IWF 2013 Year In Review

February 4, 2014  |  By Independent Womens Forum  |  Views: 342

The Independent Women's Forum (IWF) improves the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. IWF is a 501c3 and relies solely on private contributions. To learn more please visit www.iwf.org. Thank you!

More from this author

View flip book

A discussion hosted by the Independent Women's Forum [SUMMER 2014]. Featuring: SABRINA SCHAEFFER Executive Director of the Independent Women's Forum. She is a regular contributor to Forbes, as well as Ricochet, The Hill, and National Review. She is a frequent commentator on Forbes on Fox and appears often on Your World with Neil Cavuto as well as on NBC, CNN, and MSNBC. CHRISTINA HOFF SOMMERS Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and prolific author whose works include Who Stole Feminism?; The War Against Boys, and most recently Freedom Feminism: Its Surprising History and Why it Matters Today. She is also now known as the "Factual Feminist" after her popular weekly vlog that debunks agenda-driven false figures and misleading claims. STUART TAYLOR Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, where he focuses on legal policy, as well as a contributing editor to National Journal. He has practiced law, taught "Law and the News media" at Sanford University Law School, and covered the Supreme Court. He is also the author of two important books, including Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case. CATHY YOUNG Contributing editor at Reason Magazine and Reason.com and columnist for the New York Daily News. Young has been a columnist for the Boston Globe and has appeared in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The New Republic. She writes frequently on women's issues. ANDREA BOTTNER Lawyer, political appointee, and expert on women's issues who has served as Director for the Office of International Women's Issues at the U.S. Department of State. Bottner served as Principal Deputy Director and later as Acting Director of the Office on Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice. She is a Board Member of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Published: September 1, 2014
Views: 185
View flip book

182 — LEAN TOGETHER As I write this, MTV’s 16 and Pregnant , a popular reality show that proles pregnant teens and their “baby daddies,” is launching a fth season. This is not a niche show. When one of the stars went to prison for illegal drugs, the incident rated a segment introduced by George Stephanopoulos on ABC News. More recently, another reality television star, Kim Kardashian, made the cover of Vogue . Kardashian is a household name, of course, who married rapper Kanye West—already the father of her child—in a gazillion- dollar ceremony that merited glittering, wall-to-wall coverage. None of the celebrity journalists who covered it betrayed the slightest discomfort with the—uh—situation. But let’s wish her luck—her previous marriage, launched on her reality show, lasted only 72 days. If modesty and hard work are character traits you value, the Duke University freshman who recently announced that she found it “exciting, thrilling, and empowering” to earn money working as a porn star will concern you. Noting that the coed—who used the nom de porn Belle Knox—had spoken publicly about “rough sex,” the liberal Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus penned a column headlined “Hook-Up Culture Run Amok.” Marcus wrote: Knox’s pathetic story wouldn’t be worth examining— exploiting?—if it didn’t say something deeper about the hook-up culture run amok and the demise of shame. In an age of sexting and Snapchat, of “Girls Gone Wild” and friends with benets, perhaps it’s easy to confuse the relative merits of waitressing and sex work. “To be perfectly honest, I felt more degraded in a minimum-wage, blue collar, low-paying service job than I ever did doing porn,” Knox said of her high school waitressing job. 1 To be perfectly honest, Belle Knox’s story also prompts a frank discussion on the meaning of what used to be called an honest day’s work. What

Published: August 26, 2014
Views: 13
View flip book

168 — LEAN TOGETHER to encourage more individual saving both for retirement and for other important needs. our aiLinG PubLiC Pension sysTems Our government-run public pension systems are supposed to be an important aspect of Americans’ overall retirement savings plan. Indeed, Social Security provides a majority of retirees with a majority of their retirement income, and payments into Social Security are the largest tax the average working American pays each year. In addition to Social Security, governments at all levels operate pension systems for some government workers. Given that today government employs about 16 percent of workers, this ends up playing a signicant role in the country’s overall retirement security. 1 Yet sadly, while these programs are critical, they often have signicant nancial problems. Most public pension systems are seriously underfunded, which means that they may be unable to pay all benets that have been promised to current retirees and to the workers currently contributing to the program today, who expect future benets. That also means that these underfunded programs are a signicant liability for taxpayers, since governments will turn to current and future taxpayers to pay more so they can make good on promised benets. scl sct Today, nearly 40 million Americans over age 65 receive Social Security’s retirement benets. The average retired worker receives a monthly benet of $1,251.36. 2 For two-thirds of seniors, Social Security accounts for more than half of monthly income, and for more than one-third (35 percent) of seniors, Social Security accounts for more than 90 percent of monthly income. 3 This means that Social Security is a critical part of America’s nancial security system. Unfortunately, the program itself faces signicant nancial problems of its own, because it relies on what is known as a pay-as-you-go system. That means that taxes collected today are used immediately to fund benets to current retirees. Nothing is saved for the future.

Published: August 26, 2014
Views: 11
View flip book

152 — LEAN TOGETHER Reform of our social safety net is overdue. When we think about reforming our government’s safety net programs, we should be inspired by this vision for society: We want the unemployment rate falling to new lows even as more Americans enter the workforce. We want there to be multiple jobs for every applicant and full employment for those who want to work. We want the rolls of those on food stamps and receiving welfare to decline. We want people in need to receive the unemployment assistance and other income support they need, but to be encouraged to get back on their feet so they can support themselves again as soon as it is feasible to do so. We want there to be a robust network of support groups—food banks and homeless shelters. It is important to do more than just meet basic needs. We should also foster the attitudes and skills that lead to self-reliance and success. This is our vision for the future. It’s hopeful, attainable, and it will breathe new life into the ideal of the American Dream. Good inTenTions, bad resuLTs Fifty years ago, when President Lyndon B. Johnson declared an “unconditional war on poverty,” he likely had a similar vision and hoped that his programs could achieve it. Unfortunately, our current reality and the record of his policies show that we are still very far from realizing this vision. In fact, today we have a growing problem of government dependency and too many Americans who don’t believe the American Dream applies to them. This is due in part to ill-advised policies that—though well-intentioned—have served to enable lasting reliance on government, rather than providing temporary assistance while encouraging long-term independence. Statistics tell the story about an America where opportunity has waned and the safety net has grown to become a trap that ensnares all too many Americans in a life of permanent dependence. One in seven Americans (some 46.5 million people) lives below the ofcial poverty line 1 and receives food stamps. The number of food stamp recipients has actually increased by 50 percent since January of 2009. 2 The current effective

Published: August 26, 2014
Views: 12
View flip book

138 — LEAN TOGETHER housework eased, women could spend more of their time pursuing an education and working outside of their homes. Today, advances in communication technology have had a similarly revolutionizing effect. And while everyone has beneted from this innovation, and it often seems as though men are more eager to access the latest new gadget and application, women have been uniquely—and in many ways more personally—touched by technologies that provide new paradigms for work, education and communication. Telecommuting An estimated 2.8 million Americans (not including those who are self- employed) consider their primary place of work their home. That means that more than 2 percent of employed Americans are working for pay, but work outside of the typical ofce, factory, shop, or other business environment. 1 Yet this statistic fails to fully capture the prevalence of telecommuting today. The Telework Research Network estimates that 20 to 30 million people work from home at least one day a week. Telecommuters can be broken into different groups: “15 to 20 million are road warriors / mobile workers; 10 to 15 million are home businesses; 15 to 20 million work at home part time (with about half doing so 1-2 days a week); and about 3 million are based at home full time (including self-employed).” 2 Overwhelmingly, these are positions and situations that could not exist without the technologies—the cell phones, internet, and wireless technologies—that allow us to create a virtual ofce from just about anywhere in the world. The many benets of telecommuting are obvious. The U.S Census Bureau estimates the average American spends 50 minutes each day commuting between work and home. That adds up to more than four extra hours a week that full-time tele-commuters have to work productively, engage with their family and friends, or to otherwise simply enjoy. Telecommuters save money that would otherwise be used on their commute and help unclog our nation’s streets and highways, reducing air pollution. 3

Published: August 26, 2014
Views: 6
View flip book

138 — LEAN TOGETHER housework eased, women could spend more of their time pursuing an education and working outside of their homes. Today, advances in communication technology have had a similarly revolutionizing effect. And while everyone has beneted from this innovation, and it often seems as though men are more eager to access the latest new gadget and application, women have been uniquely—and in many ways more personally—touched by technologies that provide new paradigms for work, education and communication. Telecommuting An estimated 2.8 million Americans (not including those who are self- employed) consider their primary place of work their home. That means that more than 2 percent of employed Americans are working for pay, but work outside of the typical ofce, factory, shop, or other business environment. 1 Yet this statistic fails to fully capture the prevalence of telecommuting today. The Telework Research Network estimates that 20 to 30 million people work from home at least one day a week. Telecommuters can be broken into different groups: “15 to 20 million are road warriors / mobile workers; 10 to 15 million are home businesses; 15 to 20 million work at home part time (with about half doing so 1-2 days a week); and about 3 million are based at home full time (including self-employed).” 2 Overwhelmingly, these are positions and situations that could not exist without the technologies—the cell phones, internet, and wireless technologies—that allow us to create a virtual ofce from just about anywhere in the world. The many benets of telecommuting are obvious. The U.S Census Bureau estimates the average American spends 50 minutes each day commuting between work and home. That adds up to more than four extra hours a week that full-time tele-commuters have to work productively, engage with their family and friends, or to otherwise simply enjoy. Telecommuters save money that would otherwise be used on their commute and help unclog our nation’s streets and highways, reducing air pollution. 3

Published: August 26, 2014
Views: 7
View flip book

undersTandinG fraCkinG To understand America’s energy issues and to craft sound energy policy, it’s essential to have a good understanding of “fracking”—or “hydraulic fracturing,” in stodgier, more technical language—a much-maligned process that, when paired with horizontal drilling, has singlehandedly revolutionized America’s energy situation. Enormous reserves of natural gas and oil are trapped beneath American soil in shale, a dense stone formation where oil and gas originate. By the Energy Information Administration’s best estimates, the United States is home to more than 2,303 trillion cubic feet of potential natural-gas resources 1 (which, presuming a 2009 rate of consumption, is 110 years’ worth of natural gas), 2 as well as 220.2 billion barrels of oil 3 —but until recently, most of that energy was inaccessible. Fracking involves the “fracturing” of energy-storing rock formations, allowing producers access to these reserves. Though fracking has become controversial in recent years, it’s actually a fairly old process—and one that makes today’s tactics look benign. In the 1860s, a veteran of the Mexican War and Civil War named Edward A. Roberts was reportedly inspired by the artillery-shell damage he’d seen in combat, and he decided to drop an “exploding torpedo” made of up to 20 pounds of gun powder down a well. 4 After it detonated, he used large amounts of water to further pry apart the stone above the shale layer, releasing trapped energy reserves in the process. The idea was a success, and soon, Roberts was selling his patented torpedoes to energy producers for up to $200 apiece, plus royalties. 5 Though the process was soon adopted by major mining companies, safety was lacking—especially when nitroglycerin came to replace gun powder. In fact, one observer noted in 1869 that “the chap who struck it a hard rap might as well avoid trouble among his heirs by having had his will written and a cigar-box ordered to hold such fragments as his weeping relatives could pick up from the surrounding district.” 6

Published: August 26, 2014
Views: 18
View flip book

112 — LEAN TOGETHER This tactic is used to advance big government generally, but in this chapter I’ll consider three recent policy initiatives advanced by alarmism: Regulations on the food industry, government anti-obesity measures, and reforms to the Federal School Lunch Program. The American public was fed a steady diet of exaggerations about how failing to pass these three measures would result in terrible consequences and would lead to a far less scally sound, less healthy American public. Of course, these are only three examples—only a small sampling of the near constant warnings of danger coming from those who seek more control over how Americans choose to live their lives. Women in particular are targeted for warnings about food and common products like shampoo, deodorant, plastic food containers, household cleaners, and products used by their children like toys, playground equipment, Halloween costumes, baby bottles and sippy-cups, crib mattresses and bed sheets and even baby soap and lotion. Even things as benign as garden hoses have been cast as silent killers by environmental activists eager to see more onerous regulations on the chemical industry. The message being sent to women is simple: You’re not safe, and only the state can protect you. For instance, the American Academy of Pediatrics 2010 list of “high risk” foods includes apples, chewing gum, peanut butter, marshmallows, nuts, popcorn, raw carrots, sausages, seeds, grapes and hot dogs. The AAP wants the government to require food manufacturers to place warning labels on food packages in order to reduce injuries due to choking. Yet, is it really possible to make every food child proof? Shouldn’t we instead advise parents to cut food into child-safe sizes? Perhaps parents should be reminded that a good way to prevent choking is to explain to a child the importance of eating slowly and thoroughly chewing. But according to the AAP, it’s government that should be doing more, more, more to protect kids. One AAP spokesman reasoned that since parents can’t watch children every second, the best way to protect kids is to design these risks out of existence. But is that really realistic? Can we ever really design a world free of risk? Of course not.

Published: August 26, 2014
Views: 20
Page 1 / 3