Thursday, April 12, 2012


Mitt Romney, signaling that his entire campaign is going to consist of "I'm rubber, you're glue" arguments, is asserting that President Obama is the guy who's really waging a "war on women." Romney says that 92.3% of the jobs lost in this country since Obama took office have been held by women -- which may be technically true but (you probably know all this) fails to take into account the fact that recessions go in predictable patterns, and this one began, predictably, with much greater job losses by man. It also includes job losses from the very beginning of Obama's term, when his policies hadn't taken effect and, thus, couldn't possibly have had an impact.

But even if you accept Romney's framing of this, the disproportionate job losses by women can still be attributed to Republican, or at least right-wing, policies. Catherine Rampell of The New York Times writes:

Women are disproportionately employed in government, typically as teachers or administrators of some kind.

Government payrolls are generally not hit immediately when recession strikes, but several months or years afterward, when state and local governments are dealing with lower tax revenues from the suffering private sector. There's therefore a lag between private-sector and public-sector layoffs.

In fact, since President Obama took office,
nearly four-fifths of all the jobs lost have been in the female-dominated government sector.

In other words, the ax falls predominantly on women when governments shrink, a trend that many Republicans (including Mr. Romney) have endorsed.

Republicans haven't merely endorsed this shrinking of government, they've cheered it, as Steve Benen noted in January:

Brenda Buttner, a senior business correspondent at Fox News, reflected yesterday on the latest jobs report, and made a curious comment when asked about which areas of the economy aren't faring well.
"Well, government is a little bit losing jobs. That's something we see as a positive because we want government to lose jobs to get more in line with the private sector."
This is not an uncommon sentiment on the right. Two months ago, George Will argued it's "good" that the "public sector happily shrank by 24,000 jobs" in October.

This is what Republicans want. They want the public sector to shrink. Obama and Democrats may assent to it, but it's a Republican war on the public sector -- and thus a Republican war on women.


Beyond-The-Spectrum said...

It's funny how female Republicans can allow themselves to vote/support a group who works against their own political and social interests...

Danp said...

It would be interesting to see a comparison of job losses by gender in states with new Tea Party style governors (WI, FL, MI, ME, PA, SC etc.) compared to those with either Dem or more moderate Govs. Same with states controled by Republican legislatures.

Tom Hilton said...

Excellent catch, Steve. Well done.

Ten Bears said...

Yes, very nice summation.