Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSShttp://iwf.org/images/email-logo.pnghttp://www.iwf.org33968San Francisco Wants to Drive Youth Unemployment Higher<p> Summer jobs do more than provide teens pocket-money.&nbsp; They are supposed to be an important skill-building opportunity.&nbsp; Teens learn the basics about customer service, good manners, a professional demeanor, following a work schedule, and how to manage a relationship with a boss.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s also an important line on the resume, allowing teens to demonstrate a work history which can be an important foundation when applying for other future (better paying) jobs.</p> <p> Yet sadly for too many teens today, such opportunities are hard to come by. &nbsp;<a href="http://www.minimumwage.com/2014/06/summer-bummer-for-teens-in-countrys-largest-metro-areas/">The Employment Policy Institute released a study</a> in June that analyzed Census Bureau data. &nbsp;They noted that the national unemployment rate for those 16-19 without a high school diploma was 21 percent, but in some metropolitan areas, youth unemployment rates were much worse.&nbsp; In fact, EPI reported that &ldquo;four of the top five worst metro areas for youth unemployment are in California.&rdquo;</p> <p> For example, San Francisco&rsquo;s teen unemployment rate was above 35%. &nbsp;That means more than one out of every three high schoolers who is looking for work can&rsquo;t find a job.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s a big, irreplaceable, lost opportunity for these youngsters.&nbsp; Not only are they missing this skill-building opportunity, they are also likely getting demoralized about the economy, which could discourage them from looking for work in the future.</p> <p> So what are city officials doing about this serious problem?</p> <p> Naturally, in San Francisco, they are plotting ways to make it far worse by discouraging the creation of jobs for this demographic. &nbsp;San Francisco&#39;s mayor has proposed hiking the minimum wage above $15, and the city&rsquo;s controller is warning that this will result in thousands of fewer jobs, particularly for those with few skills.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-07-17/san-francisco-minimum-wage-hike-would-cut-15-270-jobs">As Bloomberg Business Week</a> reports:</p> <blockquote> <p> A proposal to raise San Francisco&rsquo;s minimum wage to $15 an hour would cost about 15,270 jobs concentrated in the low-wage restaurant and food-service industries by 2019, according to the city&rsquo;s controller.</p> <p> While the plan to raise the wage in California&rsquo;s fourth-largest city from $10.74 to $15 by 2018 would boost employee earnings and consumer spending, the additional expenses would discourage job creation, according to a report today by the Controller&rsquo;s Office of Economic Analysis.</p> <p> &ldquo;To the extent that higher minimum wage raises labor costs, it will create a disincentive to hire employees and would lead to reduced employment,&rdquo; the report said.</p> </blockquote> <p> Mayor Ed Lee, champion of the proposed minimum wage hike, explained: &ldquo;San Francisco is the most progressive city in America when it comes to addressing income inequality&hellip;We are going to help our lowest-paid workers.&rdquo;</p> <p> Lee didn&rsquo;t explain, apparently, how robbing those with the fewest skills of desperately needed job opportunities helps them.&nbsp;</p> <p> Raising the minimum wage sounds compassionate only if one ignores how this policy actually works in practice to prevent people from beginning their climb up the economic ladder.&nbsp; And there&rsquo;s simply <em>nothing</em> compassionate about that.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2794498/Carrie L. LukasThu, 17 Jul 2014 22:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWomen-Owned Businesses Hit Hard By ObamaCare Tax<p class="p1"> <span class="s1"><em>photo credit: Getty Images</em></span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">What&rsquo;s the harm in hitting businesses with another tax and regulation?&nbsp; Conservative economists lecture about costs rippling through, hitting consumers and employees as well as business&rsquo;s bottom-lines.&nbsp; But their estimates are just numbers on a screen, and the tax and regulations are always sold as advancing a noble cause and helping real people.&nbsp; And who is going to bother to see if those costs ever actually materialized anyway?</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">This was the prevailing view with ObamaCare&rsquo;s many taxes, which were neatly tucked into the enormous two-thousand page legislation, unread by all but the most diligent of staff aids.&nbsp; Taxes on medical device manufacturers and tanning salons, like the increase Medicare payroll tax on those earning more than $200,000, were waved away as affecting the unsympathetic one-percent.&nbsp; They certainly weren&rsquo;t supposed to impact ordinary Americans.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">Yet now that ObamaCare is in force, we&rsquo;ve seen the impact of the law&rsquo;s many provisions in practice.&nbsp; Economists warnings that the employer mandate would encourage some businesses to shift employees to part-time status came true. So did their warnings that government mandates that insurance provide first-dollar coverage for more benefits would raise insurance premiums.&nbsp; Consumers saw that rather than the President&rsquo;s promised thousand dollars of savings in health care costs, most middleclass Americans are paying more, and often much more.&nbsp; And the impact of those targeted ObamaCare taxes on companies and industries&mdash;surprise, surprise&mdash;aren&rsquo;t just hitting those evil one-percenters.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s middle-class America who is bearing the costs.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">ObamaCare&rsquo;s tax on tanning salons deserves particular scrutiny, given all the Left&rsquo;s hand-wringing about an alleged &ldquo;war on women.&rdquo;&nbsp; Initially, Democrats writing the ObamaCare legislation planned to target another politically-incorrect service&mdash;elective cosmetic surgery&mdash;for a special, dedicated tax to help raise revenue to pay for all of ObamaCare&rsquo;s new costs.&nbsp; But, as the Wall Street Journal reported, the influential (and deep-pocketed) American Medical Association objected, so Democrats re-aimed at the indoor tanning industry, singling it out for a 10 percent tax on all UV tanning services sold.</span></p> <p class="p1"> Women own most tanning salons, make up nine out of ten salon employees, and also account for the majority of their customers.&nbsp; Defenders of the tax argued that the tax would be costlessly absorbed by profitable salons, or passed on to the costumers who had the disposable income to pay a little extra.&nbsp; Yet that&rsquo;s not how it&rsquo;s worked in the real world.&nbsp; The industry reports that the number of tanning salons has fallen from 18,000 in 2009 to 10,000 today, and 64,000 jobs have been eliminated in the process.</p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">One can debate on whether tanning services deserve to be singled out for a &ldquo;sin tax&rdquo; like cigarettes, but you can&rsquo;t ignore that there is a real price being paid for these taxes, which come in the form of fewer jobs and fewer women-owned businesses. &nbsp;Washington pols should also take note that the tanning tax has produced just one-third of the revenue for the government than policymakers had estimated it would when they drafting the law.&nbsp; Less tax revenue is another consequence of squeezing businesses out of existence.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">Medical device manufacturers have also reported reducing hiring and laying off workers, to the tune of thousands of lost jobs and thousands more to come, because of the new taxes levied under ObamaCare.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">The American people should take note of what&rsquo;s happening in these industries and keep it in mind as Washington presents its next round of revenue raisers and regulations which they say will be harmless while helping funded needed programs and advancing key causes.&nbsp; There may be real beneficiaries to such government intervention, but there are real costs to, which are just as real and ought to be acknowledged&mdash;rather than brushed away.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1"><i>Carrie Lukas is managing director at the </i><a href="http://www.iwf.org/"><span class="s2"><i>Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</i></span></a><i>.</i></span></p> http://iwf.org/news/2794448/Carrie L. LukasMon, 14 Jul 2014 07:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIt’s Okay To Tell Your Daughter She’s Pretty<p class="p1"> <span class="s1"><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/24/verizon-ad-tells-parents-to-encourage-girls_n_5526236.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063">This advertisement</a></span><span class="s2">, a recent social media hit, implies that the reason women account for a relatively small share of science and engineer majors is societal messages, such as those that tell girls their looks are more important than their brains. It shows a young girl growing from toddler to teenager while the viewer hears her parents calling her &ldquo;pretty girl,&rdquo; telling her not to mess up her dress, and to hand the power tools over to her brother.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s2">In a way, it&rsquo;s a harmless ad, reminding parents that the messages they send their daughters about what makes her valuable impacts girls&rsquo; self-esteem and how they will focus their energies. But it is also terribly misleading, both in where the most damaging messages come from and the reasons why women are less likely than men to pursue engineering and science in college and as a career.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s2">First, parents occasionally calling their daughter &ldquo;pretty&rdquo; hardly drives girls to worry about their looks. In fact, it seems perfectly appropriate&mdash;necessary, even&mdash;for parents to tell their child they thinks she is beautiful. Of course, these cannot be the only complements a little girl hears. Parents need to praise her kindness, work ethic, imagination, and sense of humor. This is pretty obvious stuff.</span></p> <p class="p2"> <span style="color:#ff0000;"><strong><span class="s2">Statistics like this tell us absolutely nothing about why men and women end up choosing the majors and careers that they do.</span></strong></span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s2">The looks obsession isn&rsquo;t driven by parents lovingly referring to a daughter as &ldquo;my pretty girl,&rdquo; but the bombardment of messages from society&mdash;from Hollywood, fashion designers, and celebrity culture&mdash;that make looks seem all-important, and, even worse, make sex appeal paramount. Given that cultural obsession, you can guarantee girls will wonder and worry if they are pretty enough. This makes it important that a parent provides some basic reassurance in this area, and, in the process, parents can emphasize that their daughter looks nice in her jeans and sweater, rather than in a mid-drift.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s2">Looks are only part of the message in this ad, the other being that we need to allow our daughter the time to explore, get messy, and take some risks, just like we expect from our sons. That&rsquo;s true, of course, though it is hard to imagine that such a blindingly obvious fact requires a schmaltzy commercial in this age of equality and grrrrrl power.</span></p> <p class="p4"> <span style="color:#696969;"><strong><span class="s2">Academic Intervention: Necessary?</span></strong></span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s2">More troubling, the ads highlights two findings from a National Science Foundation poll that the viewer is invited to assume are the outcome of these messages: 66 percent of fourth-grade girls say they like science and math, but only 18 percent of all college engineering majors are female. Such statistics are also regularly trotted out when government and feminist groups seek to justify more intervention in academia to correct the intractable problem that, because of societal sexism, there simply aren&rsquo;t enough women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s2">Yet statistics like this tell us absolutely nothing about why men and women end up choosing the majors and careers that they do.</span></p> <p class="p2"> <span style="color:#ff0000;"><strong><span class="s2">Such statistics are also regularly trotted out when government and feminist groups seek to justify more intervention in academia.</span></strong></span></p> <p class="p3"> First, as the mother of three girls, one of whom will enter fourth grade this fall, I can tell you that younger kids tend to report liking just about every subject in school. Science class is often particularly appealing, because it&rsquo;s much more hands-on and usually involves some interesting projects, unlike spelling, grammar, and math, which revolve around drilling and memorization. My daughter&rsquo;s third-grade science course focused on the solar system, the earth&rsquo;s crust, and then animals and insects. She loved it, consistently calls science her favorite class, and will often respond that she wants to be a scientist when she grows up, so she can spend her time &ldquo;inventing and making stuff.&rdquo;</p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s2">Does this mean I have a budding scientist or future engineer? That would be wonderful, of course, and part of my job as a parent to encourage such interests, so we&rsquo;ve invested in all the kids&rsquo; science kits, books, and microscopes. But I am also aware that her interests may change as science and engineering become more technical and English and other disciplines become more appealing. If she ultimately moves away from science and math, that doesn&rsquo;t necessarily mean something has gone wrong.</span></p> <p class="p4"> <span style="color:#696969;"><strong><span class="s2">Girls Have Other Options</span></strong></span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s2">There has been a great deal of hard research into why men and women end up focusing on different subject and career areas. For example, research shows that women who tend to have a high aptitude for math and science are also high-aptitude in other areas, while men with high aptitudes in math and science have fewer other academic strengths. This means that promising female engineers have other options, so many act on other preferences and considerations, while potential male engineers have fewer alternatives. Women also express greater preferences for careers that put them in direct touch with people and aren&rsquo;t as satisfied with what can be the more isolated environment of the lab. You can read more about such factors and research in <a href="http://www.iwf.org/publications/2435049/Position-Paper-No.-608-Studying-Women-and-Science"><span class="s1">this paper</span></a>, or in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Science-Women-Christina-Hoff-Sommers/dp/0844742813/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1403861522&amp;sr=8-2&amp;keywords=women+in+science+hoff+sommers"><span class="s1">this book</span></a> edited by the American Enterprise Institute&rsquo;s Christina Hoff Sommers.</span></p> <p class="p2"> <span style="color:#ff0000;"><strong><span class="s2">We shouldn&rsquo;t assume success requires that women and men to be equally interested in all subject matters.</span></strong></span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s2">Of course, we want our daughters to know that all options are open to them and to have female role models in areas like math and science. We want our society to send messages so that girls recognize their true value isn&rsquo;t their appearance. Our society should mentor girls and young women to try to encourage a continuing love of science and math.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s2">Yet we shouldn&rsquo;t assume success requires that women and men to be equally interested in all subject matters, and to think that differences in outcomes are driven by sexism. Particularly when government gets involved, the focus can become making the numbers add up, which means that part of the solution can become discouraging boys, rather than encouraging girls, and cajoling girls into arenas that may not ultimately be their best fit.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s2">So take from this ad that society needs to consider the messages we send to our daughters (and sons, for that matter), but let&rsquo;s make one of the messages we push be this: Equality of opportunity, rather than equal outcomes, is the true mark of a fair society.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s2"><i>Carrie Lukas is the managing director at </i><a href="http://www.iwf.org/"><span class="s1"><i>Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</i></span></a><i> and co-author of </i>Liberty Is No War on Women<i>.&nbsp;</i></span></p> http://iwf.org/news/2794419/Carrie L. LukasTue, 8 Jul 2014 11:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPaid Leave and Employee Morale<p> In yesterday&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="http://1.1842348">New York Daily News</a>, IWF&rsquo;s friend, SE Cupp wrote a great piece about the tradeoffs with family leave policies.&nbsp; She cited important research from business groups on the potential unintended consequences of mandated paid leave:</p> <blockquote> <p> ...the NFIB Research Foundation examined multiple proposals to mandate paid leave and concluded it could cost between 12,000 and 16,000 jobs over several years, and cost billions in lost economic output. &quot;There is no way to force employers to provide an expensive benefit without forcing some of them to make cuts elsewhere,&quot; said NFIB State Director Bill Vernon. &quot;The result will be some combination of fewer hours for employers, weaker productivity for businesses and fewer opportunities for job seekers.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p> This is important information for people to have &ndash; so often it&rsquo;s easy to see the benefits of such government mandates (more paid leave would be great!) and overlook the costs of such proposals (lower take-home pay and fewer jobs, especially for women).&nbsp;</p> <p> Yet I disagree with one item that SE Cupp puts in the benefit column for paid leave.&nbsp; She writes:</p> <blockquote> <p> Who doesn&#39;t think that this is a generous and productive policy that will make for a happier workforce and stronger families? No one who&#39;s being honest.</p> </blockquote> <p> I wouldn&rsquo;t be so quick to assume that the workplace would be more congenial or happier if employees were all eligible for generous paid leave benefits.&nbsp; In fact, having lived in Europe for several years now, I&rsquo;ve seen how the opposite can occur.&nbsp; Employees often seem to resent when coworkers disappear for lengthy paid time-off as more responsibilities are juggled their way.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve seen eyes roll with the mention &ldquo;she&rsquo;s having another baby,&rdquo; and annoyance that while this worker will be spending the summer at her desk in the office, her coworker will be paid to play in the park with her 4 month old.&nbsp; This is especially true when you factor in that there are plenty of people (particularly women) who end up not having babies but wanted to, and also plenty who have no intention of having children and resent that their bosses think they might disappear for a year and therefore can&rsquo;t be taken seriously.&nbsp;</p> <p> I&rsquo;d even be carefully making assumptions about stronger families.&nbsp; It seems logical, but one confounding question in Europe (particularly in Germany, where I currently live) has been why generous public support systems for parents (including paid leave mandates) have coincided with a decline in birth rates.&nbsp; Perhaps their families are strong, but there are&nbsp;<a href="http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/factbook-2013-en/01/01/02/evopop_g3.html?itemId=/content/chapter/factbook-2013-2-en">very few babies</a>&nbsp;resulting from them.</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> http://iwf.org/blog/2794337/Carrie L. LukasThu, 26 Jun 2014 03:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumOlder Women Hit With Highest ObamaCare Costs<p> Remember how women were supposed to be the big winners from ObamaCare?&nbsp; &nbsp;The government&rsquo;s prohibition on insurers from taking into account gender and health status when setting premiums, along with all the free contraception and preventative care, was supposed to make the new system a windfall for women.</p> <p> That was always a stretch, as <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/carrielukas/2014/06/12/obamacare-vs-womens-choices/">YG Network&rsquo;s April Ponnuru and I wrote about here</a>.&nbsp; Women have always tended to manage their families&rsquo; doctor relationships and as ObamaCare is encouraging more restrictive provider networks, that task just got a lot more complicated for millions of women.</p> <p> Yet as the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/06/24/older-women-bear-the-brunt-of-higher-insurance-costs-under-obamacare/">Washington Post reports</a>, new research shows that women between the ages of 55 and 64 are also likely to be hit the hardest by the increased health care costs created by ObamaCare:</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> What Mark Pauly, Scott Harrington, and Adam Leive of the Wharton School have done is to figure out how much non-elderly&nbsp;individuals spent on insurance before the ACA and then compared these figures with what they&rsquo;ll spend after the ACA.&nbsp; They did this by using survey data for 2010 through 2012 from the Census Bureau&rsquo;s&nbsp;<em>Current Population Survey</em>&nbsp;that show how much people spent on health care, including premiums and out of pocket payments.&nbsp; By looking at the total spent rather than just on premiums, the data reflect the fact that someone who buys a policy with a low premium can expect to have higher out of pocket costs, and vice versa. &nbsp;They report their findings in a&nbsp;<a href="http://papers.nber.org/tmp/83929-w20223.pdf">paper</a>&nbsp;from the National Bureau of Economic Research.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> For post-ACA prices, they looked at the premiums for the various levels of coverage (these levels are classified according to various metals: bronze, silver, gold and platinum) and estimated out of pocket payments according to data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. The data were tabulated by age and gender for the bronze and the two lowest price silver plans.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> After crunching the numbers, they found that people&nbsp;who buy the bronze or silver plans on the federal exchanges will spend a moderate amount more&nbsp; &mdash; from $694 to $1,165 a year, or 14 to 24 percent&nbsp;&mdash; on premiums and out of pocket expenses than they did before the health reform took effect.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> However, that average figure masks a huge redistribution of the costs to older women from nearly everyone else.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> Total expected premiums and out of pocket expenses rose by 50 percent for women age 55 to 64 &mdash; a much larger increase than for any other group &mdash; for policies on the federal exchanges relative to prices that individuals who bought individual insurance before health care reform went into effect.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> Women age 55 to 64 will pay from $2,185 to $2,738 more in&nbsp;premiums and out of pocket &nbsp;expenses under the new health insurance environment than they did pre-ACA.</p> <p> Women <a href="http://www.people-press.org/2014/03/20/aca-at-age-4-more-disapproval-than-approval/">never really bought</a> the line about ObamaCare being able to costless shower free goodies on everyone, increase insurance coverage, lower health care spending, all without compromising access to quality care.&nbsp; Especially women in this age group have been around enough to recognize a fairytale when they hear one.</p> <p> Yet they might be surprised to learn just how heavily it is they&mdash;not those young, invincible men we heard so much about during sign up season&mdash;who will be bearing the brunt of ObamaCare&rsquo;s higher costs.&nbsp;</p> <p> Women be warned, this won&rsquo;t be the last bad news about the effects of this law that will be making headlines.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2794321/Carrie L. LukasWed, 25 Jun 2014 05:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumJob Creation Is the Real Key to Helping Working Families<p> President Obama dreams of an American economy in which all workers have ample paid leave benefits, maximum flexibility, and, of course, receive more than a living wage.&nbsp; Yet in making his case for this vision, in this <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barack-obama/family-friendly-workplace_b_5521660.html?1403532355">oped</a> that appeared in the Huffington Post in conjunction with the White House &ldquo;Summit on Working Families,&rdquo; the President&mdash;perhaps unsurprisingly, given his Administration&rsquo;s economic record&mdash;seems unfamiliar with the costs associated with greater benefits, the tradeoffs that workers and employers must consider when creating compensation packages, and the sad reality that the biggest problem facing many Americans today isn&rsquo;t that their jobs pay too little or offer too few benefits, but that they cannot find enough work at all.</p> <p> The official, national unemployment rate in May 2014 was 6.3 percent, which has been touted by the Administration as evidence that the economy is heading in the right direction.&nbsp; Yet when those who are employed part-time but who want full-time work and discouraged workers are included in the numbers, the unemployment rate jumps to <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t15.htm">12.2 percent</a>.&nbsp; Most Americans who hear from friends and neighbors about ongoing economic struggles will likely agree that number more accurately reflects the job situation today:&nbsp; There are still simply not enough positions for those who want jobs.</p> <p> Indeed, lack of employment, not low wages, is the biggest factor creating poverty today. According to the <a href="https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/historical/people.html">U.S. Census</a>, in 2012 (the most recent data available), just under one-in-ten working age adults living in poverty had full-time, year-round work, while two-thirds had no work at all. &nbsp;Proposals to raise the minimum wage or increase mandatory benefits will do nothing to help these Americans who lack employment, even worse would make it even less likely that they find work.</p> <p> The nonpartisan <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/feb/18/minimum-wage-hike-would-kill-half-million-jobs-cbo/">Congressional Budget Office</a> estimated that the President&rsquo;s proposed minimum-wage hike to $10.10 per hour would result in 500,000 fewer jobs nationwide.&nbsp; The President should at least acknowledge that there are tradeoffs that come from increasing employment costs and the availability of positions, particularly for those with the fewest skills and experience.&nbsp; Already American teenagers who are seeking those vital first jobs, which provide value and experience far greater than just their paychecks, are suffering from unemployment rates well in to the double digits. That problem is particularly pronounced for minority youths:&nbsp; Nationwide, <a href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/unemployment-rates-higher-young-people-minorities/">the unemployment rate in March 2014 for African-American teenagers </a>was almost double the rate for whites, a jaw-dropping 38 percent.&nbsp; A higher-minimum wage will make this problem worse.&nbsp;</p> <p> The President doesn&rsquo;t just want to require companies to pay higher wages; he also wants more generous benefit packages.&nbsp; He laments that too many workers lack the ability to receive time off for a school play, can&rsquo;t work from home when a child is sick, or take leave for a new baby or to care for a sick loved one.&nbsp; He writes, &ldquo;the United States is the only developed country in the world without paid maternity leave.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p> First, this is a gross mischaracterization of the American economy and work world.&nbsp; The United States lacks a law that requires employers to provide paid maternity leave, but that does not mean that paid maternity leave and other leave benefits are non-existent in America.&nbsp; In fact, most full-time workers have paid leave benefits and make use of those benefits following the birth of a child.&nbsp; The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/p70-128.pdf">Census Bureau</a>&nbsp;reports on the leave practices employed by working women after giving birth:&nbsp; 56 percent of full-time working women used paid leave following the birth, 42 percent used unpaid leave, 10 percent used disability leave, 19 percent quit their job, and nearly 5 percent reported being let go (this adds up to more than 100 percent because some women used more than one category of leave).&nbsp; Part-time workers were more likely to quit (37 percent reported quitting their jobs) and had less access to benefits:&nbsp; 20 percent used paid leave, 46 percent used unpaid leave, and just 2 percent had disability leave.&nbsp;</p> <p> Certainly this data doesn&rsquo;t live up to the vision of all workers enjoying generous leave packages, but it does indicate that most businesses recognize the need for time off and believe it makes good business sense to provide such benefits, even absent a legal requirement.&nbsp; The President himself provides examples of companies that are models of family-friendly workplaces, but he misses that this is evidence that the market can encourage advancement in that direction and that one-size-fits-all government programs may actually discourage such innovation and flexibility.</p> <p> The President should keep in mind that not all workers have the same preferences for benefits over take-home pay, and different jobs lend themselves to different kinds of flexible work arrangements.&nbsp; Government mandates, however well intentioned, prevent employers and employees from finding mutually beneficial arrangements.&nbsp; And while the President suggests that women would be the greatest beneficiaries of more aggressive government mandates, women also end up paying a high price in terms of lost economic opportunity.&nbsp; Supporters of family leave mandates often point to Western Europe as a model, but American women are far more likely than their European peers to be <a href="http://www.american.com/archive/2013/april/lessons-from-a-feminist-paradise-on-equal-pay-day">breaking glass ceilings</a>. &nbsp;Undoubtedly, one reason why is that European business leaders know that women in their childbearing years are likely to disappear for months, even years, at a time, and therefore don&rsquo;t consider them for leadership positions.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s hardly a culture encouraging women to &ldquo;lean in.&rdquo;</p> <p> The best way to ensure that people have the benefits and resources they need is to create an environment in which there are plentiful jobs.&nbsp; That way employers must compete for workers, and workers can select compensation packages that make sense for them.&nbsp; Sadly, that&rsquo;s not the situation that we have in America today, and the President&rsquo;s prescription for more government mandates and higher employment costs would take us farther in the wrong direction.&nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Carrie Lukas is the managing director of the </em><a href="http://www.iwf.org"><em>Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</em></a><em> and author of a chapter on work-family policies for </em><a href="http://ygnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Chapter-11-The-Agenda-Work-Life-Balance.pdf"><em>YG Network&rsquo;s Room to Grow</em></a><em>.&nbsp;</em></p> http://iwf.org/news/2794314/Carrie L. LukasTue, 24 Jun 2014 09:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Nation’s Bizarre Exposé of Rush Limbaugh’s ‘Secret’ 2007 Donation to IWF <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">Eli Clifton at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thenation.com/article/180205/guess-which-womens-group-rush-limbaugh-has-donated-hundreds-thousands-dollars"><span class="s2"><i>The Nation</i></span></a><i>&nbsp;</i>seems to think that he got a scoop that Rush Limbaugh donated money to the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum in support of our 2007 Women of Valor dinner, honoring Nancy Brinker for her leadership in fighting breast cancer. That was hardly a secret: He was acknowledged as a top sponsor in the program at the dinner, and has always been listed in our publicly available tax records. For the record, Rush hasn&rsquo;t donated to IWF since 2007 &mdash; though we would certainly welcome his support again.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">Clifton seems to think that there is some conspiracy because Rush financially supported one of our programs and IWF writers such as myself have at times written in his defense. He notes a handful of instances over the past seven years when we have written or spoken publicly about controversies involving Rush, and the fact that we have continued to critique Sandra Fluke, to imply that we were long ago bought off.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">I don&rsquo;t know how familiar Clifton is with IWF&rsquo;s work, but we have a blog that is updated daily, usually several times a day. IWF spokeswomen usually go on radio a couple times a day, and on TV several times a week. That means that we comment on a lot of controversies, particularly ones that involve politics, policy, and women. It should hardly be surprising that the topic of Rush Limbaugh has come up over the years and that, given our shared support for limited government and free markets, that we&rsquo;ve often been on the same side.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">When it comes to Sandra Fluke, this is a woman that the left has presented as an authority on health policy issues, and she has been given provident roles at the Democratic National Convention and even introduced the president at a campaign event. We have consistently considered her arguments and exposed what we see as flaws in her logic. Clifton acknowledges that Charlotte Hays wrote&nbsp;<a href="http://www.iwf.org/blog/2787260/Feminist-Icons:-Censorship-Now!"><span class="s2">critically</span></a>&nbsp;of Rush Limbaugh&rsquo;s insults of Fluke, and partially quotes&nbsp;<a href="http://iwf.org/blog/2787211/Name-Calling-About-Name-Calling"><span class="s2">my piece</span></a>&nbsp;on this topic, but leaves out some key elements, like the second two paragraphs:</span></p> <p class="p2"> <span class="s1"><i>Full disclosure: I&rsquo;m a regular listener to Rush Limbaugh. I enjoy his political perspective and humor, and am generally impressed with his treatment of his callers, which non-listeners might not know is overwhelmingly respectful and cordial, even when he disagrees with them on the issues.</i></span></p> <p class="p2"> <span class="s1"><i>And I know that this means that I have a certain bias. I&rsquo;m familiar with Rush&rsquo;s arguments, and it&rsquo;s easy for me to place comments that he makes into the context of what I know to be his world view.</i></span></p> <p class="p3"> <i>That&rsquo;s not to excuse his calling Sandra Fluke offensive and inappropriate terms. Beyond being rude, it distracted from the central discussion of what&rsquo;s at stake with this HHS mandate.</i></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">From listening to Rush, I know what point he wanted to make. He wanted to highlight the absurdity of women, under the banner of feminism, who want to be seen as independent as they try to force other people to pay for their choices and lifestyle. Painting yourself as a victim for having to figure out how to buy your own contraception, especially when you are enrolled at one of the nation&rsquo;s most prestigious law schools, is pretty difficult to mesh with the idea of true independence. Grossly exaggerating the costs of contraception invites jokes &mdash; childish to be sure &mdash; about how exactly one could run up such a tab.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">Does Clifton really think that the reason why I tried to put his remarks in context was because Rush had donated money to IWF five years earlier? Could it possibly be that I too believe that government mandates forcing companies to provide a product free to users is an inappropriate use of government power and will have harmful effects on the health care system and market?</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">Certainly Rush makes some statements and characterizations that I don&rsquo;t agree with and has been harsh in criticizing his opponents. Yet he is hardly alone in such missteps, and though outlets like&nbsp;<i>The Nation&nbsp;</i>undoubtedly choose to ignore it, some of the most&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/251417/conservative-women-are-standing-tall-michelle-malkin"><span class="s2">grotesque attacks</span></a>&nbsp;on women come from leading figures and entertainers on the left and are&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/04/rush-limbaugh-s-apology-liberal-men-need-to-follow-suit.html"><span class="s2">targeted at conservatives</span></a>.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">With this article, <i>The Nation</i> joins the proud tradition on the Left of trying to slander opponents by focusing on who funds them &mdash;&nbsp;<i>have you heard? We used to (years ago now) receive money from Koch Foundations too!&nbsp;</i><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEJNP5V_VSc&amp;list=UUg_s5BRCyjhOHbOyZQC3gDg"><span class="s2"><i>Harry Reid brought it up on the Senate floor</i></span></a><i>&nbsp;&ndash; what a scandal!&nbsp;</i>&mdash; rather than take on our arguments. I&rsquo;m sure that&nbsp;<i>The Nation</i>&nbsp;and Clifton aren&rsquo;t so curious about who funds groups on the left, though I bet they could find far more cozy and compromising relationships among leading liberal organizations than Rush&rsquo;s almost decade-old, publicly-acknowledged contribution to IWF.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1"><i>Carrie Lukas is the managing director at the&nbsp;</i><a href="http://www.iwf.org/"><span class="s2"><i>Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</i></span></a><i>&nbsp;and co-author of Liberty is Now War on Women.</i></span></p> <p class="p5"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="p5"> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/news/2794234/Carrie L. LukasFri, 13 Jun 2014 17:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIgnoring Economic Costs Isn't Compassionate<p> Jessica Grose at&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/06/10/daniel_murphy_on_paternity_leave_the_mets_player_puts_fatherhood_and_jesus.html">Slate</a></em>&nbsp;attempts to argue that Christians should support government paid family-leave programs. Grose does a sloppy job of making the connection, but certainly she is not the first to argue that Christian faith should lead people to support more generous government support systems for families. The flaw in her argument is that most Christians are more sophisticated than she imagines when it comes to thinking about public policy.</p> <p> Strip away the &ldquo;What would&nbsp;Jesus&nbsp;do&rdquo; ornamentation, and her real argument for government-mandated paid family leave is simply that too few workers &mdash; particularly low-income workers &mdash; have access to such benefits.&nbsp; She specifically takes issue with what I authored for the YG Network: &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> A recent publication put out by the YG Network, a conservative policy nonprofit, called Room to Grow, argues&nbsp;<a href="http://elizabethstoker.com/2014/06/03/moral-systems-maternity-leave/">that paid family leave from the government is a bad idea</a>&nbsp;because, &ldquo;while it would assist some women, it would also disrupt the employment contracts of the majority of working Americans who currently have leave benefit [sic]. This new federal entitlement would encourage businesses currently providing paid leave programs&mdash;including more generous leave packages&mdash;to cease doing so.&rdquo;</p> <p> First of all, the majority of working Americans don&rsquo;t have leave &ldquo;benefit,&rdquo; unless you count&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/work-family/fmla/dol-fmla-survey-key-findings-2012.pdf">unpaid FMLA leave</a>, which doesn&rsquo;t cover about 40 percent of employees. Oh, and some studies&nbsp;<a href="http://growth.newamerica.net/sites/newamerica.net/files/policydocs/Brief%20Part%20I_0.pdf">show that almost 20 percent</a>&nbsp;of employers don&rsquo;t comply with FMLA leave anyway. So then, YG Network is actually talking about the 11&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/work-family/paid-leave/paid-family-and-medical-leave.pdf">percent of pretty exclusively upper class workers who get paid family leave</a>, and who might lose some of that leave in order for 100 percent of workers to get any paid leave at all.</p> <p> (First, I&rsquo;m not sure where Grose pulled that quote &mdash; in the&nbsp;<a href="http://ygnetwork.org/labor-tax-fiscal-reforms-help-parents-balance-work-family/">actual chapter</a>&nbsp;available at YGNetwork, there is no typo in &ldquo;benefits.&rdquo;&nbsp;Perhaps there is a typo in some marketing material or in a derivative quote, but Grose ought to consider reading the actual chapter too.)</p> <p> Grose&rsquo;s data concerns workers with paid family-leave benefits only, but that is not a good proxy for paid-leave benefits that are available following the birth of a child.&nbsp; Many companies prefer to offer more general &ldquo;personal leave&rdquo; that can be used for family leave, sick time, vacation, or other reasons, rather than have different categories of leave, which can be more burdensome to administer. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> Fortunately, the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/p70-128.pdf">Census Bureau</a>&nbsp;has research that shows what generally happens to working women following the birth of a child.&nbsp;Census reports that 56 percent of full-time working women used paid leave following the birth, 42 percent used unpaid leave, 10 percent used disability leave, 19 percent quit their job, and nearly 5 percent reported being let go (this adds up to more than 100 percent because some women used more than one category of leave).&nbsp; Part-time workers were more likely to quit (37 percent reported quitting their jobs) and had less access to benefits:&nbsp; 20 percent used paid leave, 46 percent used unpaid leave, and just 2 percent had disability leave.&nbsp;Census also found that three months after the birth, 59 percent of the women who worked during pregnancy had returned to work, and 79 percent were working by their child&rsquo;s first birthday.</p> <p> This data doesn&rsquo;t lead to the conclusion that all Americans have access to adequate leave time &mdash; a point I explicitly made &mdash; but it also should caution against Grose&rsquo;s hasty conclusion that 89 percent of workers would be better off under a government-run leave system.&nbsp;</p> <p> As I write in&nbsp;<em><a href="http://ygnetwork.org/roomtogrow/">Room to Grow</a></em>, there are costs to government-mandated leave policies that ought to be considered, including that these mandates depress wages and reduce economic opportunity for women.&nbsp;Supporters of paid family leave often point to Europe as a model we ought to follow, but ignore the reality that women there are much less likely to be&nbsp;<a href="http://www.american.com/archive/2013/april/lessons-from-a-feminist-paradise-on-equal-pay-day">breaking glass ceilings</a>&nbsp;than are their American sisters. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> Certainly there are a lot of women who would prefer to have more generous leave packages.&nbsp; Many employers are moving in that direction, and technology is making possible new solutions, such as job sharing and work-from-home arrangements.&nbsp;A one-size-fits-all government program (like the FAMILY Act) would discourage this continued evolution, and the economic consequences, particularly for women, deserve more serious consideration than Grose can apparently muster.&nbsp;</p> <p> Rather than dictate the leave policy for all workers, policymakers ought to focus their efforts on helping those who truly face hardship because of the lack of leave&nbsp;following the birth of a child.&nbsp; As I write in&nbsp;<em><a href="http://ygnetwork.org/roomtogrow/">Room to Grow</a></em>, an initiative modeled on the EITC could help the working poor following the birth of a child, without distorting economic incentives for hiring these workers.&nbsp;</p> <p> Jesus taught us to show compassion for those in need. He didn&rsquo;t tell us to ignore the real-life consequences of economic policies.</p> <p> <em>&mdash; Carrie Lukas is a vice president at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Voice and managing director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</em></p> http://iwf.org/news/2794216/Carrie L. LukasThu, 12 Jun 2014 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIgnoring Economic Costs Isn't Compassionate<p> Jessica Grose at&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/06/10/daniel_murphy_on_paternity_leave_the_mets_player_puts_fatherhood_and_jesus.html">Slate</a></em>&nbsp;attempts to argue that Christians should support government paid family-leave programs. Grose does a sloppy job of making the connection, but certainly she is not the first to argue that Christian faith should lead people to support more generous government support systems for families. The flaw in her argument is that most Christians are more sophisticated than she imagines when it comes to thinking about public policy.</p> <p> Strip away the &ldquo;What would&nbsp;Jesus&nbsp;do&rdquo; ornamentation, and her real argument for government-mandated paid family leave is simply that too few workers &mdash; particularly low-income workers &mdash; have access to such benefits.&nbsp; She specifically takes issue with what I authored for the YG Network: &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> A recent publication put out by the YG Network, a conservative policy nonprofit, called Room to Grow, argues&nbsp;<a href="http://elizabethstoker.com/2014/06/03/moral-systems-maternity-leave/">that paid family leave from the government is a bad idea</a>&nbsp;because, &ldquo;while it would assist some women, it would also disrupt the employment contracts of the majority of working Americans who currently have leave benefit [sic]. This new federal entitlement would encourage businesses currently providing paid leave programs&mdash;including more generous leave packages&mdash;to cease doing so.&rdquo;</p> <p> First of all, the majority of working Americans don&rsquo;t have leave &ldquo;benefit,&rdquo; unless you count&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/work-family/fmla/dol-fmla-survey-key-findings-2012.pdf">unpaid FMLA leave</a>, which doesn&rsquo;t cover about 40 percent of employees. Oh, and some studies&nbsp;<a href="http://growth.newamerica.net/sites/newamerica.net/files/policydocs/Brief%20Part%20I_0.pdf">show that almost 20 percent</a>&nbsp;of employers don&rsquo;t comply with FMLA leave anyway. So then, YG Network is actually talking about the 11&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/work-family/paid-leave/paid-family-and-medical-leave.pdf">percent of pretty exclusively upper class workers who get paid family leave</a>, and who might lose some of that leave in order for 100 percent of workers to get any paid leave at all.</p> <p> (First, I&rsquo;m not sure where Grose pulled that quote &mdash; in the&nbsp;<a href="http://ygnetwork.org/labor-tax-fiscal-reforms-help-parents-balance-work-family/">actual chapter</a>&nbsp;available at YGNetwork, there is no typo in &ldquo;benefits.&rdquo;&nbsp;Perhaps there is a typo in some marketing material or in a derivative quote, but Grose ought to consider reading the actual chapter too.)</p> <p> Grose&rsquo;s data concerns workers with paid family-leave benefits only, but that is not a good proxy for paid-leave benefits that are available following the birth of a child.&nbsp; Many companies prefer to offer more general &ldquo;personal leave&rdquo; that can be used for family leave, sick time, vacation, or other reasons, rather than have different categories of leave, which can be more burdensome to administer. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> Fortunately, the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/p70-128.pdf">Census Bureau</a>&nbsp;has research that shows what generally happens to working women following the birth of a child.&nbsp;Census reports that 56 percent of full-time working women used paid leave following the birth, 42 percent used unpaid leave, 10 percent used disability leave, 19 percent quit their job, and nearly 5 percent reported being let go (this adds up to more than 100 percent because some women used more than one category of leave).&nbsp; Part-time workers were more likely to quit (37 percent reported quitting their jobs) and had less access to benefits:&nbsp; 20 percent used paid leave, 46 percent used unpaid leave, and just 2 percent had disability leave.&nbsp;Census also found that three months after the birth, 59 percent of the women who worked during pregnancy had returned to work, and 79 percent were working by their child&rsquo;s first birthday.</p> <p> This data doesn&rsquo;t lead to the conclusion that all Americans have access to adequate leave time &mdash; a point I explicitly made &mdash; but it also should caution against Grose&rsquo;s hasty conclusion that 89 percent of workers would be better off under a government-run leave system.&nbsp;</p> <p> As I write in&nbsp;<em><a href="http://ygnetwork.org/roomtogrow/">Room to Grow</a></em>, there are costs to government-mandated leave policies that ought to be considered, including that these mandates depress wages and reduce economic opportunity for women.&nbsp;Supporters of paid family leave often point to Europe as a model we ought to follow, but ignore the reality that women there are much less likely to be&nbsp;<a href="http://www.american.com/archive/2013/april/lessons-from-a-feminist-paradise-on-equal-pay-day">breaking glass ceilings</a>&nbsp;than are their American sisters. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> Certainly there are a lot of women who would prefer to have more generous leave packages.&nbsp; Many employers are moving in that direction, and technology is making possible new solutions, such as job sharing and work-from-home arrangements.&nbsp;A one-size-fits-all government program (like the FAMILY Act) would discourage this continued evolution, and the economic consequences, particularly for women, deserve more serious consideration than Grose can apparently muster.&nbsp;</p> <p> Rather than dictate the leave policy for all workers, policymakers ought to focus their efforts on helping those who truly face hardship because of the lack of leave&nbsp;following the birth of a child.&nbsp; As I write in&nbsp;<em><a href="http://ygnetwork.org/roomtogrow/">Room to Grow</a></em>, an initiative modeled on the EITC could help the working poor following the birth of a child, without distorting economic incentives for hiring these workers.&nbsp;</p> <p> Jesus taught us to show compassion for those in need. He didn&rsquo;t tell us to ignore the real-life consequences of economic policies.</p> <p> <em>&mdash; Carrie Lukas is a vice president at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Voice and managing director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</em></p> http://iwf.org/blog/2794215/Carrie L. LukasThu, 12 Jun 2014 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAbolishing Occupational Licensing Won't Eliminate the Wage Gap<p> Occupational licensing restricts economic opportunity. And, as Cathy Reisenwitz notes in <u><a href="http://c4ss.org/content/27130">this recent article</a></u>, new research shows that occupations traditionally dominated by women face some of the most onerous and idiotic licensing requirements. From interior decorating to floral arranging to hair braiding: There is no rational justification for requiring that someone must have government certification before being hired for these services, and eliminating these unnecessary barriers to entry would increase economic opportunity, especially for the poor and women currently outside of the workforce.</p> <p> Yet rather than making the case based on individual rights and economic opportunity, Reisenwitz argues that removing these barriers to entry for women will close the wage gap. She calls the wage gap &ldquo;poorly understood,&rdquo; but it seems that it&#39;s Reisenwitz who misunderstands some basics about the wage gap and economics.</p> <p> Occupational licensing acts to restrict the supply of workers in a given industry, which raises how much those in that industry can charge. In fact, that&#39;s the primary reason behind these rules: Interior decorators and florists want to keep out competitors so they can charge more for their services and increase their own earnings. Remove those barriers and there will be far more decorators and florists available, and such competition will lower prices for consumers. But that means that women working in these fields would likely have <em>lower</em> earnings absent licensing requirements. That means a <em>bigger</em> wage gap, not a smaller one.</p> <p> In fact, if the goal was simply to eradicate the wage gap&mdash;so that we could reach that holy grail of absolute parity when the Department of Labor compares the average wage of working women with that of working men!&mdash;then occupational licensing and further restricting the supply of workers in female-dominated professions would be a <em>stellar</em> policy recommendation. After all, if there were only a few florists and interior decorators available, they&#39;d be able to command big salaries, which would be good news for the lucky few women in those occupations and for those obsessed with closing the wage gap.</p> <p> Yet it wouldn&#39;t be good news for liberty. Liberty means equal opportunity for men and women to pursue their interests and professions; the outcomes of those freely-made decisions are less of our concern. Far better for thousands more women to be able to sell their services as interior decorators and florists free from government interference, even if that means that the national average wage for women goes down and we have&mdash;gasp!&mdash;a larger statistical gap between men and women&#39;s earnings.</p> <p> This doesn&#39;t mean that statistics like the wage gap should be ignored. Once relevant factors such as hours worked, professions chosen, years of experience, and education are taken into account, several percentage points of the wage gap remains. We should pay attention to this unexplained wage gap. Some of it may be due to women failing to negotiate as aggressively over salary&mdash;which is good news, because that&#39;s a problem we can help solve with more education: I can keep that in mind as I consider my next job offer and teach my daughters to be comfortable talking about money. And some of this lingering difference may also be caused by sexism, which we should work to discourage as much as possible.</p> <p> Yet supporters of liberty do ourselves no favors by accepting that equal outcomes, not equal opportunities, ought to be the focus of our society and a goal for our economic policy. Bad policies like occupational licensing and those that artificially increase childcare costs ought to be considered and reformed because they are an inappropriate use of government power and they rob people of economic opportunity, not because of an economically-dubious notion that they might change a statistic that&#39;s become a feminist obsession. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2794092/Carrie L. LukasSat, 31 May 2014 13:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Latest Misleading Feminist Stat<p> Perhaps because the infamous &ldquo;wage gap&rdquo; statistic is increasingly <a href="http://iwf.org/media/2793644/Statement:-White-House-Concedes-Wage-Gap-is-a-Myth,-77-Cent-Talking-Point-Inaccurate">recognized as misleading</a>, we are now being offered a new twist on this old tune. This time we are told there is a GPA gap: Women have to make perfect grades in high school to earn as much as a man who got a 2.0.</p> <p> The <a href="http://www.as.miami.edu/news/news-archive/your-high-school-gpa-could-affect-your-income.html">study by the University of Miami</a> focuses on this pretty mundane finding&mdash;a higher GPA in high school is associated with higher future earnings:</p> <blockquote> <p> The findings, published recently in the&nbsp;<em>Eastern Economic Journal,</em>&nbsp;show that a one-point increase in high school GPA raises annual earnings in adulthood by around 12 percent for men and 14 percent for women...</p> <p> The data indicate that overall high school GPA is significantly higher among women, but men have significantly higher annual earnings. For this reason, the researchers analyzed men and women separately. Even so, the study finds that a one-point increase in GPA doubles the probability of completing college&mdash;from 21 percent to 42 percent&mdash;for both genders.</p> </blockquote> <p> Yet what&#39;s making headlines is that there is a wage gap between men and women across the board, and men with lower GPAs often out-earn women. <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/05/21/3439865/women-gender-wage-gap-gpa/">ThinkProgress</a> boils it down to this, inflammatory headline: &ldquo;<a href="http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/05/21/3439865/women-gender-wage-gap-gpa/">A Woman With Perfect Grades Is Worth The Same As A Man With A 2.0 Average</a>.&rdquo;</p> <p> The ThinkProgress article makes an interesting, and likely purposeful, conflation that how much one earns is a marker for how much one is &ldquo;worth.&rdquo; We are supposed to read this as evidence that society just doesn&#39;t value women&mdash;even super-smart women&mdash;as much as it does men. Sexism is the reason why that women aren&#39;t earning as much as men, we are supposed to conclude.</p> <p> Of course, in reality, this GPA comparison tells us nothing about why different groups of men and women end up earning what they do. As studies have shown time and time again, men and women tend to make different choices when it comes to work, with women working fewer hours, gravitating to different industries and specialties, taking more time out of the workforce, all of which result in women earning less on average than men do. Yes, not all of the wage gap is explained by these factors, and discrimination may play a role in the wage gap. But it seems the intention of many supposed feminists&mdash;and outlets like &ldquo;ThinkProgress&rdquo;&mdash;to convince women that discrimination is so overwhelming and pervasive that women are all doomed to earn less than we deserve, and that Western Civilization is simply irredeemably sexist.</p> <p> Take this misleading conclusion offered by &ldquo;Think Progress&rdquo;: &ldquo;The finding that even the highest achieving female students can&rsquo;t close the gender wage gap is true for higher education as well.&rdquo;</p> <p> Notice the word &ldquo;can&#39;t&rdquo;. We are supposed to believe that, try as they might, the women who went to the highly selective colleges and universities just &ldquo;can&#39;t&rdquo; find a way to earn more money than the guys who got Cs in their high schools. &nbsp;The sexism is just too overwhelming. &nbsp;Poor Harvard and Yale coeds can&#39;t catch a break. &nbsp;</p> <p> Is this really what is going on? Don&#39;t people understand that women actually play a greater role in determining their life&#39;s course?</p> <p> In fact, there is good reason why women with 4.0s may be earning less than the men with 2.0s: Because they have that luxury. In fact, a study for the <em><a href="http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-04-26/female-mbas-from-elite-schools-more-likely-to-opt-out">Review of Economics of the Household</a></em> found that women who went to <em>more</em> selective graduate programs were <em>less</em> likely to be working later in life:</p> <blockquote> <p> Married mothers who hold an MBA from a top business school are 30 percent less likely to be employed full-time than graduates of less selective programs, according to the research.&nbsp;Also, only 35 percent of females with children who also hold an MBA from the most selective schools were employed full-time, compared with 85 percent of those without children from the same group of institutions.</p> </blockquote> <p> Why would this be? It&#39;s likely because highly-educated women tend to marry highly-educated men. Those men are typically making good money, so that their wives&mdash;especially once they have children&mdash;have the ability to say no to high-earning jobs, to take time out of the workforce while their children are young, or to leave the work-world entirely.</p> <p> The men who earned 2.0s in high school are far less likely to have such options. In fact, they have likely had to work pretty hard and make some sacrifices to try to pull together sufficient earnings to support their families and to make themselves attractive life partners. This is why men tend to take on many of the jobs that seem rather unpleasant and grueling&mdash;such as construction worker, prison guards, sewage workers, truck drivers&mdash;all of which have some downsides (like a far greater risk of injury and death than female-dominated industries). &nbsp;They take on those less-than-pleasant jobs because those positions have to pay pretty well to attract enough workers.</p> <p> Women and men often make different choices about how to allocate their time and talents. &nbsp;You don&#39;t have to look at the statistics to know this. &nbsp;Just look at the world around you. &nbsp;Consider the decisions that you have made and then the decisions that have been made by your peers and the people you grew up with. &nbsp;</p> <p> I happen to be one of those women who got top grades in high school, and went on to top-tier universities. And I just bet that I fit neatly into the picture presented by the ThinkProgress graph and my earnings are no greater than my high school class average. Moreover, I know enough from Facebook to know that some of the other women who were in the top of my class have also prioritized things other than money. Are we to be objects of pity? Are we all victims of rampant sexism?</p> <p> The clear answer is no. &nbsp;So the question is, why does so much of the political class seem determined to mislead us into thinking otherwise?</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2794041/Carrie L. LukasTue, 27 May 2014 08:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumConservatives Can Offer Women Better Policies<hgroup> <p itemprop="headline"> With another set of primaries past us, focus will turn again to November&rsquo;s Congressional contest.&nbsp; Republicans who believe polls look promising may hope to run out the clock, but they can&rsquo;t expect Democrats to cooperate.&nbsp; Undoubtedly, the Left&rsquo;s campaign experts are dusting off their general election playbooks so the public should brace for reruns of the Left&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="http://iwf.org/blog/2793987/Test-Your-Knowledge:-A-Guide-to-the-%22War-on-Women%22" target="_blank">&ldquo;War on Women&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;campaign.</p> </hgroup> <div itemprop="articleBody"> <p> Republicans seem tempted to ignore these attacks.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s understandable: &nbsp;Engaging with those lobbing accusations of sexism seems to hand them a victory just by giving the subject oxygen.&nbsp; Yet wishing the whole &ldquo;War on Women&rdquo; topic will just go away&mdash;or naively believing the media will help expose the rhetoric for what it is, name-calling and politics at its worst&mdash;is also a capitulation.</p> <p> Conservatives have another, better option:&nbsp; enthusiastically jump into the arena of debating which policies will actually benefit women.&nbsp; In doing so, they can highlight who loses under the Democrats&rsquo; so-called &ldquo;Agenda for Women&rdquo;&mdash;spoiler alert:&nbsp; millions of women will pay the biggest costs in terms of lost economic opportunity&mdash;and offer an alternative vision of policies and initiatives that actually advances women&rsquo;s interests.</p> <p> The Democrats talk regularly about the need to help women better balance work and family responsibilities.&nbsp; Yet few bother with how proposed programs, such as a massive new federal paid leave entitlement programs and government-funded childcare initiative, would work in practice.&nbsp; When Americans learn more, they&rsquo;ll see that these programs don&rsquo;t help generally, but serve a subset of parents and create significant new costs for everyone else.&nbsp; The new taxes required to fund these initiatives constitute a small share of those costs.&nbsp; More importantly, women will pay a steep price in terms of more limited economic opportunities, less workplace flexibility, and more constricted childcare options.</p> <p> Take the&nbsp;<a href="http://iwf.org/publications/2792913/Policy-Focus:-The-FAMILY-Act" target="_blank">FAMILY Act</a>, for example, which would dramatically expand the current Family and Medical Leave Act.&nbsp; Proponents make the case that this is necessary because not all Americans have access to adequate paid medical leave.&nbsp; Yet rather than targeting government&rsquo;s efforts at those who really are in need of extra support, this proposal would upend the employment contracts of all working Americans and change the calculations that employers make as they consider new hires.</p> <p> As we&rsquo;ve seen with ObamaCare, working women who like their existing benefit packages should be warned that they might not be able to keep those plans either if this initiative becomes law.&nbsp; Businesses may stop offering their own benefit packages, instead relying on the federal program, so some women could end up with less leave coverage than before.&nbsp; Career-focused women with no plans to have children should also note how this new federal program would shape employers&rsquo; expectations. Managers may note that women workers of childbearing-age are likely to disappear for months-long leave and be reluctant to consider them for leadership positions.</p> <div id="article_container_0_loge" style="margin-left:30px;clear:right;"> <div id="google_ads_iframe_/7175/fdc.forbes/article-new_4__container__"> &nbsp;</div> </div> <p> That&rsquo;s what we see in Europe.&nbsp; While the Left extols Western Europe&rsquo;s generous family leave policies, they fail to mention that women there are far less likely to hold private-sector leadership positions than are American women.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s because there is a cost associated with extensive leave time.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s hard for companies to operate as efficiently when key employees are out for extended periods.&nbsp; One-size-fits-all government programs discourage honest conversations about how to handle such absences.&nbsp; Today some women may prefer to take only a few weeks off after the birth of a child and transition back by working from home or part-time.&nbsp; That can be a win-win for employer and employee.&nbsp; But government&rsquo;s meddling and one-size-fits-all program would cut short such conversations, and stifle flexibility and women&rsquo;s opportunities in the process.</p> <p> Conservatives can offer an alternative vision.&nbsp; Rather than rewriting everyone&rsquo;s employment contract, conservatives should focus assistance on those who truly struggle due to the lack of paid leave benefits.&nbsp; Using the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as a model, they can develop need-based assistance programs for low-wage workers, which can provide economic support but that won&rsquo;t destroy their job opportunities in the process.</p> <p> Conservatives can also focus on the need to provide additional tax relief and support for families broadly.&nbsp; Democrats want government to provide more funding for daycare, but ignore the preferences of parents who overwhelming favor family-care or small, home-based care arrangements over institutional child centers.&nbsp; Such government subsidies don&rsquo;t just provide financial assistance to those choosing institutional childcare; they can change the calculous for other families.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s much harder to ask Grandma to watch the baby when there&rsquo;s a free daycare center available, even if you think that junior is better off when watched by a loved one.&nbsp; Stay-at-home moms may believe they are adding value to their family by providing a loving environment, but it becomes harder to justify forgoing an extra income if they can be costless replaced by the government-subsidized daycare system.</p> <p> Government shouldn&rsquo;t be in the business of skewing parents&rsquo; childrearing choices.&nbsp; Conservatives should offer a plan to consolidate government programs that provide relief for subsets of parents (either through tax deduction or direct spending), and redirect those resources to expand the child tax credit.&nbsp; That would help&nbsp;<em>all</em>&nbsp;parents, regardless of the choices they make about how to care for their children.</p> <p> Similarly conservatives should expose how progressive proposals for &ldquo;equal pay&rdquo; are really just empty rhetoric and an excuse to create more bureaucratic red tape and line the pockets of trial lawyers.&nbsp; They should explain that such government meddling is the enemy of job creation.&nbsp; Does anyone believe that the real key to for job creation and improving women&rsquo;s job prospects is more lawsuits? &nbsp;More bureaucrats? &nbsp;Yet that&rsquo;s all that proposals such as the so-called &ldquo;<a href="http://www.iwf.org/publications/2788151/Paycheck-Fairness-Act" target="_blank">Paycheck Fairness Act</a>&rdquo; offer, and conservatives should make sure the public knows it.</p> <p> The Democrats&rsquo; &ldquo;Agenda for Women&rdquo; is simply another exercise in expanding government, from more workplace regulations to gigantic new entitlement programs.&nbsp; Republicans can explain to voters that their opposition to this plan isn&rsquo;t a &ldquo;War on Women;&rdquo; it&rsquo;s a call for common sense and to recognize that bigger government isn&rsquo;t the answer and is in fact the enemy of job creation. Conservatives can look to a new book released by the YG Network, &ldquo;<a href="http://ygnetwork.org/roomtogrow/">Room to Grow: Conservative Reforms for a Limited Government and a Thriving Middle Class</a>,&rdquo; for more positive solutions that will grow the economy and truly help Americans.</p> <p> Rather than feeling doomed by political tactics like the &ldquo;War on Women&rdquo; campaign smear, Conservatives should approach these conversations with confidence:&nbsp; They have a better vision for the future, and can offer women far better solutions than their opponents.&nbsp; Now, it&rsquo;s time to make that case.</p> <p> <em>Carrie Lukas is the managing director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, and a chapter contributor to t</em><em>he YG Network&rsquo;s new book &ldquo;</em><a href="http://ygnetwork.org/roomtogrow/"><em>Room to Grow: Conservative Reforms for a Limited Government and a Thriving Middle Class</em></a><em>.&rdquo;</em></p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/news/2794023/Carrie L. LukasFri, 23 May 2014 08:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPaid Menstrual Leave?<p> There is always a challenge in writing about the problems that come with government-mandated benefits: It&#39;s so easy to see the benefits that flow from employment mandates&mdash;the paid time off, insurance coverage, etc.&mdash;but harder to identify all the costs, though they are just as real, and are often weightier than the benefits.</p> <p> I&#39;ve recently written about this topic, focusing specifically on the <a href="http://www.iwf.org/publications/2792913/Policy-Focus:-The-FAMILY-Act">FAMILY Act</a>, a proposed massive expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Certainly some women would be better off under the FAMILY Act, as they would enjoy paid leave time that they previously lacked. &nbsp;But the FAMILY Act would also create many losers: women who would lose their more generous, employer-provided leave packages, and the women who would have lower pay and fewer job opportunities since employers would be more reluctant to offer leadership positions to women who may take two months leave each year.</p> <p> I would hope that these tradeoffs would come more clearly into focus as the public hears more discussion of yet another potential government leave mandate: paid menstrual leave.</p> <p> You read that right. In some countries, employers already must allow women to take time off during their periods.</p> <p> This article in <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/05/should-women-get-paid-menstrual-leave-days/370789/"><em>The Atlantic</em></a> thankfully acknowledges the many problems associated with creating such a leave policy. Such a mandate may contribute to the idea that women are the &ldquo;weaker sex&rdquo; and that menstruation is an affliction which impairs judgment. In other countries, women attempting to exercise these leave rights have been subject to humiliating calls by employers to &quot;prove&quot; that they are eligible at that time.</p> <p> Overlooked in this article, however, are the costs created by such leave policies for employers. The Left often seems to forget this, but employers hire people because they actually need a job done. When people can&#39;t show up for work--regardless of the reason--that&#39;s a problem for those companies. Employers know this, so surely take into account the likelihood that potential employees won&#39;t show up when they are making employment decisions.</p> <p> If a manager thought that a potential worker would be out two working days out of every 28, she would surely take that into consideration when deciding whether to hire and how much to pay that worker. That means that women&mdash;regardless of whether they plan on exercising their menstrual leave rights&mdash;would be at a disadvantage. They become less attractive hires compared to men.</p> <p> Such articles about leave time invariable include a disgusted reference to the U.S.&#39;s lack of a paid sick or maternity leave mandate. Yet overlooked is that fact that overwhelming most full-time employees have access to such benefits. That&#39;s because most employers see women as valuable employees. They offer these benefits so that women will want to work for them.</p> <p> As I detail in a chapter for a forthcoming book by the <a href="http://ygnetwork.org/roomtogrow/">YG Network</a>, most women have access to maternity leave and even paid maternity leave. Yes, the lack of paid maternity leave creates hardship for some women&mdash;and policymakers could consider policies to help specifically the low-income, working women for whom this is a real hardship&mdash;but they should recognize that creating a one-size-fits-all leave policy for all American workers will create as many problems as it solves. The lack of this type of regulation, after all, is one of the reasons why U.S. women are more likely to be in leadership positions than their European peers who have access to months of generous, government provided, paid leave.</p> <p> Those honestly concerned about advancing women&#39;s economic interests should at least acknowledge these costs as a part of the conversation. That principle applies to maternity leave as well as to &ldquo;menstrual leave,&rdquo; and anything else that advocates of evermore government regulation may dream up next.</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2793970/Carrie L. LukasMon, 19 May 2014 12:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGender & Workplace Mentoring: Not All Women Need Help<p> <em>What role should gender play &mdash; if any &mdash; in workplace mentoring? Here are two points of view.</em></p> <p> Americans are regularly told that too few women are fulfilling their career potential, by joining corporate boards or becoming <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-05-18/business/ct-gender-workplace-lukas-outside-opinion-0518-biz-20140518_1_professional-women-gender-differences-independent-women">CEOs</a>&nbsp;of Fortune 500 companies. Mentoring programs are among the solutions advanced for this purported problem.</p> <p> Mentoring programs can be a positive force and assist some&nbsp;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-05-18/business/ct-gender-workplace-lukas-outside-opinion-0518-biz-20140518_1_professional-women-gender-differences-independent-women">professional</a>&nbsp;women in advancing their careers. That&#39;s why there are already numerous national organizations, as well as myriad government and university-based programs dedicated to supporting women&#39;s careers.</p> <p> Yet ultimately, we should move beyond this fixation on gender differences in the workplace. We want people &mdash; women and men alike &mdash; to be encouraged to pursue their dreams, whether they aspire to run a company, launch a small&nbsp;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-05-18/business/ct-gender-workplace-lukas-outside-opinion-0518-biz-20140518_1_professional-women-gender-differences-independent-women">business</a>&nbsp;or prioritize family life as their primary calling.</p> <p> Politicians obsess about aggregate differences in the outcomes of men and women as groups, but people should understand that those statistics are driven by the different choices made by millions of individual human beings. Surveys consistently show men and women (particularly those with children) generally have different goals for their careers. For example, in a 2013 report, the Pew Research Center found that while 75 percent of fathers with children under 18 saw full-time work as their ideal, just 32 percent of mothers preferred full-time jobs. Forty percent of&nbsp;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-05-18/business/ct-gender-workplace-lukas-outside-opinion-0518-biz-20140518_1_professional-women-gender-differences-independent-women">working</a>&nbsp;fathers said &quot;high pay&quot; was important, compared to 30 percent of working mothers.</p> <p> These different attitudes are not problems that must be solved, but are priorities that deserve our respect.</p> <p> Some women may welcome the opportunity for additional mentoring, but others may find the notion a little patronizing. Women don&#39;t all need extra&nbsp;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-05-18/business/ct-gender-workplace-lukas-outside-opinion-0518-biz-20140518_1_professional-women-gender-differences-independent-women">help</a>. There are plenty of go-getter women who are creating their own networks and charging up the ladder just fine without attending a seminar. This constant call for additional support and protection for women may inadvertently feed the tired notion of women as the &quot;weaker sex&quot; that requires allowances in the corporate world.</p> <p> Such women might also note that there are plenty of men in greater need of extra help. Our economy is increasingly geared to&nbsp;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-05-18/business/ct-gender-workplace-lukas-outside-opinion-0518-biz-20140518_1_professional-women-gender-differences-independent-women">education</a>&nbsp;and communication skills, areas in which women are outpacing men. Men&#39;s workforce participation rate fell from 75.8 percent in 1992 to 70.2 in 2012, and keeps declining. That&#39;s a situation as worthy of attention as women&#39;s perceived failure to be all they can be.</p> <p> Let&#39;s truly give women the respect they deserve and stop viewing the workworld as a battle between the sexes.</p> <p> <em>Carrie Lukas is managing director of the Independent Women&#39;s Forum, which aims to increase the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty.</em></p> http://iwf.org/news/2793973/Carrie L. LukasSun, 18 May 2014 08:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumA Job-Destroying High Minimum Wage Won't Help Women <p> Americans have learned first-hand an important economic lesson from their experience with ObamaCare.&nbsp;&nbsp; Proponents of the law had sold the minimum insurance benefit requirements as a gift to consumers.&nbsp; Your insurance requires a copay for contraception? Not anymore!&nbsp; You didn&#39;t have pediatric dental coverage? Nevermind that you have no children, you&#39;ll now have this coverage as well!&nbsp; Americans were told that the plans they had prior to ObamaCare that didn&#39;t include all these benefits really weren&#39;t good enough for them, and they&#39;d be better off with the new government-improved package.</p> <p> Then <a href="http://mycancellation.com/">cancellation notices</a> started coming in and Americans were socked with huge insurance cost increases, because&mdash;surprise, surprise&mdash;it&#39;s more expensive to provide ObamaCare&#39;s more comprehensive, required benefit package and those costs have to come from somewhere.&nbsp; Millions of Americans found that they missed the insurance deal that their government minders said wasn&#39;t good enough.&nbsp; The Administration ended up having to backtrack to encourage insurance companies to reissue those more affordable insurance contracts with fewer frills.</p> <p> This lesson is worth lingering on as the Senate debates raising the federal minimum wage regulation today.&nbsp; This is another instance in which the government is telling Americans that it knows what is good for them&mdash;and what isn&#39;t good enough.&nbsp; Those supporting the new minimum wage law are saying that no employment contract that pays less than $10.10 should be acceptable for any American worker.&nbsp;</p> <p> The teen-ager and new immigrant currently working their first job for $8 an hour at the local fast food joint are invited to assume that they will enjoy a 25 percent pay increase once this new law takes affect.&nbsp; Maybe.&nbsp; But they may also be about to receive a pink slip and find that there is no one willing to hire them for $10.10 an hour at all.&nbsp; How exactly does this help these people? How is robbing those with few skills of job opportunities compassionate?&nbsp;</p> <p> The <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/02/18/congressional-budget-office-report-finds-minimum-wage-lifts-wages-165-million-worker">Left</a> argues that there really isn&#39;t a relationship between higher employment cost and the availability of jobs.&nbsp; Yet <a href="http://www.iwf.org/publications/2791929/Policy-Focus:-Minimum-Wage">common sense</a> and <a href="http://ftp.iza.org/dp2570.pdf">sound economic analysis</a> say otherwise.&nbsp; The <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/feb/18/minimum-wage-hike-would-kill-half-million-jobs-cbo/">Congressional Budget Office</a> is the most recent to weigh in on this debate and estimated that the Democrats&#39; proposed rate hike would result in 500,000 fewer jobs.</p> <p> Proponents of the higher minimum wage have also argued that the rate increase will be a boon to women, since women account for about <a href="http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2012tbls.htm#7">two-thirds</a> of minimum wage workers.&nbsp; Yet this statistic shows that women are, in fact, far more vulnerable to the potential job loss caused by the new proposed regulation.&nbsp; Women also account for nearly two-thirds (<a href="http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2012tbls.htm#7">about 63 percent</a>) of part-time workers, and part-time workers are more likely to earn the minimum wage.&nbsp; As the minimum wage goes up, these women may find that their part-time jobs are cut and consolidated.&nbsp; That&#39;s bad news for those who had sought out a part time schedule to balance their work and family responsibilities.&nbsp;</p> <p> Women are also concerned about the job prospects for their children.&nbsp; Right now the <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t02.htm">unemployment rate</a> for African-American 16-19 year-olds is a staggering 36 percent (that&#39;s twice the rate as for white teens, which is still at a shockingly high 18 percent).&nbsp; Moms know that first jobs are far more valuable than the paycheck they bring home, but are critical to building a resume and the skills needed for future, better, higher-paying jobs.</p> <p> Senate Democrats are sure to talk a lot today about how minimum wage workers are underpaid and are not getting what they deserve.&nbsp; But Americans need to keep in mind that these government regulation come with a price&mdash;and those paying the price will be the low-skilled workers who are robbed of the opportunity to get a job and begin their climb up the economic ladder. &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/news/2793841/Carrie L. LukasWed, 30 Apr 2014 08:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum