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The War On Women Is a Class War

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We've had decades of relentless class warfare from above, in the form of wealth distribution from the many to the few. Finally, class-related issues have helped to deliver a resounding defeat to scores of candidates who represented the interests-->

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Kit B (276)
Friday November 16, 2012, 8:07 am
(Cartoon from Stock images: Cartoons)

Last week the voters delivered their verdict on what has come to be known as “the Republican War on Women”: They’re against it.

We’ve had decades of relentless class warfare from above, in the form of wealth distribution from the many to the few. Finally, class-related issues have helped to deliver a resounding defeat to scores of candidates who represented the interests of naked greed. (See

Women’s issues and women voters were critical to this election. That’s not coincidental. The War On Women has many dimensions – social, cultural, psychological – but in many ways women’s issues are class issues. That makes the war on women a class war, among other things.

The upcoming “fiscal cliff” talks will open up another front in this seemingly endless struggle. Here are some reasons why:

1. There are much fewer women than men at the top of the pay scale.
*****See graph at VISIT SITE****

As income goes up, the percentage of women goes down.

Roughly two-thirds of Americans who make $10,000 per year or less are women. The gender balance only reaches 50/50 status as it approaches the income levels we commonly think of as ‘middle class.’ From there on up it skews heavily in favor of men. Nearly two-thirds of the people who earn between $100,000 and $249,000 per year were male.

The disparity is even more striking for earners above $250,000: Less than one out of four Americans making $250,000 per year or more is a woman. And the key issue in this “fiscal cliff” conflict is taxation for people in this group.

The artificial fiscal-cliff “crisis” has gender implications at every income level.

2. Cuts to anti-poverty programs disproportionately hurt women.

how would the GOP pay for those continued tax breaks? Most of the money would come from cuts to programs for lower-income Americans. Women are more likely to be poor than men are, and single mothers are more than twice as likely to be poor as single fathers. Approximately one out of every six American women lives in poverty.

And, as we’ve seen, women make up nearly two-thirds of those who earn $10,000 per year or less:
*************Graph at VISIT SITE*****

These cuts will fall on them the hardest. As the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities observes, nearly two-thirds of the GOP’s proposed cuts come from low-income programs.

Anti-poverty programs are a lifesaver for millions of American women – sometimes literally. Proposed cuts to Medicaid, financial assistance, food and education programs would strike their households especially hard.

3. Austerity cuts are harming women worldwide.

A study entitled “Impact of the Global Economic Crisis and Austerity Measures on Women,” conducted for Public Services International (PSI) by Jane Lethbridge of the University of Greenwich, concluded that austerity measures of the kind now being debated affect women’s employment in both public and private-sector jobs.

Lethbridge notes that public-sector job cuts disproportionately affect women, an inequitable effect that’s made even more unfair when wage freezes or pay cuts are imposed on women who are already making less on average. The short-term effect on women’s employment is only part of the problem, since these measures also have a long-term impact on women’s participation in the labor force.

The report adds that that “one feature of many austerity packages is a reduction in welfare benefits,” which is “expected to have a dramatic effect on women, especially single women with children,” pushing them “further into poverty.” It also concludes that “many cuts in public services are reducing services such as social care, libraries, further and higher education, early years care services, sexual/reproductive health services, all of which are used by women,” and that “reductions in funding for legal aid and organisations that promote women’s rights are also affected, which will impact on the promotion of women’s rights.”

While it doesn’t sit well with the mentality of American exceptionalism, many of these statements are equally true of the United States. These proposed cuts would impose a particularly heavy burden on both lower-income and middle-class women, depriving some of much-needed resources and others of much-needed jobs: **** Graph at VISIT SITE *****

4. Cuts to Social Security and Medicare would be especially hard on women.

Women live longer than men, which makes Social Security and Medicare an even more important part of their financial security in old age. Yet John Boehner has insisted that cuts in these programs be a part of any deficit deal. As a study by the National Women’s Law Center shows, one in four elderly women depends entirely, or almost entirely, on Social Security as their means of support.

What’s more, women receive less in benefits on average than men do. While the average male recipient receives $16,000 per year, which is hardly a princely sum, the average female recipient receives on $12,000. Social Security cuts would affect women who have worked and paid into Social Security throughout their working lives, as well as disabled women and those whose spouses have been killed or disabled.

Social Security lifted more than 20 million women out of poverty in 2009. Without it more than half of the nation’s elderly women would live in poverty. The Law Center study shows that Social Security has also been a critical lifetime for disabled women, especially disabled women of color. Elderly women are twice as likely to be poor as elderly men.

There’s a simple, clean solution to Social Security’s (relatively mild and very long-range) funding imbalances: scrap the payroll tax cap, which currently applies only to income of approximately $110,000 and less. The “War On Women” crowd is likely to oppose that, however, since that would present an slight imposition on the enormous financial resources of their base: the ultra-wealthy.

5. Those top-earner tax breaks would primarily go to men.

Here’s the other side of the coin: All of these cuts are designed to protect and expand exorbitant tax breaks for the wealthiest and highest-earning Americans – a group that’s disproportionately male.

The higher up the income scale you go, the greater the benefits of these tax breaks becomes:

We don’t have charts for the ultra-wealthy billionaire class, since the Census Bureau data isn’t broken out for those who earn above $250,000. But it’s safe to say that relatively few of the billionaires who benefit the most from these tax breaks – and from others, such as the hedge-fund managers’ loophole – are women.

Which brings us to our final point:

6. A “One Percent” economy is an anti-woman economy.

All the growth in our economy – both before and after the financial crisis and the public’s bailout of the big banks – went to the wealthiest among us:

Households on the lower end of the scale actually lost ground. That’s not random or accidental. It’s the result of government policies – in areas that include taxation, education spending, job creation, public health, and even childhood nutrition. By hurting the lower-income people among us, these policies have hurt women.

As Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization For Women (NOW), commented: “The growing inequality of income and wealth, which has had a devastating impact on women, especially women of color, must be reversed.”

Ultimately that’s what discussions like this “fiscal cliff” debate are about: Whether we’re going to reverse this massive upward redistribution of wealth to the already-wealthy, or whether we’re going to let it accelerate. The effect on all of us – and on women most of all – could be dramatic.

Women were a decisive force in the last election. NOW’s O’Neill also noted that “the next Congress … will have 20 female senators … the most in U.S. history,” that there will be “a record number of women” in Congress, and that feminist male candidates won a number of key Senate races.

These leaders must understand what’s a stake in the fiscal negotiations now underway. The future of lower-income and middle-class Americans – and the outcome of the War On Women – depends on it.
***** Graphs and internal links available at VISIT SITE *****

by Richard Eskow | Campaign For America's Future|


Sue H (7)
Friday November 16, 2012, 8:20 am
Very big sigh. Why do women scare men so much?

Lois J (63)
Friday November 16, 2012, 3:24 pm
*I'm sorry I'm unable to send Kit a green star since I sent one this week. The oppression of women continues; but we seem to be gaining some strength in numbers by spreading info and facts. We must be relentless in our goals toward equality by providing health care for women, as well as education. Although Lilly Ledbetter was signed, an Equal Rights Amendment would go further in our representation.

Kit B (276)
Friday November 16, 2012, 5:52 pm

Our female warriors - l like that. I expect many things may begin to change. We do equal work and do not get equal pay. Should that be changed many things will begin to fall in line.

cecily w (0)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 1:53 pm
But some fully-abled women come off very well with Social Security Old Age benefits. Wives and qualified ex-wives who have not been employed at all for a duration of 40-45 years, or who have been employed only marginally can get 50% of the worker-husband's benefit while the husband is alive (in addition to the worker getting full benefit), and 100% of the worker-husband's benefit after the worker dies. (Long term house-husbands are also eligible, but this less common.) This discriminates against singles and working couples, and should be phased out. It is also unfair to younger workers who must work longer to provide benefits for fully abled people who have not contributed to the program. CLARIFICATION: It is great if a parent can stay home with young child or two--but 40-45 years?

The situation with Medicare is also amusing. A fully-abled 65 year old who has not been employed--again for 40-45 years--can get a freebie (to him or her that is) on Medicare Part A so long as his or her spouse has been employed and contributed to Medicare for ten years.

But, of course, the article was referring to the shortfall in Social Security Old Age Benefits for employed women. We really have to be strident in pushing equal pay for equal work.


Rita White (1)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 2:49 pm

jan b (5)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 4:29 pm
I went to a head-hunter in Atlanta. We concluded the interview & I was in my chair and he sat on his desk near me so he hovered over me. Said, you're a Catholic aren't you ? I was so shocked that I know I didn't respond well....I went on the defensive & told him how the town I came from in N E we attended each other's churches from time to time which was true on particular occasions. And he turned away from me with a look of disgust. But that wasn't the only time I was confronted with hate and I learned what the evangelicals---southern baptists were like.

jan b (5)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 4:33 pm
cecily w----- Soc Security wasn't designed in mind to be FAIR. It isn't a SAVINGS PLAN. It's INSURANCE against poverty and to help people stay financially solvent. . You don't get a check back from the insurer when you don't have an accident but some people do.
More than a million youth between the ages of 13 and 29 receive some form of Social Security cash benefit support each month. Additionally the Social Security Administration reports that many young people with disabilities who enter their rolls are likely to remain on the programs for the rest of their lives.

Kit B (276)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 5:09 pm

Yes, some women can receive their husbands Social Security benefits, not all. Both Social Security and Medicare are paid for with a taxation that is above the payroll or income tax paid. My husband did not pay into Social Security but did pay for Medicare, though Medicare is not transferable. The only Social Security I could receive is from my own accrued credits from working. Children and young adults if disabled and unable to support themselves are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance. I have no problem with that.

Not all evangelic nor Southern Baptists will fall into that narrow definition. People are people, some are not nice, others even atheists can still be good people.

Yvonne W (229)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 5:20 pm
Even with a Union women who are care-givers make much less than they would in a Factory job. My Autistic son gets SSDI, which is a little over half what my husband gets. If I wasn't working at all, then my son & I would still get that amount Between us! It doesn't matter how many under-age or disabled children you have, All Together they would split a little over half of what the deceased or disabled parent would have drawn themselves... so they wouldn't be getting any where Near Romney-style child support!;)

Arthur R (32)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 10:02 pm
Good post about women Kit. I couldn't send a green star as I have already sent one - so consider yourself awarded another 'honorary star'. I am a man but it never ceases to annoy me how prejudiced so many males are against women. Of course they pretend otherwise and try to trot some high falutin nonsense about women being too emotional, or not being able to concentrate on their job because they look after children (why can't the father do look after the children then!), or women's 'natural job' is to raise a family, or even God had decreed the roles of men & women – what a load of utter rubbish and it often makes me ashamed to be a man when my gender are so often so totally stupid. However, it is also partly women's 'fault' as it is often the mothers of these men who have raised their sons to think this way, often encouraged by their wives in this sort of stupid fantasy. This is especially so in many, but not all, religious families. Unfortunately men seem to be born with a 'stupid gene' so often can't help themselves so we really need to do more to convince all the mothers, daughters & wives around the world that women & men need to be 100% equal and stop the nonsense that somehow some laws, work and activities are for women and some are for men. Apart from childbirth itself, every activity can be successfully accomplished by either men OR women. It is difficult to change this generation but we should work harder to change the thinking of the younger generation.

Craig P (52)
Monday November 19, 2012, 7:25 am
As long as men are allowed to hold the key positions of power in government there will be this kind of discrimination. I think it will be easier to motivate the 50+ percentage of the population who are women to run for office and to vote for those who will work for equity than it will be to change the mindset of the men who perpetuate the discrijination.

g d c (0)
Saturday November 24, 2012, 1:09 pm
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