While George makes some excellent points in his entry, and Cato’s Neal McCluskey tears Sui Lang Panoke’s pity party to pieces, both men leave ignored one important comment:
“I am a single mother.”
Ms. Panoke leaves out a significant amount of information in her op-ed, including which undergraduate institution she attended, what degree she received, why she chose not to get a job out of college (as McCluskey correctly notes might have been the solution to her problem), and, not least of which, how she became a single mother. We all make choices in this life, and ideally individuals should be able to have a top-rate education and start to build a family. But few can do both at the same time. Ms. Panoke could have written an op-ed about making better choices: Wait until after you have your degree to get pregnant (i.e. abstinence), start saving for college when you are young, apply to every scholarship program available, and get a job right after college if you cannot yet afford graduate school. The latter I know all too well, as I’m living it now.
Single mothers have a hard enough challenge in this world without having to expense higher education. For those mothers who live their lives responsibly and who will sacrifice for their children, I offer nothing but admiration. In Panoke’s case, that means sacrifices such as not attending the expensive American University, or attending night school. As Panoke herself points out, “being a single mother would qualify me to have most of my college expenses paid for.” She may have cruised through college with federal funding and gotten used to the government dole. In which case, it would be a shame to see her addicted to federal money. Could we institute some sort of federally-funded rehab for that?
For all I know, Panoke recognizes any poor choices she might have made in the past. Or perhaps her parenthood should be admired–I cannot make a judgment because I do not know the facts of her life. What I do know is that anyone who makes the following remark could benefit from a few more economics classes:
“We are failing to redistribute the wealth in America.”
I must have missed the day when America converted to socialism.