Liberal economists argue the modern economy "devalues women’s contributions and limits women’s capabilities and opportunities." (Photo: John Orvis/Splash News/Newscom)
If you haven’t yet heard of “feminist economics,” get ready, because liberal economists, policy organizations, and activist groups are pushing the concept as the next battleground for women’s rights.
Because condemning catcalling and “toxic masculinity” in cultural terms isn’t enough, they’re now targeting government policies and institutions they contend are oppressive and discriminatory toward women.
In order to level the playing field, feminist economists are calling for a massive expansion in government benefits, from universal child care to universal health care plans that cover abortion, birth control, sterilization, fertility, and surrogacy.
What Is ‘Feminist Economics’?
In order to understand “feminist economics,” you must first understand what those on the left side of the aisle call the “economics of misogyny.”
The economics of misogyny describes “how these anti-woman beliefs are deeply ingrained in economic theory and policy in such a way that devalues women’s contributions and limits women’s capabilities and opportunities,” explained Kate Bahn in an article for the liberal Center for American Progress. “[D]espite the central role of women in the economy throughout history, our economic policy and government institutions often treat women’s diverse needs and capabilities as an afterthought to ‘real issues’ in the ‘real economy.’”
The topic was discussed at length last month at a Center for American Progress event, “The Economics of Misogyny.” Scholars and economists gathered from a handful of top colleges and universities from around the nation for panel discussions on “The Intersection of the Family and the Labor Market” and “The Economics of Bodily Autonomy.”
One of the goals behind feminist economics is to put a monetary dollar to the cost of the work women traditionally do for free, such as child, elderly, or sickness care. By ignoring the monetary value of this work, they suggest, women themselves are being undervalued and held back.
How It’s Happening and What to Do About It
Discrimination against women in the labor market has a long history, explained Nina Banks, an associate professor of economics at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. And central to it is the concept of intersectionality—the idea that categories such as race, class, immigration status, and gender are all connected. An African-American woman, for example, is more disadvantaged than a white woman.
Intersectionality explains the “grand narrative about work that is framed around the labor market experiences of white women, primarily white, married women,” she said. “It’s a white-centered bias when we look at these experiences. That’s a problem.”
Building on this idea, Michelle Holder, an assistant professor of economics at John Jay College of the City University of New York, suggested that government policies that encourage marriage should be abolished, because the black community has significantly lower marriage rates than white Americans. (According to a study on marriage patterns performed by the National Institutes of Health, black women, compared with white and Hispanic women, “marry later in life, are less likely to marry at all, and have higher rates of marital instability.”)
“Most African-American women aren’t a part of a couple, [so] I think it’s problematic to privilege couples, whether they are same-sex or different-sex couples,” Holder said. “I think we need to redefine unpaid work around these different kinds of family structures.”
Conservatives generally disagree and have long supported government policies that encourage—or “privilege”—marriage, because couples who get married prior to having children are far more likely to flourish financially.
Panelists didn’t just want to remove policies that encourage marriage, however. They also proposed subsidizing “care labor”; meaning, instead of working with your husband, wife, or the surrounding community to raise children and take care of sick or elderly family members, the state does it for you.
“Women doing unpaid care work creates particularly difficulties for women in the economy,” said Randy Albelda, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and director of the College of Liberal Arts.
In order to address this “discrimination and occupational segregation,” Albelda proposed helping families “by providing the care work through a collectivized way that most countries do.” For example, she said:
Universal education and care, which I actually think would probably be the most important policy for all women, particularly low-income women in this country … It’s sort of a no-brainer … . If economists were really concerned about efficiency … they would be on top of this in a flash, because it is such a waste of all sorts of things. It increases our poverty rate. It reduces women’s labor force participation. It generates more inequality. Early education and care is one of the biggest engines of inequality in the United States.
Judith Warner, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, floated the idea that the hours a mother spends caring for her children or family could be factored “into someone’s Social Security payments down the line.”
“That’s a great point. It’s not just symbolic value; it’s actual production,” responded Joyce Jacobsen, an economics professor at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. “We used to talk about strikes of household workers—that you would actually lose a huge amount of production if … people just refused to take care of their children, refused to take care of their sick parents, refused to do housework. It would be chaos. It’s not even just symbolic.
“We can come up with actual dollar amounts for the loss of productivity, and I think that’s, again, where economists can be of great help in pointing out that there are methods to do those calculations.” ‘The Economics of Bodily Autonomy’
It’s not just care work that feminist economics strives to monetize. They contend that “bodily autonomy” also plays a crucial role in women’s ability to fully engage in the economy.
“Targeted regulation for abortion providers, mandatory waiting periods, limitations on late-term abortions, all these things are happening in a much bigger group of states,” said Adriana Kugler, a professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. “And actually, we find, really limit labor market opportunities and economic opportunities for women.”
Until the government provides universal health care plans that cover unrestricted access to abortion, birth control, sterilization, fertility, and surrogacy, women will never truly be equal, she contends.
Conservatives—and conservative women, in particular—say the abortion industry itself undermines women’s rights.
“The abortion industry not interested in abortion clinic regulations that are crafted to protect women’s health and safety, or informed consent requirements that include scientifically accurate information about the unborn child and information about the risks and alternatives to abortion,” said Melanie Israel, a research associate at The Heritage Foundation focused on the issue of life. “And the abortion industry is certainly not interested in a health care system that empowers women to obtain a plan that both meets their needs and reflects their religious and moral values.”
Furthermore, Israel said, “Telling women that the path to success requires destroying the life inside them presents a false ‘choice.’”
The reality is, ensuring that both mom and baby are able to thrive is not an either/or endeavor. That’s why across the country, the pro-life community, and life-affirming pregnancy resource centers strive so hard to offer women services, education, supplies, counseling, and compassionate options to women experiencing a tough pregnancy.
Another area where economics plays into bodily autonomy, the panelists argued, is the national debate over transgender individuals and public restrooms.
Lee Badgett, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, cited the so-called “bathroom bill” in North Carolina, which mandated people use bathrooms and locker rooms in schools, public universities, and other government buildings based on the gender listed on their birth certificates, as an example of a government policy regulating bodily autonomy.
These regulations, she argued, can hold women—and all people, for that matter—back.
“There was an exodus of businesses who were thinking of investing in Charlotte, and the other areas of North Carolina … so who’s hurt the most? It was actually, probably … hereosexual people. They’re the ones who would mainly have had those jobs, and they’re not having them. So I think it’s a way … we all have an incentive to have an inclusive society for everybody.”
An “inclusive society,” according to liberal groups such as the Center for American Progress, takes the form of government mandating society to use certain pronouns, teach transgender ideology to children, and open public restrooms to people based on their gender identity. But if transgender-friendly bathrooms made good economic sense, one might think there’d be no need for a law forcing businesses—public or private—to adopt these policies.
In North Carolina, however, it wasn’t just the government that got involved. Big businesses and special-interest groups stepped in, attempting to use their influence and economic power to impose their liberal values via bullying and boycotts.
Ryan T. Anderson, a Heritage Foundation senior fellow and author of “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment,” calls this“textbook cultural cronyism” at “the expense of the common good.”
The Future of ‘Feminist Economics’
The role of “feminist economics” in our political conversation is still young. And with Democrats arguing Ivanka Trump’s paid family leave proposal doesn’t go far enough, it’s likely to continue. As the Center for American Progress put it: “Feminist economics provides a starting point to developing a broader understanding of how women’s varied lives and complex needs interact with the economy.”
At its heart is one idea: Women are better off with government as our husbands, fathers, caretakers, and moral arbiters. Anything short is discriminatory against women.
The money needs to be taken away from all the public universities. The colleges need to be privatized. The curriculum has to be controlled by sane people. If I was an employer looking for a person with a certain degree, it wouldn't be from a public institution.
TEA PARTY ->Lois Lerner Case Explodes: IRS Docs Link McCain’s Office To Tea Party Attacks
Since announcing his brain cancer was terminal, Arizon Sen. John McCain has continued to make headlines, but not due to his medical status. Instead, it has been one controversy after another revolving around him, and now one more had been added to the list.
This one is based in his dislike not for Ted Cruz or Rand Paul, but of the tea party.
McCain has never really endeared himself to conservatives, and he made his feeling public about the tea party movement at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor in 2015, according to a Yahoo report.
“I think also — I probably shouldn’t say this — but some of (the tea party) appeals to the bad angels of our nature rather than the better angels of our nature,” McCain said.
This attitude ties into the latest scandal swirling around McCain.
One of a number of scandals that plagued President Barack Obama and his administration involved the IRS targeting tea party groups after 2010. It seemed that their tax-exempt status requests were denied or delayed due to intense political partisanship in the agency.
In May 2013, The Washington Post reported that the IRS’s exempt-organizations division director Lois Lerner “let slip” the week prior “that low-level IRS staffers had focused extra scrutiny on conservative groups with words such as ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot’ in their names.”
In addition, “internal reviews have shown that Lerner knew about the targeting in 2011 — but neither Congress nor the public knew until (2013).” Despite this, Lerner was never prosecuted and was allowed to retire with her taxpayer-funded pension intact.
This did not change, even after House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican, and Tax Policy Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam, an Illinois Republican, wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In it, they begged him to reopen a probe into the matter, according to Jay Sekulow, chief council for the American Center for Law and Justice, writing in a commentary for Fox News.
When President Donald Trump was sworn into office, some held out hope that the perceived injustices from Obama’s tenure would somehow be made right. However, in September 2017, Trump’s administration had already preemptively declined to pursue criminal charges against Lerner “based on the available evidence,” according to Fox News.
But more has since been uncovered about the scandal. Government watchdog group Judicial Watch has obtained and released “internal IRS documents, including material revealing that Sen. John McCain’s former staff director and chief counsel on the Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee, Henry Kerner, urged top IRS officials, including then-director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner, to “audit so many that it becomes financially ruinous.”
JW President @TomFitton: Much of what you know about the IRS scandal is thanks to JW... Our new docs show the scandal is bipartisan in nature. A McCain staffer suggested Lois Lerner audit all of the 501(c)(4) groups in a way that'd be financially ruinous.
Meeting notes from April 30, 2013, involving Kerner, Lerner, “and other high-ranking IRS officials” were obtained by JW. With the meeting taking place only 10 days before the IRS scandal exploded into the public view, they are particularly incriminating against Kerner and Lerner:
“Henry Kerner asked how to get to the abuse of organizations claiming section 501 (c)(4) but designed to be primarily political. Lois Lerner said the system works, but not in real time.”
“Henry Kerner noted that these organizations don’t disclose donors. Lois Lerner said that if they don’t meet the requirements, we can come in and revoke, but it doesn’t happen timely.”
“Nan Marks said if the concern is that organizations engaging in this activity don’t disclose donors, then the system doesn’t work. Henry Kerner said that maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous. Nikole noted that we have budget constraints.”
“Elise Bean suggested using the list of organizations that made independent expenditures. Lois Lerner said that it is her job to oversee it all, not just political campaign activity.”
Thus far, there is no evidence that McCain knew about or directed Kerner to take such action. It is plausible that Kerner, knowing of McCain’s dislike of the tea party, opted to be a proactive and loyal staffer by urging the IRS to take action against the groups.
But McCain’s personality does little to keep him far removed from the scandal and tongues are wagging with speculation as to his involvement. Regardless, McCain’s frosty relationship with President Donald Trump has not made the Arizona senator many fans among Trump supporters.
New suspicions about him betraying the tea party won’t help matters at all.
Chelsea Handler SaysFox Doesn’t Work With Black People, Obviously Doesn’t Watch Network
Humor is supposed to be based on truth. After all, the reason we laugh at a joke or scenario is because it triggers a feeling of recognition about reality, especially if it’s presented in an unexpected way.
It doesn’t look like “comedian” Chelsea Handler has a very firm grasp on truth or reality, however.
After a production error during a Fox News broadcast was called out by users on Twitter, the raunchy and sex-obsessed Handler tried to bash the network … but ended up showing off her ignorance instead.
“Fox News honored Aretha Franklin by using a graphic that contained a photo of Patti LaBelle,” the comedian and television host posted on Twitter Thursday evening.
That part was true enough: Fox admitted that they made a mistake on a background slide during a tribute to the late soul singer, and accidentally showed a faded photo of LaBelle. The main image still showed Franklin, who passed away on Thursday in Detroit.
Broadcast television is complex, which you would think Handler understands after being involved in TV for many years. Honest mistakes happen on every network. But no: In Handler’s alternate reality, the only explanation for the mistake was racism.
“It’s probably hard for anyone who works at Fox News to tell black people apart because they’ve never worked with any,” she declared.
Chelsea Handler ✔@chelseahandler
Fox News honored Aretha Franklin by using a graphic that contained a photo of Patti LaBelle. It’s probably hard for anyone who works at Fox News to tell black people apart because they’ve never worked with any.
Was she trying to be bitter or funny? It was hard to tell, but either way, that statement shows just how isolated the Hollywood left is from reality.
If she really believes that Fox has “never worked with any” black people, maybe she should try an experiment: Actually watch the channel for a minute.
She would probably tune in to the face of Harris Faulkner, the enthusiastic and Emmy-winning host of “Outnumbered,” which airs every single weekday.
Or, maybe she could get a clue from Deneen Borelli, another well-known face of Fox News for nearly a decade. How about the venerable Juan Williams, co-host of “The Five” and a “Fox News Sunday” regular for over 20 years?
Nah. They apparently don’t count, because Handler would rather live in an alternate reality of ignorance than admit she was the one making racial assumptions.
We’re not finished! Moving on to frequent guest contributors to Fox News, how about Candace Owens? Brandon Tatum? Ben Carson? Larry Elder? All of these smart individuals are familiar faces at Fox, and all are — look closely! — African American.
That’s saying nothing of the behind-the-scenes staff at Fox, a good number of whom are of course black. In fact, it’s completely possible the photo mix-up was accidentally made by a black employee. Handler openly assumed the race of the staff members who made the error, while knowing nothing.
Once again, the left has tipped their hand and revealed just how elitist and out of touch they are.
Handler has likely never turned on Fox News in her life, yet she thinks she’s an expert on it. She eagerly diminishes and waves away the contributions of black Americans to one of the most popular news stations in the nation, while lecturing others about race.
This type of attitude implies that only “liberal approved” black voices count. If they don’t parrot a 43-year-old white comedian’s politics, they’re invisible to her.
That arrogant view, and not an honest editing mistake, is perhaps the real outrage here … and it’s exactly why so many black voters are walking away from the left.