War Over Women Reaches Hyperbolic Fever Pitch

When Republicans raised legitimate First Amendment concerns about the government’s requirement that religiously-affiliated employers provide free contraceptives to employees, the left spun the issue into the hyperbolic “war on women.”

To be sure, Republicans like Rush Limbaugh did not help matters by degrading the debate into an ad hominem attack when he branded Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut.” Rather than remaining above such an absurd media circus, President Obama needlessly waded into the fray by calling Fluke to express his “express his disappointment that she has been the subject of inappropriate personal attacks and to thank her for exercising her rights as a citizen to speak out on an issue of public policy.”

One would have thought the president had more pressing issues on his plate like dealing with a massive fiscal deficit, spiraling federal debt, an anemic economic recovery, rising gasoline prices, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, a nuclear-armed North Korea, the still-precarious situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a host of other issues far more important than defending the “honor” of one 30-year-old Georgetown law student. Moreover, Democrats used Limbaugh’s crass comments to make sweeping generalizations about all conservatives and their supposed “hatred” of women, while the president blithely accepted a $1 million donation from Bill Maher, who has said far worse things about Republican women like Sarah Palin. Predictably, legions of left-leaning apologists have rationalized why Rush Limbaugh was blameworthy and Bill Maher was blameless.

Shocker!

That said, I am not writing this post to call out the left’s hypocrisy nor to debate why or why not Bill Maher can call a Republican woman something nasty but Rush Limbaugh cannot. I am writing to show how hyperbolic the debate becomes on both sides when one side dismisses a legitimate constitutional issue as nothing more than a nefarious and misogynistic plot.

President Obama’s War on Working Women

Since the left opened itself up to ridiculous claims, the GOP took the bait and rushed right in, with candidate Romney pointing out that 92.3% of those who lost jobs lost during the Obama administration were women. Liberal talking heads like Rachel Maddow have even rationalized this number away by arguing that if Mitt Romney had started his analysis on February 1, 2009 when Obama had his first full month in office (a fair point), women’s job losses would have represented 3x the total number of net job losses (to make her point sound more absurd, Maddow cited 300% instead of 3x). She further asserts this figure (i.e., 300%) sounds so unintuitive and ridiculous that no one would believe it. Of course, that would simply mean that men gained jobs (a negative number in this equation), while women lost them. Her new figure only strengthens Romney’s case.

To be fair, while the numbers clearly confirm Romney’s statement, it is a stretch to claim that the president’s policies somehow ushered in this result. It is more likely that male-dominated construction jobs were lost at the start of the recession, while female-dominated state and local public sector positions were lost in more recent months.

But hey, if the left wants to engage in ridiculous hyperbole, why can’t the right?

President Obama Makes War on Moms…and Multiple Sclerosis

One would think this juvenile “war over women” could not get any more preposterous. Nevertheless, Democratic strategist, Hilary Rosen stepped right into the cesspool. Surprisingly, Republicans didn’t even have to bait her. I’m sure they greatly appreciate her gratuitous stupidity.

She made the claim that stay-at-home mom Ann Romney had “never worked a day in her life.”

Whoops.

Oh, and did I mention that Ann Romney has Multiple Sclerosis? I wonder what it’s like to raise five boys with that condition?

I must say, nice work, Hilary. You just gave the Republicans a War on Mothers and a War on People with Debilitating Chronic Illnesses. If conservatives are lucky, maybe you’ll go for a hat trick.

Not surprisingly, the Democratic intelligentsia sparred no effort in throwing Ms. Rosen under the proverbial bus. They simply could not scramble to the exits fast enough. By the end of today, the Vice President, First Lady, and President Obama had all made public comments praising motherhood and discrediting Ms. Rosen.

When a political party spins a legitimate debate into a hyperbolic “us vs. them” narrative, it can spin out of control. Hilary Rosen proved just how far it can take both parties off the deep end.

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About Sean Patrick Hazlett

Conservative clean energy crusader, national security hawk, financial analyst, engineer, and former military officer.
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50 Responses to War Over Women Reaches Hyperbolic Fever Pitch

  1. middleagedhousewife says:

    oooooh! Where do I start! Stay at home moms have never worked a day in their life? I guess Ms Rosen thinks all we do is sit on our fat butts watching soap operas and eating bon-bons. I won’t bore you all with a laundry list (pun intended) of all the things a stay at home mom does in the course of a day. Let’s just say that managing a household is a lot like running a micro business. Ms Rosens comments underscored the arrogant disdain (Ms Rosen called it a “Faux war) many liberal feminists feel toward stay at home moms but never say publicly. They simply cannot understand how a woman in this enlightened age could possibly find fulfillment in supporting a husband, raising children and managing a household.(Seems that I remember another liberal Hillary stating that she was not one of those “Tammy Wynette type women who stay home baking cookies and standing by their man”). Conservative women were alienated by the so called “feminist movement”. In spite of the disingenuous apologies, the Democrats definitely do not have the best interests of ALL women in mind. I can only hope that now women who have been less than enthusiastic about the Republican candidates (like me) realize that we will be far worse off with Obama in office.

  2. jlhartman says:

    I realize I should know better than to stick my nose into this one, and I want to acknowledge all the hard work that stay-at-home mothers do before saying anything else. Also, I want to point out that I know next to nothing about Mrs. Romney, so perhaps she has held a job in the general workforce before and has a doctoral degree in economics. However….I believe this original comment was in reference to Mitt Romney’s assertion that his wife would be his counselor with regards to the state of women in the economy. If this is true, and if she has always been a stay-at-home mom, and if she does not have a degree in economics, then I have to agree that she is a curious choice. To prove the point, let’s imagine that tomorrow Obama announces the hiring of a new special adviser tasked with investigating and producing policy recommendations regarding the state of male employment in the economy. And let’s imagine that his choice for the position is his cousin, a career stay-at-home father with no economics background and a multimillionaire wife. Would nobody object to such a choice because being a stay-at-home dad is really, really, hard work?

    Perhaps I’ve got this all wrong, so feel free to correct me. Normally I’d look more into it before posting publicly, but I honestly don’t care all that much about this one.

    • I think the fundamental problem is that many women feel compelled to work, when in many cases they would rather be stay-at-home mothers. Other women would rather work (or must work) rather than stay at home with their children. That said, I think it is insensitive for a working woman to demean the perspective of a stay-at-home mother, and vice versa.

      “I believe this original comment was in reference to Mitt Romney’s assertion that his wife would be his counselor with regards to the state of women in the economy. If this is true, and if she has always been a stay-at-home mom, and if she does not have a degree in economics, then I have to agree that she is a curious choice. To prove the point, let’s imagine that tomorrow Obama announces the hiring of a new special adviser tasked with investigating and producing policy recommendations regarding the state of male employment in the economy.”

      I think you are making a false comparison. Mitt Romney is not hiring his wife, he just listens to her counsel. I wouldn’t be surprised if Michelle Obama counseled her husband on a variety of topics of which she has limited to little understanding (defense for instance).

      “Would nobody object to such a choice because being a stay-at-home dad is really, really, hard work?”

      I definitely couldn’t handle it. 😉

  3. Jeff Fordham says:

    Is this any different than the war on “family values” in 1988 or the talk about the Constitutional amendment to stop flag burning……or how about the fraudulent rants about the “war on Christmas” that pop up every year? Its politics pure and simple, but this time you can’t deny the fact that there is a distinct movement by some Republicans to curtail and restrict what some women feel are the gains they made over the last 50 years. All you have to do is look at the amount of statewide legislation that has popped up since the 2010 midterms doing just that. All Limbaugh did was bring attention to the topic in his abhorrent attack on the female in question. My wife has been 100% Republican since childbirth ( I swear)……and trust me, the whole affair with Limbaugh made her so ill and angry ( despite the fact she disagrees with Ms. Fluke) that she said she considered not voting for Mitt because he used a limp wrist when commenting on Limbaugh. Sadly Mitt could have gained or retained many women on that issue by standing firm against Rush………but he didn’t.

    The Democrats are simply using this issue as a political tool to beat the Romney campaign over the head and the polls show its working. All the Ann Romney’s in the world are not going to bring back a significant amount of female swing voters for this election. And come on Sean, ……you are going to equate what Rosen stupidly said as proof that Obama is waging a war on moms and moms with MS ? Hes not responsible for what an advisor or strategist says off the cuff heading into a campaign.

    • Jeff,

      I don’t think either side is waging a “war on women.” I’m simply poking fun at the ridiculousness and hypocrisy of both sides. I was using the MS example as hyperbole. I don’t seriously think the president is waging war on MS either.

      Moreover, you may see restricting abortion as a war on women. Others see it as a war on children. Unfortunately, there are certain issues which are simply irreconcilable for both sides. I think abortion is simply one of those issues (which is why I never bother discussing it. It is simply impossible to change someone’s mind on the issue.)

  4. efgd says:

    Maybe if jobs were better paid women would not have to go out to work. Want to and have to has always been lost in such debates. Most women have to go out to work. Those that don’t have to or manage on minimum incomes good for them. But lets not forget that without a real choice there is no real option.

    • A most excellent point. The converse is also true: Men also must work, even if their spouses already do. The days of having one breadwinner are long since over. A pity Americans no longer have the same choices they used to.

      • efgd says:

        Yes Sean it is a shame. It is not about feminism or women’s lib as a lot of people think, it is about choices, and lack of. The UK has the same situation, choice is not a real choice when it comes to family and finances to survive, never mind to live a little. Men, as you say, have to work even if their spooks do, again it is a choice of options that are no longer valid. Some historians would say there never was such a choice in reality for the ordinary workers. Maybe. But my Mum was always there for us as kiddies. She worked part time to get some cash to help, but her priority was family. I think she would be sad to see so very little option for Mums other than have to go out to work full time. By I degrees from the topic of this blog – sorry.

  5. Scott Erb says:

    “Etch a sketch,” “Ann never worked a day”…you know you’ve entered the boring phase of the campaign where the political junkies are yearning for something to get excited about when misstatements from aids rise to the level of the ‘war’ metaphor. It’s just silly. I agree that nobody, left of right, is waging a war on women. After all, there’s the clip of Romney talking about having even mothers go out and get a job so they could have “the dignity of work.” There are policy disagreements, but just as every candidate has an Etch a Sketch approach (play to the base in the primaries, veer center in the general), gotcha games with statements from aides are indeed silly.

    BTW, My wife works, earns more than me, and has a more stressful job than I do. I do a lot more with the kids than she does (though she does what she can). 30 years ago it would seem like I was more the ‘mom.’ Now a days the lines are blurred, marriages are partnerships, and the culture is changing. That’s one reason issues like this can get so crazy.

    • I completely agree with you Scott.

      My wife does not work, because she stays at home with our children. Where I live, her working would actually be a negative NPV proposition. After taxes, childcare, and extra fuel, we would be negative each year. It simply doesn’t make sense for her to work.

  6. Alan Scott says:

    Forget about the war on women. What about the war on dogs . Democrats are going for the dog lover vote by making a big deal of Romney hauling his dog on his car roof decades ago . Republicans counter that Obama once ate dog meat, living in Indonesia. Imagine the political cartoons to come . It’s only going to get worse .

    • Alan,

      I had no idea that Obama ate dog. How ridiculous. Thanks for sharing.

      • Scott Erb says:

        The war on dogs! The war metaphor has now jumped the shark!

        • Democrats started it. The Republicans have merely extended the ridiculousness to its logical conclusion.

          • lbwoodgate says:

            Really?? You’re actually willing to risk your credibility Sean – with a title none-the less that has the word “hyperbolic” in it – by saying that the “Democrats started it”? Who said it first and on what issue? Did it precede Nixon’s “war on drugs”?

            • I’m talking specifically about this “war on dogs” issue. The Democrats waxed on about how horrible Mitt Romney treated the family dog by strapping its crate to the top of his car during family vacations. They went on and on about it, until the Republicans pointed out that President Obama ate dog as a child. Both claims are true, but the Democrats made an issue of this non-issue first.

              • lbwoodgate says:

                Sorry about that Sean. That wasn’t all that clear when you look at the entirety of comments on this post.

                That being said though – and I think Alan starts with this about how “Democrats” started the issue about the dog – to lay blame on everyone within a group because some who represent it makes some outlandish claim thus EVERYONE must think similarly, is how we get to where we are in our communication with each other. The politics is so bitterly partisan that if Sam says something about Repubs or George says something about Dems, this must be how everyone who calls themselves an R or a D must think.

                Such sweeping generalizations do nothing to help us get us to a place where we can have a rationale conversation about what truly is important, but then that I think is how some would rather have it. Such people get more attention than they deserve and the rest of us are left reacting to their hyperbole and nonsense.

                • Agreed. Instead of focusing on an imaginary war on women or dogs, we, as a nation, should be focusing on how to get this economy going again and bringing unemployment down.

                • Scott Erb says:

                  I was about to say the same thing — pundits write about things, too often that gets attributed to the entire side a particular pundit is on. One story (about Romney’s dog) came out first — though Obama’s was actually in one of his memoirs (but nobody made much of it because it didn’t seem a big deal).

        • lbwoodgate says:

          For the record, Obama was a child who probably didn’t know any better when and IF he ate dog while living in Indonesia. Romney on the other hand was the mature adult when the family went on vacation.

          How do we get to these silly arguments in the first place?

          • Obama reported eating the dog in one of his books, so there is no debate whether or not he did it.

            All else being equal, eating a dog is far worse even if you did it as a child than is putting one on the roof of your car in a crate decades ago. Both are irrelevant when it comes to choosing a president.

            • lbwoodgate says:

              “eating a dog is far worse even if you did it as a child than is putting one on the roof of your car in a crate decades ago”

              No doubt it’s far worse for the dog but that it’s “far worse” in terms of how humans see it is a matter of cultural interpretation. Dogs are not valued in some countries as they are here and for the most part they are a limited source of protein for some people. Remember, in Hindu societies they think the cow we get one of our sources of protein from is as sacred to them in a manner that is similar to how we value dogs.

            • Scott Erb says:

              What is worse also depends on what argument one is making. As a young boy in Indonesia Obama followed local customs and tried a dish the Indonesians ate. It’s hard to criticize that. As an adult Romney put a dog on the roof of his car and potentially could be accused of cruelty. It’s easy to criticize that. That said, I don’t care! If Romney were running dog catcher it might be relevant, but you can find things in both candidates lives that one can criticize (and if someone put my life under a microscope, they’d find embarrassing things, and I’ve lived a pretty clean life!). It’s single event ‘gotcha’ politics, and I’m sick of it from all sides!

              • lbwoodgate says:

                “As a young boy in Indonesia Obama followed local customs and tried a dish the Indonesians ate. “

                Exactly. I’m glad you caught that Scott.

              • Scott,

                What’s worse: Putting a dog in a crate (people are required to do this on planes) or eating one? Heck, I would’ve refused to eat dog as a six year old. My parents couldn’t even get me to eat vegetables.

                So, I think criticizing putting dogs in crates when they are required to do it on airplanes is beyond the pall of ridiculousness. To cry foul when the other side points out that your guy actually eats them, is a perfectly legitimate response.

                I can’t believe I’m even arguing about this ridiculousness.

                • middleagedhousewife says:

                  First of all, let me say that I don’t think that Romney or Obama did anything wrong or scandalous here. In the U.S. we get to elect our representatives, and through the primary process we get to choose our electors. It’s hard to fathom why so many people get bent out of shape because a candidate chooses to treat his pet like an animal or our president chooses to treat an animal as food, when there are so many other more critical issues. I guess that’s why we will always get the government we deserve. Even if it isn’t the one we want.

  7. Alan Scott says:

    Are we all in agreement that the Democrats argument that the Republicans are waging a war on women is nothing but another campaign smear to distract from their record ? I thought so, but just in case there is one hard core non centrist leftwing socialist who does not, then I throw in Senate Majority leader Harry Reid’s personal War on a woman . Is there a bigger group of hypocrites than the do as I say not as I do, liberal Democrats ? And by the way, Scott, the article points out the Democrats WAR on Atomic Energy.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/potomac_watch.html

    • Scott Erb says:

      That’s silly Alan. Both campaigns engage in hyperbole, it’s designed to win votes. If it works, they’ll do it because both sides are Machiavellian when it comes to campaigning. From the perspective of the left it appears Republicans and conservatives are far more vicious and unfair in their approach than the Democrats and liberals. Yet I believe that those on the right think the reverse. It’s human psychology — we tend to perceive things in a biased manner. Both sides do, that’s why if you read blogs on the left they’re convinced the right is vicious, dishonest and trying to hide their record in causing the economic crisis. The right of course thinks the Democrats are worse. It’s just cognitive bias (and some affective bias too).

  8. Alan Scott says:

    Scott,

    You are right it is silly . It would not be silly if the war on women scheme had actually worked. That is my point . Democrats are desperately throwing mud and so far nothing is sticking to the wall or Republicans . Republicans are going after Democrats on their economic, energy, and running of federal agencies like the GSA, Secret Service, and EPA records . Democrats are the ones with the ” silly ” distractions . Running strictly against the actual Obama record is a gigantic win for Republicans . It should also be a big win running against the dismal Harry Reid record in the Senate .

  9. Just came across this post after reading your most recent one and I’ve seen you, Sean, mention this war on women as a nonissue on a couple of other blogs but I have to just scratch my head ank how can all the legislation aimed at deminishing women’s rights to choose to do with their own bodies, reductions in access to their basic health care and repeals against equal pay are NOT attacks on women?

    Here are few specific examples;
    •Arizona has redefined when life begins inside a woman’s uterus.
    •Arizona has proposed laws requiring women seeking an abortion to witness an abortion.
    •Pennsylvania has approved transvaginal ultrasounds for people seeking abortion, against their wishes and the doctors, and a TV monitor must be within eye range.
    •Wisconsin has repealed their equal pay law.
    •Wisconsin has introduced legislation calling all single mothers “child abusers”.
    •Virginia attempted to institute mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds, against the wishes of the woman and her doctor.
    •Virginia attempted to redefine when life begins inside a uterus.
    •Kansas has passed building code restrictions for abortion clinics in the state, making it virtually impossible to comply.
    •Texas has mandated transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking an abortion.
    •Georgia has introduced legislation to mandate transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking an abortion.
    •Rick Santorum stated on the campaign trail contraception should be banned for all women.
    •38 states have defunded Planned Parenthood, the leading provider of low-income reproductive health services for women.

    This is a short list of the nearly 200 pieces of legislation proposed, introduced, or passed within the past four months by Republicans targeting women.

    These are very blatant efforts to curtail women’s rights. HOW can this possibly be a non-issue?

    • Nearly every example you cite has something to do with abortion rights. I deliberately avoid discussing abortion on this blog because no matter what I say or do, I will never convince you that abortion is murder, because it all depends on when you believe life begins. I believe it begins at conception. You likely believe it begins at some later point. That said, neither of us really knows or agrees when it actually begins. As such, I’d rather not rip an entity out of a womb when I am not 100% certain whether it is a unique human being except in extreme cases like rape or invest.

      Liberals assume an unborn child has no rights. I believe that liberals subordinate the rights of the child to those of the mother. Moreover, I believe a woman made her “choice” when she decided to have sex. I see the majority of these actions as a war to protect children not as a war on woman. Furthermore, conservatives could just as easily make the claim that liberals are waging a war on children, only in this case there is an actual body count.

      • True Sean they are BUT the point made here is that those abortion related, religiously motivated pieces of legislation are in fact restricting the woman’s right to choose affirmed by the Supreme Court in the case of Roe v Wade. Regardless of how one feels about the act of abortion, it is still a woman’s legal right to choose and legislation intended to restrict that right through humiliation like the transvaginal probes is the attack on women we “liberals” are criticizing. That is the crux of the attempts to curtail these legally defined, individual rights. And the defunding of Planned Parenthood, another example of religious-borne legislation, is actually reducing a woman’s access to basic health care and family planning both of which have proven benefits to women, families and society as a whole. These policies meant to reduce abortion actually have much broader impacts into those areas I mentioned.

        I hope this clarifies the argument here. This is far from the non-issue the GOP wishes it was. Afterall, compared to Faux’s declaration of Obama’s War on Christmas Trees, these actions actually impact a large portion of the US’s population.

        • That’s the problem, and the reason I try not to discuss abortion here. What you see as a fundamental right, I see as legalized murder. What you see as an attack on these rights, I see as defense of the unborn. My view isn’t motivated by religion either, just logic.

          For instance, I’m fine with contraception, but see abortion as murder since it terminates the formation of a unique human’s genetic code. But again, I know I won’t convince you, and you won’t convince me, which is why I think the right sees instituting measures that make it more difficult to murder children as anything but a war on women, while the left sees it as a denial of a fundamental right as defined by Roe v. Wade.

          • jlhartman says:

            Hi Sean,
            I’m of the same opinion as you regarding the futility of abortion discussions, so I’m not going to try to argue one way or another. However, since it is such a huge dividing line between citizens, I’m hoping you can help me understand the conservative position a little better. Myself, I would say I oppose abortion in the same way I oppose cigarettes, alcohol, and pornography: society would be better off if citizens abstained, but not better off if each were criminalized because the ramifications of criminalization are worse than the ramifications of legalization. I feel the same way about the war on drugs incidentally, but that’s another topic for another time.

            So, if abortion were outlawed, would it only be outlawed for doctors to perform? Would a woman still be permitted to try and kill her baby herself? I guess that’s the only way I could see it being done, otherwise wouldn’t you have to go to crazy lengths and outlaw pregnant women from drinking and smoking and eating unhealthy foods since doing so could damage or kill the fetus? So is the conservative position to simply forbid doctors to perform abortion and stop there? I don’t have an idea of what the alternative vision looks like I guess.

            Also, a touchy area that always gets brought up in abortion discussions is the excess embryo situation resulting from in vitro procedures. I’m sure you’re familiar with this argument, but do you make a special consideration in these circumstances, and if so, what’s your justification?

            I also don’t understand the exception for rape. I get the idea that the woman didn’t “make her decision” the same way as with consensual sex, but if the idea is to protect the rights of the fetus, why does it matter by which way their being was brought into existence? Why does an unborn child’s right to life depend on how he was conceived? Or is it that in cases of rape the woman’s right to choose outweighs the child’s right to life? I guess the only exception that makes sense to me would be abortion when the mother’s life is in danger, because that could arguably be called murder in self-defense, but the rape one I just don’t get.

            I guess I could get behind outlawing abortion in some circumstances, especially when I think about all the families out there that have such a hard time finding a baby to adopt. I just don’t have a clear idea of the conservative vision. Thanks for helping a liberal out. Cheers, -Joe

            • My apologies for the delay. It’s been a long day at work…

              “So, if abortion were outlawed, would it only be outlawed for doctors to perform? Would a woman still be permitted to try and kill her baby herself?”

              So, the conservative position varies a bit from person to person. The most extreme position would no abortion under any condition. My position would be to ban it with exceptions for cases where the life of the mother is clearly at stake or in cases of rape or incest. A doctor who performs abortions in any other condition or a woman who does it herself would go to prison for murder.

              “Also, a touchy area that always gets brought up in abortion discussions is the excess embryo situation resulting from in vitro procedures. I’m sure you’re familiar with this argument, but do you make a special consideration in these circumstances, and if so, what’s your justification?”

              This is a tough one. My understanding is that in many Catholic countries they have a set limit of how many embryos you can use. My personal opinion would be that since you are fertilizing these embryos with the express purpose of creating a life, it is OK.

              “I also don’t understand the exception for rape. I get the idea that the woman didn’t “make her decision” the same way as with consensual sex, but if the idea is to protect the rights of the fetus, why does it matter by which way their being was brought into existence? Why does an unborn child’s right to life depend on how he was conceived? Or is it that in cases of rape the woman’s right to choose outweighs the child’s right to life? I guess the only exception that makes sense to me would be abortion when the mother’s life is in danger, because that could arguably be called murder in self-defense, but the rape one I just don’t get.”

              You’re right. It’s logically inconsistent. It’s not the child’s fault he or she was conceived by an act of rape. A purist would say to have the baby. If it happened to my daughter, I would probably, but begrudgingly advise her to have the child, though I can’t imagine forcing another person to go through such an ordeal. I stand on the grounds that forcing a woman who’s just been raped to have the child is simply too far for a government to go. Again, my argument is not based on a rational perspective in this instance, but an emotional one. Rationally, the answer would be that she should have the child, because the child’s rights matter too.

          • Well, it’s still a matter of the peripheral impacts on women’s health and access to care that many on the Right are not recognizing. But I’ll not push the abortion topic as it is so deeply partisan.

    • My apologies for not addressing your comments on fair pay legislation. I have no problem with opposing it, because it is another blunt instrument that liberals use to distort free market principles based on faulty assumptions.

      Do women, on average, make less than men? Yes.

      In a vacuum, this fact sounds bad, but when you dig into why they make less, it turns out to be more structural than as a result of supposed discrimination. For instance women disproportionately go into lower paid professions like teaching. Furthermore, they tend to leave the work force to have children, which can put them behind men in their careers. Providing them with special rights isn’t going to reverse these trends, but the cost of complying with these new laws will simply make hiring woman more expensive.

      In fact, in 147 out of 150 metro areas, woman under 30 actually make more than their male counterparts. As such, this is another example of why this war on women is an artificial issue where the cure is worse than the supposed disease.

      • First, I would like to see those numbers before we debate them. And second, we’re talking about equal pay for equal work. If there wasn’t a problem with women earning less than their male counterparts for doing the same job then there wouldn’t be a need to address it. Just because it is something the “liberals” are taking on does not make it a non-issue here.

        • The reason women make less for equal work is that they leave the labor force. Is it really fair to pay two people of equal age if one has 5 years of experience vs. 8 years of experience?

          Where’s the evidence of this pay disparity for equal positions? You may see a pay disparity in the aggregate, but this masks the fact that women leave the labor force to have children and tend to work in lower paying sectors. Moreover, such a fair wage law, like Obama’s healthcare law, will increase the compliance cost of female employees, and therefore make the employment picture worse before it makes it any better.

          • So unequal pay is justified because a woman might leave to have a child?

            “Where’s the evidence of this pay disparity for equal positions?”

            Female CFOs in U.S. Paid Less Than Men, Study Finds
            http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-02/female-cfos-in-u-s-paid-16-less-than-men-study-finds.html

            Women still earn less than men
            http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/04/16/2747082/women-still-earn-less-than-men.html

            Women earn less in all but 2 popular jobs
            http://www.kait8.com/story/17516279/women-earn-less-in-all-but-2-popular-jobs

            Why Do Women Still Earn Less Than Men?
            http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1983185,00.html#ixzz1suHNPinW

            “…like Obama’s healthcare law, will increase the compliance cost of female employees, and therefore make the employment picture worse before it makes it any better.”

            In the same manner as those who claim the recovery would have been faster if it weren’t for Obama’s fiscal policies, there is no quantitative evidence that the Affordable Care Act’s requirements for female health insurance coverage will detrimentally impact the employment picture. Is it fair that women are charged more for coverage than men are? It is that inequality that the Act is remedying.

            • “So unequal pay is justified because a woman might leave to have a child?”

              Of course. So is unequal pay, when someone leaves the labor force for a few years to get another degree that is unrelated to their current position. It is simply not fair to pay someone with less experience an equal amount of pay. If someone who had less experience doing the same job as you, you’d be pretty upset if they made as much, right?

              “Female CFOs in U.S. Paid Less Than Men, Study Finds”

              The results in this study are skewed. There are two things that bias this study. The first is that the woman in the study tended to be younger than their male counterparts, hence you have an experience effect – i.e., the men in this study tended to have more years of experience and therefore were paid more. It’s clear that the study does not control for this effect. Second, because women are clustered in companies that have middling market caps, there are no outliers that could drag the averages up. CFO at large market cap companies tend to make significantly more than those at mid-market cap companies. Since more men are in these positions, the average is skewed upward. Here’s the passage supporting this argument:

              “The study found that, though female CFOs tended to be younger than their male counterparts, there was virtually no difference in their average tenure at a company. The women on average served on a greater number of boards. Female CFOs were rare at the two extremes of market capitalization.”

              “Women earn less in all but 2 popular jobs”

              This article completely ignores the leaving the labor force to have children argument.

              “Why Do Women Still Earn Less Than Men?”

              According to the same Time article: “Factor in occupation, industry and whether they belong to a union, and they jump to 91%.” The article does not account for women leaving the labor force to have children, but I bet that effect counts for the remaining 9%.

              “In the same manner as those who claim the recovery would have been faster if it weren’t for Obama’s fiscal policies, there is no quantitative evidence that the Affordable Care Act’s requirements for female health insurance coverage will detrimentally impact the employment picture. Is it fair that women are charged more for coverage than men are? It is that inequality that the Act is remedying.”

              My apologies. I wasn’t clear. My argument was that Obamacare in total increases the cost of hiring employees (men and women). Similarly, more legislation focused on wage balancing will only increase compliance costs in a similar manner. The rate of hiring growth dramatically declined almost immediately after passage of Obamacare. See here for a full analysis: https://reflectionsofarationalrepublican.com/2011/08/16/regulatory-uncertainty-in-the-obama-administration-part-iii/

              • Thank you for your thorough response. I will respond later to the inequality in women pay tomorrow but just to address your point;
                “The rate of hiring growth dramatically declined almost immediately after passage of Obamacare.”

                If this is indeed correlated then how would you account for the current 23 months of consecutive job growth (since the 2nd half of 2010) until now? Even as more of the Affordable Care Act’s provisions come on line hiring continues. Unemployment is dropping nationally and in several states where they are doing better than the national average (swing states interestingly included). If the Act was actually a significant influence on job growth then why is it not curtailing it now? Please don’t say it would be faster if the reform wasn’t passed. That’s just speculation. All in all the law has nothing to do with employers’ decisions to hire. There decisions are based on the traditional trends in demand for their products or services and the need to expand based on those demand trends. Many businesses like to say regulation and new laws keep them from growing but that is quickly forgotten when demand picks up.

                • “If this is indeed correlated then how would you account for the current 23 months of consecutive job growth (since the 2nd half of 2010) until now?”

                  Coming out of a recession, one would expect a recovery. That said, this job growth has been anemic and has rarely kept up with the 125k jobs that are required just to offset the effects of population growth, which explains why unemployment today is still higher than in January 2009 when Obama first took office.

                  To be fair, Bush’s $150 billion stimulus and Obama’s $787 billion stimulus definitely helped reverse job loss. Yet the rate of job growth sharply decelerated immediately after the healthcare bill at a time when the U.S. had the highest level of GDP growth under the Obama administration. Moreover, multiple business owners have testified before Congress (which is also in one of the three posts on regulatory uncertainty I wrote) that they had or were going to reduce hiring because of the provisions of Obamacare. Putting these two data points together, you get a picture that employers would have likely been more willing to hire people had there not been so much regulatory uncertainty and cost increases associated with the Affordable Care Act.

                  I do, however, agree that lack of demand is a bigger issue, but the Affordable Care Act definitely has an influence on hiring. The data points strongly to this contention.

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