I will never get tired of this picture of Art Wittich. The 2015 session of the Montana legislature is his time: very conservative Republicans control the House, and they are putting forward all manner of thrilling ideas. Wittich is head of the House Human Services Committee, which last month subpoenaed state aid workers to share anecdotes about fraud and abuse, so you know he’s looking for ways to cut welfare costs. He can have this idea for free: if you want to spend less on welfare, make people pay child support. The majority of TANF recipients are single mothers, and 40% of food stamp beneficiaries in Montana are children of single mothers. Only 41% of single parents receive their legally mandated child support payments each month. That amounts to a massive shift in financial responsibility from parents to the state—not by welfare moms, but by deadbeat dads. Stronger child support enforcement should appeal to both parties: if more single moms actually got their child support, fewer would need welfare to get by. And if there were no financial advantage to abandoning their children, fathers might do it less. What we have here is a moral solution to a budget problem. It supports traditional family structures and saves the state money. Republicans in the Montana legislature should jump on this idea with both feet. You can read about it in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links. In the meantime, consider who is a bigger drain on society: welfare moms or the dudes who left them?