The costs of feminism

Home health care/aides


Mary Eberstadt, Home-Alone America: The Hidden Toll of Day Care, Behavioral Drugs, and Other Parent Substitutes, 2004
Brian C. Robertson, Day Care Deception: What the Child Care Establishment Isn't Telling Us, 2004


Jay Belsky
Google Salon 2001-04-16 article: “Jay Belsky doesn't play well with others

Home Health Care/Aides

Predictably, one of the Big New Things in health care is
the “need” for home health care, often delivered by “home health aides.”
To put this in perspective,
let me recall how “home health care” was provided in the 1960s and 70s,
using my own family(ies) as example.

When my mother’s father (by then a widower) became unable to live by himself,
he came to live with his daughter (my mother) and her husband (my stepfather)
and their children.
This produced a nice, happy three-generation family.
It was a delight to have him around,
always providing interesting and good-natured observations about the old days.
He would putter around the house, doing what he could to help out,
things like gardening.
He occupied a room, took a seat at dinner, but was no trouble at all.
If he had problems getting around or remembering things,
hey, that was no real problem—
he had two generations below him to help out.
And because we were all family, we were delighted to help out.

In another situation,
the woman who was then my wife had a very similar situation.
Her mother’s mother lived with them for many years, I presume happily.

No one back then ever heard of the idea of a “home health aide”
(sounds like a servant, actually).
So why, in 2009, is this becoming so essential
that the government is even considering paying for them?
Aren’t today’s elderly already ripping the country off for enough health care without adding yet new ways to spend money on them?

Brigid Sculte writes in the Washington Post of a woman who
“fears being forced into a nursing home
because insurance won't cover a home health aide.”
Well, if a nursing home was good enough for my grandfather
(which it was, where he eventually had to go)
then I think one is good enough for this woman.



Nowhere to Go but Home Alone
By Brigid Schulte
Washington Post Outlook, 2009-09-27

[An excerpt.]

I also found research showing that
middle- and higher-income families have more latchkey children
than lower-income families do.

[More in absolute numbers or in per-capita ones?
Considering the large number of “single moms” among the lower classes
and the documented rate of illegitimacy among some minorities,
it seems unlikely that
the higher income brackets could have significantly more latchkey kids,
if more at all.

More from Ms. Schulte’s article:]

The culture and structure of work and school
have yet to catch up with
the realities of modern American life

[Ms. Schulte speaks blithely of “the realities of modern American life”.
But the conditions to which she refers
are principally the result of the feminist movement,
which persuaded American women that they should get jobs
and be, to a great extent, absentee mothers,
rather than staying at home
and guiding and participating in the lives of their growing children.
(And also, to a large extent, resulted in minimizing and even reducing to zero
the number of children that American women have.)

So if now those conditions require
providing paid care for their children
during the interregnum between when the school day ends
and when working women return to their homes,
we should be clear that the requirement for this added burden
does not come from abstract “realities”
as Ms. Schulte would have you believe,
but rather from specific and reversible choices made by the mothers.

Always beware of these PC attempts to blur responsibility and causality,
and be sure to assign the ever-increasing bill for daily life
to those who truly are responsible for the ever-rising cost of living.]

Why unpaid maternity leave isn't enough
By Sharon Lerner
Washington Post Outlook, 2010-06-13

When it comes to paid maternity leave,
the United States is in the postpartum dark ages.

[There they go again!
Whenever the feminists want to make a point,
they summarize it with the assertion that
the conventions that they wish to overturn
are back in the “dark ages” (or are “medieval”, or “Neanderthal”).
Apparently the feminists don’t have enough confidence in the force of their own logic
to go without such demonization of their opponents.

But on to the substance.
Lerner writes:]

The impact of our national policy is brutal.
According to research by economists Sara Markowitz and Pinka Chatterji
and published in 2008 by the National Bureau of Economic Research,
women who return to work soon after the birth of a child
are more likely to get depressed than other mothers.
They’re also less healthy:
According to the study, longer maternity leaves are associated with
improvements in mothers’ overall health.

And, not surprisingly,
the lack of time together hurts mothers’ relationships with their infants.
Mothers who went back to work before the six-month mark
were less likely to tickle, play with or cuddle their infants
than those who returned between six and nine months after giving birth,
according to a 2006 nationwide study by Child Trends, a research group.

The effect of all this on babies can be serious and lasting:
In an article published in the The Economic Journal in 2005,
researchers found that

infants whose mothers had 12 weeks of maternity leave or fewer
had lower cognitive test scores
and higher rates of behavior problems at age four
than children whose mothers had longer leaves.

In Europe, longer paid maternity leaves are linked to
lower infant and child mortality.

[She goes on to argue for the necessity (or at least desirability)
of a national paid leave law.

Let me put this in a broader context:
The Democrats have been piling up
the mandates and burdens on business and corporations
ever since the New Deal:
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Disability Act,
the latest expansion of healthcare
and now, the try for national paid maternity leave.
Each one has its own logic and will benefit some reasonably deserving group.
And the argument goes:
Hey, the corporations are rich.
Why not make them pay for this deserving social need?

Well, the answer to that is multifold:
American corporations are competing in a global market place,
American labor also competes in a global workforce, and
added costs will be passed on to the consumers and customers.
When our global competition (Asia and Latin America, for example)
does not burden its employers with such high costs,
then our jobs go overseas.
We’ve certainly seen the results of that.

How can you make jobs in American at the same time
that you increase the burden on employers?
Can Susan Lerner understand that?]


AARP study:
Burden of long-term care needs of elderly straining families

By Michelle Singletary
Washington Post Opinion, 2011-08-04

America is facing a crisis
that will make the federal budget deficit look like a simple bank overdraft fee.

If we don’t figure out how to provide
financial support
to the millions of family members who are taking care of
seniors with chronic conditions or disabilities,
we will have caregivers so overwhelmed that
they will be forced to stop helping their elderly relatives.
That cost of care will then transfer to the government, and this would mean astronomically higher health-care costs or more people being placed in nursing homes, according to a new report from the AARP Public Policy Institute.


Historically, providing care to the elderly
wasn’t such a dire public-policy issue.
People didn’t live as long as they do now.
But what happens when the need for long-term care goes on for years or decades?

The long-term care needs of many of our elderly are straining families,
just as family structures have changed
and during one of the worst economies in decades.
There are more women in the workforce,
making it harder for them to provide care.
Almost two-thirds of family caregivers are female.
More than eight in 10 care for a relative or friend who is 50 or older.

High rates of divorce and smaller family sizes mean that
the burden of care will fall, and already is falling,
on fewer people in a family.
There also are increasing numbers of women
without children to rely on.
Nearly 20 percent of older women today do not have children,
compared with 10 percent in the 1970s.


The impact is particularly severe for caregivers of individuals
who have complex chronic health conditions
and both functional and cognitive impairments ....

[No kidding.
How much can and should the nation afford to spend on such cases?

For a discussion of the job-killing nature of the mandate the AARP is seeking,
see the Bill O’Reilly column immediately below.]

It's Only Money
By Bill O’Reilly
www.billoreilly.com, 2011-08-04

[I include this with some trepidation.
I am not opposed to all the new benefits pointed out below, just some of them.
But the significant point is this:
All of these benefits impose burdens on the economy,
burdens which will create some jobs,
those directly associated with meeting those burdens,
but will kill other jobs,

jobs for which this additional imposed mandate is simply the last straw,
making hiring people in America,
which is the only polity to which these mandates can be imposed,
unattractive relative to
allowing workers in parts of the world to which these mandates do not apply
do the jobs.

the health-care jobs created
do nothing to benefit America’s far-in-the-red trade deficit,
while the jobs lost will go directly to putting it even further in the red.

Further, let me really stress that that argument applies in spades
to the mandate the job-killing AARP
(an organization of mass (non-health-care) job destruction if there ever was one)
and the WP columnist Michelle Singletary
advocated for in the column above.
(Does the AARP give a damn about the trade deficit?
I don’t think they can creditably to claim that they do.
Hey, that’s somebody else’s problem.
The elderly just want their “needs” taken care.
Whether America goes to hell in the future is quite literally not their problem.)

Now for an excerpt from O’Reilly’s article:]

Beginning on January 1, 2013, American health insurance companies
will be forced to provide a variety of health services for women
absolutely free of charge.
They include
birth control, breast-feeding supplies,
“wellness” visits to doctors, and counseling about a variety of things.

[I personally agree with making the first two items,
birth control and breast-feeding supplies,
an entitlement available to all women.
It is socially desirable to ensure that
as many as possible of children born are wanted,
and receive the best possible new-born environment, which includes breast feeding.
The last two items sound dubious to me.
But whether you agree or disagree with
whether these should be available at no cost to the covered woman,
the point about how they should be paid for,
by a mandate on employers or by a more broad-based method,
remains valid.]

There will be no co-pay or deductibles.
Those services will be picked up entirely by the insurance companies
to the tune of billions of dollars every year.
Of course, the enormous cost will be passed along to consumers,
as health insurance premiums will rise big time.
[Well, some may be absorbed in overhead, as O’Reilly points out below.]
Self-insured individuals and businesses will pay a lot more for coverage.

Because of the increased overhead,
companies will be less likely to hire new employees,
and those they do hire will likely be paid less
because they’ll receive more medical benefits.
Thus, unemployment will probably stay high,
and take-home pay will remain stagnant.

On paper,
it looks great that American women will get preventative medical services free.
Liberals love that.
if you want to grow the economy,
increasing the cost of doing business is not exactly a great strategy.


Survey: America has changed. Have government and business?
By Dan Balz
Washington Post, 2014-01-12

Are government policies and business practices out of touch with the changing state of American families? A new survey, which is part of a broader examination of the role of women in society, shows that many Americans believe the answer to that question is yes.

The survey was commissioned for the Shriver Report, the third study spearheaded by NBC News reporter Maria Shriver, in collaboration with the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank.

The report, which will be unveiled with a series of appearan­ces and events beginning Sunday, notes that there has been “a seismic shift” in the structure of American families, including the rise of single-parent households and that the majority of children born to women under 30 have unmarried mothers.

At the same time, the report argues that government and business have been slow to recognize the changes and adopt policies that recognize these new realities. The report asserts that this has been particularly hard on women, who carry burdens of being both breadwinners and principal caregivers to children, particularly those living on the financial brink.

What the accompanying national survey of 3,500 adults shows is that more Americans think government and business should adapt to the changing reality of American families as compared with those who say government should do what it can to promote traditional marriage and two-parent households.

The survey looked at attitudes of all Americans and particularly “women on the brink,” which the authors say account for one in three women in America, probing issues of financial well-being, government policy, and personal decisions that have affected individuals’ lives. The polling was done by the Democratic firm of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and the Republican firm TargetPoint Consulting.

One section of the survey prefaced questions by noting the statistics on births to women under age 30 and asked people about the best role for government in these times. Far more Americans say government should address society as it now is rather than seeking to return to what it was.

For example, the survey found that 64 percent of all respondents and 77 percent of women on the brink agreed with this statement: “Government should set a goal of helping society adapt to the reality of single-parent families and use its resources to help children and mothers succeed regardless of their family status.”

In contrast, only a bare majority of Americans and of women on the brink agreed with this statement: “Government should set a goal of reducing the number of children born to single parents and use its resources to encourage marriage and two-parent-families.”

More Americans agreed that women raising children on their own face major challenges and that government, business and communities should help them financially than those who agreed with the statement that unmarried women who have children should take complete financial responsibility for those children.

The contrasting choices framed what remains a broad political divide over the impact of cultural and demographic chan­ges that have transformed the country in a matter of decades.

Research has shown that children have a greater opportunity for success if they are raised in intact, two-parent households. But the answers to the survey indicate that many people, particularly financially stressed women who head single-parent households, say government should worry less about what has happened and do more to find ways to help their families succeed.


[Several points should be made in response to this article:
First, when people were arguing for the social changes mentioned in this article, they presented these changes as only beneficial: Women would have more freedom and independence, for example.
But the costs of these changes, both to individuals and to society at large, were never mentioned.
What a sales job!
Second, we have yet another example of this media pattern of arguing for social change without presenting the costs of the social change they advocate.
Here the report, and it would seem the Washington Post reporter, argue for “more help” for those impacted by the last set of changes.
But again, they ignore the negative impact of this new set of changes.
Specifically, what will these proposed changes do to a) the federal deficit and b) America’s competitiveness with foreign businesses?
Loading yet more costs on businesses will either drive up their prices, raising the overall cost of living, or increase the push for off-shoring of jobs, or simply drive them out of business.
An example of how businesses which pamper feminists raise their costs is given by higher education.
How much of the raise in university tuition is due to the services demanded by feminists?]


Handing over your whole paycheck for child care? That’s so wrong.
by Petula Dvorak
Washington Post Opinion Column, 2015-01-22