California Task Force: Deadbeat Dads Deserve Race Reparations

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

The story was not apocryphal. Van Halen really did demand that there be no brown M&Ms backstage at their shows. But the intent wasn’t serious. They added that clause because they were curious if anyone ever read that far in their contract. That’s gotta be what the California Reparations Task Force did when it included eliminating “interest on past-due child support, as well as any back child support debt for Black residents of the state,” in its 1,100-page final report.


Why else suggest that historical grievances based on race excuse individual deadbeat dads? FNC reports “the group claimed ‘discriminatory’ laws ‘have torn African American families apart,’ and that one effect of that is the ‘harms’ caused by ‘the disproportionate amount of African Americans who are burdened with child support debt.’”

You see, “Black Californians represent a larger percentage of those who owe child support debt than their proportion of the state’s population.” And that can only be the result of hundreds of years of slavery and Jim Crowe. Except that California never had slavery. It didn’t have Jim Crowe laws, either. That’s not to say discrimination didn’t exist or that blacks didn’t face challenges.

But only very unserious people would remove individual agency from the equation. If a family is determined to stay together, it stays together. If a man is determined to provide for his children, he does it.

And very silly people become so obsessed with looking backward for historical causes of their unhappiness that fail to look forward:

[The Task Force] also claimed the 10% interest the state charges on back child support “hinders” their ability to finance further education, attend job training, find employment and maintain housing because of the legal consequences of not paying such debt.

“The Task Force further recommends that the Legislature amend Family Code section 17560, the ‘offers in compromise’ provision, to allow for offers in compromise and forgiveness of child support debt based solely on a parent’s fnancial (sic) circumstances and ability to pay,” it added.


Interest on debt sucks, no question about it. But this interest is punitive, and therefore, purely optional – if you pay on time, you don’t incur it. Growing up in a home without a dad sucks too, and there’s nothing optional about it. The least a father can do it make sure he doesn’t add to his kids’ suffering by not providing the minimum material support. His uselessness may eventually hinder “their ability to finance further education, attend job training, find employment and maintain housing.”

But all that is somewhat beside the point, which is that the Reparations Task Force may end up being the world’s greatest grift (climate change excluded) and its members aren’t shy about throwing wish-list items in there. Oh, to be a fly on the wall at those final deliberations:

Chair: Okay, I think we’ve covered most of the bases. Let’s spitball and see what else we can get ‘em to pay for. Ideas? The whackier the better.

Bob: Free lottery tickets?

Chair: Scratch-offs or daily?

Bob: Both?

Chair: I like that! Okay, what else, people? Anne, you look thoughtful. What’s on your mind?

Anne: We … could recommend opening minority run-charter schools in the worst-performing school districts and creating state budget set-asides to pay the cost of tuition … And also open more trade schools to prepare kids for good-paying practical jobs …


Chair: Anne, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Joe: I want real estate.

Chair: Hmmm. Yeah, real estate


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