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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Family values
Posted by Jill | 5:34 AM
While conservatives are fretting that some fetophile might have a penny of tax dollars go to pay for an abortion somewhere, and Republicans like my own idiot of a representative Scott Garrett, are voting against extending unemployment benefits for people living in a recession in which one in six Americans are out of work, the families that conservatives love to hold up as props are suffering -- and that means Teh Baybeezzzz....no, wait, these aren't fetii, these are actual children:
Paul Bachmuth’s 9-year-old daughter, Rebecca, began pulling out strands of her hair over the summer. His older child, Hannah, 12, has become noticeably angrier, more prone to throwing tantrums.

Initially, Mr. Bachmuth, 45, did not think his children were terribly affected when he lost his job nearly a year ago. But now he cannot ignore the mounting evidence.

“I’m starting to think it’s all my fault,” Mr. Bachmuth said.

As the months have worn on, his job search travails have consumed the family, even though the Bachmuths were outwardly holding up on unemployment benefits, their savings and the income from the part-time job held by Mr. Bachmuth’s wife, Amanda. But beneath the surface, they have been a family on the brink. They have watched their children struggle with behavioral issues and a stress-induced disorder. He finally got a job offer last week, but not before the couple began seeing a therapist to save their marriage.

For many families across the country, the greatest damage inflicted by this recession has not necessarily been financial, but emotional and psychological. Children, especially, have become hidden casualties, often absorbing more than their parents are fully aware of. Several academic studies have linked parental job loss — especially that of fathers — to adverse impacts in areas like school performance and self-esteem.

“I’ve heard a lot of people who are out of work say it’s kind of been a blessing, that you have more time to spend with your family,” Mr. Bachmuth said. “I love my family and my family comes first, and my family means more than anything to me, but it hasn’t been that way for me.”

A recent study at the University of California, Davis, found that children in families where the head of the household had lost a job were 15 percent more likely to repeat a grade. Ariel Kalil, a University of Chicago professor of public policy, and Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest, of the Institute for Children and Poverty in New York, found in an earlier study that adolescent children of low-income single mothers who endured unemployment had an increased chance of dropping out of school and showed declines in emotional well-being.

In the long term, children whose parents were laid off have been found to have lower annual earnings as adults than those whose parents remained employed, a phenomenon Peter R. Orszag, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, mentioned in a speech last week at New York University.

A variety of studies have tied drops in family income to negative effects on children’s development. But Dr. Kalil, a developmental psychologist and director of the university’s Center for Human Potential and Public Policy, said the more important factor, especially in middle-class households, appeared to be changes in family dynamics from job loss.

“The extent that job losers are stressed and emotionally disengaged or withdrawn, this really matters for kids,” she said. “The other thing that matters is parental conflict. That has been shown repeatedly in psychological studies to be a bad family dynamic.”

The only surprising thing here is that it took a study to figure this out.

I was extraordinarily lucky. I was laid off after eight years last year when grant money ran out and no new grants came in. I had seen it coming, I had a resume and a household budget ready to go, and I'd been planning for this inevitability for three years, ever since the last layoffs in 2005. I had a job offer within two weeks, albeit not in the field on which I'd been focusing. It was also September 2008, right before the near-global economic collapse. A month later and I'd be one of these people, only I don't have children that are affected.

It's been infuriating over the last three decades to watch conservatives and Republicans talk about family values why they do their best to screw over American families. For them it's all been about female sexual restraint and male breadwinners, while they pull the rug out from under actual families with children who are far smarter than they're given credit for and can FEEL it when their parents are frantic with worry about how the bills are going to get paid. We hear a lot of pontificating about children from them in Congress, and then they vote against American families every damn time.

It's funny, isn't it, how when the conversation revolves around abortion, it's all about baby-killing and the heartlesss, soullessness of those of us who advocate for the sovereignty of women over their own bodies. But as soon as those fetii become actual children, suddenly we have no money to take care of them, even when their parents have done everything right and gotten screwed over anyway.

Oh, and by the way? Here's more conservative family values, though these aren't expressly Republican, they're just coming from a political group with a religious façade and doesn't have to pay taxes:
The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.

Of course when you live in a world in which Barack Obama can be called a Nazi and a member of the Great Jewish Worldwide Conspiracy at the same rally, a religion founded by people who followed a guy who washed the feet of the poor saying it can't help the poor if two men want to commit to each other for life doesn't seem all that crazy anymore. Because crazy is the new normal.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Jill I am terrified by the latest poll numbers on the generic ballot. Can you please explain to me why when Democrats have a double-digit lead on the generic ballot they see only modest gains, but if the 2 parties are even or if the Democrats are ahead only by a few percent, it's a Republican landslide?

Anonymous Labrys said...
Wow, ecclesiastical blackmail in my home state. And here we all thought the Middle Ages were behind us...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The Middle Ages were only practice. The church has had a lot of practice since then. They're determined to get it right this time....

Anonymous Anonymous said...
What can you expect from folks who believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth?

Anonymous mandt said...
It's not surprising that a bunch of celibate, loveless men know anything about, much less dictate, the 'normal' exchanges of sexuality. Welcome to Catholicism, the very definition of psychopathology.