The myth of the entitled single mother remains as relevant as ever

There is a disconcerting myth about single mothers that has been circulating in our society for some time. It was popularized in the Reagan Era as a denunciation of US social welfare policy and resulted in a pointed caricature of a woman on welfare, forever to be known as the “welfare queen” or the entitled single mother.

The narrative of such a woman goes something like this: Not only is she poor, but worse yet, she is unpatriotic and weak. She is nothing more than the vessel for her lascivious desires as she has child after child out-of-wedlock, abusing the luxury of government aid to ensure herself a life of leisure. Her welfare dependency is as much a result of her moral failings as it is of society’s willingness to foot the bill. If “real Americans” get by on what they make out of their bootstraps, then her crime is never wanting bootstraps at all.

Sound intense? Apparently not for Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who invoked this relic of American political discourse this week to shame single mothers out of their welfare benefits. He was quoted at a Lexington Commerce Meeting as saying, “Maybe we have to say ‘enough’s enough, you shouldn’t be having kids after a certain amount.’ I don’t know how you do all that because then it’s tough to tell a woman with four kids that she’s got a fifth kid we’re not going to give her any more money. But we have to figure out how to get that message through because that is part of the answer.”

It is clear that at a time when both Democrats and Republicans seem primed to address the issue of growing income inequality in our country, the myth of the entitled single mother remains as relevant as ever. That problem is, this false characterization of single mothers, particularly those receiving government benefits, ignores the real lives these working mothers lead, undermines the contribution of women to the American economy, and ultimately prevents society from understanding how government funding should be spent to address income inequality.

The bottom line is, the myth of the entitled single mother separates us from the reality that women are the core of the American economy, including single mothers. In the words of President Obama, “when women succeed, America succeeds.” And the truth is, single mothers are single-handedly controlling the future of America. Let me tell you why.

Women are bringing home the bacon unlike ever before. Since 1960, the number of women who are the primary wage-earners for their household has almost quadrupled, such that women now comprise nearly two-thirds of the breadwinners or co-breadwinners in their family. And as it turns out, more than 6 and 10 of the women who are the primary breadwinners in their home, are single mothers.

Women are using that money to boost the American economy. Although some have speculated that women influence anywhere from 70-80% of the consumer spending in their household, it is hard to argue that single mothers don’t control 100% of their household spending. That’s anything from buying cars and computers to purchasing healthcare. With the struggling auto industry, surge in online technology, and new changes in healthcare, that means single mothers are literally at the center of the markets that are defining the ways we live, move, communicate, and stay healthy.

Women are redefining the social contract. Without a second income in the household, families lead by single mothers are also the most vulnerable to economic stress, and in the words of Maria Shiver’s latest report, many are living on the brink of poverty. Growing income inequality and poverty may be the defining issues of our time. The urgency of these problems require us to push new boundaries. Although the traditional social contract exists between the US government and the people, in which we give the government authority to rule if the government will protect our rights and help us when we fall on hard times; the new social contract defines the relationship between businesses and the people. That if we are to work for you and buy your goods, then businesses must also contribute to the general well-being of society by paying fair wages and providing various benefits (health insurance etc).

To make a long story short, businesses aren’t holding up their end of the deal, and it is time to remind them and raise the minimum wage. It is estimated that doing so may be a real solution to lifting some families out of poverty, many of whom are led by single mothers. And as we know, poverty poses one of the greatest threats to the health and well-being of children in the United States, making it also one of the greatest threats to the health of adults, as most children grow up to be adults.

Taken together, it is clear that our ability to succeed as a nation will be defined by our willingness to support single mothers and their families. Be it through their economic contribution to their community or their role in raising the future leaders of this country, these women are fearlessly facing the adversity in their lives, daring to raise children without Rand Paul’s approval, and working towards a better future for themselves and their families. They are not entitled, they are in need of our utmost regard for enduring despite the odds and we should invest in them. Period.

Rhea Boyd is a pediatrician who blogs at rhea, md. and can be reached on Twitter @RheaBoydMD.

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  • NormRx

    I get it, I get it, women good man bad. So business should pay more, government should do more. We have vilified men for not supporting their children, does “dead beat dad” ring a bell, even though men have a higher compliance in paying child support than women. Anybody can make a mistake, but when women have multiple births by multiple men and feel that they have a right to their neighbors money to support their irresponsible lifestyle I object. And it isn’t even just the money that the mother gets, it is the long term impact these children have on society. Children raised by single mothers have a higher incarceration rate, pregnancy rate, drug abuse, and school drop out rate than children in a two parent family. Yes, some single mothers do a remarkable job raising their children but many more do not and this transcends all racial groups. Dr. Ben Carson was reared by an illiterate single mother and yet he became one of the top pediatric neurosurgeons in the country.
    “GIANT METEOR IS GOING TO HIT THE EARTH IN TWO DAYS, ALL LIFE FORMS ARE EXPECTED TO BE DESTROYED. WOMEN AND CHILDREN ARE TO BE HARDEST HIT.”

    • buzzkillerjsmith

      Women good, men bad. Does that mean we men need to be spanked by them? If so, count me in.

      • NormRx

        Check Craig’s List Buzz and I am sure you can find an obliging woman.

        • ninguem

          you’ve been a naughty buzzkiller

  • John C. Key MD

    You really have to dip deep into the entitlement well to come up with so much drivel in one article.

    We all know productive and effective single mothers but the fact that such an entity exists is not a very good reason to encourage, promote and finance the excesses of the lifestyle, wherein they exist.

    You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time but I hope that most readers of this blog are discerning enough to realize that the situation that Dr. Rhea lionizes is not, in its total picture, a positive for the nation. It doesn’t bring home much bacon or boost the economy. And if it redefines the social contract, it is definitely in a downward direction.

  • ninguem

    Actually, the “Welfare Queen”, that Ronald Reagan referred to, was quite real. In fact, welfare fraud may well have been the least of her sins.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/history/2013/12/linda_taylor_welfare_queen_ronald_reagan_made_her_a_notorious_american_villain.html

    • Lisa

      I think the % of women who commit welfare fraud is roughly equivalent to the % of doctors who commit malpractice. Police ‘welfare queens,’ but also police bad doctors who have no business practicing medicine.

      There are dishonest people in all strata of society.

      • ninguem

        Tell that to Chris Matthews and Paul Krugman and all the others who said the “Welfare queen” never existed.

        Go to the Oregon Medical Board website and see about a dozen actions on medical licenses this past month, and a couple PA’s and podiatrists as well.

        • Lisa

          I wasn’t referring to the “Welfare Queen” as an actual person. I was referring to the general idea of the welfare queen.

          In one sense, Mathews and Krugman are correct. Reagan was using one woman as a representative of every woman who received welfare.

          • ninguem

            No, Reagan was referring to a system that ignored fraud to buy votes.

            Once again, from the Chicago Tribune at the time:
            September 29, 1974, “Cops Find Deceit, But No One Cares”.

            Keep reading that headline. Maybe it will sink in eventually.

            Matthews and Krugman both said that there was no such person. There was. They’re lazy, they’re liars, or both.

          • Lisa

            I won’t argue with you about Matthews and Krugman, but my point still holds. The term welfare queen is normally used by right wing politicians to demonize women who receive welfare and that is how I remember Reagan using the term.

          • ninguem

            You remember Reagan using that term?

            There is no historian, ever, who has ever found an example of Reagan using the term “welfare queen”.

            That term was coined, as best as anyone can tell, either by the Chicago Tribune, or by Jet Magazine.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare_queen

            and if you can find a documented example of that term ever crossing Ronald Reagan’s lips, there’s a lot of historians who would like to hear about it.

          • Dr. Drake Ramoray

            “We’ll, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so”

            Ronald Reagan

            http://www.hark.com/clips/dlvxhnstwz-the-trouble-with-our-liberal-friends

          • Suzi Q 38

            Reagan, sigh, was one of my favorite presidents of all time.

      • querywoman

        I’ve worked in welfare. The public thinks the welfare clients are big-time professional cheats. They’re not. Most of their fraud is pathetic, stupid, and quite transparent.
        If someone gives them cash, $50 bucks here and there, most of ‘em won’t tell the caseworker and there’s no way to track it.
        They do stuff like work and not report it. But, if the job pays taxes, it gets reported to state employment commissions and the IRS. Tax reports that used to take several quarters to get are run much more promptly in this modern electronic age.
        After welfare, I worked for the IRS. I didn’t stay there long, and didn’t deal with fraud. But, people who have their head together enough to hold down a job and pay taxes also seem to better at fighting for their rights and protesting. Taxpayers can read notice and research policies.
        A welfare client’s favorite ground for protest is racial prejudice, which almost never happens.

        Malpractice is not easy to trace legally. But, many doctors have committed government and insurance fraud, which does leave electronic and paper trails. They are also better at fighting for their rights than the average welfare client.

    • querywoman

      I saw that article on her recently. She was a mean, horrible woman, and welfare fraud was definitely the least of her crimes.

  • Dr. Drake Ramoray

    I thought this was a medical blog, not a sounding board for political pieces that can’t even get the history of the welfare queen correct (see citation under a different post) and ignores the other impact of a minimum wage increase which is people losing their jobs. Not to mention that you compare a woman who abused the welfare system and was a criminal to hard working single moms that if people disagree with “investing” in them that then we are all sexist, probably racist too.

    According to the CBO the effect of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would result in the loss of 500,000 jobs.

    http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/44995-MinimumWage.pdf

    I’d continue but I don’t really feel this article belongs here. I can’t wait for the article about how my Toyota Tundra that I bought on Earth Day is causing more people to die from global warming and that it’s imperative that I vote Democratic and buy a Prius or ride my bike to work because as a healthcare providers it’s my duty to make my patient’s healthier and not kill them with the smog from my tailpipe.

    For a moment there I thought I had stumbled onto the dailykos.

  • ninguem

    “The narrative of such a woman goes something like this: Not only is she poor, but worse yet, she is unpatriotic and weak. She is nothing more than the vessel for her lascivious desires as she has child after child out-of-wedlock, abusing the luxury of government aid to ensure herself a life of leisure. Her welfare dependency is as much a result of her moral failings as it is of society’s willingness to foot the bill. If “real Americans” get by on what they make out of their bootstraps, then her crime is never wanting bootstraps at all……”

    No, the narrative was quite clear at the time, and it was that the system condoned gross and blatant fraud. It’s as clear now, as it was in the 1970′s.

    I say again, from the Chicago Tribune at the time:
    September 29, 1974, “Cops Find Deceit, But No One Cares”.

  • http://onhealthtech.blogspot.com Margalit Gur-Arie

    Oh, no. There should be no new “social contract” between businesses and the people. Let’s not elevate businesses to be partners in some fuzzy and voluntary social contract, please. Businesses are chartered by governments, and it’s up to government to police businesses engaged in wantonly harming the people.
    As far as wages are concerned, we wouldn’t be in the humiliating situation where we need to appeal to social contracts, or government intervention, if labor was not prevented from unionizing and protecting its interests. Yes, some unions became corrupt, but that’s not good enough reason to pass legislation making every working man and woman easy prey for giant corporations.
    As to single mothers, I would suggest that conservatives abandon their obsession with the entire process of making babies, and that liberals concentrates on ensuring dignity for all, not just the red herrings served by Rand Paul & Co. on a silver platter.

    • ninguem

      So, you’re saying fraud is OK?

      • http://onhealthtech.blogspot.com Margalit Gur-Arie

        Where? You mean some lady that is/was defrauding Medicaid or the food stamps program for a few hundred dollars? Maybe a few dozen ladies… or a few hundred…. Yes, they shouldn’t do that… Let’s prosecute them with same full force we prosecute Boeing, GE, Apple, Google, Goldman-Sachs, etc. etc. etc.

        • ninguem

          The “welfare queen” in the article was responsible for far more than a few hundred dollars.

          That would be the lady that the bien pensants have been saying, for the last thirty years, never existed.

          • http://onhealthtech.blogspot.com Margalit Gur-Arie

            So there was a criminal among welfare recipients. I am certain there are more than just one. Are we supposed to draw some overarching conclusion from this? Other than that laws should be enforced?

          • ninguem

            It would be nice for a change.

            The police a the time, investigating this person, found it quite frustrating that no one cared to investigate the fraud he was uncovering, along the way to his investigation of far more serious crimes, which in this case, you seem to want to ignore it, included identity theft, kidnapping, and maybe murder.

            You ought to read the slate article.

          • http://onhealthtech.blogspot.com Margalit Gur-Arie

            I am not ignoring anything. I assume there where crimes committed and I am not condoning lack of investigation or lack of proper law enforcement.
            All I want to understand is why this is pertinent to a conversation about welfare.

  • John C. Key MD

    This thread proves the adage that you shouldn’t argue religion or politics. I’m with Dr Ramoray–it should stick to being a medical blog. This topic is about two removes from that.

    • Patient Kit

      I once had a GYN tell me in the exam room, while I was in the stirrups for a pelvic exam, that if I voted for Obama, I’d get what I asked for. (a) I no longer go to that doctor and (b) unless it’s a real emergency, in the future, I’m going to avoid making any doctor appointments on Election Day.

  • querywoman

    Dr. Drake is right. It’s not “medical” enough for kevinmd.

  • Rob Burnside

    Will the grandchildren and great grandchildren of Ninguem, Dr. Drake, Norm, Rand Paul, and Ronald Reagan pick the next orange crop? Dig the next canal? Fight the next war? Probably not.

    Reading some of the comments below, I’m reminded of the old chestnut about the devil “quoting scripture for his own purpose.” The ‘scripture’ in this case is nothing more than a seriously flawed rationalization for cultural elitism and excessive personal gain. It has done more harm to our society than smallpox, polio, eugenics, and good old manifest destiny combined. And let’s not forget predestination. Its proponents have one thing in common–extreme nearsightedness. With luck, we’ll survive it.

    • NormRx

      Rob, Will the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the current immigrant migrant workers pick the orange crop, dig the next canal or fight the next war. Some might, some might not.

      I worked in the fields right next to the Mexican migrant workers when I was seven years old. I picked and weeded beans and strawberries. As I got older I bailed hay and worked on a farm. I never had a summer off, I always worked. I was 14 years old before we had inside plumbing, and central heating. I have two daughters and one grand daughter, none of them worked in the fields, dug a canal or fought a war. So what!!!

      • Rob Burnside

        Norm, I think those who achieve (rather than inherit) prosperity do so through a combination of opportunity, hard work, and good luck. But many seem to forget the good luck part, and the fact that–rich or poor–we’re all paddling the same big canoe. The middle class, when we had one, helped cement us together providing a sense of national unity sadly lacking today. Congrats on accomplishing all you’ve accomplished, and on remembering what you overcame.

        • ninguem

          My mother used to hear people say so-and-so was “lucky” for becoming well-off.

          She would tell us “the harder you work, the luckier you get”.

          But what would she know. She had a 9th-grade education in a non-English-speaking household with an alcoholic abusive father.

    • Dr. Drake Ramoray

      My father didnt own a pair of shoes until he was a teenager. At one time in his life he made a living selling fruit on a street corner. Both of my parents moved to this country with all of their possessions fitting in a small wooden trailer. I had my first job at 11, and I paid my way through undergrad with no debt. I didn’t take summers off. I pointed out a simple fact from a non-partisan source, and provided a quote from someone that a poster on this board was misrepresenting. Other than smearing people I fail to see how your post contributes in a meaningful way to the discussion at hand. Perhaps you don’t like Reagan, fine. Perhaps you don’t like my pointing out non-partisan CBO data, that’s your prerogative too. Ironically, you are the nearsighted one, doing nothing more than attacking those who disagree with you. My parents made great sacrifices for me and I will make great sacrifices for my children. Not clear to me when that became a bad thing in this country.

      • Rob Burnside

        Yours is a great success story, Dr. Drake. It’s the stuff the “American Dream” is made of. Regrettably, there’s a lot of uncertainty in healthcare right now. I’m hoping this changes soon and that your practice model will not only survive but prosper. However, I’m convinced the ACA will eventually make it more likely that others can follow in your footsteps and live the Dream too. So many who “have it made” seem to want to kick the ladder off the wall. In my opinion, that isn’t what this country’s all about.

    • ninguem

      I mentioned the individual mentioned by Reagan was quite real, and was, indeed, heavily engaged in welfare fraud, and far worse.

      I mentioned that the pundits who claimed Reagan was describing a nonexistent person……..were lying. He was quoting Chicago Tribune stories that have been substantiated.

      I pointed out that the term “welfare queen” was never used by Ronald Reagan, ever. The term, as best we can tell, was coined either by the Chicago Tribune, or by Jet magazine.

      And you’re dragging my children and so far non-existent grandchildren into this…….why?

      Though I didn’t work in the fields, unless you count my uncle’s small farm.

      I balanced tires and tuned engines and did body work in my father’s garage, and did the prep work on the new and used cars on his sales lot.

      I wasn’t a skilled body man, I just did the rough-out work.

      My mother worked the office.

      My sister worked there for ten years. Her husband was in Tet Vietnam.

      The neighborhood was bilingual immigrant.

      The business put us through college and medical school. My brother made full professor of music a couple years ago, I only went as far as Assistant Professor before private practice.

      So because you don’t like what we have said…..and I’m just pointing out facts about Reagan and the “welfare queen” story, you have dragged Drake, Norm, myself, into your little ad hominem, although I am fine with being put into the same group as Ronald Reagan. We’ll see about Rand Paul.

      On all three of us, you were 100% wrong. Our backgrounds are as working class as anyone.

      But then again, no one hates like a liberal, except maybe a superannuated liberal.

      • Rob Burnside

        You’ve got me there, Ninguem. I’ll have to look up “superannuated” (which has been edited out here, I see). I will say one thing for all three of you: your life stories are inspirational. I just can’t help wondering why you’re so hard on others trying to follow in your footsteps. You seem to feel they’re doing so on your dime and for some reason, that’s bad. Or am I mistaken? Set me straight on this, please.

        • ninguem

          I edited out “superannuated” myself, I realized I did not want to stoop to your level.

          Though the general observation “no one hates like a liberal” still stands.

          Show me one example where I’m hard on others “following in my footsteps” on this thread.

          I pointed out that the so-called “welfare queen” was real, she really did commit welfare fraud (and far worse), that Reagan had things to say about a welfare system that allowed fraud, but the phrase “welfare queen” never crossed his lips, or pen.

          Anyone who remembers Reagan using the term “welfare queen” has a memory problem, or needs to contact the historians who have looked for such an example.

          My parents received welfare as children, and their parents (my grandparents) were ashamed of it. Rather than accept continued welfare, my father’s family actually went back to ancestral lands for a few years, then came back.

          • Rob Burnside

            Re-read your first two sentences and you’ll realize you’ve answered your own question. Hate is a poison we can all do without, and it seems you’re projecting your own on me. Surely, we can do better than this.

          • ninguem

            Maybe hate is a poison.

            So is envy.

          • Rob Burnside

            Yes indeed. We should consider giving that up as well. I will if you will.

  • Suzi Q 38

    I think we do enough for the single mothers.
    There are family members (female) who are on welfare.
    They refuse to marry the fathers of their children, and you and I plus other taxpayers are “footing” the bill.
    They collect a welfare check this way.
    As the children get older, they simply have another out of wedlock baby and they now get even more money from the US government.
    One of the babies just turned one, and we attended his birthday party,
    complete with an air “jolly jumper” for the kids, and a piñata.
    No father in sight.
    It reminded me of a “Honey BooBoo” party.
    I told my husband how sad it all was.
    The young ladies of this “branch” of his family are lifelong and generational welfare recipients.
    The kids don’t go to college, they just work as cashiers at fast food restaurants.

    • Rob Burnside

      You make poverty sound like fun Suzi. It isn’t.

      • Suzi Q 38

        No, I disagree.
        If that was your “take” on it, that is your opinion.
        Poverty is not “fun.”
        Poverty through no choice is understandable.

        The sadness is watching it in your own family, when there are other choices to be made.
        There are other people to seek advice from or assistance if need be.
        Being poor at a certain time in your life does not mean it has to always be that way.
        Ditto for being a welfare recipient.

        This should be understood as assistance for the short term, rather than the long term.
        These families were not poor.

        The participants came from middle class nuclear families who made poor choices along the way. I really understand that, but passing this situation on to your children, for another generation of the same??? Really?

        As for the friend, She also came from a middle class family. Her live in boyfriend (they have a child together)
        is an accountant. They are in their fifties.
        They didn’t marry because doing so would change the free tuition for their kid’s college…yet middle class people like my husband and I had to pay cash or get loans for our children’s college tuition.

        I call it a “game” because, for some, that is what it is.

    • querywoman

      It’s still not the baby’s fault. US welfare usually revolves around children, because children should not suffer becasue of their parents. There’s very little, especially in Texas, for childless people.
      Societally, children have only had real rights for a few decades. It’s illegal in most countries to expose babies to death. Child labor is also mostly illegal. Of course, both still exist.
      Child protective services, and I am consider them the most screwball government entity, are also very new but making some progress.
      Suing a parent, especially a father, for child support is unheard of in many countries. In Egypt, an actress named Hind sued her child’s father and got support and it was quite an accomplishment.

      • Suzi Q 38

        No, it is not the baby’s fault.
        It is the parent’s.
        Given that we have a system that will give money to the mothers for having babies, this will continue.
        I wonder if there would be as many needy babies if the government only paid for the first baby, and would not pay for any subsequent children.
        As far as chasing the other parent down for child support, I think more needs to be done to achieve this.

        Why not? Most likely the would avoid paying, but at least try.

        • querywoman

          Hey, Suzi Q, I’ll turn this thread into even more of a medical topic. Superior medical testing has actually enabled us to identify biological fathers now. That has enabled child support more than anything.
          I’m sure I’ve seen many more welfare deadbeats than you have. When I worked in welfare, I never heard my coworkers berate children for being born. I heard that the parents, “should stop having children.” I’ve heard parents called ugly names but not the children.
          In Texas we do have illegimate children. A few years after I started working in welfare, I saw a memo that stated Texas had stopped calling children “illegitimate” a few years before I went to work there. Think about that! I also never heard the ugly B-word for a child of unmarried parents!
          It’s never been the child’s fault.
          Nevertheless, most publicly assisted mothers don’t want to keep having children. They only want two or three. When the Norplant was common, assistance wouldn’t pay for it completely. They were trying to raise $200 to get it placed in their arms at a public clinic.

          • Suzi Q 38

            “…Nevertheless, most publicly assisted mothers don’t want to keep having children. They only want two or three. When the Norplant was common, assistance wouldn’t pay for it completely. They were trying to raise $200 to get it placed in their arms at a public clinic.”

            Of course you and I are only talking generalities here, and that is because I am too lazy to hunt down the actual stats.

            Yes, I agree that most publicly assisted mothers only want two or three!
            How ludicrous when the parents can’t even afford to care for one child on their own.
            My husband and I were lucky enough to stay together, get educated, and have decent jobs.
            That being said, we knew we could not afford to have the third child.
            I remember my husband’s cousin calling us to let us know that her single daughter was having a third child because “she always wanted a third.”
            I thought that was totally irresponsible because she never married the father of her first daughter with this loser and now she was pregnant again with the second.
            Now she gets child support for the first child, but the second and third are being paid for by public assistance and her widowed mother.
            This is because she refuses to work, even though all three daughters are in school most of the day.

          • querywoman

            I worked there over nine years longing for the child I never had.
            In spite of the abuse I saw, I didn’t get hardened to the children.
            I despise hearing newborn babies described as something to be supported.
            Also, of course, it’s more than just money. When we heard them screaming at the children they already had, we wanted them to stop having children!
            The poor are like anyone else. Most are great parents, and a few are very lousy parents. And CPS does stupid things, doesn’t remove children they should yet overreacts to trivial stuff.

          • Suzi Q 38

            I understand.
            I still think it is a choice.
            Not for the children, but for their errant parents.

  • querywoman

    I’m going to take the stereotypical “welfare queen” and show a tad more medical relevance here than anyone else has. Gosh, I wish I could find this article.
    I read many years ago about a black woman getting emergency room care on the weekend. The doctor told her to do something the same way, “You hold your can of beer on Saturday night.”
    The black woman was a hospital adminstrative employee, somewhere on up the chain, at the very same hospital, not a welfare mother.
    Black welfare mothers have Medicaid and are viewed as people who frequent emergency rooms!

    • ninguem

      The “empty can” test, or Jobe’s test. You’re emptying a beer can……or soda pop, whatever.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjHOqydDhxo

      http://www.pthaven.com/page/show/157400-full-can-and-empty-can-test

      The idea is supposed to be to pretend you’re holding a can, and then empty the can. Part of physical examination of the shoulder.

      I suspect the doctor has used that same line on patients for decades. It could be a soda pop can if you want.

      When I had my school picture taken in the 10th grade, the photographer told me “say booze”.

      He was trying to get a giggle for the photo.

      I doubt he thought I was drinking at age 15.

      I suppose the doc should use the term “soda pop can” so as not to offend someone who might get the idea the doc thinks the patient is an alcoholic.

      Then the macrobiotic vegans can take offense that the doctor thinks the patient drinks high-fructose corn syrup from the evil Koch Brothers agribusiness cartel.

  • ninguem

    I want to test plantar flexion strength of the lower extremity.

    I put my hand under a patient’s foot and say “step on the gas”, to see if the strength is equal, both feet.

    Should the patient take offense if a non-driver?

    • querywoman

      I can take offense at anything I want. I no longer diver, but I have pumped the gas pedal many times.
      How about referring to the foot on a potter’s wheel? I was using it last week!
      All trades have their own language. You are not revealing anything, “secret,” just giving us an insight into stuff that helps you get the job done.
      Thanks!

      • ninguem

        Of course you are free to take offense at anything you want.

        Problem is the ER doc gets called to the carpet, constantly, for these trivial misunderstandings.

        • querywoman

          The black lady hospital administrator may not have understood treating doctor lingo either. Of course, it may have been said with some racism and sense she was just another black welfare mother.

  • Suzi Q 38

    For me it is not resentment for the child.
    The child is innocent.
    It is for the parents that will not, or can not care for them without financial aid from the government or state.
    Sterilization??? That is rather harsh.
    There are various forms of birth control in lieu of sterilization.
    I never proposed such an idea.

    How about no additional money for each additional child?
    You only get food for each additional child, instead of a larger check.

    The problem is that with a system that so willingly pays for each child, more children for additional checks are at times desired.

    You do the math.

    • querywoman

      They have kicked that idea around. I can’t say much about it. The truth is that many “chronic” welfare mothers don’t get much money at all.
      So cutting their checks isn’t much of an incentive and probably affects the child.
      Some of the ones who just keep having babies aren’t very bright or functional at all. It’s very hard to motivate them. Forced sterilizations have been done in the US, and should not be done!
      The kind of women who keep having babies usually aren’t hiding money anywhere, not getting money from the dads, and not working.
      A woman I knew who used to volunteer at the county hospital maternity ward said the nurses threw a party because a woman who kept having sick and drug-addicted babies finally agreed to a sterilization. No, she was not caring for her brood. Her previous babies had been very hard to get adopt.
      No, I never said you proposed force sterilization. I’ve heard people say mean stuff like give each welfare mom $2000 and get her sterilized.
      I remember a low functioning but not retarded white woman who’d just had her fifth baby. When i asked her details about the father for child support info transmitted to the Attorney General, she said, “When someone gets you pregnant, they won’t tell you that stuff.”
      Sure, she was complicit. If she’d been working, would she have time to scr–w around?
      When I was in training, one of my cotrainees asked a client for the dad’s info and she said, “Mama always told me to get their Social Security number.” Now that’s smart.
      There are still some forced sterilizations, like assistance women who just delivered being coerced into tubal ligations without really undersstanding the implications. It may also happen in prisons.
      In the US, children used to be taken from mothers and placed on trains, etc., to be adopted somewhere. Children are most likely to be hurt by nonbiological parents.
      Then we got the idea to let poor parents keep their children and give them assistance.
      I know you are talking adoption, not foster carel; however, welfare check to a bio parent is much less than a foster subsidy.
      The cash is for stuff lilke clothes, diapers, paper goods, and toilet sides. The medical subsidy on the Medicaid is much more cosly than the cash and food assistance.
      Texas used to pay around $500 per month for Medicaid for babies in the first year. Immunizations cost money, and te first year is the most fragile of years.
      Plus, like I told you, most welfare mothers only want two or three kids and usually get themsevles fixed.
      Most people voluntarily limit the size of their families. Asisa is a good example with China and their abusive one-child families.
      Japan has not done that and has a really low birth rate.
      I’ll use the old name, AFDC, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, because it describes what it really is. It’s still just a very small part of the budget.
      Money and sex are not the total picture for the poor. Subliteracy has a lot to do with it! Greater literacy would bring greater self-responsbility.

      I remember when Bill and Hillary wanted to put all these welfare recipients in some kind of training. Most of ‘em didn’t want to pay attentiion when they were in school and still don’t!
      Other westernized nations have much better literacy!

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