“Economic freedom”

by | Jan 2, 2015 | Economy, Editor's Blog | 58 comments

I’ve long had problems with political terminology from both sides of the aisle. The “war on women” has always grated on my nerves. Nobody has declared war on women and the only people who think in those terms are partisans. The Tea Party’s attempt to hijack the word “patriot” only highlights their pathetic lack of understanding of our country’s history.

The term that’s on my last nerve right now is “economic freedom.” It’s a euphemism from conservatives to describe their top-down view of the economy. Under Reagan, they called it supply-side economics, but George H. W. Bush correctly named it “Voodoo economics.” The free-marketeers who throw the term around insist that if government will just give people the ability to spend money unimpeded by taxes and regulations, the economy will take off and everybody will benefit.

In reality, economic freedom only applies to those who are already economically secure. Most people spend all of their money on necessities like food, mortgages and utilities. Economic freedom for them would be higher wages and a lower cost of living. The current General Assembly ended the earned income tax credit which put money into the pockets of the working poor and then raised the tax on electricity which increases the cost of living for those who a need a break the most.

The economic freedom crowd conveniently ignores the impact of the policies they support on the people who struggle under our economic system. They measure success in terms of per capita income, not median income. They’re less concerned about the shrinking middle class or the gap between productivity and wages. They’re just outraged that the government would suggest that the people who have benefited most from our economic system would be asked to offer a hand up to those who have been benefitted least.

“Economic freedom” is the belief that if those who have money are making more of it, then relative prosperity will spread to everybody else. It’s never worked; it never will but by calling it “freedom” they are attaching a core American value to their Randian economic philosophy. It’s a political term, not an economic one.


  1. George Greene

    Economic Freedom: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/01/08/3609625/luxury-hotel-homeless-christmas-cancel/
    In that case, they tried to claim it was safety. As though being homeless makes you more likely to be a mugger or a rapist. They also tried to allege the relevance of photo ID, when in fact (although it is indeed far less likely, and THAT is a civil rights issue), the particular homeless people in question DID in fact HAVE photo ID.

  2. George Greene

    “Economic freedom” in conservative-speak also means, basically, believing that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is unconstitutional, because “private” businesses reserve “the right to refuse service to anyone”. Even with the Act in effect, some businesses still post that sign. In these parts anyway, that level of “freedom” is just blatantly racist.

    What the political right calls “economic freedom” is also all about socializing the costs of economic production while privatizing the profits. A classic example is the economic freedom to frack — or worse yet, to get special breaks for your crony capitalists: the fracking boom was kicked off by amendments to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that federally exempted fracking from relevant provisions of the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. Wastes generated from the production of oil and natural gas had even earlier been exempted from the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. While all big industries can and do lobby Congress (often successfully) for special breaks, THIS level of blatant exceptionalism (I mean, Other industries still have to comply with the Clean Water Act), at such huge public cost, is arguably specific to the oiil&gas industry.

    • James Coley

      On these issues I am in complete agreement with you.

  3. George Greene

    For you to say that restricting a woman’s right to abortion as harshly as the Republicans are trying to restrict is NOT a war on women makes You, Tom Mills, look not only like a damn fool but like somebody who didn’t even HAVE a MOTHER. Hint: you are NOT a woman: *S*H*U*T* UP. OR ASK Yo’ mama. Or your sister.

    • James Coley

      The notion that Mr. Mills, or anyone else, is somehow disqualified from having and advocating a view on this or any other political matter because of their gender is sexist and ridiculous. The views we hold should be evaluated and debated on the basis of the reasons we have for them, not some notion that members of putatively aggrieved groups are in some way able and entitled to dictate the reality of the issue.

      And as for asking the mother or the sister, this neglects the simple fact that women are not by any means politically monolithic or homogenous. Women are people, Mr. Greene, just like you and me. They are not your ideological abstraction. Women are individuals with different views on this and other matters.

      Polls show that women are split on the abortion issue, and some of the conservatives behind what is hyperbolically and inaccurately termed a “war on women” are themselves women.

      Is there no one on this blog who can see the obvious point here? It is one I have expressed over and over, and I am guessing it forms the basis of the reasons Mr. Mills has for what he wrote on this matter. Maybe I’m wrong in what I think, but in order to engage in a genuine dialectic and not yet another online shouting match, what you have to do is tell me what is wrong with my argument.

      Here, once again, is the argument. I agree that the Republican policies about, for example, abortion are wrong, extreme and harsh. However, to call it a “war on women” implies that they are doing this because they intend to, want to, and are motivated by a desire to harm women. This is simply not (with perhaps a few bizarre exceptions) the case, particularly when you consider that many of the people in the state who support these policies are women.

      The main reason people who oppose abortion rights hold that view is that they hold the absurd religious belief that there are souls that enter the ovum at fertilization.

      There is a direct parallel between us liberals distorting the debate by calling this a “war on women” and the way conservatives and libertarians distort economic debate by calling the view (which I embrace) that substantial progressivity should be restored to taxation a “war on the rich.” In both cases, the motivations behind the positions people take are inaccurately identified, and the reason for that is merely to provide a means of rhetorical emotional manipulation.

      It is not right when they do it, and it is not right when we do it. If we are ever going to restore the potential for genuine discussion and get away from political discourse as a mere shouting match, we must hold ourselves to the same standards of rational dialectic that we hold others to.

  4. MatchKing

    Yes, the MatchKing thinks you have the correct interpretation of the thesis of the book. It is the theoretical underpinning of the kinds of things Elizabeth Warren has been saying. She does a brilliant job of articulating this kind of insight in economics into terms everyone can understand.

  5. Mick

    Matchking: Myth of Ownership authors lay out an interesting premise. Not so much that government owns your income/earnings, but that you made those income/earnings based on a network structure (an interrelated web) in your community. Your labor/services are of value within that structure; more pointedly, your labor/services have no value w/o that network structure. To earn, one is using a community’s roads, buildings, telecommunications, monetary system, institutions, and markets. Thus, your earnings are, in essence, not yours, and taxes are but a small price to pay to the community (with government acting as its agent) for your access to/use of them. As the authors say, not much chance that this concept will turn the world economy on is head, but interesting just the same.

    • Gregorius Caroline du Nord

      So then, EVERYTHING is owned by the government including our labor and lives, it’s just a matter of how much we as individuals are allowed to keep. Is that about it?
      So who decides who decides, and do the deciders get to keep more than the non-deciders?

  6. Gregorius Caroline du Nord

    Yeah right Mick. Look these people here may not know you but I do. I’ve seen how you treat people you disagree with on the N&O and elsewhere. Just recently you called some poor sap a “fool”, and I can prove it. But I’m not a fool and I’m certainly not a sap, and I give as good as I get. I use the left’s very successful tactics of ridicule and insult when I think it’s warranted. And that MICK is your problem.
    But regardless, I would never ever advocate against your freedom to express your opinion…and that my New York blow-in friend is the difference between a guy like me and a guy like you. By the way, I did inhale and you are a, well a bit disingenuous when you say you didn’t. Oh, I love “No Woman No Cry”, what’s your favorite Wailers’ song?

  7. Mck

    Again, any volleying with Gregorious is a fruitless exercise. His itchy trigger finger for name-call and hurling insults always get the better of him. What I got from him by suggesting that he could have written a passage more clearly are lies that I lived “off the government teet” in the 70s (untrue), and that I smoke pot (never have, never will. Period). And then there’s his categorizing people on this thread as biased “leftists,” saying “Everything looks yellow to the jaundiced eye, and you guys are as yellow as yellow can be.”
    So it seems that getting tossed off the N&O comment forums hasn’t brought him an epiphany of his counterproductive interactive style.

  8. James Coley

    I think he was being sarcastic in calling the 70’s “great.” But, of course, this is a minor point.

    Thank you for your support on the larger issues. It is indeed disappointing that so many people have, perhaps because they read one of Ayn Rand’s bombastic novels at an intellectually vulnerable age, bought into the simplistic libertarian ideology.

    I think the main challenge to liberals is re-assert our status as the true philosophy of liberty.

    • Troy

      I believe Gregarious was making a comparision between he/she living through the 70’s and the Reagan era of the 80’s and how that was much more desireable to what the 70’s was.

      • Gregorius Caroline du Nord

        That would be correct Troy, as any clear thinking individual would clearly see. But if one is high on ganje while listening to Bob Marley, well I can see how it might be misunderstood.

    • Gregorius Caroline du Nord

      You insist on calling freedom “simplistic”. Mr. Coley please elaborate. It’s not enough to make some arbitrary assertion without a supporting argument.

      • James Coley

        Keith: I did not call freedom “simplistic.” I called the libertarian conception of freedom (or liberty) simplistic. And I already did elaborate with supporting argument, citing three examples: the Civil Rights Acts, compulsory education and Ebola quarantines.

        Liberalism, not libertarianism, is the true philosophy of liberty because it recognizes that liberty is complex. It includes, not just the absence of coercion — whether from government or from the private sector — but also what choices or ranges of ability are open to the individual. And sometimes these must be weighed against each other.

        As for your comment that “the Obama economy has been a bust,” all I can say is this. When he took office, we were on the verge of another Great Depression. Keynesian policies once again saved American capitalism, after libertarian policies brought it to the precipice of collapse. Obama saved America, rescued the auto industry, reformed health care financing and put us on a better path in foreign policy and security policy.

  9. Mick

    James: Thanks for your earlier post re: the “simplistic libertarian understanding of economics.” I agree with all of it.

    BTW, Gregorious point on Reaganomics’ timing and impact was badly offered. I simply reacted to exactly what he wrote, which was: “Was the Reagan economy the be all and end all? Of course not, but if you lived through the 70s as I did, let me tell you…IT WAS GREAT!” His sentence structure equates “the 70s” with the “IT” in “IT was great.”

    I read and re-read that passage several times before I posted, asking myself did he mean the 70s were great as his writing connotes, or did he mean the follow-up Reagan 80s were great compared to the awful 70s?

    With Gregorious, one cannot assume any clear understanding of recent US economic history. I decided to correct the point carried in his sentence structure. He wrote (or miswrote) what he meant; he should defend or clarify it.

    • Gregorius Caroline du Nord

      You leftists are always attacking those who disagree as somehow uneducated or unintelligent. A simplistic view of economics is it? Well gentlemen, the proof is in the pudding. Freedom works and free enterprise works. Even in the most wild and wooly days of unfettered capitalism, I refer to the post-Civil War days of robber barons like Vanderbilt and Rockefeller, even with all the abuses (and I don’t advocate for its return) the economy grew at 15, 16.17% rates per year. THAT is when the American middle-class was built!
      It cannot be denied that by any reasonable criteria the Obama economy has been a bust. Even with trillions upon trillions in government spending and debt we are still in “recovery” mode…a recovery that never seems to quite take hold.
      Face the facts gentlemen, your understanding of economics is colored by the good professors who lied to you. They put politics before economics and passed it along. Everything looks yellow to the jaundiced eye, and you guys are as yellow as yellow can be.

    • Gregorius Caroline du Nord

      Mick I apologize if you couldn’t follow my argument. I lived through the 70s as you did. You were living off the government teet and I was working my way through college. I assumed the reader would know the 70s were a horribly trying time for freedom and therefore the country. I was attempting to compare the 80s economic revival orchestrated by Reagan to those dark days of Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon. Please put down the spliff and re-read my comment with that in mind.

  10. Gregorius Caroline du Nord

    What Ronald Reagan was able to achieve and what he desired to happen are two different things. Was the Reagan economy the be all and end all? Of course not, but if you lived through the 70s as I did, let me tell you…IT WAS GREAT!
    It would be very hard indeed to explain to leftists the benefits of TRUE economic freedom, as #1 it’s hasn’t been tried lately and #2 most of you have been indoctrinated into a system that views (to quote Orwell) freedom as slavery.
    I would urge you all to put down Mother Jones and read (if you’ve got the intellectual horsepower) Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman. Then at least you’ll have an understanding of what you have probably never been taught.
    But let me leave you folks with a couple of thoughts. We’ve in the seventh year now of leftist economic policy. Unemployment is high, under employment is through the roof and the only people who are doing well are the investor class and the rich (especially the super-rich). We are living off credit with an exploding debt (17-18 trillion by last count the current administration adding about 10). Now it doesn’t take a genius to see that if this is what Keynesian economics is all about, IT IS NOT GOOD!

    • Mick

      The 1970s had nothing to do with Reagan; he became president in1981. And unemployment is hardly high; nothing like 2009-2011.

      • James Coley

        Mick: You missed the point. Gregorius was saying that the economic situation in the 70’s was bad and that after Reagan took office in the 80’s things got better.

        On the whole, however, I agree with you, Mick. Gregorius has a simplistic libertarian understanding of economics and you are quite right about unemployment. It is now approaching normal levels as we are finally pulling out of the Great Recession and the financial markets collapse of late 2008.

        A collapse, I add, that resulted from the application of the libertarian ideology of Friedman and others to the financial markets. (While Republicans were largely responsible for this, Clinton has to take some of the blame.)

        We should not forget that when Alan Greenspan testified after the collapse he admitted that he was mistaken in applying libertarianism. It is a fundamentally confused philosophical and economic view that mistakes the absence of government involvement for freedom. Also, it ultimately serves the interests of only a minority of Americans: the rich.

        A good example of how government involvement increases freedom are the Civil Rights Acts. According to the consistent libertarian, the government is wrong to require compulsory education. Putting Ebola victims under quarantine, for libertarianism, is also wrong because it is a “violation of individual liberty by the government.”

        The common error is that libertarians do not understand that genuine freedom is about what people have the ability to do with and in their own lives. Government can increase what the individual is able to do, and thus the liberty of the individual. Black people are able to go to any motel, we all have greater abilities because of education, and we are all supported in our liberty because you’re not free if Ebola killed you.

        Liberalism is the true philosophy of liberty, not libertarianism. The latter is really more concerned with property than liberty, and — as demonstrated above — it has a confused concept of liberty. Real liberty, as liberals understand, includes what people are able to do in making their own choices, not just whether these options are in part supported by the role of government in the economy and other aspects of society.

      • Gregorius Caroline du Nord

        You need to read more carefully Mick (by the way, from this point forward please address me as Keith). I didn’t say Reagan had anything to do with the 70s, I rather wish he had.

  11. Troy

    And we sit around and wonder why the Democrat party seems disjointed in North Carolina today. You challenge the message, shoot the messenger, and haven’t the slightest recollection as to why, until the next election cycle rolls around and you realize, “Huh, I guess he wasn’t the real problem, he was only pointing it out.” Duh.

    Either we all hang together or we shall all hang separately. Point being, we are all going to suffer until the regressive policies put in place by the current legislative majority and governor are ousted. Quibbling over the labels in absoluteness benefits the opposition. If you don’t know that is, prepare yourselves for a perpetuation of Republican control. Meanwhile, keep squabbling. See where it gets you.

  12. Keith R. Allen

    In this day and age, to conflate the “declaration” of war with WAGING WAR is ridiculous. We haven’t declared war on ISIS, but today I think I read that we bombed ISIS 31 times yesterday. To denigrate anyone who perceives legislative and cultural attacks on women as warlike to be “partisan” is equally ridiculous.

  13. wafranklin

    Are we “fair and balanced now”?

  14. wafranklin

    I am sick of people carping about their “freedoms” and “liberties” and the like. That is crap. I see very few people who comment about “community”, “shared responsibilities”, “mutual support” – things like that. Bridges and buildings are built by groups, not singletons. The cult of the “hero” with all the rights has many followers, including Democrats, but surely it is a staple of the Republicans and a key point for Teabillies. If you hear or see some fool carrying on about freedoms and the like, call them on it. We have too many plainly stupid people. Also, America is not exceptional – that is a lie and joke.

    • James Coley

      I don’t think you appreciate the significance of the NYT item:


      The author undermines your support for the “war on women” rhetoric by pointing out, with empirical data from polling results, that the abortion issue is more of a “war among women.” It directly validates some of my points in earlier posts in this thread, and in particular the observation that women are split on the abortion issue.

      Here is a relevant quote from the NYT piece:

      “Nuance goes out the window when slogans about the ‘war on women’ or the ‘liberal media’ dominate public discourse.”

      • James Coley

        The main point about the “war on women” rhetoric is that it implies that, for example, Republicans are doing things related to abortion that wrongly disadvantage women because they are out to get women.

        I agree that they are doing things that wrongly disadvantage women, but not because of misogyny, but for other reasons, such as silly religious beliefs about ensoulment. And Republicans have lots of support for these things from women.

        I have made these points several times but no one has actually responded to the arguments I have made. Instead, I have been told that I, and the author, must be wrong because of our gender. (Presumably, this is part of a feminist effort to promote treating people as individuals, and not prejudging them on the basis of their sex.)

        This reminds me of the time, years ago, when I had Penny Rich on my WCOM radio program. (She is an embarrassment to liberalism in Orange County if only because of her attempts to censor a bus ad that offended her fundamentalist Zionism. It is appalling that someone in an elected office here does not believe in free speech, and is so irrational.)

        When we were on the radio, it was an election year, and she said that state Republicans were waging a “war on women” in the legislature by trying to unseat them.

        A little investigation showed that, indeed, Republicans were trying to unseat Democratic women. And they were trying to unseat Democratic men. They were not trying to unseat Republican women. Or men.

        Rich was dumbfounded when I suggested that perhaps the Republicans were trying to unseat the Democratic women, not because they are women, but because they are Democrats.

        Liberalism is not well served by people who are no more logical than the most reactionary of the Tea Party types.

        • wafranklin

          Well that is certainly entertaining, much as the arguments about how many angels fit on the head of a pin. You certainly do not want to talk about the many generations of patriarchy which have conditioned folks to respond unknowingly to changes in dearly held beliefs, like the rights of women, previously there being few to none. It is clear that I am arguing here at a somewhat higher plane than you might concede. Like Alexander cutting the Gordian Knot, I am for across the board equality for women and control of their own bodies and minds, no exceptions. Nor have I claimed anything about liberalism, old or new, and certainly nothing about logic. But then, I am obviously (thank god) an unsophisticate.

          • James Coley

            This is not like angels on the head of a pin. What Thomas Mills wrote, in passing, about the “war on women” rhetoric being the same kind of distortion on the left as “economic freedom” is on the right, really should not be controversial. It is important that those of us left of center have good critical thinking skills, and that we not commit the same rhetorical fallacies we decry on the right. The “war on women” rhetoric is a clear example of avoiding the real issues by accusing the political opposition of motives they do not have. That simply hurts progressivism in the long run.

  15. Susan Jones

    Excuse me, Sir. There is a WAR ON WOMEN in this country and in this state. It is desperately trying to limit women’s freedom to their body, their equality and power in the marketplace. Since you are a MAN, I don’t think you are able to take the perspective of a female in this society. I’ve seen the enemy and it’s politicians.

    • James Coley

      Excuse me, Maim. Your reply is blatantly sexist. Whether he is right or wrong about what he said has nothing to do with his gender, and you should not assume that a man can not appreciate the perspective of a woman in this society. You are judging his views on the basis of his gender, and that is simply a viewpoint blinded by sexist prejudice against men.

      • wafranklin

        A man might, repeat might, appreciate the perspective of a woman, but so might whites also appreciate the perspectives of blacks and give up white supremacy – you have not and will not see that happen either. And further, the complicity of the religionists of fundamental or evangelical persuasion is not spoken about or recognized for the horrible facts as they are in regard to sex or race, it is taken for granted and many white men proceed to abuse women and minorities with not a glance sideways. Wise up. Ever read up on stats concerning wife and woman abuse by men? Ever see women generally beating up women – no, save some freak shows.

        • James Coley

          I think that what you are doing is quite common in online comments. I took issue, as did the author, with the “war on women” rhetoric and — it seems to me — you reacted, as is so often the case online, not to the person I am but to the Other you imagine me to be.

          In fact, I do appreciate the perspectives of women (and they are varied, and not always the same as yours) and of course I believe in gender equality. All I did was to take issue with the “war on women” rhetoric. Can liberals and gender egalitarians not have an intelligent, rational discussion among ourselves about this rhetoric without someone questioning it being demonized as one of Them — as though I were a conservative troll on this site?

          You and I probably agree on most if not all of the issues. I detest what the Republicans are doing about limiting access to abortion, for example. I just don’t believe it is accurate or fair to imply, as the “war on women” rhetoric does, that this is being done for the purpose of harming women. It is, exceptional cases aside, being done because of the absurd religious belief that there is a soul that enters the fertilized egg. A lot of women believe this nonsense and polls show women divided on the abortion issue.

          • wafranklin

            I think “war on women” is a succinct and meaningful phrase which describes the religious, social and other pressures brought to bear on women in this society to keep them “under control”. I have never thought that there was a consensus on abortion among men, women or other – having watched many for a long time. I do think that there is a major queasiness about abortion among many who support womens’ rights thereunto. Most men seem to avoid the issues/agruments about abortion since it is an area over which they have NO real control in a final sense. I am not surprised by the NYT clipping. This country is a long, long way from women having equal rights. As a simple fact, women miscarry regularly and it is a hoot watching our ignorant hyper religious cousins trying to control that – just an indicator of how idiotic this gets. In 1900 it was unusual for death to occur to mother and child in birth, some say 50%, so pregnancy could be a death sentence.

            So, I simply disagree that the term “war on women” is not meaningful and is useful as it terribly irritates the Teabillies. I also do not think men, in general, understand what part of overall societal responsibility women carry and for which they are consistently not remunerated, ever. And I suspect we agree on much.

    • TY Thompson

      I get the distinct impression that none on this board know what a war is. Been there, done that, got the VA disability rating to prove it.

      • James Coley

        Indeed, Ty.

        And one of the most offensive things about some feminism is blaming men for war, when of course most men have been forced into war. Just because most — though certainly not all — of the people in the power elite who send men to war are men, this does not mean that men collectively or individually choose war. Women have never been drafted.

        Last month’s centennial anniversary of the 1914 World War I trench-war events, in which men from opposing armies ceased hostilities on Christmas Eve and come out to “no man’s land” to celebrate together, is a poignant reminder that men do not want war.

        It is hard to overestimate the brutalizing effect on men, not just of war, but also of the cultural forces that socialize men to believe their masculinity depends on “patriotism” — the willingness to kill and die for the land of the father (“pater”).

        Is this something women can understand about men in this culture? I think it is. I will not prejudge women as unable to understand men, although Thomas Mills and I have been subjected to sexist attacks on this thread as unable to understand women.

    • Gregorius Caroline du Nord

      If I were to castrate myself would THAT make you happy? But tell me, what do you base that insane opinion on?

  16. Mick

    The economic freedom cry is a favorite of arch-conservatives and libertarians. “No government has any right to tax me, and no right to take what’s mine, or require anything from me, even for the common good.” It’s a kindergartner’s immature mentality and a naive view of the world. I often muse that if they are that against government assessing taxes and providing public works/services, why don’t they refuse to use US currency in their daily lives.

    • Gregorius Caroline du Nord

      “No government has any right to tax me, and no right to take what’s mine, or require anything from me, even for the common good.”
      That’s an absurd misrepresentation of libertarian philosophy. Would you care to quote the source? What’s immature here is you, if you expect anyone to believe your drivel.
      The power to tax is the power to destroy. Should we not demand government be held accountable for the monies we provide as hard working taxpaying, PRODUCTIVE citizens of this country? Will I catalogue for you the abuses and insane expenditures perpetrated by this government in the name of “…the common good”?
      The fact is it’s OUR money, NOT yours or the governments! As someone who lived their entire adult life having never drawn anything but a government check I wouldn’t expect you to understand.

  17. Don Davis

    If you look at those policies that are perceived as a war on women, they really could be better described as a war on families. For example, availability of contraceptives is as much a male issue as a female issue. Most husbands/fathers, if forced to chose life for their wife or for their unborn fetus, will chose their wife. “War on women”, like “choice”, are linked by many people to abortion. Once either of these terms is used, rational or reasoned thought goes out the window on both sides of the issue! Progressives/ Democrats need to retire both of these terms, and talk about the impact of policies on families and children.

    Don Davis

  18. James Coley

    I completely agree about “economic freedom” as well as the absurdity of the “war on women” rhetoric of some of my fellow liberals. People who are against abortion rights are not in general misogynists; they have the absurd religious belief that there are souls that enter fertilized eggs. Also, women are split on the abortion issue.

  19. Liz

    Interesting to find out I am labeled a partisan by finding some resonance in the phrase “war on women”. Perhaps you didn’t notice the laws intended to close abortion clinics, efforts to defund and vilify Planned Parenthood, and the fact that access to birth control is now part of what was formerly the just the abortion conversation. Let’s not forget the well-publicized slip-ups of Republican candidates telling us how they really perceive rape. How bout the thousands of unprocessed rape kits nationwide? The Supreme Court decision to not allow walMart women to certify as a class for a discrimination suit? Pregnant women being jailed for “possible” drug use and forced into rehab? From where I sit it certainly feels like a war on my right of self determination, and that I am not entitled to justice for violence done to me.

    • Karen

      Agree 100%, Liz. Well said.

    • wafranklin

      Absolutely, Thomas must have missed the classes where they taught that women were in fact once not long ago chattel, could not vote, large percentages of women died in childbirth, women were not educated, women are abused by men outrageously who get away with it, and on and on and on, etc., etc. Is he in fact that totally insensitive to society around him, or does he share the masculine view that all women are inferior – must. It is a war Thomas and you are on the wrong side, along with FAUX and Limbaugh. School the gentleman Liz.

    • Monica Neil

      The only way we got the vote was by framing it as a man getting a second vote for having a wife or a daughter. Since then we fought a hard battle just to get the 70 cents to every $1.00 a man can make for equal labor. They said “Women are not suited for factory work”. Then WWII came along and we proved that one wrong. In the ’60s women began demanding the same job opportunities that men have. A chauvinist did a study to see if there was any difference in the intelligence of men and women. Guess what, the study proved women to be mentally superior to men. Unfortunately, when one has total control of a society and its norms, it’s very difficult to make change from the outside. Change is what is happening, though, and that is what is causing the retaliation from the male order.

      • MatchKing

        Please provide a citation for the study you say proved women to be mentally superior to men. Thanks.

      • Thuaidh Cearuilin

        The lie is 77¢ not 70¢ per dollar, but hey, 70 or 77, it’s all BS so why not?
        It’s really hard to talk to someone like you, you’re so far gone. But let me say this, I’m as conservative/libertarian as they come and I am all for the basic tenants of feminism, i.e. equal opportunity and equality before the law. And why wouldn’t I be? Are we as a society to waste half our most precious resource, women? Women start businesses, they create jobs and DO BUILD THAT everyday, which enriches us all. But those are just platitudes, or could be criticized as such. In the real world women do in fact make just as much as men when REAL weighted surveys are done (except in the Obama White House of course, 18¢ less), they account for most of the college degrees, advanced degrees and unmarried women make $1.08 for every dollar a man makes. These are the facts, check them out for yourself.
        And here’s another fact, by virtue of the fact that I am a man, I AM NOT YOUR ENEMY!

        • Progressive Wing

          •The male-female pay gap has barely budged in a decade. In 2013, among full-time, year-round workers, women were paid 78 percent of what men were paid.

          •Women in every state experience the pay gap, but some states are worse than others. The best place in the United States for pay equity is Washington, D.C., where women were paid 91 percent of what men were paid in 2013. At the other end of the spectrum is Louisiana, the worst state in the country for pay equity, where women were paid just 66 percent of what men were paid.

          •The pay gap is worse for women of color.The gender pay gap affects all women, but for women of color the pay shortfall is worse. Asian American women’s salaries show the smallest gender pay gap, at 90 percent of white men’s earnings. Hispanic women’s salaries show the largest gap, at 54 percent of white men’s earnings. White men are used as a benchmark because they make up the largest demographic group in the labor force.

          •Women face a pay gap in nearly every occupation.From elementary and middle school teachers to computer programmers, women are paid less than men in female-dominated, gender-balanced, and male-dominated occupations.

          •The pay gap grows with age. Women typically earn about 90 percent of what men are paid until they hit 35. After that median earnings for women are typically 75–80 percent of what men are paid.

          •While more education is an effective tool for increasing earnings, it is not an effective tool against the gender pay gap. At every level of academic achievement, women’s median earnings are less than men’s earnings, and in some cases, the gender pay gap is larger at higher levels of education. While education helps everyone, black and Hispanic women earn less than their white and Asian peers do, even when they have the same educational credentials.

          •The pay gap also exists among women without children. Among full-time workers one year after college graduation — nearly all of whom were childless — women were paid just 82 percent of what their male counterparts were paid.

          • Thuaidh Cearuilin

            If you were to compare the average wages of women and men across the board you might have a point. But that number is misleading and quite useless. Lies, damned lied and statistics…remember? There are legitimate reasons men make more and they have nothing to do with discrimination. When these reasons are taken into account and controlled for, the pay gap goes away. This whole argument is divisive and really an abuse of the electorate. Using and lying to people is not a smart, long term political strategy. Eventually they wise up.
            So off you go.

        • James Coley

          As much as I dislike agreeing with a conservative or libertarian, I think you are essentially right. Doubtless there are cases of pay discrimination against women, and that is wrong and should be stopped. But the extent of it is exaggerated by citing the raw numbers.

          A main reason for higher aggregate pay for men is that in general men sacrifice job satisfaction for more money, seeing it as their role to be the breadwinners. This is not a political position taken against women or feminism, it is just apparently a fact.

        • Progressive Wing
    • Gregorius Caroline du Nord

      Liz, may I call you Liz or would Ms. Liz be more appropriate? I’ll go with Ms. Liz I think.
      To begin with it was your leftist friends and trial lawyers who watered down the rape laws a few decades ago. We conservatives are well aware of the devastation rape can inflict upon the victim. Justice demands a ruined life be paid for with a life, at least in my view. But certainly two years inside for the pain inflicted is not enough.
      Now, on to abortion. There are many interested parties in any abortion, not just the woman. If said male and said female get pregnant and the female decides to have the baby then the male has a legal obligation to support the child until adulthood does he not? But if the female decides to abort the child then the male has no say whatsoever. It’s a one way street and it’s fundamentally unjust. No say no pay is my view.
      As to abortion in general, apart from the fact that it’s a hot-button issue that generates lots of emotions (and therefore money, votes etc.), I see no reason why a compromise could not be reached. While most people support abortion (as do I) they do not however support late term abortion. So, why not allow abortion (for any reason) in the first trimester? After that one would need a VERY compelling reason, and I’m not talking “emotional distress” or some other trumped up jive.
      You talk about the right to “self determination”, and trust me, I’m all for that. But you don’t have a right to my labor, my wealth or my property so you can have your choices and unimpeded self determination… as you see it. There are consequences to our actions. I pay for mine and I’m afraid you’ll have to pay for yours.
      I know these arguments will not hold water with you, and I’m very sorry you are so embittered and resentful. Perhaps a little spiritual guidance is in order.

  20. dennisberwyn

    can you say Calvin Coolidge? C’mon Tom, you can do better than this to flog your favorite ‘equality’ horse.

  21. Mick

    Thomas: One of your best, “cut-to-the-core-of-an-issue” blogs ever. Thanks for sharing words, phrases, and angles that I too will borrow and share down the line!!

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