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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

You Get More of What You Subsidize: The Problem with Bailouts and High School Day Care

A maxim of life and economics is that you will get more of whatever you subsidize. Make it easier to be a drug addict and you'll get more drug addiction. Bail out poorly managed banks, free the bankers from the consequences of their greed, and you will get more mismanaged banks in the future needing bigger and bigger bailouts. And put a day-care center in a high school to make life easier for teenage girls who get pregnant, and guess what you'll get? At least that's one plausible theory for the pregnancy boom at Gloucester High. That progressive high-school put in a day-care center so that teenagers with babies wouldn't be unduly inconvenienced. It was a subsidy for teenage pregnancy, one that also highlighted the "glamor" aspects of motherhood (seeing the adorable little babies and their teenage mothers enjoying the unconditional love of their child every day in the halls of the school). And guess what? Now there are 17 more pregnant teenagers who will soon be benefiting from the subsidy as well. You get more of what you subsidize and condone. Some forms of "compassion" can actually be harmful.

Oh, I hear that many of those moms are just 16 and have unwed fathers who are 18-year-old men (maybe even older?). Sounds like a culture of sexual child abuse. Anybody for sending in tanks to the Gloucester compound to haul away all the children to safer foster homes? I hear Massachusetts has a much safer foster care program than Texas, so it should be OK. Anyone care to make an anonymous hoax call to get the process started?

11 comments:

gentlyhewstone said...

I have taught at a high school with such a day care center (on Las Vegas's heavily Hispanic east side), and you're absolutely right: seriously, who could argue that you get more of what you subsidize?

Spend any time with people who have been "served" by the machinery of the welfare state, and you'll see how heavily institutionalized they have become; there is no "weaning from the teat" here, only deeper dependence. A lot of people have totally lost the ability to direct their own lives.

As for the gibe about the Texas FLDS raid, good point. I wanted to give the authorities the benefit of the daoubt at first, but their case unravelled faster than OJ's defense.

I remember when that story broke, my wife and I were in a smoothie cafe with CNN on their TV. A group of hip, athletic twenty-somethings at the next table all twittered sagely about how "gross" and "scary" the FLDS were, then cheerfully went back to talking about themselves.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: if we and our families are to thrive in the 21st century--spiritually and temporally--we will need to be more like the FLDS than like most of our neighbors.

Hans said...

If the FLDS experience didn't teach us anything, it should at least have shown how quickly people are to jump the gun on a group that thinks differently than them. Yes, I'll put in my disclaimer that molesters there needed to be taken care of. Is that good enough now? Good. Back to my point, you aren't going to see anything like this in Mass because they are going to blame the economy.

Gloucester is quite the economically depressed town and people in Mass have been blaming the economy for social problems there (alcohol, etc.). It's a great state but with Catholic Charities pulling out and possibly LDS Family Services over not allowing adoptions to gay families, things aren't looking up.

Anonymous said...

This is very true. When I was in High School there wasn't a day care for young mothers. In fact, to the contrary, it was frowned upon by peers to be a pregnant student. As a result there was a very low teen pregnancy rate. The common choice back then was to get an abortion; that's just what we did. Perhaps now, the teens of today think it's cool to actually have the baby, AND they get support to do it. Ebbs and flows I guess.

In my opinion, the money going into these day cares should be put into educating the youth on setting goals and planning for a successful career. Of course it's an uphill battle when these girls are looking to young Hollywood Starlets as role models.

"Bright young women are having simple abortions" -Terms of Endearment

Kim Siever said...

Can't say one way or another whether this theory has any merit. Our high school put in a daycare during my senior year. We had a dozen more graduands that year had we not put in the daycare.

Tracy Keeney said...

What struck me about this when the story first broke was the apparent "shock" that there were 17 pregnant girls at one school.

I've worked at an inner city school for 3 years now-- 17 pregnant girls in one school isn't an oddity. Pretty much the norm, sad to say.

Part of the story was that there appeared to be a group plan to get pregnant. I'm not sure if they ever proved that or not. But girls cheering each other on conceiving isn't an oddity, either.

As a side note-- and I'm sure to draw some flames for this-- this same idea is why I'm totally against baby showers for pregnant girls. They function pretty much like a "subsidy" as well, only not with cash, but with the air and appearance that this is something to celebrate.

Certainly, the "new life" itself is a wonderful thing and something to celebrate. But baby showers are clearly parties for the mother, not the baby, even though the gifts are generally for the baby. Most often, the baby isn't even HERE yet during a shower, and even if it's a post partum shower, the baby doesn't even know it's happending. Showers are clearly for the mother, not the baby.

It's kind and loving to privately drop by by the mother's home, give her something for the baby, and see how mom is recouperating and adjusting to her new role. It's also appropriate and charitable to offer help and most especially, Christlike love, compassion and friendship-- which is needed more than anything. But, it's another thing entirely to throw her a party with cake, balloons and streamers and a bunch of girls and/or ladies giggling and playing silly games.

--Okay---so there's my little *rant* of the day-- :)

gentlyhewstone said...

Kim, what you say is true: day care does raise graduation rates. However, this observation, without more context, might be an example of the kind of flawed thinking that promotes liberalism.

A liberal would look at a day care and higher graduation rates that first year and celebrate, not thinking about the long term effects. As Jeff pointed out, you get more of what you subsidize. More girls would see that others have had babies and not suffered a lack of a diploma, and would be more likely to get pregnant themselves.

How do those pregnancy and graduation rates look five years down the line?

Does school day care really do the most good for everyone in the long run? Wouldn't a better solution--the best solution--be preventing teen pregnancies in the first place, by instilling in these kids--boys and girls alike--the kinds of morals and goals that would circumvent it?

Liberal solutions to problems only look at the visible effects here and now; conservative solutions address the underlying causes and address larger contexts. I often describe liberal solutions to problems as a band-aid; conservative solutions are a cure.

And Tracy, what really gets to me is when women have baby showers...for their fifth or sixth baby. It's great that anyone would want a large family, but it's rude to obligate your family and friends to buy you the kinds of things that you should still have from your first and second baby. Truly, those showers are just an excuse for someone to demand pampering.

Matt said...

I agree with Jeff in that you get more of what you subsidize, generally. However, as a 22 year old, successful (defined by my means of success: balance in family, work, and church with limited amounts of stress :) ) businessman, father, husband, 1st counselor in elders quorum presidency, brother, and son I look at this from a different angle, let me explain.

My senior year in high school (I was 17 years old) my girlfriend (now eternal companion) and I found ourselves expecting a child together. We got married, moved in together and I still went to school and graduated, while mom stayed home with the newborn. I am only where I am today because people, my parents and inlaws mostly, "subsidized" me and my beautiful wife during those first few years. I agree, generally speaking, that the more you allow or condone bad behavior, that is exactly what you will get, more bad behavior. However, there are people who are the exception to the norm (me). The posts I read before this just made it sound like everyone who gets some sort of help when they are down or have made a bad decision will automatically start taking advantage of the help they receive. I could not disagree more. I am living proof that you can "subsidize" a person (even one that is a parent in high school) and they can take that help and turn into something great. Without the subsidizing my wife and I received when we were in that situation, I would never be who I am today, and believe me I know that I am the exception and the Lord has blessed me beyond measure. I just want you all to realize that there are exceptions to almost every rule. I do not think that it is wise to have day care centers at school, but will this really stop teenagers from engaging in sexual intercourse? Come on, let's be real here. I would love to see a study that proves that when you place a day care center in a high school, that the number of pregnancies in that high school increase. I just dont think that will happen. The problem lies within our society and the deterioration of the family. I was not LDS when I was in high school, my wife was and she is the person responsible for bringing me into the light of the gospel. The problem with kids engaging in sexual behavior is not because we have placed day care centers at high schools. It is because we have allowed what used to be a rated R movie 20 years ago, become a rated PG movie now. It is because we have allowed what used to be pornography 20 years ago be placed inside every womens lingerie magazine(ie Victorias Secret). It is because we have allowed our young generation (my generation) to see that it is okay if mommy and daddy dont get along, they can just get divorced and start over with a new spouse. It is because we have allowed our children to see and do things that weren't even thought of 20 years ago. These are just a few of the problems which deteriorate the family, which is Satan's number one goal (and he is succeeding). And when the family deteriorates, you will see young people being led away by the adversary into dark and dreary paths which lead to sexual sin, because he knows that it is very hard for a teenager to overcome those feelings and desires once they have had them in the name of lust. Satan also understands that in todays society it is very hard for teenagers to raise and support a family, which all lead to the deterioration of the family.

I agree that there should not be any day care centers in high schools. But there is and that is the world we live in. Let's get to the root of the problem. No kid is going to say," Oh yes, great, there is a day care center here now, lets go out and have sex so we can have children that will have a safe and free place to stay while I am in biology class." Are you kidding me? The problem isnt the day care centers, it is the deterioration of the family as the fundamental unit of society.

I hope I havent offended anyone, I just feel passionate about this discussion since I am living proof that not every teenage parent you subsidize will turn into a welfare receiving, ungrateful, menace to society. Hope you all have a great day.

Kim Siever said...

Matt has a point. Teenagers in the heat of passion do not rationalize their actions by saying, "Don't worry. If we get pregnant, we'll be able to use the daycare and still go to school."

My speculative guess is that most teenagers don't rationalize conception; it happens unplanned.

Alex Valencic said...

"There are now 17 more pregnant teenagers..." More than when? Before the day care was established? How many girls in the school were getting pregnant and then having abortions? That statistic probably isn't available, but I think it would change a lot of things, most notably the idea that these 17 more girls got pregnant because, well, hey, the school offers daycare, so why not?

Do you get more of something when it is subsidized? Well, yeah, that's a truism of economic theory.

I'm not an economist, but I am a teacher and a drug prevention specialist. And in our world, a drug prevention specialist works with a lot more issues that just drug abuse. We also tackle issues of teen sexuality, which is often linked to drug abuse.

When I hear of teens getting pregnant, I would much rather they be allowed to have the child and have a safe, healthy place for the child to stay while his or her mom finishes high school than for that young girl to go to the nearest Planned Parenthood and have an abortion. Admittedly, I believe the ideal situation is for the child to be given up for adoption, but I still think that, when placing things on the spectrum, a young unwed mother who has the opportunity to finish high school, get a job, and care for her child is better than the young woman who has had an abortion.

Is it condoning teen sexual activity to provide day care for these children? No, I don't think it is. Treating a problem is not the same as condoning it. It is merely recognising the reality of the world in which we live. Not everyone chooses to make positive life choices - should they be forever punished as a result, or should they be given a chance?

Anonymous said...

Hi Folks,

I'm gonna weigh in here at the risk of getting highly criticized. I understand the concern with subsidizing our daycare and creating an environment where we may actually create more problems, but I think some of you are forgetting the alternatives of the 50's and 60's, and to some extent the 70's. There wasn't necessarily a low teenage pregnancy rate because girls weren't getting pregnant, you just didn't see those girls in the schools. It was an out of sight, out of mind way of addressing rising teenage pregnancies.

If you look at what happened during those times, if a girl got pregnant out of wedlock, it was her fault, and parents freely kicked their children out the home, schools kicked these children out onto the streets, and these young teenage girls had no where to turn but to social services or to men who would only further exploit them. Those young girls were treated as pariahs, and were essentially left to their own devices because of their sins. The boys on the otherhand, endured no consequences...this still happens quite a bit today.

I don't agree that the solution to the problem is to take the daycares out of the schools. All you will get if you take the daycares out of the schools, is more people on the Doll seeking state assistance because they could not finish their education.

The real solution to the problem is to reeducate our youth, and to reeducate our media, and ourselves. For centuries men have taught their boys that having sex was a right of passage that made them men. We've socialized our boys to believe this for many years. And we've socialized our young girls, for centuries to be subservient to men, but at the same time to be chaste and pure until marraige. Is it any wonder they're confused, we've created a double standard whereby its okay for boys, but not girls.

Here's a suggestion. Lets start teaching our children that men and women are equals in the eyes of God, that no one is subservient to the other. But re-education doesn't stop there. If you want to solve the problem, we have to stop teaching our children that relationships are disposable. The high divorce rate, and the high single parent rates are a direct result of no fault divorces, and the "me" generation concept of taking care of oneself. We've made divorce too easy, and we've educated our young men that women are there to serve their needs. Those are my thoughts.

Catholic Defender

KimLairson said...

I am a child conceived out of wedlock. My parents married, but Mom had to drop out of school. My parents finished high school right before my son John Matthew was born.I have been in situations where I have had to be subsidized- and when my husband was in the usmc we did not take advantage of help we could have received to prevent hardship. I am on too many of your crap lists, but I am OK!