The Right Opinion

Women's Work Is Never Done

By Suzanne Fields · Apr. 15, 2011

Nancy Pelosi was howlin' mad, eager to lead the charge on behalf of women everywhere (whether they want her to or not) against the Republican congressional regiments “at war with women.” She sees a battlefield littered with bloody female bodies.

It’s mostly about abortions, of course, and whether the government should require everybody to pay for them. She’s aiming most of her fire at Rep. Paul Ryan and his proposed budget.

“If you are talking about jobs, (women’s) pay in the workplace, health care … they want to change all that. So in every aspect – whether it is education, whether it is health care, whether it’s retirement, whether it’s collective bargaining … women have a lot to lose with the ideological old-style agenda of the Republicans.”

What the leader of the Democratic minority omits from her list of the congressional washing and ironing is the looming fiscal catastrophe, and how that would ruin the future of the nation’s daughters, granddaughters and generations of great-granddaughters from here on out.

Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York waxed even more hysterical, accusing Republicans of having come to Washington to “kill women.” She recalls her experience as the co-chairman of the arts caucus and raises the temperature of the rhetoric further: “In ‘94, people were elected simply to come here to kill the National Endowment for the Arts. Now they’re here to kill women.” If she really believes that, she should call the cops, not the press.

When the fight over the budget looked like it might shut down the government, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insisted on making the political personal. “They are asking me to sacrifice my wife’s health, my daughter’s health and my nine granddaughters’ health.” This kind of speech-mongering is nonsense, insults the intelligence and distorts the issue as debt and spending continue to metastasize spectacularly.

Women are better educated and have surpassed men by many quality of life measurements since Gloria Steinem first put on her cottontail at the Playboy Club. She rightly exposed the vulgarity of male chauvinist attitudes meant to keep women from being taken seriously. Now, Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues demean the sisterhood by shouting insults and slogans when they could be setting the tone for reasoned debate.

Women’s issues have a prominent place in the debate, but numbers are neutral and getting control of them is a job for both men and women. The economic issues as they apply to families cut across gender lines. At the rate we’re going, Medicare, the safety net that is there to catch everyone, will have to be cut radically. Raising taxes, the liberal remedy of choice, can’t save us. Economics 101, which fell out of fashion for so long, teaches that high taxes only curb growth.

Barbie, as in doll, offended many women when she was programmed to say she hated math, thus stereotyping girls as having trouble with numbers. The way certain Democrats in Congress have reduced real budget concerns for women makes them sound as though Barbie had a point.

But women have traditionally been in charge of the family pocketbook, budgeting for the food on the table, the kids' clothes, and shoes and school expenses, and this generally makes them a conservative lot suspicious of radical change.

We’re all struggling to understand what to do about the numbers, and the Ryan plan offers a gradual, but real, approach to reform. Yuval Levin, writing in the Weekly Standard, calls it “radical gradualism” that saves the safety net.

“For all of its budget cutting,” he observes, “(Mr.) Ryan proposes to bring federal spending and taxes down to about 19 percent of gross domestic product – the average level in postwar years. Its basic aim is to avoid sudden or radical breaks, because predictability and security are essential both for enabling growth and for instilling confidence in consumers, producers, investors and creditors.”

Some conservatives argue that his plan for balancing the budget is too gradual, but it changes course by striking the balance between taxing and spending, with neither radical cuts in entitlements nor enormous tax increases.

The entitlement reforms won’t affect Americans who are retired or even nearly there. Restraining federal government spending by $5.8 trillion less over the next decade would be both fair and politically astute.

Numbers like these are enough to make us all Barbies. But the scary numbers inform the real debate that we’ve got to have, like it or not. The numbers don’t add up to a declaration of war against women, but invite women to become part of the solutions we must find, and soon.



Mike Finley said:

Yes, women are the reason America has been brought low, not costly wars, trillion dollar tax cuts for the obscenely wealthy, and a financial sector that has impoverished working Americans. Women -- they're the reason we're in such sorry straits.

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 10:04 AM

VulpusMagnus said:

Factual error in your second paragraph: "It's mostly about abortions, of course, and whether the government should require everybody to pay for them."Federal law already prohibits government funds from being spent on abortions. Federal funds for PP pay for all the other services they provide (non-abortion services constitute 97% of what they do).Your argument is built on a foundation of BS.

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 10:05 AM

alarmar said:

Patriotism is a false god and the military industrial complex is Patriotism's High Priest.

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Loki said:

Your math skills have nothing to do with gender and are apparently shared by Mr. Ryan:"Raising taxes, the liberal remedy of choice, can't save us. Economics 101, which fell out of fashion for so long, teaches that high taxes only curb growth."So, how would you explain the massive growth during the 60s when the highest income tax rate was 90%? How about the largest recent expansion of the 90s which happened before the Bush tax cuts?

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Malke Kane said:

Ife 19 is the average percentage of GDP Spending in Post War years, what should the average be in our new continous War Years? Why is the huge amount of defense spemding never questioned by the right? What about the rising healthcare costs for our burgeoning miltary vets? That will create a spending bubble throughout the next 5 decades or more and how will it be addressed? Fools All of Them/...

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 12:29 PM

sunrise said:

Sure, Harry Reid's gals all went to Planned Parenthood regularly. Puleeze.Sure Vulpus, Planned Parenthood doesn't mingle funds into one pot. Puleeze.

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 1:11 PM

tradesurplus said:

"Economics 101, which fell out of fashion for so long, teaches that high taxes only curb growth."True. However Economics 101 also teaches that low spending only curbs growth. In fact Economics 101 teaches that raising taxes and lowering spending curb growth by the same amount.Economics 102 teaches the varying effects that different types of tax and spending have on the economy but completing the 101 course first is probably a good idea.

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Mike said:

tradesurplus: Glad to see you read the course description for Econ 101. Too bad you didn't pass the course. Government expenditures have a cost that is paid through tax collection, borrowing (a promise of future tax collection), or fiat printing (as in QE2, a form of counterfeiting practiced by the government which results in "inflated" currency, in effect taxing by stealing the value of everyone's money). In addition, Econ 101 teaches a lot about Lost Opportunity costs: The cost of what would have been produced if a given expenditure had not taken place. These costs are borne by all of us.Leaving the money in the private economy stimulates growth. Government spending decreases the amount of money available for private use (capital, as in capitalism) and competes for labor, equipment, and other resources, making them relatively less available for growth. The source of the funds expended by the government (tax, borrow, print) is irrelevant. Had you taken Econ 101 you might remember the "bullets vs butter" illustration.

Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 4:41 AM

sunforester said:

It is corrupting to give something to someone that can be earned. We women do not need to be corrupted by the Democrats with the kind of free stuff that women like. We can be responsible and buy our own health care, just like everyone should in a country where the government provides only those things that we can't buy for ourselves (such as infrastructure and national defense).Just because Republicans want to get rid of government handouts that women like, doesn't mean that Republicans are doing wrong by women. We need to get rid of all the free stuff that all the freeloaders are getting from our government - we women should not be exempt from becoming honest again.If Republicans want to defeat the Democrat scare-mongering of women, the Republicans better have a heart-to-heart conversation with us American women soon: the sooner, the better. We American women have not had a good history with Republicans, so our level of trust will need something solid and tangible to justify any positive support that Republicans might want from us.We women detest the Republican party for its oft-declared war against our FREEDOM. We would rather vote for a mobster who will steal our money but allow us to be FREE, than an honest man who would keep us pregnant and imprisoned in our kitchens all our lives.If you Republicans are truly serious about attracting women to vote for you instead of Democrats, we better hear and get some essential things that WE absolutely need from you. We want to KNOW that you won't touch our FREEDOM. We want to KNOW that in getting rid of the liberals that are destroying our country, you won't install a far worse group that will destroy our liberty and FREEDOM.We will be happy to vote for Republicans if we KNEW that we were voting for real Americans, not Christians. If you can assure us American women that we will still be treated like Americans under your care, and not as straying members of the flock to be enslaved, bullied and punished into Christian obedience and conformity, then we will happily leave the Democrats in the dust.Betray us, and you will be thrown back out of office as fast as we can vote you back out. It is your choice if you want us American women for you or against you Republicans. All you have to do is let us women be Americans and be FREE. Keep your religion to yourselves, stay OUT of our lives, and we'll be happy to have you put our country back into sound fiscal shape.

Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 9:38 PM

JohnH said:

@sunforester, I am assuming (granted, not always wise) that the FREEDOM you purposely capitalize, is your freedom to abort unwanted babies. If this is, indeed, the case, I propose that you take advantage of another one of your freedoms, the freedom to behave responsibly! As we teach our children, along with trust and new freedoms come the inherent responsibilities of those freedoms. Abortion as a means of birth control is a tragic response to IRRESPONSIBLE behavior.

Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 9:46 AM

mrkim said:

I'll take the big plunge here and dive right into the pitfall of "assuming", but here goes.In finding myself in general agreement with Sunforester it would seem a point she's putting forth I find myself in absolute agreement with is the following.Not all conservatives are also Christians and though here in the US a goodly portion of support for the movement is from theists in general, those of us who are not are hesitant to support conservative agenda items put forth that are theistic in basis but not overarchingly conservative in nature.One can postulate and position oneself however one chooses in the abortion issue, but once doing so with nothing more than theistic morality based support as your basis you'll always find the subsegment of non-theists conservatives in opposition to such claims as we are not swayed by moralistic preponderances based upon a deity we do not agree to even exist.Just like in the discussion of freedom of speech vs. government censorship in another thread here it seemed a segment of conservative commentors as well as the author were in favor of dilution of the rights we were granted in freedom of speech in favor of moralistic based censorship powers they would instead willingly grant to the fed which violate our freedom of speech at its very core.In a free society you have to decide if are willing to embrace total freedoms of people to act as free citizens or decide that freedom is only granted to those who also agree with YOUR idea of how that should look.Anyone purporting themselves as freedom loving patriots while also denying freedoms they fail to moralistically embrace as valid are quite simply nothing more than posers.If you fully support the ideologies of the freedoms laid out in our founding documents, there's no reason to also deny freedoms put forth in those documents, amendments and laws put into place regarding these and other freedoms insured, regardless of your personal moral or theistic position.Denying anyone freedom because you find yourself in moralistic disagreement with their exercise of their personal freedoms equates to freedom lost. If anyone sees otherwise they are truly disingenuous in also supporting a claim to be freedom loving patriots as freedom also means support of others rights to expressing their individual freedom even when it disagrees at its core with your own ideas ;>) Kim Steele

Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 11:54 AM

JohnH said:

mrkim,Everything you state is well, and good, BUT, freedom as granted by our founding documents is based on a free expression of liberty that DOES NOT impinge or jeopardize the freedoms and rights of others. My moral or theistic values have nothing to do with the rule of law. Taking anothers life in any but the most extreme conditions is NOT what I call a freedom, and, it is so covered by many legal statutes. If that weren't the case we'd all be free to eliminate anyone who crossed us, or, we perceived as threatening to our own freedom. Without personal responsibility there would be no rule of law, and certainly little freedom.......

Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 6:01 PM

mrkim said:

To JohnH,Under the current laws in the US abortion is legal and therefore a right granted by law.You can choose to agree or disagree with laws regarding abortion on whatever grounds suits you, but it's still a legal activity, therefore the rule of law you mentioned supports a right of choice.Like with all laws, some people agree with them while others do not and the democratic republic we live under allows dissenters to petition to change things we find disagreement with.While I don't like abortion it matters little whether I do or not in regards to whether I will as a supporter of individual freedoms support others rights under current law to make that choice for themselves.Picking and choosing has function and purpose in car shopping or at the grocery store, not when it comes to what personal freedoms granted under our system of laws one is willing to recognize as valid or not ;>)

Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 8:01 PM

JohnH said:

MrKim, I may not have been particularly clear, but, you missed my point. My claim was never that abortion was anything but legal under current law. And, as long as it remains the law of the land, so be it. My intent, regardless of my personal views on any issue, was to question sunforester's view that her "right" to LEGAL abortion had anything to do with her percieved freedom. There are many current laws the restrict our freedoms, right or wrong, and we are bound by law to adhere to them. Concurrently, just because you can do something legally doesn't make it the right thing to do.

Monday, April 18, 2011 at 8:25 AM