Want to know what women care about this election cycle? Ask one!
Lately, I’ve heard much talk from men about women. The sudden interest in women’s topics is refreshing, and women are pleased that our concerns are a topic of interest this year. Hearing a top policy maker from DC or a well-known actor from Beverly Hills reach out on TV to the American woman and say that they are concerned about our concerns, about our rights and about our choices does have a positive affect. That said, these suits and movie stars are divided on what they think women care about today, and which policies would best help our families.
Which issues does the American woman most care about today? With the upcoming election and the conflicting messages in the media about what “we” care about, I started asking average women in Colorado.
Mothers seem to be worried about the economy. With incomes stagnating or decreasing and consumer goods and gas prices rising, mothers have to make a devalued dollar stretch further than she had to 10 years ago. Moms are making very tough decisions right now and their entire family is feeling the squeeze.
Students seem to be worried about the economy. Facing a 53% unemployment and underemployment rate today, our kids are trying to figure out how to pay off their student loans and begin their independent lives, while facing the reality of needing to move back in with mom and dad as they wait tables.
Business owners seem worried about the economy. The uncertainty of what will happen to tax rates and new regulatory requirements come in 2013 has business owners frozen and clinging to their cash. Not only do they not hire new employees, many aren’t paying themselves and are warning employees that their companies may not be in business next year.
Hispanic women also seem to be worried about, yes you guessed it, the economy. These family values–centered entrepreneurs are facing unemployment rates that are even higher than the national average (8.1% vs. 10.2% in August) and struggling businesses, as well as dealing with foreclosures and failing schools. They wonder where the stable jobs are, and where the “business-friendly” economic policies are that they were promised just a few years ago.
I believe the suits of Washington and the talented in Beverly Hills should start doing their own research at the ground level. They need to talk to real women who are struggling to make ends meet, to keep the doors of their businesses open, to find or keep stable employment, and to care for their children and parents.
Women make 85% of consumer purchases in America, and it may make sense to poll women about what will make them feel comfortable spending their hard-earned money in the economy. Is it a $400 per person tax credit, like the one provided through the “Making Work Pay” stimulus bill in 2009 and 2010, that will make us feel comfortable buying that new needed household item rather than stocking it away in savings? Is it a promise of free health care with limited services and coverage? Is it welfare to a wider range of people? Or could it possibly be lower taxes, less burdensome business regulations and a reduction of government spending that will enable us to get back to work and start enjoying our independent and free country again?
We all know what would happen if our families spent more money than we earned, and we are nervous our country is doing exactly that. If the current administration is permitted to hit us with another $66k of government debt per household in 2013 (on top of our already $50k of debt they have brought each of us to this year), we will each wake up on New Years Day with an additional $116k of debt. If our families are bankrupt, our friends are bankrupt, and our country is bankrupt, where will we find the freedom to pull ourselves out of this hole?
Many of us have realized over the past few years that the government is not the solution. We gave them a chance, and their policies did not work. It is time to give the economy back to the people, to let us bootstrap this country back to prosperity, as we have proudly done before.