RUSH: I’ve been mentioning this for a couple of days. This was published on May 26th, which was Monday, which was Memorial Day, and it was on the Fox News Channel website. It’s by John Lott, Jr., L-o-t-t. He’s the author of a book called Freedomnomics, and a senior research scientist, University of Maryland. ‘Is There Really a Bias Against Women in Politics? History Suggests Otherwise.’ He starts out here with the premise that women are so underrepresented in elective office, and is it sexism that’s keeping them out? No. It’s that they don’t run in as great a numbers as men do for public office. But then he tackles this whole notion, is there really bias against them? ‘Are women really discriminated against in politics? Sen. Hillary Clinton surely thinks so. Indeed, she believes this year’s presidential campaign has shown that sexism limits women’s influence in politics.’ Well, let’s look at this, shall we?
‘In 2004, women made up 54 percent of voters. At least through early February of this year, women made up a much greater share of Democrat primary voters — accounting for between 57 and 61 percent of the vote in primaries and caucuses. But whatever difficulties Clinton might be having, it seems that the policies adopted are much more important than who puts them into action, and the evidence indicates that women have long gotten their way,’ in politics. ‘Academics have for some time pondered why the government started growing precisely when it did. The federal government, aside from periods of wartime, consumed about 2 to 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) up until World War I. That was the first war in which government spending didn’t go all the way back down to its pre-war levels. Then in the 1920s, non-military federal spending began steadily climbing. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal … really just continued an earlier trend.’
The New Deal is looked at as the Genesis of Big Government, but Big Government actually began before the New Deal. ‘What changed before Roosevelt came to power that explains the growth of government? The answer is women’s suffrage.’ For those of you in Rio Linda, it means votes, when a woman can vote. Women’s ‘sufferage,’ you know, what happens at R. Kelly’s house or 50 Cent’s house, this is not what we’re talking about here. ‘For decades, polls have shown that women as a group vote differently than men. Without the women’s vote, Republicans would have swept every presidential race but one between 1968 and 2004. The gender gap exists on various issues. The major one is the issue of smaller government and lower taxes, which is a much higher priority for men than for women. This is seen in divergent attitudes held by men and women on many separate issues.
‘Women were much more opposed to the 1996 federal welfare reforms, which mandated time limits for receiving welfare and imposed some work requirements on welfare recipients. Women are also more supportive of Medicare, Social Security and educational expenditures. Studies show that women are generally more risk-averse than men. This could be why they are more supportive of government programs to ensure against certain risks in life. Women’s average incomes are also slightly lower and less likely to vary over time, which gives single women an incentive to prefer more progressive income taxes. Once women get married, however, they bear a greater share of taxes through their husbands’ relatively higher incomes — so their support for high taxes understandably declines. Marriage also provides an economic explanation for why men and women prefer different policies.
‘Because women generally shoulder most of the child-rearing responsibilities, married men are more likely to acquire marketable skills that help them earn money outside the household. If a man gets divorced, he still retains these skills. But if a woman gets divorced, she is unable to recoup her investment in running the household. Hence, single women who believe they may marry in the future, as well as married women who most fear divorce, look to the government as a form of protection against this risk from a possible divorce: a more progressive tax system and other government transfers of wealth from rich to poor. The more certain a woman is that she doesn’t risk divorce, the more likely she is to oppose government transfers. Has it always been this way? Can women’s suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th centuries help explain the growth of government?
‘While the timing of the two events is suggestive, other changes during this time could have played a role. For example, some argue that Americans became more supportive of bigger government due to the success of widespread economic regulations imposed during World War I.’ Anyway, he goes on to make the point here:
‘During the early 1970s, just as women’s share of the voting population was leveling off, something else was changing: The American family began to break down, with rising divorce rates and increasing numbers of out-of-wedlock births. Over the course of women’s lives, their political views on average vary more than those of men. Young single women start out being much more liberal than their male counterparts and are about 50 percent more likely to vote Democratic. As previously noted, these women also support a higher, more progressive income tax as well as more educational and welfare spending. But for married women this gap is only one-third as large. And married women with children become more conservative still. Women with children who are divorced, however, are suddenly about 75 percent more likely to vote for Democrats than single men. So as divorce rates have increased, due in large part to changing divorce laws, voters have become more liberal. Women’s suffrage ushered in a sea change in American politics that affected policies aside from taxes and the size of government.’
It’s interesting theory here that basically women are the nurturers, and they have to have insurance against deadbeat husbands who are going to leave ’em at some point, or for women who look down the road and don’t see a prince charming for a while. So the point is when women got the right to vote, the growth of government, whether it’s by accident or by design, started at the same time. Because women need a fall-back position more than men. Now, if there’s any truth to that… Ann Coulter jokes about this all the time. Ann Coulter says, ‘You want to reduce the size of government? Take away the right to vote from women.’ She says this on college campi just to irritate. She knows it’s never going to happen, don’t misunderstand. She says it to make point that women, some women, as this story points out, end up becoming dependent; and with nobody else than government to depend on, well, then you’ll depend on it. Look at all the phenomenon! The soccer moms, who were they? They were married, and they were so busy, and their husbands were worthless, and they were doing everything: getting the kids to bed, getting ’em up, fixing breakfast, taking them to school, picking ’em up, going to soccer practice. They thought Bill Clinton cared more about them and their kids than their own husbands did. That was something big. That was tried for the second-term election in the 1996 campaign.