  85. but it’s not static cause of to be human is to focus on the betterment of your situation

    it’s a thing

    almost without fail

  86. even in Barack Obama’s America

  87. Imagine you had to eat a rounded centimeter of opium…

    What the hell are we talking about, again?

  88. the evils of single parenthood is something what planned parenthood-sponsored abortions address really rather efficaciously

    but that’s only if you notice

    Except it doesn’t. After Roe both single motherhood and the rate of abortions rose. Abortion and the cultural changes that came with it didn’t prevent an epidemic of single motherhood – it laid the very cultural foundation for single motherhood.

    But that’s only if you notice.

  89. correlation is not causation I don’t think

  90. Except when it is.

  91. . . . I don’t think

    You really could have just left it at that and it wouldn’t have changed the meaning.

  92. because in Jeff’s absence this place tends to turn into a dime store culture warrior blog

    I resemble that comment.

  93. I wonder how many single parent households are actively parts of extended families and whether that mitigates the disadvantage vis a vis a two parent household.

  94. Alec said: “After Roe both single motherhood and the rate of abortions rose. Abortion and the cultural changes that came with it didn’t prevent an epidemic of single motherhood – it laid the very cultural foundation for single motherhood.”

    After the Great Society programs, I thought. Once you didn’t have to worry about paying for all of the fun your own self, it sort of opened the door to the rest. And once the government said they were going to subsidize that, it became really difficult for society to stigmatize that sort of behavior.

    And of course, they got more of what they subsidized. Funny, that.

  95. I wonder how many single parent households are actively parts of extended families and whether that mitigates the disadvantage vis a vis a two parent household.

    Most of the single parent families that I’ve been acquainted with have had Grandma and Gramps and various aunts and uncles, cousins, et al, available for baby-sitting and such. Teen moms tend to live with mom and dad and pay little or none of their way in expenses.

  96. So does being an active part of that extended family mitigate the deficiencies of a single parent family? Is learning how to fish from grandpa equivalent to learning how to fish from dad? How about divorced families where the non custodial stays active in the children’s life? Any lemonade to be made from those lemons?

  97. The problem, as I see it anyway, is the societal acceptance of single motherhood (I know there are custodial fathers, but not nearly as many) aided and abetted by the welfare state.

    Where I live, we have a tremendous number of single mothers, many of whom have more than one child by more than one father. This stirs an awful lot of people into the mix and is very upsetting to the children. Often times these young mothers move their households a great deal and the children never develop a sense of permanance and stability. There is often a great deal of fighting, both verbal and physical. Because most of these families are not very well educated they lack the tools to work together without returning to fighting about the same old things (dishes, laundry, clutter, money, transportation).

    By the time the children reach school age, they aren’t able to interact with their classmates and teachers in an acceptable manner because they have never learned what is and isn’t acceptable and where. This then leads to the rap about public schools being worthless and the kids not learning. That isn’t entirely true, of course, and there are children who flourish once they begin school. Finally, they have structure, tasks and goals. They know what is expected of them and what to expect from the school. Unlike the chaos at home, school becomes a safe haven. This is why it is particularly upsetting to children to be uprooted and moved to a different school. The new school presents new challenges and is no longer a safe place.

    So, yes it is possible to make lemonade out of lemons, but the lemonade is more like lemonade flavored Kool-Aid than the real thing.

    Sorry for the long post.

  98. The problem isn’t single parents nearly as much as it’s the abundance of poor and very stupid people who are in that situation. That’s a big part of why the left is so very evil. The idea that the truth about what a hardship it can be should be muzzled so some 40 year old executive scrunt at the New York Times who wants her a baby but can’t keep a man can feel better about herself is almost criminal.

  99. The problem isn’t single parents nearly as much as it’s the abundance of poor and very stupid people who are in that situation.

    That’s for sure. Hollywood should be whipped six ways to sunday for portraying single parents as happy-go-lucky successful 30-40 somethings who, only through the accident of either “inheriting” a baby from a dead relative or getting caught short by a drunken hook-up, end up learning what “life is all about” and find redemption through the pitter-patter of little feet.

  100. Which brings us bac k to the question as to whether marriage should be licensed or a bond should be required in order to procreate.

  101. There’s nothing you can do about it, BT. I suppose that more conservatives could shut the fuck up about being outsiders and encourage their children to pursue careers that can influence the culture, but that’s not going to happen.

  102. cen·taur (sntôr)
    n. Greek Mythology
    One of a race of monsters having the head, arms, and trunk of a man and the body and legs of a horse.
    n. American Mythology
    One one-tenth of a cent. My 401K is now worth 600 Centaurs on the Dollar since Obama took office. *
    The good news is that my one child, the product of a hetero-sexual, long-lasting and still-existing marriage, will inherit whatever is left of it. I suspect that it will be about 60 Centaurs to the Dollar by then.

  103. I think people need to slow down and realize that life isn’t like a movie. I know more women who have confessed they wanted a wedding and hadn’t really thought out the day to day, let alone year to year, commitment that is marriage. Likewise, a lot of men reach an age where they decide they want kids and that generally involves taking a wife.

    We as a society need to back away from thinking only about ourselves and our wants. We need to realize that children are a lifetime commitment, as is marriage (there are exceptions, of course) and that they aren’t always perfect little Gerber babies. Most importantly, they don’t stay babies for long. They are baby people, not living dolls.

    Licensed or a bond? I’m a church-goer, so marriage is a scarament and one to be taken seriously. Others have their own ideas. I’m open to listening to them, it doesn’t mean I have to embrace those ideas and celebrate them, though.

  104. I’m with you, leigh. Marriage is indeed a scarament. Emphasis on the “scare”.

  105. I’m telling the missus your a-skeered of her.

  106. encourage their children to pursue careers that can influence the culture

    math tends to sort this stuff out ask greece.

  107. I’m definitely a-skeered of her. I leave and she gets 1000 Centaurs to the Dollar of what I own.

  108. Heh. Newrouter thinks lefties are capable of learning. Ever.

  109. Newrouter thinks lefties are capable of learning. Ever.

    nah the “reality based community” never learns anything. “forward” says scoamf.

  110. Damn Yankees

  111. it’s a good thing it wasn’t three or four roads cause then the choice wouldn’t be so stark and poetic and fraught with consequence it would be more like just trusting yourself to fate and just doing the best you can with the gifts the good lord gave you, you know like we all do every day

  112. Secretly sucks at basketball? I could tell from 30 seconds of watching him that he plays like a white suburban driveway fag. Decent outside shot. Handles the ball with his weak hand worse than Sarah Palin did as a teenager. I guarantee his full-court game is horrendous.

  113. Brian Roberts returns going 3-4. Nice.

    Damned Braves. Go Mets.

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