If you let Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) tell it, then there is no such thing as a “war on women,” and even if there was, women are winning the battle so what’s there to complain about? Speaking with CNN’s Candy Crowley, Paul asserted, “The whole thing of the ‘war on women,’ I sort of laughingly say, ‘Yeah, there might have been – but the women are winning it.’” Paul cited women making up more than half of the students at medical and law school to back up his claim. More, he touted the female members of his family to stress that this idea of Republicans being anti-women in both tone and policy is nothing more than folklore.
The likely GOP 2016 presidential candidate went on to say, “I think women are doing very well, and I’m proud of how far we’ve come.”
Okay, everybody, let’s just shut up now. Rand Paul has spoken. Or not.
As awesome as it is to know that the rich White women who make up Rand Paul’s family are doing an outstanding job in their careers, this is not a truth shared by most women.
In Maria Shriver’s annual report on “Women in America,” they found the following:
1 in 3 American women, 42 million women, plus 28 million children, either live in poverty or are right on the brink of it. (The report defines the ‘brink of poverty’ as making $47,000 a year for a family of four.)
Nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women, and these workers often get zero paid sick days.
Two-thirds of American women are either the primary or co-breadwinners of their families.
More than half of the babies born to Moms who are under 30 are born to unmarried mothers, and most of them are White.
Even though women outnumber men in higher education, men still make more money than women who have the same level of educational achievement, from high school diplomas to advanced graduate degrees. And in 2011, men with Bachelors’ degrees earned more than women with graduate degrees.
60 percent of low-income women say they believe even if they made all the right choices, ‘the economy doesn’t work for someone like me.’
These are structural problems elevated by bad policy mostly engineered by conservatives. Sort of like Rand Paul’s idea to cut government benefits to unwed mothers who have multiple children.
Paul recently floated that possibility at a recent Commerce Lexington luncheon. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports:
During a question-and-answer period following his remarks at a Commerce Lexington luncheon, Paul responded to a question about workforce development by including a warning about unwed young mothers doomed to poverty.
Although he said the job of preventing unplanned or unwanted pregnancies should be left to communities and families, Paul left open the possibility of a role for government.
‘Maybe we have to say, ‘Enough’s enough, you shouldn’t be having kids after a certain amount,’” Paul told the business group at one point.
Paul added that being “married with kids versus unmarried with kids is the difference between living in poverty and not.” Yeah, former President George W. Bush already peddled that “let’s get the po’ folk married and spare them from poverty” program and it failed miserably.
But as Mother Jones’ Stephanie Mencimer highlighted, there is precedence about one successful pro-marriage program in Minnesota:
[T]he only social program ever to show documented success in impacting the marriage rates of poor people came in 1994, when the state of Minnesota accidentally reduced the divorce rate among poor Black women by allowing them to keep some of their welfare benefits when they went to work rather than cutting them off. During the three-year experiment and for a few years afterward, the divorce rate for Black women in the state fell 70 percent. The positive effects on kids also continued for several years.
And yet, Paul stresses that the slashing of an unwed’s mother’s benefits would be “tough love.” There is no love in such a sentiment. Republicans want to suppress wages and restrict access to birth control, but then punish poor women who fall victim to what is an obvious set-up.
Still, Paul maintained in his State of the Union interview:
And I think some of the victimology and all of this other stuff is trumped up. We don’t get to any good policy by playing some sort of charade that somehow one party doesn’t care about women or one party is not in favor of women advancing, or other people advancing.