Friday, December 9, 2011

A logic response to Polygamy

There are many things that are legal but not expedient.  There are things that are expedient but not legal. There are things that are illegal that everyone knows should be none of the government's business... 

In the ongoing research as preparation for an upcoming book on polygamy I am attempting to ascertain into which category polygamy may be placed. Most people agree on the fact that it is none of the government's business how a couple or family decides to construct a household, as long as the decision is made by consenting adults. When children are brought into the picture the state must protect those that have no voice. Yet, it is not culture or religion that should guide the judgement of the state, but an honest and unbiased view if how the child or children are thriving. As long as there is no abuse and the children are nurtured the state should have no say in the way a family is formed.

If you have been following this blog for a while you will know that I believe there is no biblical demand to cease the practice of polygamy, and even if there were that does not mean the state should make it illegal, since other religions encourage the practice and the state should not interfere or show bias based on religion or culture as long as there is no harm to society. (Although there are those who claim society would come crashing down if polygamy were allowed, I do not see history supporting this view.)

I believe one day we will mature enough to allow actual freedom in the U.S. If this happens it will bring us to a question of the expediency of polygamy. We can only judge such a thing based on conditions at present. So, here are some points to ponder.

The institution of polygamy seems to be a safe and viable path if most of the adults work and there is a balance and equality within the group, but when the family begins to grow and children are born issues of time and finance begin to multiply.

Money, and the sheer lack of resources plague many polygamist families. As the family grows and children are born our most precious resource, time, it taxed.

Consider a normal schedule. The husband and or wife arise at 6 A.M., gets the kids ready for school and leaves for work. The average commute time in the U.S. is about 25 minutes. The parent leaves work around 5 P.M. and arrives home at 5:30. Supper must be prepared and eaten. Minor repairs of house and property must be preformed. On a large home or several smaller homes upkeep, repair, and lawn work could demand more time than anticipated. Usually there are several cars owned by a large family. With stretched resources the cars may be older and more likely to need repair. Bills must be paid. Children must be taken on outings, as well as to doctor and dentist appointments.

Multiple children need time with the father, help with homework, and social issues at school. Extracurricular activities run rampant when that family has many children. Keeping schedules in sync with several games, practices, and performances become difficult. Other children may be pulled in to provide transportation, if the family has children old and mature enough to assist.

Mother and Father cannot attend more than one event a day. More sensitive children will feel left out. This is a mine field one must cross in order to be successful in a multiple marriage.

Clothes, shoes, and individual items. With the gap of the “connected and unconnected” households growing, it is necessary to have computers and internet connection so all children can do their best in school.

In a traditional family of 2.5 kids there are days where a parent must stay home with the child due to illness. Multiply the number by 5 or more and there will be many days missed at work by one parent or another.
It becomes apparent that in larger units it is best to have at least one“stay at home parent.”

According to the federal government, the U.S. national average wage index for 2010 is $41,673.83.

            An Article from NEW YORK (CNNMoney) reports, “Just providing a child with the basics has become more than most parents can afford.

The cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 for a middle-income, two-parent family averaged $226,920 last year (not including college), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That's up nearly 40% -- or more than $60,000 -- from 10 years ago. Just one year of spending on a child can cost up to $13,830 in 2010, compared to $9,860 a decade ago.

Many parents are working longer hours, or another job, and they are giving up time at home. It's a complete catch-22.
From buying groceries to paying for gas, every major expense associated with raising a child has climbed significantly over the past decade.

Food prices, in particular, have weighed on parents' budgets as rising demand for commodities like corn and wheat, along with other factors such as rising oil prices, drought and floods, have made even a box of cereal a pricey proposition.
Another notable increase has been the cost of transportation, which soared as a result of rising gas prices. Between 2000 and 2010, consumers paid an average of 85% more per gallon at the pump, according to AAA.

The battered economy has also taken a toll, of course. Many employers scaled back or even did away with medical coverage in recent years, leaving many families to cover that bill. At the same time, costs for doctors visits, medications and other health services also climbed. As a result, health care costs for families with children rose 58% over the decade.

All of this comes at a time when incomes are shrinking and unemployment is near an all-time high. Over the past decade, median household income has fallen 7%, according to a recent report from the Census Bureau.

The early years of a child are among the toughest for parents who must find a way to afford all of those costs, plus child care.
For the household in the lower earning brackets it takes half of a paycheck to pay for child care. One may ask if working is even worth it.

Although housing generally represents a family's largest expense, putting more than one child in day care tips the scales.

The anti-baby boom: Why the U.S. birth rate keeps falling
In 2010, the cost of putting two children in child care exceeded the median annual rent payments in every single state, according to a recent report by the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, or NACCRRA.
"It defies logic," said Linda Smith, NACCRRA's executive director. As more families are priced out of licensed child care services, the health and safety of those children are put in jeopardy, she said.

Licensed day care for two children can comprises more than 25% of a an average annual income. “

End Article

If placing 2 children in daycare can take over a quarter of the average income, imagine the cost of placing as many children as is possible from a multiple family. Again, we return to the need of having at least one adult member of the family at home as a parent and administrator of the household. 

Unless one or more of the members of the household is wealthy it becomes obvious that most of the adults will have to work in order to provide properly for the children and the family as a whole. With more than a small number of wives (say, 2 or 3) the household could come to mimic more of a single mother household if the father is not diligent. Yet, there are millions of households today where the father is absent due to work, such as over-the-road truck drivers, military men, and those who maintain large territories for companies. Who are we to say such arrangements are not right? If one counts the cost and is prepared to provide what is needed for health and continuity what is the problem?

We will return to this discussion, but for now let us ponder the complexity of it all.