Welfare Encourages Polygamy in the United States


Welfare keeps some bad mores going and I’m not talking about race here. I’m referring to polygamy.

There is a video going around stating that Muslim men in Michigan can have up to four wives collecting welfare which allows them to live quite well off the taxpayer.

That’s not exactly accurate. There is nothing in the law that allows Muslim men to have four wives. After acquiring citizenship or legal non-citizen status, welfare can be obtained but it’s no different than what goes on in other welfare homes in the nation where they live in polygamist households.

It is estimated that 50,000 to 100,000 Muslims in the U.S. live in polygamist households though no one knows for sure. That figure might change as the Muslim population continues to increase as it has been.

What we really have to worry about is an easily abused welfare system that encourages bad behavior. Polygamists represent just one type of abuse out of many that we should try to discourage.

The Mormon polygamist sects collect welfare for their many wives not because they are wives but because they are single mothers.

CBS News ran a special on them in 2008. Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman explained how they are able to live in mammoth homes with multiple wives.

“What happens is a man marries one wife, she’s his legal wife, then he marries ten other wives in the church, and all the other wives are, by law, single women, so they have all these children with him, and they all get welfare.”

The more kids, the bigger the welfare check, Kauffman points out.

“Some of the women in this town have 26 babies,” one former polygamist wife told her.

The fundamentalists believe a man needs three wives to get into heaven, and the wives exist for one reason: to make babies.

Two percent of the population of Utah practice polygamy.

Until 1890, Polygamy was legal in Utah and today most people are descendants of or related to polygamists. The revered prophets were polygamists. Eighty percent of the population is Mormon. It makes it difficult for any politician in Utah to stop the practice or say one word against it.

If we stopped giving out enormous sums of welfare to polygamist families, it might help discourage the practice. At least we wouldn’t be paying for it.

In 2001, the LA Times had a piece about the high price for polygamy. They enumerated some of their findings:

* High levels of incest, child abuse and wife battering. But the crimes are rarely reported because of the secrecy surrounding polygamous communities, law enforcement officials say.

* Widespread reliance on welfare. In the tiny town of Hildale, for example, along the Utah-Arizona border, as many as 50% of the residents are on public assistance, according to state and federal records. The fraud occurs when plural wives claim they don’t know the whereabouts of their children’s father.

* Unusual levels of child poverty. For example, across the street from Hildale in Colorado City, Ariz., every school-age child in town was living below the poverty level, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates from 1997, the most current available.

* Wide-ranging tax fraud. Polygamists often underestimate their income or, as in Green’s case, don’t file returns at all.

* Limited educational opportunities. Last year the prophet of the Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints Church, a group excommunicated more than a century ago for practicing polygamy, ordered the town’s children to stop attending public school, resulting in the closure of the local elementary school.

* Overtaxed public services. Medicaid pays for more than one-third of the babies born in Utah, and plural wives account for a disproportionate share of those births, child welfare advocates say.

Polygamist men are free to marry young wives, rape them, impregnate them as much as they want.

It’s hard to prosecute any case of polygamy, whether it be Muslim or Mormon, etc., the practice takes place in closed, secret societies with religion wielded like a machete.

Whether it be a Muslim or American society within the United States, it all turns out the same. Polygamy is a dangerous and abusive practice and it should be stopped, but the way things are going, it never will be.

Welfare damages some societies but we don’t seem to have the fortitude to stop it.

Welfare pays more than a minimum-wage job in 35 states and, in 13 states, it pays more than $15 per hour. according to the CATO Institute.

Cato suggests that “if Congress and state legislatures are serious about reducing welfare dependence and rewarding work, they should consider strengthening welfare work requirements, removing exemptions, and narrowing the definition of work. Moreover, states should consider ways to shrink the gap between the value of welfare and work by reducing current benefit levels and tightening eligibility requirements.”

Almost 20% of welfare recipients have been on welfare for five years or more.

In 39 states, welfare recipients make more than minimum wage, 6 states pay more than $12 an hour, and in 8 states welfare pays more than the average teachers’ salary.

Why work if you haven’t bothered with advanced training and can only get a low paying job? Why even bother teaching in those 8 states where welfare pays more.

The warning bells are ringing.  We need some tough love.

As for the polygamists, they get a whole lot of money for dozens of children.

As long as we reward this type of behavior, it will continue to flourish at the expense of the hard-working Americans.