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.org33968“Paycheck Fairness Act” All About Helping Lawyers<p> Karl Rove picks up on one of <a href="http://www.iwf.org/news/2793667/Paycheck-Fairness-Fraud">IWF&#39;s themes</a> from last week: Democrats&#39; push for the &ldquo;Paycheck Fairness Act&rdquo; has little to do with boosting women&#39;s paychecks&mdash;unless those women happen to be trail lawyers.</p> <p> In today&#39;s <a href="http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304311204579505253565604442?mod=Opinion_newsreel_3">Wall Street Journal</a>, Rove writes:</p> <blockquote> <p> ...the Paycheck Fairness Act would reward one of the Democrats&#39; most generous sources of ready cash: wealthy personal-injury lawyers.</p> <p align="LEFT"> Consider John Eddie Williams and his wife Sheridan, the hosts of the president&#39;s Houston fundraiser where 55 guests paid between $16,000 and $64,000 to the Democratic Senatorial and Congressional Campaign Committees. Mr. Williams got rich by suing tobacco and drug companies. The dinner was held at the couple&#39;s 26,463-square-foot mansion, complete with five full baths, seven half baths, five fireplaces and an elevator. It is carried on the tax rolls at $17.1 million.</p> <p align="LEFT"> The same day as his Houston fundraiser, Mr. Obama also attended a roundtable with 25 donors at the mansion of Steve and Amber Mostyn. Mr. Mostyn is president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association and made $150 million from lawsuits over hurricane insurance. He vows to spend $10 million this year to help Mr. Obama&#39;s national campaign field director, Jeremy Bird, to &quot;turn Texas blue,&quot; changing the Lone Star State from reliably Republican to comfortably Democratic, starting with this fall&#39;s gubernatorial election.</p> </blockquote> <p> Americans need to hear more about this. The Democrats have been masterful at demagoguery and distracting people will charges of the &ldquo;War on Women&rdquo; and promises of equal pay. But they rarely want to talk about their actual proposals and for good reason: Often they have nothing to do with platitudes that are used to advance them, and are all about growing government and enriching their cronies.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2793715/Carrie L. LukasThu, 17 Apr 2014 05:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPaycheck Fairness Fraud<p> Political campaigns rely on tried-and-true slogans that resonate with their supporters: Republicans can be counted on to champion&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/01/politics/house-taxes/" title="http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/01/politics/house-taxes/">tax cuts</a>&nbsp;and Democrats&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/30/us/politics/democrats-turn-to-minimum-wage-as-2014-strategy.html" title="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/30/us/politics/democrats-turn-to-minimum-wage-as-2014-strategy.html">minimum wage increases</a>&nbsp;&mdash; especially when an election nears. In recent years, calls for legislation to advance &quot;<a href="http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/07/democrats-highlight-equal-pay-in-political-push/" title="http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/07/democrats-highlight-equal-pay-in-political-push/">equal pay</a>&quot; have become another Democratic Party tool. Yet Americans should recognize this for what it is: A pure political tactic.</p> <p> The chief beneficiaries of the latest &quot;equal pay&quot; legislation would be lawyers and government bureaucrats; and the losers will be American workers &mdash; particularly American women &mdash; who will see their opportunities further constrained by this latest government overreach.</p> <p> Americans support the important principle of equal pay for equal work. That&#39;s why for more than 50 years there have been laws on the books that protect employees from gender-based wage discrimination: the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/epa.cfm" title="http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/epa.cfm">Equal Pay Act</a>&nbsp;(1963) and the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/civil-rights-act/" title="http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/civil-rights-act/">Civil Rights Act</a>&nbsp;(1964). The first bill President Obama signed into law was the&nbsp;<a href="http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/01/29/obama_signs_lilly_ledbetter_ac.html" title="http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/01/29/obama_signs_lilly_ledbetter_ac.html">Lilly Ledbetter Act</a>, which at the time was touted as needed to make &quot;<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/President44/story?id=6757817" title="http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/President44/story?id=6757817">equal pay for equal work</a>&quot; the law on the land. That law&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rkmc.com/resources/articles/determining-the-reach-of-the-lilly-ledbetter-fair-pay-act" title="http://www.rkmc.com/resources/articles/determining-the-reach-of-the-lilly-ledbetter-fair-pay-act">extended</a>&nbsp;the time period during which an employee could sue for discrimination. Indeed, there may have been a need to give employees more time to recognize and seek recourse from discrimination, though the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/111/s181/text" title="https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/111/s181/text">Ledbetter Act</a>&nbsp;moved the bar so far that now employees may sue businesses years, even&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rkmc.com/resources/articles/determining-the-reach-of-the-lilly-ledbetter-fair-pay-act" title="http://www.rkmc.com/resources/articles/determining-the-reach-of-the-lilly-ledbetter-fair-pay-act">decades</a>, after the alleged discrimination took place. That means companies could face lawsuits long after the managers responsible for employment decisions have left, making justice difficult to obtain and creating significant new potential costs for business.</p> <p> Now we are told that women are still being denied equal pay for equal work, and another piece of legislation &mdash; the&nbsp;<a href="http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/84" title="http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/84">Paycheck Fairness Act</a>&nbsp;&mdash; is the solution. Note that the legislation&#39;s champions avoid discussing what the bill will actually do, beyond platitudes about helping women and equal pay. That&#39;s because once again this&nbsp;<a href="https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s84/text" title="https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s84/text">legislation</a>&nbsp;is about changing how discrimination lawsuits are conducted, dramatically increasing the potential payouts for plaintiffs and their lawyers, facilitating class action suits and making it much more difficult for employers to defend themselves. Few Americans would support the bill if they new that it was primarily about helping lawyers, not working women.</p> <p> Take the changes to class action suits. Under current law, a worker has to agree to take part in a class action lawsuit against her employer. The Paycheck Fairness Act would change this so that employees&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/pfastrengthenepa.pdf" title="http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/pfastrengthenepa.pdf">must opt out</a>, rather than into, a class. This creates a new burden for workers, but makes it much easier for lawyers to obtain certification as a class and increase the size of potential awards.</p> <p> The Paycheck Fairness Act also raises current caps to make the potential payouts from lawsuits much larger. Under existing law, victims of discrimination can receive back-pay for the earnings they were denied, and punitive damages of up to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.seyfarth.com/dir_docs/news_item/a772d1e8-e962-441e-be7e-ee9597165d06_documentupload.pdf" title="http://www.seyfarth.com/dir_docs/news_item/a772d1e8-e962-441e-be7e-ee9597165d06_documentupload.pdf">$300,000</a>&nbsp;when discrimination was intentional. The Paycheck Fairness Act would instead allow unlimited punitive damage awards, including for unintentional discrimination. This dramatically increases the motivation for both lawyers and employees to sue in hopes of a super-sized payout.</p> <p> Currently, businesses can justify differences in pay based on factors such as experience, job duties and business necessity. Yet under the Paycheck Fairness Act, employers would be exposed if an employee&nbsp;<a href="http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/84" title="http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/84">could demonstrate that</a>&nbsp;&quot;an alternative employment practice exists that would serve the same business purpose without producing such differential.&quot; No one knows what that ambiguous definition means, leaving employers open to potential lawsuits for essentially any compensation decision, whether that&#39;s making a counter-offer to retain a valued employee or offering an employee more flexible hours in exchange for reduced compensation.</p> <p> The Paycheck Fairness Act would also empower government bureaucrats to collect information about compensation practices and establish a national award for employers deemed best in advancing &quot;pay equity.&quot; Companies hardly need more government red tape, but more disturbingly government &quot;guidelines&quot; collected today could easily become regulations and mandates in the future &mdash; undoubtedly justified as necessary for the cause of &quot;equal pay.&quot;</p> <p> How would businesses react to the new legal risks and administrative burdens? Likely they would seek to reduce their exposure to lawsuits by limiting the number of employees and adopting more rigid, one-size-fits-all compensation practices. That&#39;s bad news for women who value flexible work arrangements and are looking for work today.</p> <p> Americans like the idea of equal pay, which is why those are the only words you hear from proponents of the Paycheck Fairness Act. They studiously avoid terms like &quot;lawsuits&quot; and &quot;new government filing requirements,&quot; because the American people recognize these as enemies of job creation and economic growth. Yet Americans must look past the slogans and slick internet ads and recognize that the Paycheck Fairness Act isn&#39;t about equal pay and apple pie &mdash; it&#39;s a big payout to lawyers that would leave working women worse off.</p> <p> <em>Carrie Lukas is the managing director of the Independent Women&#39;s Forum.</em></p> http://iwf.org/news/2793667/Carrie L. LukasTue, 8 Apr 2014 08:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPaycheck Fairness Fraud<p> Political campaigns rely on tried-and-true slogans that resonate with their supporters: Republicans can be counted on to champion&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/01/politics/house-taxes/" title="http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/01/politics/house-taxes/">tax cuts</a>&nbsp;and Democrats&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/30/us/politics/democrats-turn-to-minimum-wage-as-2014-strategy.html" title="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/30/us/politics/democrats-turn-to-minimum-wage-as-2014-strategy.html">minimum wage increases</a>&nbsp;&mdash; especially when an election nears. In recent years, calls for legislation to advance &quot;<a href="http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/07/democrats-highlight-equal-pay-in-political-push/" title="http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/07/democrats-highlight-equal-pay-in-political-push/">equal pay</a>&quot; have become another Democratic Party tool. Yet Americans should recognize this for what it is: A pure political tactic.</p> <p> The chief beneficiaries of the latest &quot;equal pay&quot; legislation would be lawyers and government bureaucrats; and the losers will be American workers &mdash; particularly American women &mdash; who will see their opportunities further constrained by this latest government overreach.</p> <p> Americans support the important principle of equal pay for equal work. That&#39;s why for more than 50 years there have been laws on the books that protect employees from gender-based wage discrimination: the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/epa.cfm" title="http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/epa.cfm">Equal Pay Act</a>&nbsp;(1963) and the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/civil-rights-act/" title="http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/civil-rights-act/">Civil Rights Act</a>&nbsp;(1964). The first bill President Obama signed into law was the&nbsp;<a href="http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/01/29/obama_signs_lilly_ledbetter_ac.html" title="http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/01/29/obama_signs_lilly_ledbetter_ac.html">Lilly Ledbetter Act</a>, which at the time was touted as needed to make &quot;<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/President44/story?id=6757817" title="http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/President44/story?id=6757817">equal pay for equal work</a>&quot; the law on the land. That law&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rkmc.com/resources/articles/determining-the-reach-of-the-lilly-ledbetter-fair-pay-act" title="http://www.rkmc.com/resources/articles/determining-the-reach-of-the-lilly-ledbetter-fair-pay-act">extended</a>&nbsp;the time period during which an employee could sue for discrimination. Indeed, there may have been a need to give employees more time to recognize and seek recourse from discrimination, though the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/111/s181/text" title="https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/111/s181/text">Ledbetter Act</a>&nbsp;moved the bar so far that now employees may sue businesses years, even&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rkmc.com/resources/articles/determining-the-reach-of-the-lilly-ledbetter-fair-pay-act" title="http://www.rkmc.com/resources/articles/determining-the-reach-of-the-lilly-ledbetter-fair-pay-act">decades</a>, after the alleged discrimination took place. That means companies could face lawsuits long after the managers responsible for employment decisions have left, making justice difficult to obtain and creating significant new potential costs for business.</p> <p> Now we are told that women are still being denied equal pay for equal work, and another piece of legislation &mdash; the&nbsp;<a href="http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/84" title="http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/84">Paycheck Fairness Act</a>&nbsp;&mdash; is the solution. Note that the legislation&#39;s champions avoid discussing what the bill will actually do, beyond platitudes about helping women and equal pay. That&#39;s because once again this&nbsp;<a href="https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s84/text" title="https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s84/text">legislation</a>&nbsp;is about changing how discrimination lawsuits are conducted, dramatically increasing the potential payouts for plaintiffs and their lawyers, facilitating class action suits and making it much more difficult for employers to defend themselves. Few Americans would support the bill if they new that it was primarily about helping lawyers, not working women.</p> <p> Take the changes to class action suits. Under current law, a worker has to agree to take part in a class action lawsuit against her employer. The Paycheck Fairness Act would change this so that employees&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/pfastrengthenepa.pdf" title="http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/pfastrengthenepa.pdf">must opt out</a>, rather than into, a class. This creates a new burden for workers, but makes it much easier for lawyers to obtain certification as a class and increase the size of potential awards.</p> <p> The Paycheck Fairness Act also raises current caps to make the potential payouts from lawsuits much larger. Under existing law, victims of discrimination can receive back-pay for the earnings they were denied, and punitive damages of up to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.seyfarth.com/dir_docs/news_item/a772d1e8-e962-441e-be7e-ee9597165d06_documentupload.pdf" title="http://www.seyfarth.com/dir_docs/news_item/a772d1e8-e962-441e-be7e-ee9597165d06_documentupload.pdf">$300,000</a>&nbsp;when discrimination was intentional. The Paycheck Fairness Act would instead allow unlimited punitive damage awards, including for unintentional discrimination. This dramatically increases the motivation for both lawyers and employees to sue in hopes of a super-sized payout.</p> <p> Currently, businesses can justify differences in pay based on factors such as experience, job duties and business necessity. Yet under the Paycheck Fairness Act, employers would be exposed if an employee&nbsp;<a href="http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/84" title="http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/84">could demonstrate that</a>&nbsp;&quot;an alternative employment practice exists that would serve the same business purpose without producing such differential.&quot; No one knows what that ambiguous definition means, leaving employers open to potential lawsuits for essentially any compensation decision, whether that&#39;s making a counter-offer to retain a valued employee or offering an employee more flexible hours in exchange for reduced compensation.</p> <p> The Paycheck Fairness Act would also empower government bureaucrats to collect information about compensation practices and establish a national award for employers deemed best in advancing &quot;pay equity.&quot; Companies hardly need more government red tape, but more disturbingly government &quot;guidelines&quot; collected today could easily become regulations and mandates in the future &mdash; undoubtedly justified as necessary for the cause of &quot;equal pay.&quot;</p> <p> How would businesses react to the new legal risks and administrative burdens? Likely they would seek to reduce their exposure to lawsuits by limiting the number of employees and adopting more rigid, one-size-fits-all compensation practices. That&#39;s bad news for women who value flexible work arrangements and are looking for work today.</p> <p> Americans like the idea of equal pay, which is why those are the only words you hear from proponents of the Paycheck Fairness Act. They studiously avoid terms like &quot;lawsuits&quot; and &quot;new government filing requirements,&quot; because the American people recognize these as enemies of job creation and economic growth. Yet Americans must look past the slogans and slick internet ads and recognize that the Paycheck Fairness Act isn&#39;t about equal pay and apple pie &mdash; it&#39;s a big payout to lawyers that would leave working women worse off.</p> <p> <em>Carrie Lukas is the managing director of the Independent Women&#39;s Forum.</em></p> http://iwf.org/blog/2793608/Carrie L. LukasTue, 8 Apr 2014 06:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhat the "Paycheck Fairness Act" sponsors aren't telling you about what the legislation would actually do • Bill LuMaye Show http://iwf.org/media/2793597/Carrie L. LukasTue, 8 Apr 2014 04:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe President's Executive Orders on Equal Pay Won't Help Women<p> As the Senate prepares to consider the misnamed &ldquo;<a href="http://iwf.org/women-at-work/paycheck.php">Paycheck Fairness Act</a>&rdquo; and&nbsp;the Left prepares to celebrate the also-misnamed feminist pseudo-holiday, &ldquo;<a href="http://www.iwf.org/publications/2787462/The-%E2%80%9CEqual-Pay-Day">Equal Pay Day</a>,&rdquo; the president has announced he will sign two executive orders also under the guise of advancing the cause of &ldquo;pay equity.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p> According to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/06/us-usa-obama-women-idUSBREA350IQ20140406">Reuters</a>, one executive order will:</p> <p style="margin-left:71.45pt;"> &hellip;prevent federal contractors from &ldquo;retaliating&rdquo; against workers who discuss their compensation.<br /> &ldquo;The executive order does not compel workers to discuss pay nor require employers to publish or otherwise disseminate pay data,&rdquo; the official said. &ldquo;But (it) does provide a critical tool to encourage pay transparency, so workers have a potential way of discovering violations of equal pay laws and (are) able to seek appropriate remedies.&rdquo;</p> <p> That&rsquo;s fine, but employees&nbsp;<a href="http://blogs.findlaw.com/free_enterprise/2013/12/legal-to-prohibit-employees-from-discussing-salary.html">already have the right</a>&nbsp;to discuss their own salaries and benefits with co-workers, free of retaliation.&nbsp; Employers are only allowed to prohibit employees from discussing their salaries and benefits with those outside of the organizations, or from discussing the salaries of co-workers who have not disclosed their salaries, both of which are sensible limits.&nbsp;</p> <p> After all, employers have legitimate reasons for wanting to discourage too much sharing about salaries.&nbsp; Sometimes, managers have to offer a raise to retain a valued employee who has received a better offer; sometimes, someone with fewer years in an organization provides more value and therefore earns more, which can breed resentment among older, longer-serving staffers.&nbsp; There is a balance that needs to be struck: &nbsp;Employees have a right to discuss their own compensation and to seek out information about others to insure they are being treated fairly;&nbsp;at the same time,&nbsp;individual workers also have a right to privacy and ought not to be the subject of office gossip, or have their salary information released in their hometown newspaper or posted on Facebook.</p> <p> The other executive order would require that the Department of Labor collect information about employee compensation&ndash;including on the workers&rsquo; sex and race&ndash;from all federal contractors.&nbsp; This mirrors a provision within the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would also require that the government demand such data from employers.&nbsp;</p> <p> Data collection may sound relatively harmless at first&ndash;what&rsquo;s a little more red tape for businesses already awash in it?&ndash;but one can see how such data collection could quickly morph into regulations and government pay-setting. &nbsp;</p> <p> And even while the government innocently collects data, employers will be encouraged to see their compensation decisions through the eyes of a government bureaucrat who won&rsquo;t understand the many factors that business consider when making compensation decisions.&nbsp; Why allow your female vice president of human resources to scale back her hours in return for a slight reduction in pay?&nbsp; That would be tough to explain on the government form, so just require her to work from nine&nbsp;to&nbsp;five like everyone else to avoid any potential charges of bias.&nbsp; Why take a chance on that dynamic&nbsp;new marketing whiz?&nbsp; If you can&rsquo;t pay her less for taking the risk on someone with less experience, you may as well stick with the safer, more expensive choice. &nbsp;</p> <p> In reaction to this type of government micromanaging, employers will have an incentive to move toward one-size-fits-all compensation packages and to consolidate&nbsp;their workforce to minimize the costs and headaches associated with hiring.&nbsp; So much for encouraging workplace flexibility and employment opportunity; so much for really helping women.&nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2793588/Carrie L. LukasMon, 7 Apr 2014 14:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe President's Executive Orders on Equal Pay Won't Help Women <p> As the Senate prepares to consider the misnamed &ldquo;<a href="http://iwf.org/women-at-work/paycheck.php">Paycheck Fairness Act</a>&rdquo; and&nbsp;the Left prepares to celebrate the also-misnamed feminist pseudo-holiday, &ldquo;<a href="http://www.iwf.org/publications/2787462/The-%E2%80%9CEqual-Pay-Day">Equal Pay Day</a>,&rdquo; the president has announced he will sign two executive orders also under the guise of advancing the cause of &ldquo;pay equity.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p> According to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/06/us-usa-obama-women-idUSBREA350IQ20140406">Reuters</a>, one executive order will:</p> <p style="margin-left:71.45pt;"> &hellip;prevent federal contractors from &ldquo;retaliating&rdquo; against workers who discuss their compensation.<br /> &ldquo;The executive order does not compel workers to discuss pay nor require employers to publish or otherwise disseminate pay data,&rdquo; the official said. &ldquo;But (it) does provide a critical tool to encourage pay transparency, so workers have a potential way of discovering violations of equal pay laws and (are) able to seek appropriate remedies.&rdquo;</p> <p> That&rsquo;s fine, but employees&nbsp;<a href="http://blogs.findlaw.com/free_enterprise/2013/12/legal-to-prohibit-employees-from-discussing-salary.html">already have the right</a>&nbsp;to discuss their own salaries and benefits with co-workers, free of retaliation.&nbsp; Employers are only allowed to prohibit employees from discussing their salaries and benefits with those outside of the organizations, or from discussing the salaries of co-workers who have not disclosed their salaries, both of which are sensible limits.&nbsp;</p> <p> After all, employers have legitimate reasons for wanting to discourage too much sharing about salaries.&nbsp; Sometimes, managers have to offer a raise to retain a valued employee who has received a better offer; sometimes, someone with fewer years in an organization provides more value and therefore earns more, which can breed resentment among older, longer-serving staffers.&nbsp; There is a balance that needs to be struck: &nbsp;Employees have a right to discuss their own compensation and to seek out information about others to insure they are being treated fairly;&nbsp;at the same time,&nbsp;individual workers also have a right to privacy and ought not to be the subject of office gossip, or have their salary information released in their hometown newspaper or posted on Facebook.</p> <p> The other executive order would require that the Department of Labor collect information about employee compensation&ndash;including on the workers&rsquo; sex and race&ndash;from all federal contractors.&nbsp; This mirrors a provision within the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would also require that the government demand such data from employers.&nbsp;</p> <p> Data collection may sound relatively harmless at first&ndash;what&rsquo;s a little more red tape for businesses already awash in it?&ndash;but one can see how such data collection could quickly morph into regulations and government pay-setting. &nbsp;</p> <p> And even while the government innocently collects data, employers will be encouraged to see their compensation decisions through the eyes of a government bureaucrat who won&rsquo;t understand the many factors that business consider when making compensation decisions.&nbsp; Why allow your female vice president of human resources to scale back her hours in return for a slight reduction in pay?&nbsp; That would be tough to explain on the government form, so just require her to work from nine&nbsp;to&nbsp;five like everyone else to avoid any potential charges of bias.&nbsp; Why take a chance on that dynamic&nbsp;new marketing whiz?&nbsp; If you can&rsquo;t pay her less for taking the risk on someone with less experience, you may as well stick with the safer, more expensive choice. &nbsp;</p> <p> In reaction to this type of government micromanaging, employers will have an incentive to move toward one-size-fits-all compensation packages and to consolidate&nbsp;their workforce to minimize the costs and headaches associated with hiring.&nbsp; So much for encouraging workplace flexibility and employment opportunity; so much for really helping women.&nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/news/2793665/Carrie L. LukasMon, 7 Apr 2014 06:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumJoblessness Drives Poverty<p> Here&#39;s a fact I think is too often overlooked when discussing solutions to poverty today: According to the <a href="http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/historical/hstpov18.xls">U.S. Census</a>, less than ten percent of Americans over age 16 who are considered &ldquo;poor&rdquo; by Census worked full-time in 2012. In other words, it is very rare that one works full-time and lives below the poverty line. The best way to help people get out of poverty is to make sure that full-time work is available.</p> <p> Sadly, that&#39;s not the case today. There are million of Americans looking for work who simply can&#39;t find jobs in this economy. That includes four million women who look for work each week and find there are no openings for them. &nbsp;That&#39;s a tragedy.</p> <p> That&#39;s why job creation should be the most pressing issue for policymakers. It&#39;s also important to note that most workers who start at minimum wage quickly move up the earning latter. For example, the <a href="http://epionline.org/studies/macpherson_06-2004.pdf">Employment Policy Institute</a> found that two-thirds of minimum wage workers are earning more than the minimum wage within one year. Minimum wage jobs play a critically important role is starting someone&#39;s career &ndash; they give people important skills, a proven work history, and the chance to learn about other, higher-paying opportunities. &nbsp;Yes, it&#39;s no fun working for low pay, but people earn more than a paycheck in these positions, the other benefits they receive are absolutely critical for doing better in the future.</p> <p> It should be obvious, but somehow it remains controversial, that raising the minimum wage would mean a lot fewer minimum-wage jobs would be available. &nbsp;When something costs more, employers can afford less of that something -- that&#39;s true whether we are talking about jobs or fuel or bananas. &nbsp;And in fact, the <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/feb/18/minimum-wage-hike-would-kill-half-million-jobs-cbo/">Congressional Budget Office</a> confirmed this logic, and estimated that the proposed hike to $10.10 would result in about a half-million fewer jobs by 2016.</p> <p> How can it possibly be considered a good thing to push more Americans into unemployment and leave fewer job opportunities for those with the fewest skills?&nbsp;</p> <p> A minimum wage hike is not compassionate but is the enemy of those who want jobs and want to climb up the economic ladder. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2793568/Carrie L. LukasThu, 3 Apr 2014 09:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPresident Ignores the Plight of Women in Talks with the Saudis<p> There is a war on women&mdash;it&#39;s just doesn&#39;t take place in the United States, in spite of all the political hype.</p> <p> In Saudi Arabia, for example, women are truly second class citizens, with their opportunity strictly circumscribed by the men in their lives. As <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/saudi-arabia-president-obama-must-not-shirk-responsibility-tackle-human-rights-during-visit-201">Amnesty International</a> explains, women in Saudi Arabia aren&#39;t allowed to drive, and &ldquo;need the permission of a male guardian to get married, travel, undergo certain types of surgery, accept paid employment or enroll in higher education.&rdquo;</p> <p> A bi-partisan group of lawmakers, along with groups like Amnesty International, urged the President to bring up these human right issues when meeting with the King Abdullah of&nbsp;Saudi Arabia. Yet the President declined to do so. &nbsp;His national security adviser reiterated the President&#39;s concern about human rights issues, but <a href="http://m.washingtonexaminer.com/obama-refuses-to-raise-human-rights-issues-with-saudis/article/2546504?custom_click=rss">explained</a> that when it comes to Saudi Arabia <em>&ldquo;</em>we have a very broad set of shared security interests, economic interests that we&rsquo;ll be pursuing as well ... We have to have the ability to cooperate with them on a very broad political and security agenda as well.&quot; In other words, Saudi Arabia is too important for the President to challenge on such touchy matters as women&#39;s rights.</p> <p> Of course, it&#39;s understandable that the President needs to prioritize and sometimes we need to be allies with leaders who fall short on key measures like human rights. Yet there is something disappointing and hypocritical about this lack of attention to the concerns of women around the world, coupled with the over-wrought rhetoric that&#39;s used to slander the President&#39;s opponents at home. Somehow you are a part of a &ldquo;War on Women&rdquo; if you believe the government shouldn&#39;t force people with religious owners who happen to also run a business and employee people to violate their beliefs, but no need to have an awkward conversation with dictators who actually oppress women.</p> <p> One wonders what our so-called leading left feminist groups have to say about this, but sadly it seems to be that the answer is <a href="http://now.org/">not</a> <a href="http://www.nwlc.org/">very</a> <a href="http://feminist.org/default.asp">much</a>. &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2793546/Carrie L. LukasMon, 31 Mar 2014 11:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumLiberty Movement Should Offer Young Women a Positive Vision of a Free Society<p> When most commentators talk about the political inclinations of young people, they usually cast them as overwhelmingly liberal. But the truth is that, while Millennials disproportionately cast their votes for President Obama, they tend to be <a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/11/opinion/frum-millennials-survey/">skeptical of big government</a> and have a major libertarian streak.</p> <p> That&#39;s a big opportunity for the free market and liberty movement, and why it&#39;s no surprise that groups like <a href="http://studentsforliberty.org/">Students for Liberty</a> are thriving.</p> <p> I recently got to participate in a European Students for Liberty conference in Berlin, Germany, which attracted nearly 600 participants of young people from around the world&mdash;including, I should note, many, many women. While most libertarian gatherings tend to be overwhelmingly male, this crowd must have been at 35-40 percent female, a tremendously good sign and testimony to the great work of Students for Liberty in their outreach and appeal.</p> <p> Brad Lips (who is the CEO of the Atlas Network, and also my brother) wrote about his experience at ESFL in <a href="http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/03/a_populist_libertarian_youth_movement.html#.UzBqXpbd-Dw.facebook">American Thinker</a>. He highlighted the opportunity for this movement to grow by demonstrating how big government is explicitly transferring money from the younger generation, setting up opportunity-crushing and unsustainable welfare programs, and creating a crony capitalist system that is the antithesis of the free market. He also warned the young liberty movement about a potential threat:</p> <blockquote> <p> Where I see danger lurking is in the efforts of some within Students for Liberty, who go beyond advocating for tolerance and instead embrace Leftist critiques of religion, traditional gender roles, and the like.&nbsp;&nbsp; In doing so, they create unnecessary litmus tests for new recruits and they open a door for a new breed of cultural coercion....</p> <p> While it is worthwhile to make the case for social tolerance, it is also important to practice the art.&nbsp; Libertarians advocate in good faith against government prohibitions on drugs and prostitution, but a free society does not require that everyone adopt libertine appetites for the same. I worry that some of those attending this European Students for Liberty conference would roll their eyes at the concerns of Little Sisters of the Poor, who have fought Obamacare&rsquo;s mandate to pay for contraception services, without recognizing the religious freedom issue at stake.</p> <p> Similarly, some younger libertarians want to attract members of the Left by agreeing with politically correct notions of Western society as hopelessly racist and sexist. This is wrong-headed and strategically unwise. Exaggerating cultural injustices (like the debunked-but-prevalent complaint of a significant &ldquo;gender pay gap&rdquo; in the U.S.) invariably creates demand for government to &ldquo;do something&rdquo; -- and that &ldquo;something&rdquo; is unlikely to expand freedom.</p> </blockquote> <p> This last point is worth lingering on. I spoke on a panel about how the concept of feminism fits into the liberty movement. Rather than fighting for legal equality and equal opportunity, some self-proclaimed libertarian feminists seem to focus their attention on the &quot;oppression&quot; created by social norms and civil society.</p> <p> Of course, it&#39;s a fine thing to talk about how society can be improved and how subtle pressures may backfire in terms of encouraging full human flourishing. But there is a big difference between actual oppression and the existence of barbie dolls and pink blankets. Some complain that women are given the message that they need to spend more time at home. I&#39;d argue that just as many women are hearing the opposite message that devalues motherhood and encourages young women to believe that careers are all that matter.</p> <p> Yet we should trust that women, in spite of these conflicting messages from society, are generally capable of making decisions that make sense for them and are best positioned to know their own self interest. We ought not assume that most women are being duped when they say that they would prefer to work part-time, rather than full time, after having children. We should encourage women to consider their options, understand the tradeoffs that come with them, and pursue their vision of fulfillment, whether that&#39;s in boardrooms or in their own homes.</p> <p> Libertarian feminists, who would have us believe that sexism is so pervasive and overwhelming that many women are unable to make decisions in their own interests (and thus end up spending too much of their time on housework and on childcare), seem unable to offer a vision for what their &quot;truly free&quot; society would look like. In this process, they end up making a very weak case for less government and greater liberty, given that they paint free society as so sexist and bad for women.</p> <p> The good news is that libertarians have a much better case to make to women. While imperfect, the Western world has created more opportunity and equality for women than any society in human history. Women can pursue their vision of happiness and should be free to do so, while recognizing the inevitably tradeoffs that come in allocating their time and talents between raising children and other pursuits. Greater freedom will create even more options for women, and can create a civil society that fosters greater respect for both sexes, and more security and human fulfillment. That&#39;s the message that should attract women around the world to the cause of freedom.</p> <p> Let&#39;s hope the libertarian youth movement focuses on making that case, rather than parroting tired tropes from the Left that paint women generally as unwitting victims of free society.</p> <p> <br /> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2793496/Carrie L. LukasTue, 25 Mar 2014 05:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumLet's Simplify Taxes, and Not Tax Technological Development<p> Last week, the House Judiciary Committee held <a href="http://judiciary.house.gov/index.cfm/hearings?Id=2F442B02-C3EB-49FA-AE82-2079D732A90D&amp;Statement_id=04F886B6-45C2-4A79-B0EB-A3F42A9C06D2">a hearing</a> on the issue of internet sales taxes.</p> <p> It is a difficult issue in a way: One wants a fair system that doesn&#39;t unfairly punish traditional retail stores, while recognizing that internet sellers do not make the same use of the services that are paid for through the sales tax. As more and more Americans turn to shopping online, mostly for convenience and greater variety, but also for many to avoid sales tax, one feels sympathy for the brick-and-morter stores. That is, at least, until you consider what it would mean for online retailers to have to comply with the sales tax system for all of their customers nationwide: There are 9,600 tax jurisdictions, which means it impractical, if not functionally impossible, for online retailers to follow these rules.</p> <p> Americans concerned about our unfair tax system, and the burden that our impossibly complicated tax codes create of retailers everywhere, should be champions of tax simplification at the city, state, and federal levels.</p> <p> They also should be aware of how their government&#39;s pick and choose what to target for special taxes. We&#39;ve all heard about special taxes on alcohol and cigarrettes. There is little evidence that such sin taxes work, but at least one understands the impulse of what policymakers are trying to do: If you want less of something, tax it.</p> <p> That&#39;s why many people would likely be surprised to learn that wireless technologies are subject to some of the highest tax rates of any good or service. On average, wireless is taxed at a rate of <a href="http://www.mywireless.org/state-issues/#sthash.xc8HKJCO.dpuf">16.76 percent</a>, which is nearly two-and-a-half times the average state sales tax.</p> <p> The logic behind these special taxes may once have been that wireless services are a luxury, but today Americans at all income levels use wireless technology, and, in fact, a growing number of Americans depend exclusively on cell phones, while forgoing a land-line.</p> <p align="LEFT"> Wireless technologies are not just about accessing entertainment, but are often critical work and learning tools, as well as communications devised. In an <u><a href="http://www.mywireless.org/media-center/data-center/2013-national-tax-survey/">industry survey</a>,</u> most wireless consumers reported seeing access to wireless technologies not only as critical to their everyday life (more than 80 percent consider it an essentially service), but as important for increasing their productivity at work (44 percent) and in school (17 percent).</p> <p align="LEFT"> It is this fact that wireless communications are considered so essential, that makes them an attractive taxation vehicle for governments. But far from progressive, these taxes on wireless technology particularly affect those with tight budgets and who can&#39;t afford to pay the extra dollars a month. In fact, when asked if an additional five dollars a month were added to their wireless bill, one-quarter of current wireless users reported that they would &ldquo;definitely&rdquo; reduce their wireless service and two-thirds would either &ldquo;definitely&rdquo; or &ldquo;consider&rdquo; reducing their plans. Those will lower income, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Americans under age 40 were most likely to report having to consider reducing their wireless access due to rising costs.</p> <p align="LEFT"> Rather than seeing wireless services as a vehicle for filling government coffers, policymakers across the country should help Americans of all income levels to be able to use wireless technologies, and access that vast network of information, by ending these regressive taxes. &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2793441/Carrie L. LukasMon, 17 Mar 2014 08:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy So Touchy About Breastfeeding?<p> Last week, I <a href="http://www.iwf.org/blog/2793352/Surprise!-Breastfeeding-Benefits-Have-Been-Hyped">noted</a> that a new study calls into question previous studies about the many benefits of breastfeeding.</p> <p> In that post, I mentioned that I am personally a huge believer in breastfeeding for many reasons and have put this belief into practice with my own kids. The point of my piece was to highlight that what all new moms hear about the superiority of breast milk for babies appears overstated. That&#39;s important information for women to have since some women simply can&#39;t breastfeed for physical reasons or have to make huge sacrifices to do so, and end up feeling guilty for not breastfeeding for as long as experts recommend. These women deserve a break: Let&#39;s stop the endless haranguing about the superiority of breastfeeding, especially when it may not necessarily be true.</p> <p> Note that I got one important fact wrong in my post. I had suggested that the study found that breastfeeding seems correlated with less asthma, when in fact, it was the opposite: According to the new study, breastfed kids seemed to have <em>higher</em> incidence of asthma than their formula-fed siblings.</p> <p> This post generated scores of comments on Facebook, most from those who are pro-breastfeeding and viewed my piece as an attack on those who breastfeed. Unsurprisingly, since I was suggested that previous breast-is-best studies were flawed, they claimed the sibling study I cited was flawed.</p> <p> If that&#39;s true, I want to hear more. But so far, no one appeared to offer any actually critique of the study other that to allude to the idea that we needed to check on who was funding and writing it (because it just must be a formula company, right? Or some other evil right-wing group that wants (for unknown reasons) women to stop breastfeeding).</p> <p> In fact, the sibling-study was conducted by the <a href="http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/sibbreast.htm">Ohio State University</a> and hardly seems the product of a research team with an ax to grind against breast feeding. Here is a write up of the study:</p> <blockquote> <p> &ldquo;Many previous studies suffer from selection bias. They either do not or cannot statistically control for factors such as race, age, family income, mother&rsquo;s employment &ndash; things we know that can affect both breast-feeding and health outcomes,&rdquo; said <a href="http://sociology.osu.edu/people/colen">Cynthia Colen</a>, assistant professor of <a href="http://sociology.osu.edu/">sociology</a> at The Ohio State University and lead author of the study. &ldquo;Moms with more resources, with higher levels of education and higher levels of income, and more flexibility in their daily schedules are more likely to breast-feed their children and do so for longer periods of time.&rdquo;</p> <p> Previous research has identified clear patterns of racial and socioeconomic disparities between women who breast-feed and those who don&rsquo;t, complicating an already demanding choice for women who work outside the home at jobs with little flexibility and limited maternity leave.</p> <p> Colen&rsquo;s study is also rare for its look at health and education benefits of infant feeding practices for children age 4 to 14 years, beyond the more typical investigation of breast-feeding&rsquo;s effects on infants and toddlers.</p> <p> Federal health officials have declared breast-feeding for at least six months a national priority, which could end up stigmatizing women who can&rsquo;t opt to nurse their babies, Colen said.</p> <p> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not saying breast-feeding is not beneficial, especially for boosting nutrition and immunity in newborns,&rdquo; Colen said. &ldquo;But if we really want to improve maternal and child health in this country, let&rsquo;s also focus on things that can really do that in the long term &ndash; like subsidized day care, better maternity leave policies and more employment opportunities for low-income mothers that pay a living wage, for example.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p> So much for the research being a tool of the formula industry or evil right-winger: She argues that instead of pretending that getting low-income moms to breastfeed will boost children&#39;s prospects, we need to focus on other things. I disagree with the other things she wants (the so-called living wage and subsidized daycare) for a variety of other reasons, but agree that the government should ease up on lecturing to low-income moms.</p> <p> The superiority of using siblings to control for other environmental factors makes sense to me. Do any commentators have an actual reason to suggest that this concept or her execution was flawed?</p> <p> Again, this study doesn&#39;t deny that there aren&#39;t some benefits to breastfeeding. This study focused on claims about long-term benefits, and allows that there are likely short term benefits in terms of reducing infant illnesses. That (and saving oodles of money on formula) is reason enough to breastfeed if you can, in my mind. Yet why is the pro-breastfeeding community so threatened by any suggestion that some benefits are overstated? Why do they seem to want to make moms who can&#39;t or don&#39;t want to breastfeed feel bad about it?</p> <p> Activist groups have every right to push their agenda, regardless of what the stats say. The government is another story. Hard-earned tax dollars shouldn&#39;t be pushed into pro-breastfeeding propaganda. (Perhaps this is the reason that the pro-breastfeeding groups are so touchy about any study calling their cause into question? Should we really be looking into if they dependent on government funding for their own outreach work so they are the ones in a financial interest in pushing this misinformation?)</p> <p> The bottom line is that women deserve to hear the facts&mdash;and the real facts, as best we know them to date&mdash;and then should be free to make decisions for themselves without any more cajoling from Uncle Sam. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2793370/Carrie L. LukasMon, 10 Mar 2014 09:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSurprise! Breastfeeding Benefits Have Been Hyped<p> Women who have had babies in recent years have all been lectured from doctors and health professions, as well as earnest friends, family members, and nosy strangers, about the benefits of breastfeeding. Not surprisingly government is a part of the mix, as health officials produce pamphlets encouraging women to breastfeed and proselytizing about all of the wondrous benefits that stem from it (fewer allergies, less obesity, maybe even enhanced IQ). Also surprising no one, <a href="http://www.iwf.org/news/2788722/The-Nanny-State-Comes-to-the-Nursery">Mayor Bloomberg</a> was among those promoting the most heavy-handed tactics, proposing that New York City hospitals sequester formula and require nurses to lecture new moms who request formula.</p> <p> I&#39;ve written <a href="http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10000872396390443659204577573180293388676?mod=googlenews_wsj&amp;mg=reno64-wsj">before</a> about how this goes overboard. There are legitimate reasons why women can&#39;t breastfeed or don&#39;t want to. There is no reason to pile on the guilt and make them feel like they are dooming junior to a life of underachievement because they turned to formula.</p> <p> And now <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/02/27/breast_feeding_study_benefits_of_breast_over_bottle_have_been_exaggerated.html">new studies</a> are calling the health benefits into question. The problem has always been that women who breastfeed tend to be different from those who start with formula, in terms of education and income. Researchers try to capture those differences by controlling for such factors, but it&#39;s tough to capture everything. So researchers have now compared siblings within the same family who were breast-fed with those who were formula-fed. And when doing so, they could find no statistical difference in outcomes, other than that breastfeeding seems to reduce incidence of asthma. No differences in BMI, measures of intelligence, bonding with Mom, or other health measures. So much for the miracle-potion breast milk.</p> <p> Few women have more of a vested interest in the wonders of breastfeeding than I do: I&#39;ve breastfed my four children for more than a total of seven years and I&#39;m still going. And I don&#39;t regret breastfeeding even if there aren&#39;t any particular health benefits. I&#39;ve saved money on formula, it&#39;s been incredibly convenient (no bottles to make or clean), and I&#39;ve enjoyed that special time with my babies.</p> <p> But women should know the real facts and not be cajoled into what can be a time-consuming endeavor based on false pretenses. Particularly the government should get out of the business of trying to influence parents&#39; behavior, in particular since their guidance often turns out to be wrong. The bottom line, as it so often is, is that Moms and Dads should relax, do the best they can for their kids, but recognize that most kids are going to turn out okay so long as Mom and Dad just rely on basic common sense. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2793352/Carrie L. LukasThu, 6 Mar 2014 06:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe War on Women Will Be the Left's Campaign Theme — Will the GOP Be Ready?<p> The Democrats&rsquo; 2014 campaign strategy should surprise no one: They don&rsquo;t want voters dwelling on Obamacare&rsquo;s broken promises or our unabating economic doldrums, so they are doubling down on the War on Women campaign tactic that worked so well in 2012 and in the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial contest.</p> <p> The substance of the Democrats&rsquo; women&nbsp;agenda is an afterthought, and for good reason. There will be the expected hand wringing about the wage gap and calls for yet another round of &ldquo;equal pay&rdquo; legislation. &nbsp;Never mind that honest liberals admit the wage gap is a product of women and men&rsquo;s different choices, which is why the White House itself has a &ldquo;wage gap&rdquo; of 12 percent. The minimum wage hike will be repackaged as a women&rsquo;s issue, and progressives will trumpet new benefit mandates and childcare proposals, ignoring how these policies won&rsquo;t solve &ndash;&nbsp;and in some cases will exacerbate &ndash;&nbsp;the biggest problem facing American men and women alike: the chronic lack of job&nbsp;opportunties.</p> <p> Republicans should take particular note that the FAMILY Act &ndash;&nbsp;a massive expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act &ndash;&nbsp;is poised to be a major Democratic priority. Conservatives may hope that Americans will be wary of another massive new federal entitlement program after the Obamacare disaster, but they&rsquo;ll have to actually be ready to make that case and expose the proposal for what it is, rather than just ignoring&nbsp;it &mdash; and letting it serve as a feel-good sound bite of how Democrats want to help new moms and parents with sick kids, if only those nasty Republicans would let them.</p> <p> And that&rsquo;s really what this exercise is about. Democrats seek to remind single women that they simply don&rsquo;t like Republicans and think the GOP is &ldquo;out of touch.&rdquo;&nbsp;And Democrats are banking on these voters being sufficiently out of touch that they don&rsquo;t recognize the &ldquo;War on Women&rdquo; push as pure campaign manipulation.</p> <p> The only thing more frustrating than the misleading campaign itself is Republicans&rsquo; flatfootedness in&nbsp;responding to it. Conservatives know that an economic-opportunity agenda is best for women, as well as men, and believe that message should appeal across the board. Yet more effort needs to go into directly countering the absurd, but sadly effective, war-on-women messaging. The Left has long showered support on women&rsquo;s groups that are continually conducting outreach and message testing. In contrast, the GOP seems too often to see women as a small interest group that just needs periodic attention a few weeks before November.</p> <p> Hoping that members avoid super-sized gaffes in talking about women isn&rsquo;t enough. Conservatives have a positive story to tell about how their policy proposals will really improve women&rsquo;s lives by creating more opportunity. The challenge is getting that story out in a way that women will actually hear and believe.</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> <p> Follow Carrie on <a href="https://twitter.com/carrielukas">Twitter</a>.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2793297/Carrie L. LukasThu, 27 Feb 2014 15:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhen It Comes to the Economy, Democrats Should First Do No Harm<p> In <a href="http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116666/republicans-dont-have-any-agenda-raise-wages-minimum-wage">The New Republic David Vinik</a> laments that Republicans are failing to offer new ideas for how to increase wages for lower-income workers, and concludes that &ldquo;Against a proposal of nothing, a minimum wage increase doesn&#39;t look too bad.&rdquo;</p> <p> Yet there is something worse than doing nothing, which is doing something that makes matters worse, which is what a minimum wage hike would do, as explained by the <a href="http://www.iwf.org/blog/2793189/War-On-Work:-Raising-Minimum-Wage-to-$10.10-Will-Eliminate-Half-Million-Jobs">Congressional Budget Office</a> and acknowledged by David Vinik.</p> <p> Vinik suggests President Obama has a strong job proposal, while Republicans offer just more of the same:</p> <blockquote> <p> In the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/jobs_act.pdf">American Jobs Act</a>, President Obama proposed infrastructure spending, payroll tax cuts, extending unemployment insurance, and tax credits for firms to hire the long-term unemployed.</p> <p> What have Republicans offered? The same thing as always: reduce regulations, cut taxes and &ldquo;get the government out of the way.&rdquo; But these are supply-side policies aimed at promoting long-term growth. They aren&rsquo;t ideas to help in business cycle downturns.</p> </blockquote> <p> Yet President Obama&#39;s proposal epitomizes more of the same. It is exactly what was contained in the President&#39;s original nearly-trillion dollar stimulus that was supposed to address our unemployment crisis and has <a href="http://www.speaker.gov/press-release/five-years-later-where-are-jobs">failed</a> so that we are left today debating the same question of how to address high unemployed, an increasingly shrinking workforce, and wage stagnation.</p> <p> Republicans do need to shout from the roof-tops about the positive reforms they have for encouraging job creation. But it makes sense that many of those reform proposals begin with undoing the tremendous damage that has been done to job creation with laws like ObamaCare. There are other very worthy <a href="http://www.nationalaffairs.com/doclib/20131219_Strain_Winter2014.pdf">conservative ideas</a> that should be considered. But let&#39;s also be realistic: While liberals lament that Obama&#39;s agenda is held back by House Republicans, clearly out-of-power Republicans have little ability to push their own reform agenda.</p> <p> We all agree that we need policies that promote economic growth and job creation to help the unemployed and encourage wages to rise. But the best first step is to stop pushing legislation and regulation that take us in the opposite direction and destroys jobs. &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2793199/Carrie L. LukasThu, 20 Feb 2014 07:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHigh Pay Not Extremely Important to Most Moms and Dads<p> When<a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/03/14/modern-parenthood-roles-of-moms-and-dads-converge-as-they-balance-work-and-family/2/"> this Pew Study</a> came out, I focused on <a href="http://iwf.org/news/2791290/">mother&#39;s preferences for work</a>. The bottom line being that most mothers would prefer to work part-time, rather than full-time.</p> <p> <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/03/14/modern-parenthood-roles-of-moms-and-dads-converge-as-they-balance-work-and-family/2/" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://c1355372.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/76532838-9751-4458-a58e-1b5d029285d9/SDT-2013-03-Modern-Parenthood-16.png" style="width: 293px; height: 410px; float: right; margin: 2px;" /></a></p> <p> But I overlooked a chart and some data that also provide an important backdrop for conversations about the wage gap, and why men and women continue to assume different roles in society.</p> <p> When asked what they value in a job, mothers and fathers expressed different priorities. Significantly more working mothers said that a flexible schedule was important to them (70 percent to 46 percent), and 10 percentage points more men said having a higher paying job was important. Interestingly, both mothers and fathers reported that &ldquo;a job they enjoy&rdquo; was of high value (though 5 percentage points more women listed that of extreme importance). &nbsp;In fact, twice as many mothers said that a job they enjoy is extremely important than said high pay was extremely importance. &nbsp;That relationship was even true among fathers, and nearly twice as many men valued enjoying a job over pay.</p> <p> One of the biggest problems about conversations about the wage gap is that it tends to focus on one variable: take-home pay. Yet maximizing income is often not people&#39;s priority, and&mdash;not surprisingly&mdash;it was less of a priority for moms than for dads.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2793174/Carrie L. LukasTue, 18 Feb 2014 09:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum