Not Quite So, Mr. Budowsky
by Sabrina L. Schaeffer, Executive Director,
The Independent Women’s Forum
In an opinion piece for The Hill last November, Brent Budowsky, a political writer who previously worked for Senator Lloyd Benson (D-Texas) argued that Hillary Clinton would “win big in 2012” because she represents the traditional brand of the Democrat Party and would stand up for the “disempowered.” Specifically, he points to Hillary’s “woman power” — her unwavering commitment to women at a time when he claims Republicans have become openly hostile toward the second sex.
Budowsky scrambles together a number of policies and issues — equal pay, Social Security, and the gender gap — that he thinks demonstrate Republicans’ aggressive stance toward women. Instead, he misrepresents reality, Republicans, and free-market ideas.
Budowsky claims, “Many Republicans aggressively oppose pay equity for women.” Democrat lawmakers, national women’s organizations, and liberal pundits embrace the idea that equal-pay legislation — like the 2010 Paycheck Fairness Act — would bring an end to gender discrimination and the infamous wage gap.
It’s true Republicans reject gender protection legislation; but not because they don’t believe in equal pay. The fact is, there are serious consequences to legislation like this that will stymie job creation and economic growth. Rather than help women, gender protection laws skew the labor market, increase liability and the potential of lawsuits for employers, and ultimately increase the cost of hiring women.
Perhaps equally important, the research doesn’t back up the myth of the wage gap. The default notion on the left is that gender discrimination — rather than personal choices — is the primary reason for a disparity in wages between men and women. But when researchers control for any number of variables — from choice of college major to time taken off — the wage gap largely disappears.
As for Social Security, feminists and Budowsky need to move beyond the antiquated view of Social Security as the best we can do for women. Social Security was designed to fit a 1935 family, in which the husband was the sole breadwinner. Today this no longer reflects a modern American family, in which more women work outside of the home, marry later, and divorce more often than a century ago. Nevertheless, Social Security has remained largely static and as a result highly regressive.
The solution is not more “wealth distribution;” rather, women need a retirement plan that reflects the changing roles of women in the 21st century. Individual retirement accounts are a step toward giving women more control over their
savings and yielding higher
returns. What perhaps
Budowsky forgets is that women want the same thing men want — the freedom to save and invest in a way that reflects the needs of their family and plans for the future.
Finally, Budowsky points to the “tidal wave of support from female voters” that he
anticipates will help re-elect President Obama. While it’s true women have favored
Democrats over Republicans for the two decades since
analysts started keeping records, this all changed during last year’s midterm elections, when women closed the gender gap.
President Obama and
Democrats believe that by playing gender politics they can win the hearts and votes of women. But unless Democrats start addressing the issues that really matter to women — the size and scope of government, repealing and replacing ObamaCare, tax and regulatory reform to encourage growth of new businesses — they can kiss the faithful women’s vote goodbye.
Liberals are promoting the misguided notion of the
Republican “war on women.” But what’s at the heart of this “war” is the notion that what’s good for women and their
families is not more
government spending, but robust economic growth. In the end, the worst thing lawmakers can do to ensure equality for women is to pay more attention to “women’s issues.”
Reprinted with permission of the author, originally published November 7, 2011, in The Hill, <http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/presidential-campaign/192121-not-quite-so-mr-budowsky>.
FACTS & OPINIONS is one of our quarterly membership newsletters, arriving in January, April, July, and October. It consists of short articles of public interest with an emphasis on current issues.
FACTS & OPINIONS is published by Public Interest Institute at Iowa Wesleyan College, a nonpartisan, nonprofit, research and educational institute, whose activities are supported by contributions from private individuals, corporations, companies, and foundations. The Institute does not accept government grants.
Contributions are tax-deductible under sections 501(c)(3) and 170 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Permission to reprint or copy in whole or part is granted, provided a version of this credit line is used: "Reprinted by permission from FACTS & OPINIONS, a quarterly newsletter of Public Interest
Institute." The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Public Interest Institute.
If you have an article you believe is worth sharing, please send it to us. All or a portion of your article may be used. The articles in this
publication are brought to you in the interest of a better-informed citizenry, because IDEAS DO MATTER.