And Chris Hayes reminds us that for years we’ve heard that poor and single mothers must be pushed into the work force so that they aren’t lazy and dependent. But wealthier women actually enjoy tax benefits for staying home. If you want to see more of this morning’s program, see the Chris Hayes page.
Most of us who had to work to support ourselves and our children had it up to here with the “mommy wars” years ago. Yes, raising kids is work, but raising kids while working full time is more work. A lot more work. Especially when you can’t afford housekeepers and cooks and nannies.
I think Mittens may be about to find out that the “mommy wars” aren’t the opportunity he thought they were. Let’s see what Mr. Etch-a-Sketch has to say about his welfare policies in the next few days.
The Wall Street Journal wants us to know that Republicans can win the War Against Women. Seriously. I like this headline so much I screen captured it before some dweeb at WSJ wakes up and realizes what it says —
Anyway, WSJ thinks Romney should let the world know how Democratic policies are hurting women:
Rarely noted in the “women’s” debate is that most of this country’s major institutions and laws were developed at a time of one-earner households. In 1950, only 12% of mothers with children under the age of six were in the labor force. That number is today more than 60%. Yet many women who now work are penalized by outdated policies that haven’t kept pace with these big shifts in American society.
Exhibit A is a progressive tax code and the penalty it imposes on earning marginal, or additional, income. Most married women are second earners. That means their income is added to that of their husband’s and thus often taxed at a high marginal rate. This “marriage penalty” has never fully been adjusted for in the tax code. A married woman working on an assembly line keeps less of her paycheck than the unwed man who does the same job. That’s real inequality in pay for women.
You won’t hear Democrats admitting this punitive tax burden—particularly when combined with child-care costs—is a reason many women can’t afford to work, even if they wish to.
I’ve never heard the “marriage tax” described this way, but let’s go on — in all my years I’ve never heard a woman complain that taxes are keeping her from pursing her career. Have you?
And now we come to it …
And the expiration of the Bush tax cuts would compound this problem. To the extent Mr. Romney is offering a flatter tax code, with lower marginal rates, he is offering millions of women greater choice and a shot at more economic freedom.
That goes beyond merely off the wall or out of touch; that’s downright depraved. Any woman wealthy enough to benefit from the bleeping Bush tax cuts has plenty of options to work or not to work as she pleases. And if she does work, it probably won’t be a the cash register of the local Piggly Wiggly for minimum wage.
Here’s a campaign issue I really do want Romney to run on:
Mr. Romney might note the damage done to women by antiquated but still operative labor law, such as a provision in the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act that requires hourly workers who put in more than 40 hours a week to get overtime.
Please, Mittens, add that to your speeches. Please.
While some women like overtime, a 1990s poll found that 81% said they’d rather pack more hours into fewer days and receive compensatory time off. The phrase for this is “flex time,” an invaluable option for many mothers attempting to juggle work and family. Not in this Democratic war.
“Flex time” and overtime pay are two different issues. In the real world, the only thing keeping many women hourly workers from being forced to work more than a 40-hour-week is the overtime pay requirement. Without it, they’d be in the same boat as many salaried workers, being expected to tack additional time onto the workday with no additional compensation, including time off. In all my years of working I had only one job that gave comp time, and that was when our business travels ate up a weekend. And I was on salary.
The idea behind “flex time” is not fewer hours, but the ability to start and end the workday at something other than 9 to 5, like maybe 8:30 to 4:30. Assuming one is working hourly, of course. For salaried workers that would be more like 8:30 to 7:00.
Government creates myriad roadblocks for women’s economic progress, but Republicans largely have failed to make that case. They’ve instead let themselves be dragged into the tired debate over “equal pay” and “women’s rights” and “gender equality.”
Oh yes, so tired.
Democrats love competing on these terms because it allows them to argue that the remedy always lies with more government, no matter the adverse consequences.
Instead, we should eliminate all employment and workplace regulations and live at the tender mercies of our employers? Oh, yes, run on that, Mittens. It’s the message the nation is waiting to hear.
It’s no accident that the first piece of legislation Mr. Obama signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Act. Purporting to snuff out wage discrimination, this is mostly a litigation bonanza for trial lawyers.
Yes, Mittens, run against Lilly Ledbetter. You know you want to. Lilly wants you to.
One of the distasteful things about the tendency to label all sorts of debates or initiatives as “wars” is that in real wars, people die. But the reality is that a shockingly high number of American moms are dying for preventable reasons. The U.S. Maternal Mortality Ratio (the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) is shockingly high, well above the average for the developed world, and higher than virtually all of Western Europe as well as some countries in Asia and the Middle East. Even more troubling, U.S. maternal mortality has increased in the last two decades, and is now more than twice as high as it was in the late 1980s. The Affordable Care Act included provisions designed to help stop this scary trend—not just by expanding health care access (many maternal deaths could be prevented with proper care)—but also through the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program, created as part of ACA, which provides nurses and social workers to work with high-risk moms, starting before they give birth, to help them have healthy pregnancies and deliveries and support their babies’ health and development after birth.The program is modeled after programs, such as the Nurse Family Partnership that have a strong track record of improving maternal and child outcomes, preventing abuse and neglect, increasing fathers’ involvement in their kids’ lives, improving kids’ school performance, reducing crime, and saving the taxpayers a boatload of money over the long term. But all that could go the way of the dodo, if ACA is struck down or repealed (and some of the right wing fear-mongering about this program must be seen to be believed).
For all we hear about “family friendly” conservatives promoting traditional families to keep us from going the way of G-d-forsaken Europe, the reality is that the U.S. actually has a higher percentage of infants and toddlers in childcare (as opposed to home with mom) than all the OECD countries except Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden (and we’re closer to Sweden than we are to the OECD average). That’s the direct result of policy choices we’ve made, including the total absence of paid parental leave (for which we stand alone among developed countries, in a small and shrinking field that includes Papau New Guinea, Swaziland, and Lesotho). And even as the recession has increased the number of moms of very young children in the workforce, states have cut funding for child care and made it harder to get in other ways as well.
But, y’know, if we could just make the Bush tax cuts for the rich permanent, everything will be right as rain. Yeah, campaign on that, Mittens.
It’s long been observed that the uglier a woman is, the more likely she is to be a feminist. And it was always logical, too, that women who couldn’t compete with other women in the traditional manner would seek to change the rules of the game. But now there is some scientific evidence supporting both the logic and the observation, and it could be very useful in helping counteract the feminist propaganda that inundates young women from the time they are girls, encouraging them to waste their youth and fertility in chasing careers rather than families.
The message is a simple and straighforward one: feminism is for female losers in the game of Life.
Losers? This boy belongs under a bell jar in the Loser Museum.