Gary Johnson Wants to Repeal Federal Law that Bribes the States to Take Action Against Fathers
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party presidential candidate, has made a commitment to fight for fathers’ rights. He is aware of provisions in the Social Security Act that financially reward the States to go after the income of non-custodial parents, who are in most cases, fathers. Johnson says he will work to change this situation, not by interfering with States’s rights to conduct Family Court hearings, but by keeping the Federal government entirely out of that process.
In an interview with a fathers’ rights group, Gary Johnson stated that he is a strong supporter of the rights of fathers. He wants to do away with Federal anti-family incentives that impinge on decisions in domestic cases. He does not want to interfere with the right of the state judges to make rulings in state court, but he thinks the process would be much more fair if the Federal government did not offer incentives for the breakup of the family.
It’s a huge issue. It’s a gigantic issue. The courts rule, and they rule, in this case, usually always against the fathers, and in doing that the rulings stand, and there is no recourse whatsoever. .. [Fathers] are obliterated.
When asked what could be done to remedy the situation, Johnson did not offer to pass new legislation. Instead, he suggested that repealing the current Federal financial incentive to go after fathers, as well as other non-custodial parents. “… You could just give that back to the states as opposed to actually incentivizing the states to do what the Federal government wants done,” Johnson said.
In 1975 the Social Security Act was amended to create Title IV-D, under which the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare — now called the Secretary of Health and Human Services — was to establish a separate organization to oversee Child Support Enforcement. State governments were deputized to do the dirty work of the Federal government, and they were given a financial incentive of up to 90% of child support collected under AFDC cases. The result of this was an acceleration in divorce cases, where mothers were encouraged by social workers to divorce fathers, get custody of the children, and go on welfare. Once they did this, Child Support Enforcement went after the fathers, and most of what they collected in child support did not go to the mother or the children but went directly to the child support enforcement wing of State and Federal governments. By this scheme, families were broken up using Federal incentives. Fathers lost. Mothers lost. And most of all the children lost out on the intact, self-sufficient family they might have had, if it were not for the Federal incentive to break up families.
In the 1980s I practiced family law in the State of Texas. I saw with my own eyes how this program worked to the detriment of families and children, by targeting fathers. In many cases, the child support payments were being made to the government, while the mothers were on AFDC, but the children were living with their grandparents and not the mothers. I have written about these problems in The Debt Collector, a libertarian musical. Gary Johnson has experience with the same issues from his tenure as Governor of New Mexico. When he spoke to citizens of the state, hundreds of fathers came to ask him for help over child support enforcement. As governor, there was not much he could do to change the law, but he is hopeful that as President of the United States he will have better opportunities to rein back the Federal government.
It is good to know that in Gary Johnson we have a presidential candidate who deeply cares about the problems caused by Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. As a libertarian, he understands that social problems are created by Federal Laws that meddle in the family, and he knows that the solution is not more legislation, but rather the repeal of the offending law. In this sense, Gary Johnson is a true libertarian.