A new approach to fatherhood and poverty

Adam Serwer does the knowledge. The two most important things to me:

One of the major adjustments of Obama and Bayh's Responsible Fatherhood Act is that it prohibits state and federal government from taking money from child-support payments -- what is essentially a "tax" on a parents' earnings -- and ensures that all of it goes to the family. It also expands the Earned Income Tax Credit to provide an additional credit for non-custodial parents who keep up on their payments, thus encouraging fathers to keep legitimate jobs and avoid the underground economy.


In addition, the Obama-Bayh bill addresses the issue of incarceration. The legislation prevents the government from treating time spent in prison as "voluntary unemployment," a practice that can leave a parent re-entering society with a mountain of child-support debt based on his or her income prior to incarceration. The bill sets aside federal grants for transitional jobs and prisoner re-entry programs. The Justice Center, a think tank focused on criminal justice, estimates that more than 7 million children may have a parent in prison or jail, or under parole or probation supervision. The bill also requires each state to review and make adjustments for debt of men who were incarcerated or otherwise unemployed when the debt was accumulated.

Obama can use the bully-pulpit to push fatherhood all day long, so long as there is work behind his words. One thing I noticed when Obama gave his Father's Day speech--a lot of men felt slighted, But I didn't hear from too many single mothers dealing with deadbeat Dads, worried that their ex-dudes were being scapegoated. Try doing that shit for a few weeks. Stereotyping will be the last thing on your mind.