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Some Blog I Wrote

stuff i think about and then type on a keyboard

Sunday, July 31, 2005

It Takes a Read of My Book

Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) appeared on This Week With George Stephanopolous this morning, pushing his new book It Takes a Family, which attacks what he claims is an elitist movement that attacks stay-at-home mothers specifically and the American family in general.

While I haven't read his book, his side of the interview was equal parts speaking into an echo chamber, tilting at windmills, and energizing an easily disgruntled base, so I can imagine what I would read after spending US$25.00 (list). He uttered all the conversative Republican buzz words -- e.g. "Hollywood culture," "elistists," "liberal academia," "Hillary Clinton." He believes an elistist movement as epitomized by Hillary Clinton and Gloria Steinem -- he couldn't recall any other names -- is pressuring both fathers and mothers to equate success in their work lives as success in their family. He says that one could easily round up stay-at-home mothers who feel pressured to work.

On that count he's right, but he's completely misframed a debate that should be conducted in the American public. It is well known that middle class women were empowered to work not out of desire but out of the necessity. In the 1970s, the buying power of a typical single middle class income dropped dramatically. Consider these estimates:

College graduates earned 1.43 times as much as high school grads in 1972 but 1.82 times as much by 1992.

Those with advanced degrees made 1.72 times as much as high school grads in 1972, 2.54 times as much in 1992.

Also, during the 1970s, average mortgages began to outpace middle incomes and companies began to begin cycles of mergers and layoffs while not paying enough to compensate for inflation. All of this adds up to a strong need for two incomes to support the average household.

Perhaps Senator Santorum should look to his own body of fellow legislators and the companies that fill their coffers before he points the finger at some vague group of elitists who want to destroy the nuclear family, which itself is a false notion, but that's for another time.

Posted by GiromiDe @ 10:18 AM
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