Love him or hate him, there’s no denying tha by the standards of a western capitalist society, Jim Bob Duggar has been wildly successful.
In addtition to the media empire he created with his wife — though he mostly takes the credit for himself — Jim Bob is a successful real estate developer and former politician who still enjoys a surprising amount of clout in both D.C. and the Arkansas statehouse.
Presented with the problem of how to raise 16 children, Jim Bob came up with an innovative solution and reached a lucrative deal with Discovery Channel execs, which later led to a longterm arrangement with TLC.
(Some have convincingly argued that Jim Bob stumbled into the deal through sheer luck, but that’s a conversation for a different time.)
The franchise had humble enough origins with Jim Bob and company receiving decorating, furnishings, appliances, and a stocked pantry for their new home in exchange for their participation in the Discovery Health documentary 16 Kids and Moving In.
A few years later, the Duggars were TLC’s biggest draw.
Jim Bob even managed to maneuver around the Josh Duggar sex scandals that threatened to bring the family down.
When 19 Kids and Counting was canceled as a resul of the scandals, it was widely assumed the Duggars would fade into obscurity.
But just a few months later, they were back on their home network with Jill & Jessa: Counting On.
Jim Bob promised to keep his distance from the project, but he quickly went back on his word, and the title was shortened to simply Counting On.
So now, with their affluent upbringings behgind them, the eldest Duggar children were essentially handed the keys to a media empire of their own.
It was widely assumed that they would seize the opportunity as their father had and flourish for years to come.
So why, all these years later, do his kids seem to be floundering, and what — if anything — is Jim Bob doing to help them?
Let’s go down the list, shall we?
First, there’s Josh, and well … the less said about him, the better.
The eldest of Jim Bob and Michelle’s sons enjoyed a brief career as a Washington lobbyist, but it was derailed when word got out that he had molested five young girls, four of whom were his sisters.
Because Jim Bob is only “tough on crime” when it comes to people who don’t look like him, Josh suffered nothing in the way of real consequences, and he currently operates a car dealership that appears to be owned by his father.
Next up is Jana Duggar, who’s trying to launch a media career of her own, but keeps running into roadblocks, probably as a result of her family’s arch-conservative views.
In this way, she belongs to the same category as Jinger Duggar, who has influencer aspirations, but is considered off-limits to many brands due to her fundamentalist belief system.
Just last month, Jinger was forced to back out of a paid appearance amid concerns that her views conflicted with those of the organization sponsoring the event.
Then we have Jill Duggar, who quit Counting On as a show of solidarity after her husband, Derick Dillard, was fired from the show for harassing a transgender teen on Twitter.
These days, Derick is working as a Grub Hub driver and pursuing a law degree part-time.
Before he found fame by marrying Jill, he worked as an accountant, and it’s unclear why he gave up that line of work.
Jessa’s sister, Jill Duggar, still appears on Counting On.
It’s likely for that reason that Jill and John David Duggar — Jana’s twin sister who recently welcomed his first child — appear to be the only Duggar siblings who enjoy full financial stability.
Joseph and Josiah Duggar appear on the show, but it’s rumored that as younger siblings, they’re not paid as much as Jessa and company.
Sources say both men are hoping to land jobs in their father’s car-flipping/real estate concern.
Then there’s Joy-Anna Duggar who was still living in a trailer with her husband, long after the couple’s first child was born.
In that way, her fate is not dissimilar to that of Josh Duggar, who might be living in a windowless warehouse on his parents’ property.
Of course, the paths that brought Joy and Josh to these living conditions are very different.
Josh is virtually unemployable and attempting to raise six kids on the stipend he gets from his parents.
Meanwhile, Joy is a reportedly a victim of her husband’s ambition.
Insiders say Austin Forsyth hopes to flip houses for a living just like his father-in-law.
He’s poured all of the couple’s money into this effort, but this far, he’s met with nothing but lawsuits and disappointment.
That brings to the most ambitious member of the Duggar clan — 20-year-old Jedidiah.
Jed is running for office — following in his father’s footsteps by seeking a seat in the Arkansas State House of Representatives.
Unfortunately, the seat that’s up for grabs is not in the Duggars’ district — so Jim Bob moved his son into a palatial home he just heppened to own in the right part of Arkansas.
Sources believe that fact may hurt Jed’s chances, as it may cause voters to see him as a pampered child of privilege.
In that way, the move serves as a microcosm for the myriad ways in which Jim Bob is hurting his children’s chances for success.
He thinks he’s helping them by covering their expenses and helping them avoid consequences — but thus far, the approach seems woefully ineffective.
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Author: Tyler Johnson