Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News, Commentary and Blog posts from the Independent Women's Foundation.(...)IWF RSS average Americans concerned more about Russia or healthcare and tax Reform? • Coast to Coast L. LukasFri, 16 Jun 2017 12:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy Emotionally Abusive Women Are Given a Pass in Pop Culture<p> Cultural commentary is usually interesting because it&rsquo;s easy to relate to. Even if you don&rsquo;t agree with the author&rsquo;s conclusion or any soft political message, you recognize the scenes and situations that the writer describes. Yet as I read <a href="">Karen Rinaldi&rsquo;s article</a> in Motto (an online project of Time), I thought she must live on another planet. Here is how she sets the stage:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend about another friend&rsquo;s husband who had called his wife a &ldquo;stupid bitch&rdquo; in front of their daughters in a moment of anger. He later apologized to the family. He&rsquo;d had a hard day at the office. He didn&rsquo;t really mean what he&rsquo;d said, and he&rsquo;d humbled himself in front of his wife and kids. We knew that he was basically a good guy.&nbsp;Basically a good guy&hellip;.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> What is the female equivalent to that catch phrase? There isn&rsquo;t one. Men are forgiven for behaving badly because the assumption is that underneath it all they are basically well intentioned. They can&rsquo;t help themselves from being belligerent or abusive, because, well, &ldquo;it&rsquo;s what men do.&rdquo; This generalization is entirely unfair: unfair to men who do not behave badly and unfair to men who do &mdash; and need help &mdash; and unfair to women.</p> <p> I don&rsquo;t know where she lives or who her friends are, but I cannot imagine anyone I know shrugging off a husband calling his wife &ldquo;stupid bitch&rdquo;&mdash;particularly in front of children, but even if they were alone&mdash;as the forgivable transgression of a good guy having a bad day. It&rsquo;s not that my friends wouldn&rsquo;t be able to forgive him, but they&rsquo;d see it as a symptom, at least, of larger anger issues that overshadow any other &ldquo;good guy&rdquo; traits. The verdict would be that he needs help since his behavior was completely out of bounds.</p> <p> Rinaldi&rsquo;s other examples&mdash;a man who makes a sexist remark at a meeting or a man who insults his date in front of his friends&mdash;might be shrugged off as anomalies, depending on their specifics. Did the man perhaps think the &ldquo;insult&rdquo; of his date was a teasing jest? Could the sexist remark have been careless phrasing? Those more shades-of-gray incidents might earn someone the &ldquo;good guy&rdquo; pass.</p> <p> But Rinaldi insists that women are far less likely to have their own bad behavior excused, writing:</p> <p> When has anyone ever heard, as a pardon for a woman&rsquo;s bad behavior, &ldquo;She is basically a good woman?&rdquo; Never. Because as frequently as we hear, &ldquo;He&rsquo;s basically a good guy,&rdquo; we also hear, &ldquo;She&rsquo;s such a bitch.&rdquo; Women are not so readily forgiven for their transgressions, no matter how small.</p> <p> But this doesn&rsquo;t ring true with my experience either. She&rsquo;s right that I&rsquo;ve never heard the phrase, &ldquo;She&rsquo;s basically a good woman,&rdquo; but I&rsquo;ve heard plenty of excuses like &ldquo;she&rsquo;s under so much stress&rdquo; or &ldquo;she&rsquo;s juggling so much&rdquo; to explain why a woman yelled harshly at her kids, over-reacted to a perceived slight at work, or was rude to a colleague or friend.</p> <p> In fact, when it comes to relations between the sexes or within couples, I&rsquo;ve seen far more women treat their husbands badly in public than the reverse. Certainly there is deplorable treatment of women showcased in rap music and violent video games, but in most of society, women seem to have far greater license to mistreat and belittle men. Men in commercials and sitcoms are routinely characterized as bumbling Homer Simpson-style morons; intellectuals routinely ponder if it&rsquo;s <a href="">The End of Men</a> and ask <a href="">Are Men Necessary?</a> and appear not to feel at all uncomfortable with effectively devaluing half of our population.</p> <p> This double standard is everywhere. The day after I read Rinaldi&rsquo;s article, I saw a sign outside of a bar that read:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> HUSBAND DAYCARE CENTRE</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Need time to relax?</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Need time for yourself?</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Want to do shopping?</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Leave your husband with us!</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Standard package: 1 Glass of wine</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Delux [sic] package: 1 bottle of wine &amp; carbonara</p> <p> Granted, I was in Malta, but this kind of marketing gimmick is common in the U.S. as well. Everyone I was with chuckled when we saw it, but we all agreed that one would never see the same sign offering daycare for a wife. It would be considered entirely inappropriate to suggest, even jokingly, that an adult woman is in need of &ldquo;daycare&rdquo; and that it&rsquo;s the husband&rsquo;s duty to find a place to park her for the day so he can have some fun.</p> <p> Rinaldi&rsquo;s perspective seems driven by her frustration with Donald Trump&rsquo;s election, in spite of the infamous Billy Bush tape, in which he made graphic, vulgar remarks about women. But this overlooks that Trump survived that scandal in spite of Americans&rsquo; disgust with that tape and his behavior. Voters had to weigh all of the personal failings of both candidates and their different visions for the country when deciding whom to support. That doesn&rsquo;t mean they endorsed what he did or would accept such behavior in other circumstances.</p> <p> Rinaldi also suggests that women, particularly in the wake of Trump&rsquo;s election, have little power or voice in influencing society or how these debates unfold. That belittles the tremendously important role that women play in setting the boundaries of what&rsquo;s acceptable&mdash;as teachers, mothers, community and business leaders. She&rsquo;s right that we shouldn&rsquo;t excuse men&rsquo;s truly bad behavior, but we also shouldn&rsquo;t overlook our own responsibility to create an environment that judges both sexes fairly and treats everyone with respect.</p> L. LukasThu, 1 Jun 2017 10:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy we can't run budget deficits forever • Coast To Coast L. LukasTue, 23 May 2017 13:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTime for the Much-Needed Discussion about How to Help Parents Who Need Leave<p> The President&#39;s budget isn&#39;t so much a blue print of how the chief executive believes Congress should appropriate tax dollars as much as a document reconfirming his priorities. &nbsp;And this budget reassures voters that the President remains committed to reforming our health care system, strengthening border security and national defense, improving our infrastructure system, and enacting comprehensive tax reform.&nbsp; That&#39;s good news to Trump&#39;s supporters who elected him based on this platform.&nbsp;</p> <p> Yet this budget also shows that he also remains committed to doing something to ensure that more women and men have access to paid time off.&nbsp; He campaigned on this promise, and first daughter Ivanka has made it one of her signature issues.&nbsp; The initial budget documents that have been released so far reiterate the approach to paid leave that was outlined during the campaign, but with important clarifications, including that fathers and adoptive parents, as well as new mothers, would be eligible for this new benefit: &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-left:35.45pt;"> <strong>Support Families and Children. </strong>The <em>Budget</em> proposes a fully paid-for proposal to provide six weeks of paid family leave to new mothers and fathers, including adoptive parents, so all families can afford to take time to recover from childbirth and bond with a new child without worrying about paying their bills. &nbsp;Building on the Unemployment Insurance System as a base, the <em>Budget</em> proposes to allow States to establish paid parental leave programs that are most appropriate for their workforce and economy.</p> <p> Many conservatives will recoil from the idea of expanding an entitlement program, when our country is already sinking under the unfunded liabilities of Social Security, Medicare, Disability, and others. To a fiscal conservative, adding tens of billion more to this tab seems a big step in the wrong direction.&nbsp; Yet conservatives should wait for more details about how exactly this new benefit would work and consider the bigger picture of this issue before rejecting it.&nbsp;</p> <p> Public discussions about paid leave benefits greatly exaggerate the extent of the problem, overlooking that&mdash;in spite of their being no legal requirement for business to provide workers with paid time off&mdash;<a href="">the majority of full-time workers</a> do have paid leave time, including time that can be used following the birth or adoption of a child.&nbsp;</p> <p> Rhetoric about the United States being a worse labor environment for women than Zimbabwe is clearly absurd, but that doesn&#39;t mean there aren&#39;t people&mdash;particularly women&mdash;who struggle because they lack paid leave benefits from their jobs.&nbsp; Finding a mechanism to help people with incomes too low to save on their own for periods when they will be unable to work and who lack employer-provided paid leave benefits seems like a legitimate role for a social safety net.&nbsp; In fact, supporting those workers seems like a far better use of public assistance than plenty of our other entitlement systems&rsquo; beneficiaries, from the consistently growing Social Security benefits going to wealthy seniors to the routinely-abused disability system.&nbsp;</p> <p> Conservatives should also note the danger of embracing a &ldquo;just-say-no&rdquo; strategy on any proposal related to paid leave. Increasingly, states and cities are pursuing their own mandates and programs.&nbsp; If those efforts continue to be successful, they could create enormous administrative and human resource headaches for national businesses forced to comply with a patchwork of requirements.&nbsp; Those businesses and industries that have opposed government mandates could ultimately start advocating for a one-size-fits-all system that would at least be less complicated.&nbsp; This could build momentum for a far more sweeping entitlement or employer-mandate. &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> Rather conservatives ought to work to ensure that this effort is targeted to those who really need it&mdash;workers with lower incomes and who lack paid leave benefits&mdash;but doesn&#39;t needlessly up-end the employment contracts of the majority of full-time workers who like their current benefit arrangements or who have the resources to make provisions on their own.&nbsp; We don&#39;t want a new paid leave entitlement program to do to our compensation system what Obamacare did to health insurance. Conservatives need to focus on preserving true flexibility and choice.&nbsp; After all, some workers don&#39;t want or need paid leave benefits, would rather have higher take-home pay and make their own provisions, and that ought to be their right.&nbsp;</p> <p> Americans understand that there is a trade-off between more generous benefits and take home pay.&nbsp; They also intuitively understand how these efforts &ndash; which are sold as a boon to women &ndash; run the risk of backfiring on women by making them less attractive potential hires.&nbsp; Research from <a href="">Europe</a> shows that this isn&#39;t just a theoretical possibility.&nbsp; Generous family leave programs are associated with lower pay and reduced opportunities for women, which should give anyone who cares about women&#39;s advancement pause.</p> <p> This should be the beginning of a rigorous discussion on the pros and cons of different approaches to helping workers who could use more support when they need time-off from work.&nbsp; Conservatives should be ready to explain the pitfalls and downsides of these proposals, but shouldn&#39;t shy away from having this discussion. &nbsp;</p> L. LukasTue, 23 May 2017 10:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Complicated Economics of Women and Work <p> <a href="">Bloomberg</a> has a piece out today warning that economists are &ldquo;worried&rdquo; about the economic implications of women&rsquo;s decisions about how to balance work and family. Women&rsquo;s workforce participation has dipped since its peak two decades ago, and encouraging more women to work outside the home could boost our economy. Torsten&nbsp;Slok, chief international economist at Deutsche Bank, has some advice for the U.S.:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> &ldquo;To keep women and men productive in the labor market, it is a good idea to have supporting institutions that can ease some of the burdens of both single parents and married couples with children.&rdquo;</p> <p> That&rsquo;s certainly sound advice. We should focus on how to help families and make sure our institutions support them. Those institutions ought to include extended families, neighbors, and communities. &nbsp;And, of course, it should also include workplaces and the government should create public policies that help in that process. <a href="">Childcare</a> is certainly more expensive than it needs to be, and we should consider how to make it easier for businesses to <a href="">create more jobs</a> and provide <a href=";t=Letter:-IWV-Supports-the-Working-Families-Flexibility-Act">greater flexibility</a> to workers.</p> <p> Yet those aren&rsquo;t really the institutions or policies that&nbsp;these economists or Bloomberg&rsquo;s report is referring to. They want America to embrace the European approach and have the government provide or require businesses to provide extensive paid leave and other benefits.</p> <p> Americans ought to be aware of the downsides of embracing Germany&rsquo;s approach to supporting parents. For example, Germany&rsquo;s extensive paid leave benefits for new parent can make life easier&nbsp;and encourage women to stay connected to the workforce, rather than dropping out when their baby is young. But it also has considerable downsides. &nbsp;While Germany&rsquo;s labor force participation rate is higher than the United States&rsquo; for women of childbearing age, German women are far less likely than U.S. women to be professionals or in leadership positions.</p> <p> Having lived in Germany, <a href="'s-No-Magic-Bullet.">I wrote</a>&nbsp;about the very real drawbacks to these policies, which undoubtedly are well intended, but certainly create the perception that women are likely to disappear from their jobs for long stretches of time, making them less attractive business leaders. It&rsquo;s also worth noting that Germany&rsquo;s wage gap remains about the same as the United States.</p> <p> Working families and particularly working women do need more support, but they also need policymakers to carefully consider the full impact of the policies that they promote in their name.</p> L. LukasThu, 18 May 2017 15:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumStatement: Mothers Need More Support But Sheryl Sandberg's Mother's Day Proposals Won't Give Women the Break they Deserve<p> <strong>FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE</strong><br /> May 14, 2017<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p align="center"> <img alt="" height="95" hspace="NaN" src="" vspace="NaN" width="500" /></p> <p align="center"> <span style="font-size:18px"><strong>STATEMENT</strong></span></p> <p align="center"> <span style="font-size:18px"><strong>MOTHERS NEED MORE SUPPORT BUT SHERYL SANDBERG&#39;S MOTHER&#39;S DAY PROPOSALS WON&#39;T GIVE WOMEN THE BREAK THEY DESERVE</strong></span></p> <p> WASHINGTON D.C. &ndash; In a Mother&#39;s Day post Sheryl Sandberg calls for public policies to benefit moms in the U.S. including higher minimum wage and paid family leave. Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum (IWF) Managing Director Carrie Lukas responded to Sandberg&#39;s post:</p> <p> &quot;Sheryl Sandberg is right that mothers need more support in all that they do to make our families and our country run. Unfortunately though the proposals she calls for -- such as requiring that all companies provide paid leave benefits and a higher minimum wage -- can sadly backfire on women by making job opportunities more scarce and reducing take home pay.</p> <p> &quot;What women<em> really</em> need is more opportunity and more resources so they can decide what&#39;s best for their families. We need to get rid of the bureaucratic red tape that is making it hard for businesses to create jobs and cut wasteful government spending that does nothing for families and enriches the politically connected. We need government to give a pay raise to all working families in the form of long overdue tax relief. That would really help give mothers the break and support they deserve.&quot;</p> <p> Last year IWF released&nbsp;<a href=""><em>Working for Women: A Modern Agenda for Improving Women&#39;s Lives</em></a><a href="">,&nbsp;</a>a report&nbsp;advancing reforms that will empower women and address the challenges they face.</p> <p> <em>Working for Women</em>&nbsp;has received extensive attention from lawmakers and media. The report presents an economic agenda that would help women and their families and modernize our public policies without growing government.&nbsp;That&mdash;not a day dedicated to manufactured feminist grievances&mdash;would be something to celebrate.</p> <p> <strong><em>Working for Women: A Modern Agenda for Improving Women&#39;s Lives</em>&nbsp;is available for download&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1491338551427000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFZ-f0aYdN8RQIdBJDR_Zt5JLUacQ" href="">HERE</a><a href="">.&nbsp;</a></strong></p> <p align="center"> ####</p> <p align="center"> <a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1491339126450000&amp;usg=AFQjCNH4XsXj5rNUaCaHL80-vQVLE3t9Tw" href="" target="_blank"></a></p> <p> <em>Independent Women&#39;s Forum works to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free-markets and personal liberty.&nbsp;</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>MEDIA CONTACT</strong><br /> Victoria Coley &bull; VP of Communications<br /> 443.758.6077 &bull;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> L. LukasSun, 14 May 2017 12:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum"May The Fourth" Gone Wrong At This One Wisconsin School • Tucker Carlson Tonight L. LukasFri, 5 May 2017 14:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy Breastfeeding Reinforces ‘Gender Stereotypes,’ According to Social Justice Warriors<p> Women pregnant for the first time are hit with a lot of new information. They start learning details about pregnancy, child birth, and babies that are rarely observable to nonparents. Quickly they also see how politically-charged much of parenting is. Your choices about how and where to give birth, where your newborn will sleep, and how you will feed, clothe, and raise your baby aren&rsquo;t just an expression of your preferences, but are often taken as markers of your world view. It can make already stressful decisions even more so.</p> <p> Breastfeeding is one of the biggest political hot button topics in the parenting sphere. When I was becoming a mom in 2005, pressure to breastfeed was intense. Pregnant women were lectured that breast milk was strongly associated with all sorts of positive outcomes for junior: fewer illnesses, better health outcomes, less of a risk for obesity, and higher IQs. The implication was that formula wasn&rsquo;t just inferior; it was bad for children. Breastfeeding was natural, while formula was some manufactured, chemical-laden soup produced by big businesses that cared little for our babies&rsquo; health.</p> <p> I was lucky: My daughter nursed easily and my flexible work situation allowed me to continue for well over a year. Some of my friends weren&rsquo;t so lucky. Almost every woman I knew had wanted to breastfeed, but many faced big challenges: babies who wouldn&rsquo;t latch, breast infections, and tough work schedules. They weren&rsquo;t just disappointed, but suffered from tremendous guilt given the message from every public health expert and parenting authority that they were failing their children and that the consequences for doing so would be long lasting.</p> <p> In the years since, <a href="">studies</a> have quietly revealed that the supposed health benefits of breastfeeding are much more modest than had been advertised. The findings that suggested breast milk was an elixir tended not to control properly for incredibly important socioeconomic factors. Basically, moms who breastfeed tend to have more money and education than moms who don&rsquo;t, so it&rsquo;s just as likely that those factors, not the breastfeeding, explain the better outcomes. We&rsquo;ve also become more aware in the last decade that women tend to have too little vitamin D, which means their breastmilk does too. <a href="">Breastfed babies</a> need vitamin D supplements to make sure they aren&rsquo;t missing out.</p> <p> Suddenly formula doesn&rsquo;t seem like such a bad option. Sadly, getting a straight answer on the pros and cons of breastfeeding isn&rsquo;t easy, especially since one has the sense that public health officials are loath to reverse or even soften their guidance on the issue. There are plenty of groups&mdash;breast feeding advocates, women&rsquo;s groups who champion regulations to require businesses to provide women with dedicated nursing rooms, environmentalist and naturalists who simply oppose alternatives to mother nature&mdash;that are heavily vested in the status quo.</p> <p> Yet now, it appears a new twist in our politically-correct priorities could change the dynamic and politics of public debate about breastfeeding. A new study by Pediatrics warns against calling breastfeeding &ldquo;natural&rdquo; since that reinforces traditional expectations for genders and mothers being the primary caretakers of their babies. As <a href="">Tom Knighton</a> at PJ Media sums it up:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Those aligned with the &ldquo;party of science&rdquo; have been, ironically, finding sillier and sillier ways to pretend that biology isn&rsquo;t science.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> For example, nature&mdash;not intellect&mdash;created breastfeeding, so by definition breastfeeding is natural. However, a major medical journal has&nbsp;just published a study arguing that calling nature &ldquo;natural&rdquo; is &ldquo;<a href="">unethical</a>,&rdquo; because truth&nbsp;is problematic or something.</p> <p> I&rsquo;ve long hoped that public officials would stop overstating breastfeeding&rsquo;s benefits and stop trying to guilt women about their failure to breastfeed long enough. Yet it&rsquo;s maddening that the change should result not from a reassessment of the facts, but rather due to kowtowing to political correctness.</p> <p> Clearly breastfeeding is natural. That doesn&rsquo;t mean it&rsquo;s the only way or even the best way to feed your baby, but we ought to be willing to acknowledge that mother nature did give females a pretty amazing power to generate food for their offspring (for free!). That&rsquo;s something for women and new moms to feel good about. We don&rsquo;t need to try to insist that it&rsquo;ll lead to a higher IQ or lower BMI for your child, or imply that formula isn&rsquo;t a perfectly healthy and nutritious alternative for those for whom breast feeding isn&rsquo;t an option. But it is a capability that new moms can be proud of.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s past time to get politics out of this personal issue. Each new mom deserves the best information about the pros and cons of breastfeeding and formula in terms of health, without politically-correct &ldquo;gender neutral framing&rdquo; or a heaping of unnecessary guilt to go with it.</p> L. LukasThu, 4 May 2017 10:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumReal Choice When It Comes to Where to Live<p> More than ever, Americans expect to have a lot of choice about what we buy and how we live.&nbsp;&nbsp; Someone buying a new car expects to be able to customize it with the features that make sense for our unique families.&nbsp; We pick out furniture and fabrics from just about anywhere on the globe, and evaluate a long list of service providers on one of the many internet sites dedicated to presenting us with an&nbsp;often-overwhelming list of choices.</p> <p> Of course, one of the biggest choices that Americans make is where to live:&nbsp; Do we want to live in an urban environment, a close-knit neighborhood with sidewalks and cul-de-sacs, or somewhere more rural?&nbsp; When renting an apartment or buying a house, we consider tradeoffs between cost and amount of space, quality of local schools and length of commute, and a multitude of other factors.</p> <p> Here&rsquo;s another choice that Americans ought to be able to make:&nbsp; Whether to live in a location where home owners can rent out their homes on a daily basis.&nbsp; Many will consider the option of living in an area that allows short-term rentals to be a big plus.&nbsp; Having the ability to rent out your home on a per-night basis means that you can earn income when you need it.&nbsp; Even if you don&rsquo;t want to use your home as a short-term rental, having that option may be attractive to future buyers, boosting home values.</p> <p> But many others may prefer <em>not</em> to live near short-term rentals.&nbsp; Parents with small children who don&rsquo;t want traffic on their street or strangers on their sidewalks may prefer somewhere that stipulates that homeowners are not allowed to run their property&nbsp;as a private hotel.&nbsp; People moving into an apartment building may not want to share common living space, such as hallways, lobbies and even walls with strangers who are just visiting for a short time, and who may stay up late, create more noise, or fail to pick up after themselves as those with a long-term interest and reputation in the building.</p> <p> Those objecting to local ordinances that would designate where people can and cannot operate a short-term rental often argue that such laws limit people&rsquo;s choices and their freedom to use their private property. Yet this argument overlooks how the failure to create a variety of communities with different rules also limits people&rsquo;s options and their freedom to live in a neighborhood that reflects their preferences.&nbsp; Wanting to live somewhere that doesn&rsquo;t include a private hotel is just as legitimate a preference as wanting to operate that hotel, which is why communities ought to be free to make rules over the practice that fit their residences&rsquo; preferences.</p> <p> Such limitations on private property use are nothing new.&nbsp; Cities and towns have long set rules and zoning laws about where for-profit businesses can operate and be made open to the public.&nbsp; Homeowners associations often set other rules limiting options for those who want to live in their area:&nbsp; the style of house, the color of homes, potential for additions, even the color and style of fences and mailboxes.&nbsp; Just as we recognize that some people may welcome the opportunity to live where everyone is required to paint their home beige, we should also respect that some people might also prefer to live where homes can only be occupied by long-term residents and their (nonpaying) guests.</p> <p> Ideally, these laws should be as localized as possible, so that people can truly have options about what type of community they prefer to live in and the laws would reflect the preferences of those residents. &nbsp;Policymakers ought to recognize the pros and cons of too sweeping laws or regulations and seek to find a balance:&nbsp; Outlawing the innovative use of private property for commerce will drive away visitors and entrepreneurs, and be a drag on the local economy; failing to give people the choice to live in a truly residential environment will also deter families from settling there.</p> <p> For me, I&rsquo;ve loved using short-term rentals&nbsp;when traveling:&nbsp; Finding space for my large family with five kids can often be challenging&mdash;and prohibitively expensive&mdash;in a traditional hotel.&nbsp; The availability of short-term rentals has made it much easier for us to travel and show our kids different parts of the world.&nbsp; Yet when choosing where to live, I wouldn&rsquo;t want to live in an area that allowed short-term lodging.&nbsp; With five kids, I want to know my neighbors and for those neighbors to know that kids might be riding bikes along the street.</p> <p> A part of buying into a neighborhood is buying into their rules; in fact, that&rsquo;s a much more important choice than house color or style.</p> L. LukasTue, 2 May 2017 08:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTrump Gets to Work Putting Americans to Work<p> With the overwhelmingly negative media coverage of President Trump, it&rsquo;s easy to miss all that has already been accomplished by this administration. This first 100 days has been dedicated to quietly but diligently rolling back the tremendous regulatory burdens that was heaped on businesses during the Obama administration, and restoring the rule of law.</p> <p> These accomplishments will soon begin paying dividends for the American people with more and better job opportunities and a growing economy.</p> <p> Just as the previous administration used executive orders to empower the administrative bureaucracies to create policy and heavily regulate the economy, President Trump is using the presidential pen to remove this red tape. Trump&rsquo;s Energy Independence Executive Order was the first step in reversing President Obama&rsquo;s Clean Power Plan. That Obama-era executive order sought drastically to limit carbon-emissions from power plants, which it claimed was a necessary measure for combatting global warming.</p> <p> Yet while these regulations would have imposed crushing costs of America&rsquo;s economy, they would have done very little to actual affect global warming&rsquo;s trajectory. Analysts using the EPA&rsquo;s own climate-model emulator found that Clean Power Plan rules would result in minuscule change of less than a two-hundredths of a degree Celsius change by 2100.</p> <p> That paltry result would come at a cost of millions of lost jobs (the National Black Chamber of Commerce estimated that blacks and Hispanics alone would suffer 19 million lost jobs by 2035 as a result of the Clean Power Plan), nearly $500 billion in compliance costs for businesses, and double-digit electricity rate increases for families in most states. Getting rid of just this one set of EPA rules is a tremendous boon to the economy and will mean more jobs for American workers.</p> <p> Yet that&rsquo;s just one way that Trump has sought to help get Americans back to work. He greenlighted permits for the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines &mdash; important energy projects with the potential to create thousands of good jobs. Additional executive orders will help roll back other unnecessary, job-destroying regulations and &mdash; even more important &mdash; encourage agencies to embrace a cost-benefit-analysis approach to regulating moving forward.</p> <p> Trump appointed the 49-year-old Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court to replace the late Antonin Scalia, restoring the Supreme Court&rsquo;s previous balance and ensuring that the court will look to the letter of laws, rather than allow judges to make policy from the bench. This is incredibly important to the future of our country. For too long, the judicial branch has been taking on the role of policymaking, essentially creating rather than just enforcing the law as our founders intended.</p> <p> People of all political stripes should applaud a return to our traditional checks and balances, which would mean that the people&rsquo;s elected representatives, rather than a handful of judges, oversee lawmaking.</p> <p> The Trump administration has made significant progress in its first 100 days to encourage all levels of government &mdash; from local city officials to our national border guards &mdash; to enforce existing immigration laws. That alone has helped slow the tide of illegal immigration into our country and is an important foundation for protecting our national security and creating a commonsense immigration system in the future.</p> <p> The president, at long last, is making clear to the world that the United States is a country that keeps its word. Red lines drawn must be enforced. That&rsquo;s what the president did in Syria, and is promising to do in North Korea. Demonstrating this steadfastness and a willingness to act is an important foundation to curtailing overseas aggression and protecting vital national security interests of America and our allies.</p> <p> Much more work needs to be done: The president must move forward on repealing the Affordable Care Act, to give Americans better and more affordable health care options. He must continue to push for comprehensive tax reform that will make American companies competitive and restore the American Dream for our citizens who have for too long felt as though they are treading water.</p> L. LukasMon, 1 May 2017 12:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAnother Reason Men Earn More: How Far They Go For Their First Job<p> Women and men make different choices about the number of hours to work (even when working full time), industries, specialties, physical risks to take on, and how much time to take off.</p> <p> Those are the factors that we mostly hear about when people explain the wage gap statistic that consistently shows that men, on average, still earn more than women do. This new study adds another factor to the mix, how far men and women move for their first job:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> We used data from more than 115,000 resumes &mdash; 54,000 women and 61,000 men &mdash; and found that on average women move 318 miles from their college for their first jobs, while men move 370 miles&hellip;.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> According the Census data, this larger search area brings in&nbsp;an additional 3,873,908 jobs total&hellip;</p> <p> Access to more job possibilities means that men also have the potential to find higher paying options. It&rsquo;s another reason that men end up earning more than women do.</p> <p> This study is similar to one I wrote about here on working men having longer commutes, on average, than women do. Once again, it shows men tend to be willing to take on big burdens&mdash;longer drives and moves&mdash;in order to increase their pay.</p> <p> Different societal expectations for the sexes may explain why women and men make these different choices. Certainly, working women may feel they can&rsquo;t take on longer commutes because their assume the bulk of family responsibilities. Similarly, young women may feel that a longer move away from college (and potentially from home and family) would be considered unacceptable.</p> <p> Yet this research and new factor to consider still chips away at the suggestion that workplace discrimination is the root cause of the wage gap. This is important information for young women to have. If earning more is the goal, they ought to consider expanding a job search to include new cities. That&rsquo;s far more actionable advice than the Left&rsquo;s focus of blaming intractable sexism for the wage gap.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> L. LukasFri, 21 Apr 2017 11:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Impact of Short-Term Rentals on Neighborhoods • Garrison Radio L. LukasFri, 21 Apr 2017 08:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy Liberals Shouldn’t Give Up on the Flag—And Conservatives Shouldn’t Want Them To<p> They&rsquo;re everywhere! That&rsquo;s how my son put it, when counting American flags, after we moved back to the United States last summer after living for several years in Germany. Driving down Virginia&rsquo;s shopping-plaza-strewn Route 7, my kids pointed out a gargantuan flag whipping over a car dealership. That led to a competition of who could spot the most flags, and they had trouble keeping count.</p> <p> It wasn&rsquo;t just that we&rsquo;d been out of the country that made seeing American flags a novelty. It was the flags themselves.</p> <p> We&rsquo;d come from a country that rarely displayed its national colors. On a trip to downtown Berlin, we&rsquo;d see a German flag on the Bundestag and one or two on other official government sites, but you&rsquo;d almost never see a business with a German flag displayed on a pole just as a part of its decorations and landscape.</p> <p> There&rsquo;s an obvious reason for this: Germans are acutely aware of (and ashamed by) their country&rsquo;s history of rabid nationalism, which was intertwined with atrocities, and so consciously avoid anything that smacks of zealous patriotism. The only exception I saw to this unwritten rule in Germany was during the World Cup soccer matches, when people everywhere decorated their cars; painted their faces with yellow, red and black stripes; and hung German flags in store windows. The hoopla surrounding the country&rsquo;s soccer team&mdash;and pride in its tremendous achievements on the field&mdash;seemed to be a safe expression of national pride, which would otherwise be considered out of bounds.</p> <p> Coming home to the abundance of American flags flying on people&rsquo;s porches, on school grounds, and in front of so many businesses, was a welcome reminder of the exceptionalism of our country. America is undoubtedly an imperfect place with a complicated history, but the meaning of our flag goes beyond mere national or ethnic identity. It is, rather, the symbol of an idea: A government of free people dedicated to protecting individual rights and liberty. This greater meaning continues to endure and to inspire.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why I&rsquo;m saddened by stories like <a href="">this</a> one about a newscaster implying there&rsquo;s something inherently political, even inappropriate, about the unfurling of a flag before a baseball game. Or even <a href="">this one</a>, which made headlines on the Drudge Report, about the student government at the University of California, Davis deciding that flying the flag at their their meetings is no longer a requirement. Of course, the actual events sound mundane. Reportedly, for example, the UCSD student government hadn&rsquo;t been displaying a flag anyway, so the decision to change the rule was more a nod to reality than an objection to the flag itself. Yet it fed an unfortunate and growing sense that the American flag is becoming a partisan symbol, rather than a unifying one.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s bad news for everyone. <a href="">Pew Research</a> studied how widespread flag displays are in America. And while they found some groups were more flag-waving than others, it wasn&rsquo;t always in ways you&rsquo;d expect:</p> <p> Older Americans &ndash; especially those ages 65 and older &ndash; are far more likely to say they display the flag than are those under age 30. Racial and political differences in flag flying also are substantial: Fully 67% of whites say they display the flag, compared with just 41% of African Americans. In addition, 73% of Republicans say they display the flag at home, work, or on their car; this compares with 63% of independents and 55% of Democrats.</p> <p> Notably, significantly more Northeasterners and Midwesterners fly the flag than do residents of the South or the West. Roughly seven-in-ten residents of the Northeast (69%) say they fly the flag, compared with 67% in the Midwest, 58% in the South, and 57% in the West.</p> <p> That research was done in 2007. I wonder how different the findings would be today. Since then, we&rsquo;ve seen <a href="">studies</a> indicating that just seeing an American flag makes voters more likely to vote Republican, and we&rsquo;ve had some bitter elections leaving many people feeling alienated from their fellow citizens.</p> <p> As a conservative, there may be benefits for the team for which I tend to root having the flag associated with its brand. But as an American, the downsides to the flag becoming just a political symbol are huge. The flag should represent our shared history, dedication to founding principles, respect for American institutions, and aspirations for our country&rsquo;s future. Parties may have different visions of what that future looks like and how to get there, but we should still all feel comfortable honoring what the stars and stripes means. Giving up that shared symbol, allowing it to morph into representing one party&rsquo;s vision, can only fracture us further.</p> <p> I hope the political left in particular will take this to heart. It&rsquo;s more important for the flag to fly at liberal institutions like the University of California campuses or <a href="">Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts</a>, than anywhere else. The flag needs to remain a fixture of apolitical civil institutions like public schools, baseball fields, and libraries. Yes, you can support the right of people to burn the flag without punishment, too. But outside of protesting, fly it in honor of the first amendment rights it represents. Americans of all political leanings shouldn&rsquo;t forget the values we all share. Let&rsquo;s work to ensure our flag continues to represent those core American ideals.</p> L. LukasThu, 20 Apr 2017 11:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy Country Music Values are Better than Pop Music Nihilism<p> Even for those who don&rsquo;t care much about music&mdash;like me&mdash;the songs we hear are an important element of the culture that surrounds us. In recent years, most of what I have heard has been dictated by my oldest, tween-age daughter. She&rsquo;s programmed all the top 40 pop music stations into our van&rsquo;s radio, so I&rsquo;ve been saturated in Adele, Pink, Taylor Swift, Katie Perry, Justin Bieber and a bunch of others whose names I don&rsquo;t know, but whose songs I (sadly) could easily recite.</p> <p> I try to pay close attention to the lyrics. Most pop stations seem to be good about policing songs for truly inappropriate content (like swearing and explicit sexual references), but I find myself constantly having to evaluate shades of gray. Many songs seem fine, but then include throw away allusions to casual sex and substance abuse. Flo Rida&rsquo;s hit &ldquo;My House&rdquo; is mostly a harmless recitation of the benefits of staying at home for a party, rather than going out, but a few stanzas in, the song makes clear that this partying involves undressing:</p> <blockquote> <p> Morning comes and you know that you wanna stay;<br /> Close the blinds, let&rsquo;s pretend that the time has changed;<br /> Keep our clothes on the floor, open up champagne.</p> </blockquote> <p> Others are far more explicitly sexual, like Ed Sheeran&rsquo;s &ldquo;Shape of You,&rdquo; which starts with &ldquo;The club isn&rsquo;t the best place to find a lover, so the bar is where I go,&rdquo; and gets worse from there. Or Elle King&rsquo;s &ldquo;Ex&rsquo;s &amp; Oh&rsquo;s&rdquo; with its endless double entendres. I try to switch the station whenever anything seems over-the-line, but often end up just hoping that the worst of the lyrics went over my kids&rsquo; heads.</p> <p> Now, I have a more permanent solution in mind. A few days ago, our family took a road trip and as soon as we left the Washington, D.C. area we found that our radio choices had shifted. Gone were the multitude of pop stations, and country music dominated instead. We listened. My oldest was pleasantly surprised by how much she liked the country songs (which she had assumed would be lame), but I was mostly struck by the complete difference in content and imagery the songs relied upon. Over several hours, there wasn&rsquo;t one song that had me cringing or worrying about whether my kids were hearing something they shouldn&rsquo;t.</p> <p> In fact, most of the songs had explicitly positive messages: The singers sang about being grateful for what they have, appreciating their partners and aging together. There was a song about the need to treat women (including your mother) with respect; another Carrie Underwood song about a man who had hoped for a son, but had a daughter who became the center of his world. There were mentions of holding hands, husbands and wives, backyards, driveways, and prayers. I&rsquo;m sure beer was in there too, but in the context of barbecues and good times in a way that seemed perfectly wholesome and reminiscent of an America that too much of pop culture scorns as fundamentally uncool.</p> <p> Most of the country singers we heard on the radio were men, but their songs were overwhelmingly respectful and pro-woman. They didn&rsquo;t fixate on women&rsquo;s looks or evoke either over-the-top sexiness or antiquated ideas of femininity, but rather painted pictures of women as strong, full-of-life, complicated individuals. Take Dylan Scott&rsquo;s &ldquo;My Girl,&rdquo; which could earn applause from women&rsquo;s studies professors:</p> <blockquote> <p> She looks so pretty with no makeup on<br /> You should hear her talkin&rsquo; to her momma on phone<br /> I love it when she raps to an Eminem song<br /> That&rsquo;s my girl<br /> Man her eyes really drive me crazy<br /> You should see her smile when she holds a baby<br /> I can honestly say that she saved me<br /> My girl, yeah</p> </blockquote> <p> Urban feminists often assume that rural and southern areas are hotbeds of sexism, where women are treated with less respect than women in the enlightened north and coasts enjoy. Yet if the songs they produce are any indication, women receive far more respect in country music than is typical in rap, pop or house music.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m sure true aficionados of country can come up with counter examples of raunchy country songs that rival pop and rock in terms of kid-unfriendliness and mistreatment of women. Yet the impression left by a casual listener is that country music tends to highlight values you&rsquo;d actually hope seep into your kid&rsquo;s mind, rather than desperately hoping they&rsquo;ll tune out.</p> <p> Country music certainly isn&rsquo;t perfect: I don&rsquo;t think I heard a song that used the construction &ldquo;It doesn&rsquo;t,&rdquo; rather consistently reinforcing the incorrect &ldquo;it don&rsquo;t&rdquo; usage. But I&rsquo;ll take bad grammar in a song about loving your wife over pop culture&rsquo;s nihilism any day.</p> L. LukasThu, 13 Apr 2017 08:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumUnited Airlines Incident & Students Fear Chick-fil-A • Tucker Carlson Tonight L. LukasWed, 12 Apr 2017 09:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum