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!

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    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: 36
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    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: 6
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    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: 7
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    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: 5
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    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
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    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: 4
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    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: 6
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    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: 7
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    102 — LEAN TOGETHER passed in January 2014, including some $250 million for states to expand preschool through the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge, along with an additional $600 million for the country’s longest-running preschool program, Head Start. 2 Now Obama says those amounts are simply a “down payment.” He has proposed spending $75 billion over the next decade so all four-year- olds can attend government preschool programs. Obama also wants to spend an additional $750 million over the next year on grants for states and localities to expand their preschool programs. 3 The rationale behind this latest preschool push, however, is deeply awed. Last summer, Pelosi insisted that America has an early child care and education “crisis” that threatens our economy. 4 For the past two years Obama has also been adamant that expanding government preschool is critical to expanding the middle class and the economy. 5 A majority of American mothers with preschool age children are in the labor force, and most of these working moms hold full-time jobs. Yet there is little evidence that expanding the federal government’s role in providing early child care and education would improve the quality of care, student learning, or affordability—much less the economy. On the contrary, expanding government’s role in this arena is more likely to impose expensive administrative burdens, crowd out innovative, personalized non-government early childcare providers, and replace a variety of early education options with a one-size-ts-all system. According to the government’s own ofcial evaluations of its longest-running early education program, Head Start, any learning gains quickly dissipate. Given government’s poor track record in both K-12 and preprimary schooling, government’s involvement should be scaled back, not expanded. And as for the economy, it’s worth noting that in spite of near universal child care, most European countries have anemic economic performance compared to the United States. Most fundamentally, the federal government has no constitutional authority over the care and education of children. That responsibility belongs to parents, who know and love their preschoolers best.

    Published: August 26, 2014
    Views: 10
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    84 — LEAN TOGETHER Yet sadly, too much of the formal American education system ignores the availability of such services and the benets of such exibility and specialization. Instead they are moving in the opposite direction toward one-size-ts-all schooling, thanks in no small part to a growing number of federal initiatives that were supposed to improve achievement, especially among disadvantaged students. Providing students with a solid elementary and secondary foundation is critical for students to succeed in college and in life. Yet there is growing concern that a college education is beyond the nancial reach of too many young people and their families. What’s more, evidence is mounting that students are more likely to leave college with crushing debt instead of job prospects—in spite of expensive federal programs designed to keep college affordable and accessible. For all the noble intentions animating federal programs that seek to improve the learning opportunities of Americans of all ages, these government policies have become an obstacle to parents and young adults choosing the options they think are best. This chapter takes a closer look at how expanding educational options at all levels is working for schoolchildren, their parents, and young people working toward college degrees. Americans deserve the world’s best education system, one that allows learning opportunities for people of any age. The good news is that commonsense reforms to our education system can make this possible, by returning control of resources to education consumers and encouraging competition and innovation by education providers. a naTionaL snaPshoT k-12 sChooLinG oPTions Most American schoolchildren attend assigned public schools based on where their families can afford to live; however, in the past 20 years the proportion of students attending assigned public schools has dropped to 73 percent down from 80 percent. 1 It’s a tremendously positive trend that a growing number of parents are actively selecting their child’s school, since research consistently shows that simply letting parents pick their children’s public schools instead

    Published: August 26, 2014
    Views: 6
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    breakfast. It was a moment of work-life balance bliss. A little tired perhaps, but grateful for the momentary chance to “have it all.” I’ll admit there are many days when life feels more frightful than delightful. The work-life juggle can wear out even the most organized of working parents. And there’s certainly a nancial tradeoff for the kind of exibility my family and I enjoy. I could have pursued career paths where my remuneration would have been higher, but my hours in an ofce would have been xed and long. Bigger companies would have likely offered me even greater job security, but it’s unlikely I could work full-time from my home ofce. I’m among the fortunate women whose education and experience affords such options. Many women have a tough time nding a job to pay the bills, much less one that offers personal satisfaction and a work- life balance. Yet it turns out that what I want isn’t so different from what the vast majority of working mothers want: exibility. A recent Pew Social Trends report found that 70 percent of working mothers—compared to only 46 percent of working fathers—regard exibility as more important than higher pay. Similarly, only 23 percent of working mothers said they would choose to work full-time if they had the option. 1 Sometimes it seems like the conversation about women and work focuses almost exclusively on salary—how to help working women earn more money. But as Claire Shipman and Katty Kay wrote in their book Womenomics , “Winning your professional liberation does demand a rethink—a fundamental reevaluation of what success really means.” 2 Certainly for myself—and for many women—success is dened by doing something that is personally rewarding. And for me that means both in the ofce and at home. Many women share my priorities. In fact, a 2009 study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York considered what factors male and female students use to choose their college major. While it’s hard to pinpoint just one reason for their decisions, and both sexes weighed potential outcomes, women generally placed more emphasis on nding rewarding work, while men were more inclined to seek out opportunities to improve their social status and increase their salary. 3

    Published: August 26, 2014
    Views: 7
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    48 — LEAN TOGETHER ever-rising cost of health care presents a real hurdle to accessing insurance and even health care for millions of people. Americans want our friends, family and neighbors to get the very best health care at the very best price, but our health care system has been plagued by problems for so long, it’s almost as if we can’t imagine how great our health care system could be… ●  Imagine being able to customize your insurance plan the way you can customize your iPhone. ●  Imagine being able to have one continuous insurance policy, even as you change jobs or move across state lines. ●  Imagine an insurance policy that doesn’t drop you or increase your premiums if you get a bad diagnosis. ●  Imagine knowing ahead of time what you will pay for health care services, and how much to expect your insurance policy to pay. ●  Imagine being able to compare different doctors or hospitals by quality of care AND price—and choose the one with the best value. ●  Imagine YOU in the driver’s seat of your health care, instead of being pushed around by insurance companies, big hospitals, or big government. ●  Imagine prices going down…instead of up. All of this can be a reality. We are Americans, after all, and we should lead the world with the best, most efcient and effective health care system. But we need to understand what’s stopping us from achieving this kind of system, and focus on solutions that target the real problems that currently plague our health care system. The trouble is, most people don’t understand the strengths and weaknesses of American health care, and don’t know the history of our system and how our problems arose.

    Published: August 26, 2014
    Views: 5

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