Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Politics of a Dark Cherry Dining Room Set

cherry table and Leather Alderwood ChairsThere’s lots of talk about what women are discussing around their dining room table when it comes to the issues of the day that affect how they will be voting. For an instant, though, let me just talk about my own table. You see, I own a light-colored cherry dining room set that I took with me when I divorced my husband. You may think it had some sort of sentimental value or that I really liked the style or the color, but none of that is true. I took it to prove a point: Even when you think you’ve fooled me into getting your way, it’s going to cost you later. I don’t think I’m that much different from the average woman. Republicans are playing with fire if they think they can pull the wool over women’s eyes and not let it come back to haunt them in the end – especially when they talk about issues they don’t have any interest in whatsoever.

The Set-up

You see, my dining room table was a set-up. I told my then husband, I wanted a dark cherry dining room set, and instead of telling me he didn’t like the idea, he told me to go out and price them to see if we could afford them. So, I spent weeks going to one furniture store after another to find just the right table, but every time I brought the details back there was always something wrong with the table. It was not sturdy or it was too expensive or not the right size. The color was never mentioned. Then, magically, one night we were at a furniture outlet and there was the type of table he had mentioned, and for far less than the others I had priced! But, instead of buying it, my ex-husband told me he liked a different dining table better – it was far more expensive than anything I had previously priced and it was light, not dark wood. As he demanded that we buy this offensive monstrosity, I realize that he never meant for me to have the dark cherry dining set – it had been a total set-up. So, when I finally divorced him, I made sure to take that dining set with me and the china cabinet, too. I figured that if he got such enjoyment out of dangling some fake promise in front of me to see me work my butt off, knowing full well he would never agree to buy a dark cherry dining room set, then I was going to take his favorite table away from him so he could feel what it’s like to be deprived of something he really wanted, too – even if I didn’t like it. That’s my idea of fairness, and I really don’t think I differ from most women. Now, that table is one of the most favorite pieces in my home. It represents fairness to me and my ability to right a wrong that should have never happened if someone hadn’t been so intent on deceiving me.

Republican Double-Talk

Let’s face it, all this talk about Republicans honoring the ideal of motherhood is just another cherry dining room set. That’s right. It’s something they don’t believe in, can’t relate to, and will only buy if it comes in their preferred color. What is that color? White. There, I said it. It doesn’t matter that they deprive millions of women who happen to be black, single, or poor mothers the dignity of their choice, for those women – they should be outside the home working and they’re lucky if they’re not called sluts. The argument they give is that poor, single, or black women are too poor not to work and we should give them the “dignity of work.” Yet, white women like Ann Romney who are rich  and have husbands should stay at home and not work outside the home because that’s what “good mothers do.” The whole it’s “too expensive” to stay home business smacks of a certain dining room table that was “too expensive” to buy until a different color was found.

Women Buy It

Unfortunately, like me, many women buy this whole “fiscal responsibility” argument from their husbands and political candidates. I know I did. I bought it when my husband lied to me about the cherry table. I bought it when the Tea Party people told me they wanted to be in office to bring more fiscal conservative policies to Congress. Yet, every time that argument is used, I find these same people go in and spend much more on programs and ideals that they just simply prefer, that’s all. Whether it’s a light cherry dining room table or millions spent to find ways to block access to contraception or women’s programs. The point is to deprive you of what you want and what you think is best for something they want. So, women, please don’t buy the money argument. It’s a red flag meant to distract you from the real reason your desires never get funded: They simply don’t like the idea. Don’t believe me? Just watch…

The WORK Act

Okay, so according to Republicans all mothers should be at home with their kids and that’s the ideal of motherhood? Poor mothers have to work because it’s “too expensive.” Then, let’s fund it and make it possible for low-income mothers, too! Democrats have introduced a bill called the Women’s Option to Raise Kids (WORK) Act. If raising kids is the same as working, according to Ann Romney, then the ideal should not be to make poor mothers work outside the home, it’s to support them so they don’t have to. The Act removes the current work requirements for mothers of children of 3 years of less, and allows them to still receive welfare benefit. So, that should be a total bipartisan landslide, right?! You watch as the GOP blocks this Act.

Just for fun, I told a Republican woman friend of mine about this new bill and the look of horror that crossed her face was priceless. As expected, the first words out of her mouth were: “How are we going to pay for it?” Yeah, right, I forgot! We have NO MONEY, we’re trillions in debt, and God forbid, that money be available for a social issue like motherhood that the Republicans all say they believe in. Do I need to say more? Cherry table, cherry table, cherry table.

Another friend, who is an Independent sat down and noticing her obvious state of agitation asked her what was wrong. When she told her and echoed:”How will we pay for it?” She shrugged and suggested that some of the money might come from daycare programs that were being subsidized so mothers could work. Duh. No, no, no, let’s NOT figure out how we want to pay for something, let’s just assume that if we don’t want it, it’s simply too expensive! ESPECIALLY, if we’re going to be forced to pay for the WRONG COLOR table.

I will repeat it once again in very simple words: While you’re being “fiscally conservative” your political interest is probably out plotting how to spend your tax dollars on their selfish wants and desires. The major issue for women “around the dining room table” right now is not the budget, it is how the budget will be approportioned. Will the money go to large  corporations and the 1 percent that claim to be “job creators” yet have failed to provide any credible evidence that is the case? Will it go towards more wars? Or, will it go to education, building small businesses, and building up the middle class? And, yes, maybe some of it should go to help single mothers to create sustainable families instead of forcing them to work when they have kids in the home.

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Why Equal Pay for Equal Work is Morally Right

Money QueenIt is 2012, but some politicians are still living in the 1950s as the War on Women continues to take center stage with some very old-fashioned views coming forth from the political arena. Take a look at this one:

“You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday…” – Senator Glenn Grothman (R)

How many times have you heard the myth:

“Men should get paid more because they need the money to support their families.”

Well, let’s be realistic – family demographics all over the United States have changed. It used to be that almost 80 percent of people were the traditional father/mother married couple where the woman stayed home and did not work. Now, the number of married couple is actually less than 50 percent and a majority of women work in double income households, many without children. Yet, men and women stuck in a time warp believe that men are still the breadwinners? That more men than women need the money to support families? Assuming that “family” means kids, this fact is easy to check using the BLS and 2010 U.S. Census data.

The Data

On March 24th, 2011 the BLS put out an Economic News Release detailing the employment characteristic of families in 2010. To be fair, we can’t just compare how many men have families to support without comparing it to female heads of households – the biggest growing demographic in the United States today. Then, we get a very accurate picture of what’s going on with the American family and how the “Father Knows Best” retro-ideal is actually hurting children in America and putting them into poverty. If the basis of giving men $1 for every .77cents a woman earns is the social obligation to care for our nation’s children, then one must ask:

Who exactly is caring for the children and what are they making?

From http://www.bls.gov/news.release/famee.nr0.htm:

 Among the 34.5 million families with children,87.4 percent had an employed parent in 2010, down from 87.8 percent in 2009. The 2010 proportion is the lowest since the data series began in 1994. The mother was employed in 67.0 percent of families maintained by women with no spouse present in 2010, down from 67.8 percent in 2009. The father was employed in 75.8 percent of families maintained by men with no spouse present in 2010, little changed over the year. Among married-couple families with children, 95.7 percent had an employed parent in 2010, unchanged from the prior year. The share of married-couple families where both parents worked fell to 58.1 percent in 2010 from 58.9 percent in 2009.

The problem with these figures is that 34.5 million is for all families, both married and single parent families that worked. However, the percentages of married couples where both worked is 58.1 percent of married couple families. In order to find out how many married couple families that only had one spouse supporting it, we have to work our way backwards, which the total number of married couples that worked being 95.7 percent not 100 percent.

Remember that the BLS states that in 2010, 34.5 million families had children. How many of those families were single parent households and how many were married couples? Of the single parent households, how many of those families were headed by a man alone and how many by a woman alone?

We find that information in the Stat of the Day: The Amazing Decline of the Iconic Household.

They list for 2010:

11.1 million single parent families (11.6 in another survey  listing 9.9 single mothers and 1.7 million fathers)

AND

23.58 million married couples with children (some with double incomes)

______________________________________

= 34.6 total families supporting children (very close to the same statistic offered in the BLS).

Then we need to remove the double income families because they already make more than any other household demographic so the reasoning that they need “extra money” to support kids is a moot point. They already make more due to the nature of the fact that both individuals work.

Going back to the first stat, we still need to figure how many of the 23.58 million married couples with children had a double income and those that had a single income. First we start by taking 95.7 percent to figure out those that actually worked (23.58*.957=22.56 million). We know that 58.1 percent of the total were also double income families (23.58*.581=13.70 million). That leaves 8.86 million married couples where either the father or the mother supported the family alone, despite being married.

Now we want to know: How many married households of the 8.86 million had a male single earner and how many had a female single earner?

From the 2010 Census and information at http://activerain.com/blogsview/1449754/census-more-women-take-on-role-of-sole-breadwinner-  we know that in 2009,  7 percent of all families with children had a female head of household or 1.65 million. So, the rest of the married households that were supported on one income had to be male: 8.86 million – 1.65 million = 7.21 million.

The Final Results

For all the households with children in the United States that depend solely on a male “breadwinner” the actual numbers are 7.21 million of married couples and 1.7 million of single parents.

Grand Total of Male Breadwinners:  8.91 million households.

For all the households with children in the United States that depend solely on a female “breadwinner” the actual numbers are 1.65 million of married couples and 9.9 million of single parents.

Grand Total of Female Breadwinners: 11.55 million households.

EXCEPT FOR A FEW MORE FACTS –

The majority of men supporting children “by themselves” are in married relationships and have a spouse working to care for the children which adds tens of thousands of unearned income to the household. The majority of women supporting children by themselves are single and have no one contributing unearned income to the household, providing free childcare, and other types of stay-at-home services. However, the women are making only .77 cents to each $1 a man earns. They can’t afford to hire it either. Tell me again who needs to be making more to support their families – the men or the women?

It’s obvious from this analysis that if the Federal Government enforced equal pay laws, they could probably save a ton of money on TANF.