Over $100 Billion Owed, Almost Half to Taxpayers!

jodik_gwNovember 5, 2012

I thought this story might be a bit of a change, elicit a bit of outrage... and, maybe we'll see who's really been on the losing end...

"Over $100 billion is owed in unpaid child support -- nearly half of that to taxpayers supporting children on public assistance. According to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, $108 billion in total back payments was owed to parents with custody of children in 2009.

If those payments aren't made and the children then need to go on public assistance, payments are supposed to be made to the government in the form of reimbursement. About 49% of that back money -- or roughly $53 billion -- is owed to the government, according to Joan Entmacher, vice president of family & economic security of the National Women's Law Center.

That's a raw deal for taxpayers. But for the mothers owed -- 82% of custodial parents are women -- it's the severing of an economic lifeline."

And...

"Figuring out how to get deadbeats to pay up is another matter. It seems most of the problem is concentrated among a handful of bad actors. While only about 60% of the total money owed in child support each year gets paid, over 70% of families get at least something, according to Entmacher. It's at the bottom rung where most of the money is owed -- 11% of the debtors owe 54% of the money.

The government has several ways to make people pay up: it can garnish paychecks, intercept tax refunds or revoke state-granted privileges like driving or hunting licenses. To get out of paying, deadbeats will often take work in the underground economy to shield their income. Family courts are rife with tales where men with off-the-books jobs cry poor mouth to the judge, only to drive away in a Mercedes."

And...

"Experts say more personnel at agencies enforcing child support payments, as well as a more active role played by the custodial parent in reporting people working off the books, may chip away at that $100 billion.

But there's also a sense that the courts have set unrealistically high child support orders and have been too inflexible when people genuinely lose their jobs and can't pay. For example, New York only recently modified its child support law to exempt payments (and interest charges) from people in prison."

And finally...

""It becomes so impossible and irrelevant, they stop participating in the system," said Liberty Aldrich, general counsel for the Center for Court Innovation.

Still, experts urge caution when working toward reform. "It's ridiculous to have support orders against people in prison," said Caroline Kearney, a former family law coordinator at Legal Services NYC. "But I remember the bad old days, when courts would just look at how much income people had left over and ask them how much they could afford to pay.""

First of all, it's the children that are really on the losing end. By neglecting to support the children you helped bring into this world, you're not "exacting revenge" on the ex-spouse you dislike so much... you're denying your children the things they really need, like a decent roof over their head in many cases, or dental and eye care, or the happiness of what other kids receive for holidays, or even the basics like school clothes and supplies, or better foods.

As a stepmother who watched three children grow up without the help of the court ordered support they were supposed to receive, and all the extras they could have had through that help, I can't imagine why anyone would want to deprive kids of life's necessities and small pleasures.

And when deadbeats, some of them women, neglect their children in this manner, and the family has to take state welfare to make up the difference, it hurts others in a secondhand way... through tax rates. Personally, that's less of a concern I have than my concern for the well-being of all children, but I'm fairly certain a lot of taxpayers are miffed to find this out... that they're picking up part of the tab for deadbeat dads and moms.

What are your thoughts on this? How can the system be reformed so more children get the things they need in life... the things and services they deserve... that should come from child support, ordered by the court?

And remember... deadbeat parents will go so far as to remain unemployed on purpose, or will move to states that have exceedingly lax laws on child support, and won't cooperate with other states.

Here is a link that might be useful: Deadbeat parents cost taxpayers $53 billion

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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

And that's just the ones who don't pay.

What about the thousands more who have been ordered to pay some token pittance? I've known some who were ordered to pay $20 a month, $50 a month... heck even $100 per month isn't enough to take care of half of a child's expenses.

So we have these people who are all paid up on their $20 a month child support... but are still deadbeats because they don't pay their fair share of what it takes to raise a child.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:27AM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

Oh, and:

Still, experts urge caution when working toward reform. "It's ridiculous to have support orders against people in prison," said Caroline Kearney, a former family law coordinator at Legal Services NYC.

I don't think this should matter. The child doesn't just stop eating or wearing clothes or needing a place to live just because daddy (or mommy) went to prison. In my opinion, that child support should still rack up during the time they are in prison, the arrears to be paid when they get out.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:31AM
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jodik_gw

That's another problem... the variance in amounts ordered paid for each child... sometimes regardless of the income it would be coming from.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:32AM
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markjames

We have literally dozens of non immediate relatives that are either owed, or owe substantial amounts of back/current child support.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:33AM
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jodik_gw

When paroled, a lot of states order parolees to obtain jobs that do not pay cash, and the wages are garnished for the support plus what's accrued. I don't know which states or how many, but I believe Wisconsin was the first to enact laws that favored the children of these situations... and I believe many states have followed suit. There are very few states left in which to hide from paying child support.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:38AM
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momj47(7A)

Given a choice, I'd rather my tax dollars support children, not corporations, even though they are both, apparently, people.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:38AM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

I figure if people can be so down on the "welfare queens", they should have enough of an understanding of the birds and the bees to know that that "welfare queen" has an equal partner in making that baby. Save your (generic "your") disdain for the one who is neither physically caring for the child, nor financially contributing.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:40AM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

When paroled, a lot of states order parolees to obtain jobs that do not pay cash, and the wages are garnished for the support plus what's accrued.

The last I heard, our province still allows NC parents to apply for a hardship type exemption if they go to jail... so support payments are suspended and they do not accrue.

As far as I see it, it's your own fault you went to jail, not the child's fault. I think each month's support while you are in jail should still be added to the total arrears.

That may have changed, I'm not sure. It happened to a friend of mine about 7 or 8 years ago when her ex went to jail.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:47AM
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markjames

We also have many relatives on numerous forms of welfare that haven't taken action to receive support from father/fathers of their kids.

DSS has ordered some to contribute some small amount towards support, often something really low like several dollars per week.

Many that pay support pay so little that there's no way the mother and kid(s) can survive without subsidized housing, daycare, food stamps, WIC, HEAP, Medicaid, cash assistance, family support, local support etc.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:49AM
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pnbrown

Let me count the ways I can deadbeat thee.....

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:08PM
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dockside_gw

When I practiced law in Minnesota back in the 80's, I handled some divorce cases. Two I remember quite well. In both, the fathers got their employers to "fire" them. One then worked under the table and pled poverty, which the judge didn't buy. The other, an engineer, also pled poverty. His wife suspected that had he found another job right away. We hired DD (to make some extra money) to follow him in the morning to see where he worked. The father drove so fast that she lost him during two attempts. So her DH decided to help, was able to keep up with him and followed him to his new employment. My client, the wife, then was able to talk to his new boss who was incensed about his new employee's tactics (because the boss had to pay child support, so why shouldn't his employee?) that we were able to get a new order for the scumbag father to pay.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:34PM
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markjames

To get out of paying, deadbeats will often take work in the underground economy to shield their income. Family courts are rife with tales where men with off-the-books jobs cry poor mouth to the judge, only to drive away in a Mercedes.

In some cases workers work 2 official jobs, plus side jobs, but they only collect from one legit job.

I can't blame some of them as good paying full-time work capable of supporting a parent, plus a child, or children living in a separate household are often hard to find/keep.

In these parts many of the deadbeats that work for cash/barter drive 4X4 trucks, not a Mercedes.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:36PM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

It seems to be a very unequal system since I know several cases such as you describe, and on the other hand cases where the ex-wife is capable of working but chooses not to, and the ex-husband is saddled with huge payments, to the point where he can't afford to get on with his life, have a decent home and remarry and eventually start another family. There seems to be no logical plan and some of the judgments seem to depend on the whims of the judges rather than on what is fair.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:00PM
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demifloyd(8)

It is a shame that a parent does not support a child.

It is a shame that a custodial parent that does support the child does not use better judgment in choosing someone with which to procreate.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:30PM
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chisue

How do other countries handle this problem?

I'm opposed to paying yet more taxpayer money to incarcerate a deadbeat parent. We're already enriching the prison industry by sentencing too many small time offenders to jail.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:46PM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

How do other countries handle this problem?

Ours does not handle it any better.

Support payers working "under the table", shamefully low support payments ordered by courts, one parent forced into government help because the other parent has found a way to hide their income or not work at all.

Punishments for deadbeat parents include suspending their passport and drivers licence, reporting them to the credit bureau, and in serious cases... jail time.

But none of those will stop people from finding loopholes.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:57PM
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ninamarie(4Ont.)

"It is a shame that a custodial parent that does support the child does not use better judgment in choosing someone with which to procreate."

That kind of judgement might ease your heart, but does nothing for the parents and the children who need help. And in some cases, the custodial parent's "poor judgement" will include having chosen a partner who died.
Most custodial parents are female. To me, this is just another example of the high costs incurred by society when women are discriminated against economically.
And the fact that laws are too often designed by men for men.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 2:28PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

There should be some way that a legal trust could be set up for the children that the deadbeat had to pay into...

What if the non-custodial parent had to pay into a general statewide account that directed the child support to the children. The children would still get the correct amount but it would be covered by raising the amount paid into the system by all the other non-custodial parents.

A deadbeat might not hesitate hiding his/her money and shafting the kid and the ex but I bet the "friends"(who are probably paying child support themselves) who covered for him/her when it was just the ex and the kid that got shorted might get a bit upset if they were the ones being forced to pay extra to support someone else's kid.

I know, it would never pass but I can dream, can't I?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 2:33PM
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chase_gw

"It is a shame that a custodial parent that does support the child does not use better judgment in choosing someone with which to procreate." "

What an incredibly judgmental thing to say. Clearly you have no idea of the issues that can bring very responsible people to this position. Not all things are foreseeable.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 2:35PM
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mylab123(z5NW)

It was just recently that I was sitting with a group of people and one woman was talking about that scum of a female who was going after her poor, hard working boy's paycheck for child support. She stated, quite proudly, that the attorney she hired for her wonderful son had told him not to give "that woman" any actual cash until the court decided on an amount - which the attorney would work vigorously to keep on the low end, as demanded by son and sonny-boy's mother, She was so gleeful about that point.

I guess in the meantime the child wasn't expected to eat but half the food needed - until the courts decided how much food the child would be alloted.

Too many times, the poor child and his needs are totally ignored,perhaps dismissed as not important, perhaps even forgotten, in the "child support" war of hate that plays out in the courts.

It's disgusting behavior by particularly disgusting human beings who probably honestly believe that they are really GOOD people who only want the "best" for the child - and not a penny more.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 3:33PM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

Mylab,

Thank you. I don't have to say a word.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 4:32PM
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chase_gw

In Ontario we have a set minimum, based on income, that the non custodial parent must pay. Negotiations can continue beyond that but the minimum amount is set in law.

Additionally , in cases where the non custodial parent is less than responsible making those payments, the Province pays the child support to the custodial parent and then attaches the wages of the non custodial parent.

Of course if the deadbeat refuses to work or works under the table it doesn't matter but at least there is a programme in place to help ensure the children get what they deserve.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 4:50PM
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jillinnj

It is a shame that a custodial parent that does support the child does not use better judgment in choosing someone with which to procreate

Just one more statement that shows the true character of some posters here. Like I keep saying, the more some type, the more their true colors show through. Shameful.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 5:26PM
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elvis

"It is a shame that a custodial parent that does support the child does not use better judgment in choosing someone with which to procreate"

I don't understand this statement, the way it's phrased.

I had occasion to think a similar thought a number of times, only it was more like: "why does he/she pick such major losers?"

In Wisconsin, child support is a built-in part of divorce or "paternity suit". 17% of gross income for 1 child, 30% for 2, etc. (unless this has been updated). The wage earner never sees it. The garnishment goes directly to the Clerk of Circuit Court, who then disburses it to the custodial parent (could be grandparents, and often is, in which case, both non-custodial parents must pay).

Of course, that doesn't work with non-custodial parents with unreported income. If back support is owed, income tax refunds, court awards (judgments), property sale, all are intercepted, if they go through the legal system.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 6:24PM
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jodik_gw

"What an incredibly judgmental thing to say. Clearly you have no idea of the issues that can bring very responsible people to this position. Not all things are foreseeable."

THANK YOU, Chase!

If only everyone had a crystal ball through which they could foretell the future, looking far enough ahead to see that the person they chose in good faith to spend their life with, and who chose them as well, held the same life dreams and aspirations, and wanted a family... would someday, regardless of how many years down the road, decide to walk out, cause irreparable marital damage, change their thinking, or decide on a different life path that didn't include those children or that spouse... well, gosh... there wouldn't be a 50% divorce rate average in the US, nor would there be such an overabundance of children that weren't being properly supported.

Where can we get one, I wonder? I could have used a crystal ball like that at one time, and I KNOW my husband would have given anything to foresee the future he was dealt!

When the MOTHER is the one who takes off, leaving her own children behind, unwanted... well, I sure wish someone would explain THAT to me... because I STILL can't wrap my head around it!

Good grief. Maybe we should genetically engineer people without sex organs so some folks would be personally satisfied for a variety of reasons, one of which is that not one penny of their money ever went to help anyone else! I often wonder if some people ever think of anyone but themselves...

Getting back to the OP...

It would work a lot better if all 50 states were on the same page where child support and the laws that governed that area were concerned.

In my opinion, child support cases should be handled by the district attorney, which would move things along much better and quicker. Many times, you run into cases where the custodial parent can't afford to keep paying an attorney to chase down the deadbeat parent, or have the support adjusted or readjusted... so they give up.

That's what we did... we finally gave up. We couldn't afford to keep paying a lawyer and trying to haul the deadbeat mom into court, so we just made ends meet without any support. Sure, it was tough, but we did it... we managed.

We were some of the lucky ones... we had a little help from the greatest group of friends anyone can have, we worked as hard as we could, and we accepted the offered charity of wonderful people in our area... a small church that helped every holiday, the school's personnel who sometimes chipped in for things out of their own pockets, and several others who were willing to help in various ways. We were very lucky.

But not everyone has a great network they can count on... and that's what makes this issue so horrible.

Another thing crosses my mind, here... with more and easier accessibility to birth control and female health care, with early and in depth sex education in schools, and by maintaining the choices we currently have, we can avoid some of the cost brought on by a variety of scenarios that make child support a necessity.

And again... we can't just stuff all children needing child support in a box, or stuff all deadbeat dads and moms in a box, or stuff all custodial parents in a box... and stereotype them. Each situation is different. There are many, many reasons that kids end up not receiving the support they need.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 6:30PM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

It is a shame that a custodial parent that does support the child does not use better judgment in choosing someone with which to procreate.

If they did, the divorce rate may not be 62%.

The statement may offend you, but it's perfectly clear to me.

KNOW WHO YOU ARE MARRYING BEFORE YOU MARRY THEM!

Choose someone with similar goals and values.
Choose someone who is kind, considerate and polite.
Choose an honest person.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 6:38PM
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greatgollymolly

I know a couple of young people who are involved in child custody payments, one who pays and the other who should collect. In hearing their stories and knowing their histories, from where I'm sitting a lot of child support payments are not paid because of the courts and/or the people who should get paid, getting tired and not pursuing the case.

The gentleman I know is father to a child whose mother he is not married to. She had him arrested and he served 3 months in jail. Unless he wanted to spend more time in jail he was ordered to find a job and start paying. Guess what, he did!!

The young woman has a child and her deadbeat ex boyfriend didn't pay for the first 10 years of the child's life because he was in prison for drug possession or something like that. Then he gets out and she brings him to court on back support. He pays her a few months then declares he has no job and that's because he's working "under the table." I'm not sure if she's brought him back to court, but my advice to her would be to do so and hopefully the judge would deliver him the same sentence as the young man mentioned above.

When I was a kid my father, who was married to my mother, left and thought he could just walk away and not pay anything even though he had a very lucratiave job. Well my mom took him to court and back then the judge told him you either pay her every month or go to jail for every month you don't want to pay. Needless to say he never missed a payment for 15 years.

You always hear about dead beat dads, but where is the responsibility of these women who have baby after baby, with different men, with no child support. If they would change the welfare system back to the way it was 40 years ago where you were allowed so many kids and the state would only support them for a specific length of time then you were cut off maybe, just maybe these reckless irresponsibie women having baby after baby with no means of support, would stop having them.

There is no reason why women can't take responsibiity for their bodies. You want the government to help them stay healthy for what, to have babies they can't support so the government can support them from cradle to grave? The real tragedy of course is for the chidlren. No, abortion should not be the answer so don't even go there.

This country cannot continue to support irresponsibility in the name of being kind to those in need. These people who do not take responsibility for themselves or their child are not in need. They are no better than any other criminal who is stealing for a living.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 8:10PM
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demifloyd(8)

Posted by brushworks Zone5-Ohio (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 5, 12 at 18:38

It is a shame that a custodial parent that does support the child does not use better judgment in choosing someone with which to procreate.

If they did, the divorce rate may not be 62%.

The statement may offend you, but it's perfectly clear to me.

KNOW WHO YOU ARE MARRYING BEFORE YOU MARRY THEM!

Choose someone with similar goals and values.
Choose someone who is kind, considerate and polite.
Choose an honest person.

*

See? Bill gets it.

It is not difficult or too much to ask to assess a person's character before having sexual relations with them and exposing one's self to bringing a child into the world with that person.

Now, whether the two people can succeed at commitment, that's one thing.

But it's not rocket science to have a good idea if the person is going to be responsible for the child when you choose to procreate with someone.

At least it's not rocket science when you're thinking about the children you bring into the world and not your own interests at the time.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:21PM
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jodik_gw

Case in point, for those who can't imagine not controlling every aspect of life:

A boy meets a girl. They become friends, then years later begin dating. They get serious and marry, both knowing they want to be together, and they both want a large family. The man is college educated, steadily employed in a very lucrative position with a large corporation. When it comes time to begin the family they want, nothing happens. They consult with multiple doctors and fertility specialists. The woman is devastated because she desperately wants children. The man is heartbroken, as well, wanting to be a Daddy more than anything.

Multiple surgeries are performed, fertility drugs are taken, and lo and behold... the woman becomes pregnant. They welcome a son into the world. They go through the fertility process again, welcoming a second son into the world. They want a girl, so a third try is made. They welcome a beautiful daughter into the world. But they're not done yet, because they want 3 more children to make it an even 6, as they had agreed and planned. They have the means, they have the love, they have the home, and he thinks she's on the same page.

She's not. She hasn't been for a very long time, unbeknownst to the man. She has a lot of secrets. She secretly has the doctor perform a hysterectomy immediately following the c-section birth of their third child, the daughter.

The doctor enters the waiting room and explains to the man that the c-section went well, his daughter is perfect, and the hysterectomy went as planned, also. The man is shocked! That was not part of the plan! The woman lies and says it was a necessary emergency, but the man knows otherwise, having already spoken with the doctor.

The man is devastated, but had three wonderful children already, and is fully committed to his family. Nothing really changes, except for the trust between him and his wife, and the number of children he originally had wanted. It's a bump they can get past. Or so he thinks.

A couple of years go by, and he is suddenly struck down at work and completely incapacitated. A legal battle ensues, and he is left with little hope of ever performing at the same level, in the same field... and as the money begins to run out, the wife runs out.

She packs up her personal items, and leaves 3 little children and a broken man bawling their eyes out as she laughingly drives away. She has him served with divorce papers, low-balls her income to the Judge so as to receive low child support to pay, and never shows up to court again to show the Judge an actual pay stub or W2 form as he has directed. Her own attorney sues her for non-payment for her divorce.

This is the family I fell in love with and married. This is the family I treasure more than life itself. These are the children that are mine, DNA totally inconsequential. We are the family that struggled to make ends meet, and never received a dime in support to help those three children. And that is the only woman, the only person, on earth that I can honestly say I despise with a passion... for what she did to three innocent little lives.

I can only hope that something I did, something I said, helped to heal them in some small way. But I digress...

There IS no guarantee that the person you've known for a very long time, the person you considered the best of human beings, the person that portrayed themselves as wanting the same things out of life that you do... won't just walk out one day when the going gets a bit bumpy!

Where do some of you people get these ridiculous notions that the future is completely foreseeable?! You must be joking? You have to be! No one can predict their entire future!
You may think you can accurately plan out your life, and account for every tiny contingency... and you may be financially so stable that having the child or children you want is the right thing to do at the right time... but these little things called accidents and unforeseen circumstances just happen sometimes. They are completely out of your control, no matter how secure you think your life's plan is, no matter how tightly you think your grip on control is.

But this thread isn't about condemning people for having sex or procreating. It's about supporting those children born of procreation, when one of two persons responsible decide otherwise!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 11:43AM
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jillinnj

But this thread isn't about condemning people for having sex or procreating. It's about supporting those children born of procreation, when one of two persons responsible decide otherwise!

But some just cannot pass up an opportunity to crap all over those they perceive as below them. People that maybe didn't have the same good fortune they've had. I guess in their mind, if you thought you married the right person but find out years later that you did not, you're just irresponsible.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 12:26PM
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markjames

What amazes me is how many women choose to have unsafe sex with, or purposely plan pregnancies with guys that have already fathered children with other women that they're not supporting, or under-supporting.

To add insult to injury, many females choose mates that are uneducated, unskilled, unemployed, under-employed, unemployable, or have criminal records, drug/alcohol/cigarette addictions, no savings, no credit, no assets, no investments, no home, no transportation, no driver's license etc.

Many employers have an extremely thorough culling process for job seekers they may fire within days/week, yet many females aren't highly selective about the fathers of their kids that they'll be stuck with as long as they live.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 12:31PM
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jodik_gw

Exactly, Jill... raining on a parade is a skill honed over time... bitter, empty time, apparently...

There's no accounting for the stupidity of some people, Markjames... there just isn't.

Having a baby doesn't magically fix a marriage on the rocks, either... but a lot of people do it, thinking it will. The only thing it does is bring another human being into the misery the couple already experiences. Is it any wonder there are so many messed up kids out there?

Critical thinking skills and common sense... the lack out there seems to show itself more every day.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 1:00PM
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demifloyd(8)

Sometimes people change--their personalities change due to illnesses or particularly stressful events.

However, if one uses critical thinking skills and common sense, they're more likely to see what was there all along but they ignored the signs--deceit, lack of honesty, and selfishness.

Critical thinking skills and common sense are traits that many have not honed--particularly when it comes to making personally responsible decisions, and some don't even consider the application of such when instant gratification and rose color glasses rule behavior.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 5:03PM
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chisue

Has anyone been following "Call the Midwife" on TV?

Thank goodness for 'the pill' and separation of church and state!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 5:58PM
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