Elizabeth Warren on Why 1970s Feminism Was Best for the Bosses
January 08, 2019, 01:06 AM
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https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51N4Pa-f9EL.jpgI wouldn’t say “a disaster” but here’s the opening of the positive review I wrote for VDARE.com in 2003 of Elizabeth Warren’s book “The Two Income Trap” about how the 1970s feminist triumph of sending the wife to work turned out better for bosses than for families.

Huge numbers of mothers entered the labor force over the last few decades. And the inflation-adjusted price of food, clothing, appliances, electronics etc. dropped sharply. So how come we don’t feel like we’ve got a lot more discretionary income than our single-income parents had?

A wise and readable new public policy book called The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke provides a simple answer:

We don’t have more discretionary income than our single-income parents had.

The mother and daughter team of Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren and former McKinsey consultant Amelia Warren Tyagi explain:

“The average two-income family earns far more today than did the single-breadwinner family of a generation ago. And yet, once they have paid the mortgage, the car payments, the taxes, the health insurance, and the day-care bills, today’s dual-income families have less discretionary—and less money to put away for a rainy day—than the single-income family of a generation ago.”

The two authors note:

“The brunt of the price increases has fallen on families with children. Data from the Federal Reserve show that the median home value for the average childless individual increased by 23 percent between 1983 and 1998 … (adjusted for inflation). For married couples with children, however, housing prices shot up 79 percent—more than three times faster.” ..

Warren and Tyagi made an impressive survey of 2200 families that declared bankruptcy. “Our study showed that married couples with children are more than twice as likely to file for bankruptcy as their childless counterparts,” they write. This will come as no surprise to married couples with children. Even more striking: “This year more people will declare themselves bankrupt than will suffer a heart attack.”

The biggest single cause of this growing financial stress on middle-income parents: the breakdown of much of the public education system. As Warren and Tyagi note,

“Even as millions of mothers marched into the workforce, savings declined, and not, as we will show, because families were frittering away their paychecks on toys for themselves or their children. Instead, families were swept up in a bidding war, competing furiously with one another for their most important possession: a house in a decent school district… ”

Warren and Tyagi report: “A study conducted in Fresno … found that, for similar homes, school quality was the single most important determinant of neighborhood prices …”

They go on to say:

“Bad schools impose indirect—but huge—costs on millions of middle-class families. In their desperate rush to save their children from failing schools, families are literally spending themselves into bankruptcy.”

But what causes “bad schools”?

Read the whole thing there.

[Comment at Unz.com]