Republican candidates on Wednesday’s main debate stage overcame weak debate moderation from CNBC to speak plainly about the negative effects of liberal economic policies on women.
CNBC’s Becky Quick unfortunately perpetuated the falsehood that women earn just 77 cents for every man’s dollar, a claim repeatedly proven wrong through multivariate analysis. Under proper quantitative controls, this gap disappears, according to renowned economists like Harvard’s Claudia Goldin. Establishment feminists also don’t rebut the point made by Mark Perry and Andrew Biggs: if profit-motivated companies could hire exactly comparable female workers at 77 percent of the cost of men, why would they ever hire any man at all?
Fortunately Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina set the record straight on this wage issue, with Cruz pointing out that intrusive government policies restrict job growth and reward trial lawyers. This harms workers, particularly women. Unfortunately, when Cruz humanized this issue, mentioning the single mothers in his family–his sister, aunts, even temporarily his own mother–he was pilloried by feminists on social media as exploitative and tone deaf. It seems Republican men are darned if they do, darned if they don’t speak with empathy and candor.
“When you see Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and all the Democrats talking about wanting to address the plight of working women, not a one of them mentioned the fact that under Barack Obama, 3.7 million women have entered poverty,” Cruz said. “Not a one of them mentioned the fact that under Barack Obama and the big government economy, the median wage for women has dropped $733.”
Carly Fiornia, who has positioned herself as the best counterbalance to likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, also spoke articulately on these issues, echoing her oped this week in The Wall Street Journal about how Bureau of Labor Statistics data show 92 percent of the jobs lost during President Obama’s first term were held by women. Critics have affirmed the technicality of that statistic. And though some question the methodology of this metric, it is undeniable that labor force participation is the lowest in a generation, and women have been hit hard. Fiorina also highlighted research from The National Women’s Law Center reports that the poverty rate among women is 16.1 percent, its highest level in 20 years, and the extreme poverty rate among women the highest ever recorded.
Policies like minimum wage hikes do not disproportionately benefit the poorest among us, particularly women, as liberals like to claim. Just 19 percent of the $31 billion from a Democratic proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 would go to families earning below the poverty line, but 29 percent would go to families earning more than three times the poverty threshold, according to nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates. On top of that, up to a million jobs would be lost under the wage hike, jobs more likely held by women than men. This is not a targeted approach to fighting poverty among women. In fact, it’s the opposite.
Full column via Forbes.
Carrie Sheffield is the founder of Bold. She is passionate about storytelling to empower and connect others. A founding POLITICO reporter, Carrie contributed on political economy at Forbes and wrote editorials for The Washington Times. After earning a master’s in public policy from Harvard University, she managed credit risk at Goldman Sachs and researched for American Enterprise Institute scholar Edward Conard. She earned a B.A. in communications at Brigham Young University and completed a Fulbright fellowship in Berlin.