Tuesday, January 14, 2014
The Real War on Women--The Life of Julia in 2014
When you were a child, what did you dream of being when you grew up? If you are a man, you might have wanted to be a politician, or a business owner, or a professional athlete, or an astronaut, or a doctor or attorney. If you are a woman, you might have wanted to be a politician, or a business owner, or a professional athlete, or an astronaut, or a doctor, or an attorney. Depending on how you were raised, you might simply have dreamed of being a wife and mother--still a very noble calling that many women choose. Whether you are a man or a woman, I am going to step out on a limb here and guess that you did not dream of being unemployed and broke, working part-time and living on government assistance. Children tend to have big dreams for their lives which are unsullied by the difficulties that achieving those dreams can pose, and they tend to view the world as a place of opportunity. It is only as we get older that we have a tendency to trade in our dreams for stability and then to continually lower our expectations until finally just getting out of bed in the morning becomes an accomplishment.
America has always been an aspirational society, full of hope and promise. Of course, we have always had poverty and inequality--and we always will. There are many factors that contribute to individual poverty, and many people go through periods of financial hardship at one point or another in their lives. But today, poverty and unemployment are increasing at a rate that far outpaces jobs in an atmosphere that is killing opportunity with a lethal cocktail of excessive regulation combined with welfare and government subsidies. These two factors--over-regulation and taxation that destroy small businesses and jobs, and the promise of government incentives to not work--are robbing this nation of any incentive to work, to take risks, to aspire to do anything.
Some of you may remember "The Life of Julia" the Obama campaign's cartoon about a fictional woman named Julia who is helped by the government her entire life. Julia is without family and although she does have a child she is without a man in her life. She works--she gets an SBA loan to start her own business as a web designer--but her true safety net is the government. The government guarantees her student loans, the government provides child care for her child, the government provides her retirement when she turns sixty-five. At no point does Julia to try to find a free market solution to any of her needs--or even apparently to get married--because dear old uncle Sam is there at every stage of her life to make sure that her basic needs are met.
The Life of Julia was a major part of the Obama campaign's re-election strategy in 2012. The campaign promoted the concept that there is a "war on women" waged by heartless conservatives who believe welfare and entitlements drain the society, marriage and two-parent households contribute to a prosperous and stable society, and every adult needs to use whatever skills she has been blessed with to her utmost abilities in order to improve her life and the general society around them. (And the same applies for men, but since this post is about the war on women I am using female pronouns.) The leftists insist that this worldview is sexist and cold, and that their approach of cradle to grave security provided by Big Government is the road to happiness whereas our road map of personal responsibility leads to some sort of moralist enslavement.
So how is all this big government working out for women? Apparently not too well. Labor participation for women in the U.S. today is the lowest that it has been for 24 years. The jobs numbers released last Friday show that only 74,000 new jobs were created in December of 2013. The overall labor participation rate
(the number of Americans who have a job or want one) is at the lowest point in 36 years. We have gone from a society that says women can "have it all" to a society that says, "Don't worry honey; the government will take care of you." (Liberals don't ever seem to think that the implication that anyone can be successful without the government is racist or sexist or demeaning.)
Nearly 90 million Americans are now unemployed in the U.S.. Americans who have not looked for work in the prior four weeks are considered to be no longer seeking work and are not counted in the Department of Labor's unemployment statistics. Nearly one-third of our workforce now falls into this category. In 2007 63% of Americans over age 16 held jobs; today only 58.6% do so according to an article this week in the Christian Science Monitor. Traditionally, when Americans have lost their jobs and not been able to find work, they start businesses of their own, but in the super-regulated climate of the Obama administration, this is getting increasingly more difficult to do. Obamacare has ensured that most businesses will not expand, and it is rapidly turning the U.S. into a society of part-time workers with no real opportunity. Small wonder that so many Americans are dropping out of the system and deciding that a small government check for which they don't have to work is better than a paycheck from a part-time job with no future.
In The Life of Julia, Julia's web design business succeeds throughout her lifetime. In real life, when the economy is weak and labor participation is low, everyone suffers. The small business owner may not be able to find enough clients to support her business when those clients are worried about how to pay for the rising costs of insurance and taxes that are hurting their cash flow. These economic problems trickle down to everybody and the government subsidies do not make up for the loss of income through taxes or the massive costs to the whole society of programs like Obamacare.
Yet the Obama Administration persists in insisting that Obamacare is a boon for women. In November, Colorado ran a series of ads last fall promoting the benefits of Obamacare to women. More than anything else, these ads demonstrate the true sexism of the left who apparently see all women as mindless nitwits who don't care about the loss of our jobs, businesses and future opportunities as long as we get free birth control. My personal favorite of these was this ad which got a lot of play across social media for its offensive messages:
Women have an important role to play in our nation's immediate future. This year, that poster gal for unrestricted abortion on demand--Wendy Davis--is running for governor of Texas on a platform of promoting women. Texas' pro-business, pro-growth policies have made the state a model for what the rest of the country should be. Yes, it is run by good old boys. There is not a thing wrong with that. Good old boys gave us a state with no income tax, a state where businesses can prosper, a state where, in most areas, the housing market remains strong. Austin, Texas, topped yesterday's list of best places to seek work in the country. Texas is a state where women can succeed without big government interference--where they can work to reach their own individual potential instead of lowering their aspirations to those of "Julia."
Wendy Davis is hoping that we don't see that. She is planning to take a thirteen-hour filibuster in support of abortions after twenty weeks--a truly horrific cause if there ever were one--and turn it into a job as manager of an economy that is larger and more vibrant than that of many small European countries. She and her leftist counterparts are hoping that all Texas women are just as dumb as the one in the ad I shared above--that we don't care about opportunity or freedom, or traditional morality or marriage or building a stronger society in the future as long as the government will give us free birth control today and the opportunity for a late-term abortion tomorrow. She is hoping that we care more about personal ease today than what kind of world our children will inherit from us tomorrow, and that we would rather have a government handout than real opportunity for success. That's what I call genuinely sexist. Let's keep Texas red in 2014 make sure Davis doesn't succeed.
When the mafia extorts money from you to allow you to live, they call it "protection money." When the government does it, they call it "consumer protection." Either way, you are paying for protection from someone who has the power to take everything you have.