Posts Tagged ‘ Suzanne Venker ’

Who Needs a Husband When Obama’s in the White House? (OPINION)

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Over the next few months, the editors of Parents.com will report on hot-button election issues that American families face today, from healthcare to education. In the spirit of offering diverse perspectives on the election, we’ve chosen three moms from across the political spectrum to be guest bloggers on Parents News Now. Each one of them will offer a unique take on the topics that they–and you!–are most passionate about. (Read the entire blog series.)

By Suzanne Venker

Like most girls, my 12-year-old daughter has dreams. She wants to be a writer, for one thing. She also loves animals and is concerned about the environment, so perhaps she’ll focus her literary pursuits on those topics. More than anything, however, my daughter wants to get married and have a family. And she plans to stay home when that day comes.

It may sound strange to you that she’s already thinking about this, but it’s only because her mother writes a lot about this subject so she hears an earful on a regular basis. But really, my daughter is no different from most girls. Wanting to build a nest is a most natural female desire. Only in the past few decades has this goal been eschewed by our culture.

The modern woman is not raised to focus on marriage and motherhood. She’s raised to focus exclusively on an education and career, as if these endeavors are the sole barometer of a successful life. But most women want to marry and should thus be supported and encouraged to do so. That’s what I’m doing for my daughter. Unfortunately, America is not.

Indeed, President Obama isn’t the least bit interested in policies that strengthen marriage or make it easier for mothers (or just parents in general) to stay home and take care of their children. His focus is on “empowering” women by helping them live lives independent of men and the traditional family. Referring to women’s ability to make their own healthcare decisions, Obama said during a campaign event in Colorado that Romney wants to “take us back to the policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century.”

The implication is that women in the fifties were an oppressed bunch. Not only were wives caged in their homes, women were forced to bear children they didn’t want. The President even said in 2008 that if his daughters made a “mistake,” he wouldn’t want them to be “punished with a baby.” To be truly empowered, women must be liberated from the home. Domesticity undermines female empowerment.

Which is why Obama and his team have come up with a new plan for women — one that supplants the need for marriage. In a strange attempt to woo female voters, Obama presents “The Life of Julia,” a timeline of sorts that demonstrates how Obama’s policies help women throughout the course of their lifetimes, and how a vote for Mitt Romney would change women’s trajectory.

“The Life of Julia” is a fantastic illustration of the point I made in my last post about Obama’s commitment to the “it takes a village” mantra. It offers cradle to grave entitlements for every phase of a woman’s life, from childcare through retirement. In Obama’s pretend world, he — not husbands or the family unit — provides women with the opportunity for a good life.

What does this good life look like? At age three, Julia enrolls in a Head Start program so she can join “thousands of students across the country who will start kindergarten ready to learn and succeed.” After all, everyone knows proper childrearing requires professionals. If children aren’t exposed to “early childhood education,” the child is at a distinct loss when entering kindergarten.

That the Head Start initiative has done next to nothing to improve elementary education is beside the point. According to the executive summary of Head Start Research (July 2010), “the advantages children gained during their Head Start and age 4 years yielded only a few statistically significant differences in outcomes at the end of first grade for the sample as a whole.” Facts like these are ignored because the assumption is that Head Start is a good thing and gives children a leg up in preparation for kindergarten.

Jump to age 18, and Julia’s family becomes eligible for the Opportunity Tax Credit. The government wants to pay for Julia to go to college because everyone’s entitled to a college degree and should pursue one. That America is in desperate need of folks who’ve mastered a blue-collar trade is irrelevant. According to the Obama administration, to be a “someone” you have to go to college.

And during college, women are never encouraged to plan for, or even think about, marriage and motherhood and how this desire will factor in to a woman’s career goals. Indeed, the traditional family is so reviled by this administration that in “The Life of Julia” Julia never marries. There is no wedding and no husband in Julia’s life.

But don’t worry — that doesn’t mean Julia can’t satiate her maternal desire. At the age of twenty-seven, she simply “decides” to have a child. And throughout her pregnancy (we’re given no information on how Julia gets pregnant because, naturally, that isn’t relevant), Julia benefits from “maternal checkups, prenatal care, and free screenings under health care reform.” Who needs hubby’s health care benefits when Obama’s in office?

Interestingly, Julia’s story omits what happens between the years her baby is born and the year he or she starts kindergarten. Who will rock the cradle when Julia’s at work? And what if Julia decides she wants to stay home with her baby? Oops, too bad. No hubby, no choice.

The message to women is clear. Under an Obama presidency, women are “liberated” from home, husbands, and children. As cultural commentator Heather MacDonald wrote, “The single mother has become the cornerstone of Democratic politics.”

Indeed she has — “The Life of Julia” is proof of that.

Now all Mitt Romney needs is a campaign strategy showing the ways in which the federal government can strengthen marriage.

For starters, we need more policies like the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed by Congress in 1996 and signed by Bill Clinton. It doesn’t just protect state marriage laws, it protects the 1,138 federal laws that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says depend on the traditional definition of marriage.

The marriage penalty, on the other hand, should be eliminated. Married couples shouldn’t have to pay higher taxes than single people and  cohabiting couples do.

Finally, I’d like to see at-home mothers get the same tax break working mothers do. The child-care tax credit offers parents a federal tax credit of up to 35 percent of the cost of daycare, which essentially awards mothers for not staying home with their children. It should be the reverse.

If it were, my daughter would feel support from someone other than me.

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ObamaCare: A Tax By Any Other Name Is Still a Tax

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Over the next few months, the editors of Parents.com will report on hot-button election issues that American families face today, from healthcare to education. In the spirit of offering diverse perspectives on the election, we’ve chosen three moms from across the political spectrum to be guest bloggers on Parents News Now. Each one of them will offer a unique take on the topics that they–and you!–are most passionate about. (Read the entire blog series.)

By Suzanne Venker

So I was walking back from my neighbor’s house about an hour after the health care ruling and saw my other neighbor Wilson heading out to his car. “Welcome to your new taxes!” I shouted.

It was a pretty bold move, even for me. I’ve had maybe three conversations with Wilson (that’s his first name) in total, so I have no idea where he stands politically. But in a characteristically hasty moment, I decided it didn’t matter. The latest health care ruling is already galvanizing Americans. I can feel it.

“I’m leaving the country!” Wilson shouted back.

“There’s nowhere else to go. This was it!”

“Canada?” he asked rhetorically. (I hope.)

“Nice try.”

“How ’bout Australia?”

“At least you’ll be far away from the mess here!”

My conversation with Wilson came on the heels of the one I had had several minutes earlier with the mother of my across-the-street neighbor. Donna had arrived early so that her daughter, a mother of two young girls, could take a 5-mile run before the Midwest heat reached record temperatures. Donna is 68, retired from the social security department, and very pissed off–although I hesitate to use this phrase. She’s so sweet even her angry seems nice. Mainly, Donna is just aghast that anyone would support ObamaCare.

“Do you think people don’t understand the ramifications?” I asked.

“No, I don’t think they do,” she said. “I had lunch the other day with a group of liberal friends and when the subject came up all they said was that everyone’s entitled to free health care.” But, she added, don’t ask them to explain how that would work exactly. “They have no idea.”

In other words, I said, it just sounds good.

“Right.”

And therein lies the chasm between two very distinct groups of Americans. The Left is motivated largely by emotion. If something sounds good or just, it should be embraced–regardless of its feasibility. Conservatives (and independents, for that matter) know better. Leftists can also be elitist. If someone doesn’t agree with their position, he must be educated so he can see things more clearly. Obama is famous for that attitude. When The People reject his policies, he insists he just hasn’t explained himself well. The condescension is so palpable I almost feel sorry for him. Almost.

Of course the idea of universal health care sounds good. (So does the idea of everyone being equally rich.) But where will the money come from? And what’s the fallout? The question is not, as Democrats claim, that Republicans don’t care about the poor or have a love affair with the rich. It’s that Republicans’ ideas and plans for how to make something work differ dramatically from the ideas and plans of those on the other side.

To Obama supporters, it’s all so simple: When we need money for an entitlement (a word they hate since it implies a gift, not a right), we tax everyone in order to pay for it. Doesn’t matter how much we need or how many plans we come up with; as long as Democrats appeal to people’s emotions, they have a winning strategy. “Tax the rich!” they shout. (Or, “End discrimination against women! They have a right to free birth control!”) Putting in such terms sounds so equitable: These guys over here have too much, while these other guys over here have too little. Let’s even it out.

But it’s never that simple–even if ObamaCare were just, which it’s not. The concept of universal health care rests on the notion that every person in America is entitled to health care. But that umbrella–and it bears repeating, the health of every single American–is so vast there’s no way to cover expenses without sucking everyone dry.

According to Merriam-Webster, the word health means “the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit.” How can it be right that every single American is entitled to be sound in body, mind, or spirit (and all this implies) through no effort or sacrifice of his own? Unless, of course, you believe one’s health is always out of one’s hands. Which it isn’t.

What’s the point of eating right and exercising, for example–or being a non-smoker, or being smart with one’s sexuality, if the person sitting next to you can do the opposite and still be rewarded? Reminds me of an eighth-grade student I once had (when I taught middle school) who worked her tail off all year to get a C+ in my class while her friends did nothing and got Fs. Doesn’t matter, the administration told me. “You have to pass those students, Suzanne. We have to move them on to the high school.”

And what about the long lines Americans will have to wait in? And the substandard doctors people who can’t afford to buy out of the plan will get as a result of ObamaCare? That’s not a scare tactic, that’s reality. And, I might add, an obvious one. Like the public schools in which I once taught, any system that’s rife with bureaucracy is doomed to fail. That’s why the private sector is so crucial. Let it work, and it will work for you. Cut off its supply and chaos ensues.

The only good thing about yesterday’s decision is that it makes the choice in November crystal clear. The power is now in the hands of the people, where it belongs. A vote for Obama means the end of America as we know it. Welcome to Europe. A vote for Romney means an opportunity to get on track. To do that, we need a health care system that empowers patients, reduces cost, and ensures access.

Repeal ObamaCare.

For an opposing view on the healthcare ruling, see Supreme Court Decision ObamaCare: We Should Rejoice and Why the Safely Insured Should Care About Universal Health Care.

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