April 24, 2012
Glassner and the media both have something in common, they sell information. They both use catchy headlines to capture the audience's attention. The media might use something like Teenage Mom Flunks School and Kills Baby! and Glassner uses the title of his book The Culture of Fear Why Americans Fear the Wrong Things. The media gets higher ratings and Glassner gets royalties from the books he sells. In his book Glassner finds information that contradicts the information that the media provides to the public, and in turn encourages the readers to do the same: question everything. Although Glassner gives evidence to support his arguements, those arguments are over a decade old. By siding with Glassner on the topic of teen pregnancies I will use information that is as current as possible to refute the claims given by the media on how teenage pregnancy is bad for the America. So now let us pop that red pill and uncover the truth!
"The lower education levels of mothers who began childbearing as teenagers translates into lower work force productivity and diminished wages, resulting in a weaker, less competitive economy," says Stephen Caldas (Glassner, 91). Glassner argues that the combined wealth and influence of teen moms don't add up to a single fortune 100 company, which isn't enough to destroy America (Glassner, 91). First let us entertain the thought of how a teenage mother will affect the economy. The only reason that comes to mind is the increase in government spending on welfare such as: food stamps, and medicare for the child's child. So how much would it take to for teenage mother to cause the U.S. economy to go crashing down? According to usspending.gov, the amount spent on welfare is the lowest at $700 billion. The total amount that the government spends totals at $6.3 trillion (Chantrill). I'm no math major, but welfare is only about 11% of the whole pie. Welfare isn't just for teen parents mind you, it's for the old, the unemployed, and disabled Americans. So the amount that used to support young mothers is probably lower than $700 billion.
Previously I discussed the cost of welfare compared to the total expenditure on the economy as a whole. Now I'll discuss how Glassner puts the media's argument upside down by saying that poverty and low job prospects are the main cause of teen pregnancy, and that having children is a major driving force in one's life to finish college in order to give their children a better lifestyle (Glassner, 91). When the media talks about something they mainly focus on the negative aspects of the subject. For instance, when talking about unemployment in America they focus on the 8% that are unemployed (US Department of Labor). Now let's look at the other side of the coin, which is the 92% of Americans that are employed, that's an A! I would love to have a 92% in english 13. Back to the topic at hand. In a survey conducted by The National Campaign, only 38% of pregnant teens end up obtaining a high school diploma. In the previous example, it turns out that the media hasn't misconstrued that information (Perper). There's also a hidden side to that argument. What if they these mothers waited for their babies got a tad bit older and went to get their diploma/g.e.d.? In a survey conducted by childtrends.org, 73% of teenage mothers by the age of 22 either received their high school diploma or g.e.d. (Perper, Peterson, and Manlove). So while the media was right that a majority of teen moms drop out of high school, they hid the fact that a majority of them end up getting their diploma/g.e.d. eventually. Speaking of college education, in 1998 a school board in Kentucky denied two students admission into the Honors Society because they did not meet certain character traits (Glassner, 92).
"Teen pregnancy was largely a response to the nation's educational and economic decline, not the other way around" (Glassner,...