We’re Number 1!

Babies are important and all.  But not as important as Mammon.

Of course, this comes from a ritually impure source and so can be ignored. And besides, it’s socialist for the state to have anything to do with supporting or caring for the good of the family (except when the GOP is ginning up votes by pretending to care about the Traditional Family). What’s good for insurers is good for the country:

Fortunately, all that crazy Catholic talk about privileging the family financially will soon be a thing of the past and we can get back to the Party of Fiscal Responsibility and the policies that served us so well before godless atheist Muslim religious fanatic Komminiss started misspending our money for the very first time in history three years ago:

The main thing is that our Ruling Class, whichever pol is President, will make sure that money and power remain the hands of the monied and powerful, while giving us the illusion that they care about the family.

HT Caelum et Terra

  • http://321force.blogspot.com Barbara

    I’m confused. I thought FMLA was our form of maternity leave, only not restricted to maternity leave. My sister got 6 weeks full pay and 6 more at 75%.

    • http://far-above-rubies-and-pearls.blogspot.com/ Alisha

      FMLA isn’t a guarantee. You have to work for at least a year, go through your accrued sick days first, etc. Also it doesn’t give you full pay. Last year, I used FMLA during my maternity leave and for child care/newborn care. That gave me 12 weeks. However, the first five I took off, I used a combination of sick/comp/vacation time to continue getting paid at my normal level (I had worked at my job for about 6 years full time and had saved up a good amount of time). After that, I was able to get temporary disability (as if maternity leave is a sickness) at 55% of my pay.

      I am very thankful for this, don’t get me wrong. But FMLA is really more like a protection for workers. Your job should not be able to penalize you if, for medical reasons, you must take a leave. So it holds your position. Depending on which state you live in, though, there can be lots of variables. It’s not the same as paid maternity leave. :-(

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com JoAnna

      FMLA is unpaid leave. I believe the chart refers to paid leave.

      Also, I have not been eligible for FMLA with three out of my four births because the company I worked for had less than 50 employees.

    • Ted Seeber

      A generous employer indeed- FMLA doesn’t *require* you get any pay at all, just time off without being fired.

  • Thomas R

    Well Pete Stark is the Congress’s loan atheist and very far left so he might not be too reliable.

    Still I agree we don’t do enough for new mothers and Republicans are at times a bit off on poverty issues. Seems like that can be said without quite all the Robespierre talk you sometimes get into. (Because really if there’s this “Ruling Class” that controls both parties the only option might be exile or revolution)

    • Sean O

      Fair to say “a bit”. Paul Ryan will fix that.

      • Ted Seeber

        Only if Ryan finishes his conversion from atheism to Catholicism…and even then, given the tolerance of The Thing that Used to Be Conservativism for economic sin, I kind of doubt it.

        • Sean O

          I have no faith in Paul Ryan ‘becoming’ Catholic. I know he SAYS he is Catholic, but Ryan’s core values and thinking come directly from the bitter darkness of Ayn Rand.

          By fix, I mean Ryan will squeeze out that last “bit” of concern for the less fortunate. For their own good, of course.

  • Julius Penrose

    “Ritually impure source” is a little over the top. Do you know what rates of marriage and rates of childbearing are like in the these countries? Maternity leave is a red herring. We should be fighting back against the corporate plot stretching back decades which halved salaries and doubled their workforce, marrying women to the state and having families run a Red Queen race for their profit. Elizabeth Warren is most known for pointing these issues out, though her side’s blinders prevent them from getting at a real solution.

    We don’t face a labor shortage in this country; we face a drastic oversupply of labor that the elite is only too happy to exacerbate via immigration and splitting up the family into more isolated workers.

    • KJ

      Well, I’m not Mark, but yes, I do know what the rates of marriage and childbearing are like in Canada, (birth rate: 1.63 vs 2.06 in US… on a scale that goes from 0.97 to 7.07…. so really not terribly far apart) which has a year of paid family leave that can be split between the mother and the father. Interestingly, breastfeeding rates seem to correspond positively with length of maternity leaves, which of course saves money in the long run on healthcare costs for BOTH mother and child as there are myriad benefits to both.

  • victor

    Given that people aren’t leaving the country in droves to have and raise their babies in Pakistan or Venezuela, I’m guessing that whatever tradeoffs America offers in return for not having MANDATORY unpaid leave (employers can still offer it, and many do) are still worth it for most Americans.

    • victor

      That should be mandatory PAID leave, of course. TGIF!

    • hernan

      It may be true that Mr Smith beats her wife. But given that Mrs Smith does not abandon his home, I’m guessing that whatever tradeoffs her husband offers in return are still worth enough…

      • Art

        Huh?! Horrible analogy.

        • victor

          No kidding. Microsoft Windows may not be the most intuitive O/S out there, but people people use it obviously HITLER!!!!!!!

      • Beadgirl

        Are you serious about that? Perhaps you are making a joke? Because I spent a lot of time in my youth helping victims of domestic violence, and there are deep psychological factors as to why women (and men) don’t leave their abusers, starting with profound low self-esteem.

        Please tell me you were joking.

        • Ted Seeber

          I’m pretty sure it was a joke trying to show the bad analogy, but now you’ve got me wondering if patriotism is a form of Stockholm Syndrome.

      • Rachel K

        I think a better analogy for what Hernan meant was this: If your home is infested with mice, and you don’t move because you like everything else about the house, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hire an exterminator. Yes, I’d rather live in the US than Pakistan or South Africa, but that doesn’t mean paid maternity is somehow bad.

  • Michael

    I wouldn’t trust the NYT economic data. Based upon raw data from the Office of Management and Budget these are the total deficit spending figures under the last 5 Presidents.
    Reagan 1.3 Trillion
    George Bush 933 Billion
    Bill Clinton 320 Billion
    George W Bush 2 Trillion
    Barack Obama 5.3 Trillion

    Increase in national debt under the same presidents
    Reagan 1.6 Trillion
    George Bush 1.3 Trillion
    Bill Clinton 1.6 Trillion
    George W Bush 4.3 Trillion
    Barack Obama 6.3 Trillion

    This was based upon the 2012 Fiscal Budget data. The 2013 data is now out and I’ve got to run though that data and update my spreadsheets.

    • Will

      What are the dates for the Obama and George W. Bush spending and debts? Mr. Bush was responsible for the budget that Mr. Obama inherited.

      • Art

        Hope… Change… FAIL.

    • Ted Seeber

      What did Obama do with the extra trillion, if deficit spending is only 5.3?

      • Sally Wilkins

        IIRC, the Bush administration did not include the costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the budget, so those costs didn’t “count” toward the deficit. One of the first things the Obama administration did after taking office was move those expenses on to the books. So huge increase in deficit spending – on paper – but not in real life, where it had been being spent already for years.

        • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

          Anything that goes into the permanent baseline is like hip fat. It’s forever. It’s crazy but it’s how we actually have been setting our budgets for decades and conservatives have been trying to work around the problems in the system a lot of different ways, GWB’s attempt at keeping the wars out of the baseline budget was just one of them. Wars are supposed to be temporary. When we once again demonstrate a capability of actually reducing the baseline by real spending cuts, putting wars on budget would start making sense. We haven’t been able to do that for decades.

          • Oregon Catholic

            I didn’t know that. Thanks for explaining. It makes sense now why so many defenders and promoters of the ‘creative’ accounting so prevalent in the financial sector find homes in the gov.

    • Kubrick’s Rube

      These numbers are highly misleading to start with, and further fail to account for how much of the problem stems from revenue, not spending. From Marketwatch.com:

      Before Obama had even lifted a finger, the CBO was already projecting that the federal deficit would rise to $1.2 trillion in fiscal 2009. The government actually spent less money in 2009 than it was projected to, but the deficit expanded to $1.4 trillion because revenue from taxes fell much further than expected, due to the weak economy and the emergency tax cuts that were part of the stimulus bill.

      The projected deficit for the 2010-13 period has grown from an expected $1.7 trillion in January 2009 to $4.4 trillion today. Lower-than-forecast revenue accounts for 73% of the $2.7 trillion increase in the expected deficit.

    • Peggy R

      Thanks for providing this as the NYT data seemed contrary to all I’d seen previously.

  • Judith M.

    Maybe it’s just me, but acting like paid maternity leave is the holy grail for the family seems a little off the mark. Wouldn’t it be better if the man (or the woman) made enough to support a family while the other spouse stayed home and cared for the child until that child was ready to leave for college?

    • http://creativefidelity.wordpress.com Dan F.

      I believe your’e looking for http://www.distributistreview.com

      Has to start at the local level with families, parishes, professions etc. committing (covenants not contracts) to providing for each other during difficult times as well as not over-growing their businesses beyond what is necessary to support their family.

      At a national level there needs to be work done to smooth the way for those kinds of groups to form and provide benefits to each other. For example, instead of each tree-clearing company in a county paying for their own worker’s comp, health insurance etc. they would be able to form a loose group and purchase bigger (and cheaper) group policies. They could provide disability similarly so that a tragic accident doesn’t leave a man (or woman) without means to support his family.

      • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

        I believe your health care ideal was proposed by GW Bush and called “associational health insurance”. He got his head handed to him on that.

        The idea of having a business, being perfectly able to serve more people, and refusing to take on more customers, leaving them to inferior competitors strikes me as bizarre. You can spend two weeks writing an iOS app and earn more than your family needs in a year. What are you supposed to do, withdraw the app on week 3? Are your customers supposed to just deal with your sense of economic justice as you hurt their ability to further their own businesses?

    • Ted Seeber

      That’s it- I’m sure Judith just one the race for “best Catholic in the thread”

  • Richard

    According to LifeSiteNews Canadians get the maternity leave after an abortion too. I sure hope we don’t follow the benevolent Canadian law. http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/canadas-feds-paying-full-maternity-benefits-after-abortion

    • Ted Seeber

      I’m not so sure that wouldn’t be helpful. Project Rachel could go for the government contract and become as big as Planned Parenthood! And since a large percentage of abortions are in fact women who have aborted before, having post-abortive counseling highlighted and provided by employers would change the conversation drastically.

  • RUs

    I don’t see how encouraging mothers to keep their jobs and neglect their babies at home (once the leave is over) is so pro-baby. There are so many things wrong with this, Mark, I don’t know where to begin.

    1. The feminization of our culture has glutted our workforce so that wages are way down from where they would and should be. Consequently, both parents work a lot harder for a lot less.
    2. The reduction of babies due to the over-abundant choice of “career woman” (oh, how they fell for the false prestige of that one) has made it more difficult to replenish the workforce, so that a glut becomes now a shortage, forcing the vicious cycle that tears apart our families.
    3. Forcing companies to swallow the consequences of a woman having a baby further brings wages down for both sexes in order to absorb that cost. In other words this paid leave benefit is an *illusion*.
    4. In spite of the lesser compulsion by the US to give extra monies to the mother workers, our companies in large part are very accommodating to them for leave and other benefits.
    5. You get nothing for free. Everything like this costs, and the nanny state is bringing everything down. This is just one more way to get government to dominate our lives.
    6. Mark, you have written many posts against the government trying to control us. How is this helping?
    7. Do you really want the US to be like any of these other countries? Seriously?

    There’s so much more, but I have work to do.

    • Beadgirl

      And I don’t know where to begin with your response.

      1) Your apparent assumption that women who work outside the home neglect their children is both offensive and wrong. Funny how nobody accuses a man who works outside the home of neglecting his children.

      2) This idea that the ideal situation is one where a father goes out and earns a paycheck and a mother stays home and raises lots of children is a relatively recent concept arising out of the so-called cult of domesticity which came out of the 19th century, and which generally only applied to middle and upper-middle class families in the western world. Historically speaking, most women have always had to do more work than just raising children, such as helping run farms, helping family-run businesses, taking in other peoples’ laundries, making clothes and linens, cleaning other peoples’ homes, etc.

      3) In the 20th century in the U.S. many women entered the workforce during WWII, to replace workers who had gone overseas. What happened is that some women discovered they really liked working outside the home, and that they had a talent for careers other than raising children. No one thinks twice about that fact that fathers excel and thrive at wildly different jobs, and it would be ridiculous to expect them to all do the same thing. Yet we expect all mothers everywhere to take the same job — stay-at-home mom — and like it. Is it really so hard to understand that different women have different interests, talents, personalities, and skills? That there is no one right way to be a good mother?

      4) The “feminization” (whatever that means) of our culture (and funny how feminists are blamed for both making our culture too feminine and making women to masculine) is not what resulted in the current situation of long hours, stagnant pay, and job insecurity. Rather, those are the results of a major change in economics and capitalism, a growing focus on profits above all else, information and communications technology, globalization, etc. The fact that these happened concurrently with second-wave feminism does not prove causation. I used to work in an industry that has drastically changed over the last 30 years, and it was not the “fault” of us female employees; if fact, we are still a minority in this area, especially at top levels, and the changes the resulted actually ran counter to what female employees and activists were trying to achieve.

      • anon

        Thank you for point #2!! There is often a lack of historical perspective when the SAHM/WOHM issue arises.

        • Art

          I think she made a valid point in that regard, but he made a valid point as well. I don’t think there is one right or wrong in regards to this matter. Some women are literally better stay at home mother’s than others on the flip side some women are literally better at having a career and helping out with the finances at the house as well as juggling family life at home. People are created differently and have better attributes.

          The connotation of a stay at home mother being deprived and worthless is complete utter BS. This is feminist talk. In some regards having 1 parent stay home is extremely beneficial for the children and extremely helpful to maintain the house in order to spend time with their children. Both parents working is tiring and the chores double at home for both.

          • Beadgirl

            This is exactly the point I was trying to make, that women have different talents and skills and that there is more than one right way to be a mother. Neither “working” moms nor “stay-at-home” moms (those terms are rapidly becoming meaningless) should be denigrated.

          • http://www.virtue-quest.com/ Robert King

            Could we go so far as to say that having both parents stay at home is the ideal? After all, until industrialization, that was the normal situation: the workplace for most people was their home, and there wasn’t this grand division between home life and work life. The children grew up seeing both parents working to maintain both home and business.

            Honestly, I don’t know if this SHOULD be the ideal, but it is the traditional way most children were raised throughout most of history in most cultures around the world. Moreover, with the direction our technological culture has developed, I’m not sure it’s practical to return to such a structure any time soon. But if we’re going to talk “traditional” versus “modern” ways of raising children, I think it’s important to see that we’ve come so far from the “traditional” that we can’t even remember it – or even imagine it – anymore.

      • Art

        I know where to begin with your response!

        Where did he say “..women who work outside the home neglect their children…”? His premise was both parents work for a lot less. What you said is an assumption or an attempt to belittle his position. Sure his words were direct and blunt, but the reality he spoke about is true. We do work for a lot less and nothing comes free.

        • Beadgirl

          He said it here:
          “I don’t see how encouraging mothers to keep their jobs and neglect their babies at home (once the leave is over) is so pro-baby.”

          If he meant something different, or if I am misunderstanding him, then I hope he makes himself clearer.

          • Art

            I see a matter of translation and meaning. I think what he was implying is that he doesn’t see how “encouraging” mother’s to keep their jobs and neglect their babies at home (once the leave is over) is pro-baby. As opposed to the “assumption that women who work outside the home neglect their children”.

            If people are actually “encouraging” mother’s to keep their jobs and neglect their babies at home that is definitely not pro baby. I don’t think he was saying women who work outside the home neglect their children.

            If he meant that, than yes I would disagree with that as my wife works and we have kiddos, and I find that to be unfounded.

      • Ted Seeber

        I don’t know a single SAHM who doesn’t do other things to bring in money. My own wife used 80% of our house (I’ve measured it for tax purposes) to run a day care. She’s home, but she works HARD.

        On #4- the reason feminists get accused of the “feminization of society” and “women being too masculine” is because their ideology runs counter to the very real and obvious biological differences between the genders. I once knew somebody who accused GK Chesterton of being a misogynist- because he felt that women were too smart for the vote and school system; and that men needed these things because men were stupid.

      • Rachel K

        Beadgirl, have I mentioned any time recently that I always love reading your comments? You rock.

        SAHM-ing is ideal, but it isn’t always feasible. My husband is a teacher at Catholic school, which isn’t exactly known for its fabulous pay. The first year after our son was born, we tried SAHM-ing and weren’t making enough to make ends meet. Even when I was doing extra work on the side to bring in a little more income, it was barely enough; the three of us were fine, but we weren’t sure if we’d be able to afford having another baby. (This isn’t because we’re extravagant and live above our means–it’s because we live in DC, where cost of living is so high that it’s impossible to find a sanitary, safe apartment for less than a thousand dollars a month.) Thank God, my husband ended up getting laid off from that job and almost immediately found a new job at a non-archdiocesan Catholic school that paid better. But if he’d stayed at that school, I probably would have had to go back to work whenever we decided to expand our family, and paid maternity leave would have been wonderful for that. (For the record, when our son was born and I wasn’t sure whether I would have to keep working or not, my boss offered me eight weeks of paid leave. I could have taken FMLA, but the last four weeks would have been unpaid.)

        • Beadgirl

          Thanks, Rachel K, that made my day!

  • THE Lisa

    More economic ignorance. “Marksism.”

    Why don’t you take your utopian graph and simultaneously show the unemployment rate? Oh my! They are correlated.

    I have a better plan: get married, save money, live simply, stay at home, raise your kids, expect nothing from the government apart from the freedom to live your life as you choose. Buck up, Molly.

    • Will

      How about making sure that the employed spouse never gets laid off or becomes underemployed? And that neither spouse becomes sick? And that nobody in the family gets sick or injured beyond what their health insurance covers? And make sure that health insurance is available and affordable? And that all jobs pay enough for a family to live on because not everyone is smart enough to go to college?

    • Beadgirl

      How is it “liv[ing] your life as you choose” if you are also telling all women to “stay at home, raise your kids”?

      • THE Lisa

        I am saying that if you choose to stay home and raise your kids, don’t expect your neighbors to pay for it (or your employer). It is entirely possible to live on one income. The problem is that our materialistic competitiveness enslaves most families to two incomes. “My kids ‘need’ a cell phone, internet, Disneyland, Nikes, four TVs, and a $900 dog. And I want the government to pay me to sit home and watch Oprah for twenty weeks because I just had another baby, dangit.”

        I never understood maternity leave. Why is 12 weeks or 20 weeks a magical time when it’s OK to start dropping your baby off at daycare? Developmentally, not much happens in the first 12 weeks. Babies sleep, eat and fill diapers while trying to gain a few pounds. I was physically recovered from my labor in about 10 days (though I did take on a new shape). I would MUCH prefer to take 20 weeks off when the kids were about four, when they need mom for the alphabet, the zoo, shoe laces, skinned knees, The Hail Mary.

        • Art

          EXACTLY!!! If no medical issues for mother and baby. 2 weeks is actually quite sufficient. If we want to talk about expenses and time off… Let’s talk about day care expenses.

          • KJ

            For most women, 2 weeks is not sufficient to establish breastfeeding and bonding, and most women haven’t even stopped their post-birth lochia at that point.

            • Art

              My understanding is that for most women is that it takes 2 to 4 weeks and only a small number of women have it for a few more weeks. More and more women who work do not breastfeed and if they do, they pump.

              In regards to bonding it is a process, not something that takes place within minutes and not something that has to be limited to happening within a certain time period after birth. Bonding is an every day thing you do throughout the life of your child.

              My original point is… if push comes to shove… 2 to 4 weeks at the bare minimum is most certainly sufficient for most women “provided there are no complications for baby and mother”.

        • Beadgirl

          We cannot live on just my husband’s income. We have not been on a vacation in 6 years, we have just one car that is literally falling apart, and almost all our discretionary income goes to food and health insurance. I have friends in the same boat.

          The maternity/paternity leave right after the baby is born is relevant for breast-feeding, for one, and for helping the family adjust to the change. Then there are those women who need to recover from c-sections, or from difficult labors and deliveries. Then there are those children born with special needs, particularly those who need extra care right at the beginning.

          THE Lisa, your experiences are not the same as everyone else’s.

          • THE Lisa

            I agree with everthing you said. My first baby had serious collic. I took the full 12 weeks off via FMLA. My husband slept little. I was greatful for the FMLA, but never did I expect to be paid. Maybe that’s where we differ. I went back to work part time after our first…and our second, but after our third, it made no economic sense. All my kid’s clothes came from thrift stores, I cut out so many coupons I had calluses from the scissors, our vacation was a tent borrowed from our neighbor. You’re right, I was blessed: no C-sections, the boys were all healthy, my husband had good benefits, my parents were healthy and could help out, we have great neighbors, a great parish.

            Sorry if I sounded like a prima.

            • Beadgirl

              Not at all. That’s the problem with comboxes, it’s so hard to understand one’s tone. My experiences is some ways were a lot worse, but on the other hand I’ve also been very lucky, too. I’m genuinely glad you had such support, and I wish all mothers and fathers did.

        • Ted Seeber

          A $900 dog? Whatever happened to paying $25 at the humane society?

          • Marion (Mael Muire)

            In the early 1990s, my husband and I tried living on just his income – not too bad, not too good, average income. We lived a major metropolitan area (where most of the jobs are!) in a 2-bedroom apt. in a complex that had been built in the 1950s, and had never been updated. The neighborhood was “affordable” and culturally mixed, with lots of recent immigrants from Latin America and the Carribbean together with neighbors whose families had lived in the U.S. for many generations. We had one car (a Plymouth Horion 4-banger), lived in a 2-bedroom apt., had health insurance through my husband’s work. I wore lots of hand-me-downs from relatives (very fortunate to have nice things, albeit gently used). I remember hand-making the new years’ pages for my planner, with a pen and lined paper, a paper punch, and a pair of scissors. A lot of work, but anything to save money. I learned to cook from scratch. Made stock from one night’s leftover chicken, and that became the base for chicken noodle soup the next night. Learned to color my own hair, do my own nails at home (still do) to save salon fees. Got a call from our local charity asking for a donation of $25.00 – I remember thinking if I gave that, we wouldn’t have quite enough money to replace the left rear tire that was going. We didn’t eat out, didn’t go out, didn’t socialize much and then it was usually cheap or free, didn’t travel, didn’t buy anything other than food, gas, tires, and other rock-bottom necessities. Still couldn’t save any significant money.

            It was OK, just the two of us, but I didn’t know how we were supposed to pay for even one addition to the family on just that amount of money?

            The good Lord didn’t see fit to send us children, although we would have welcomed them in all trust and reliance on Him. And my husband makes more money now, and I work part time.

            There are families with little ones who spend needlessly, but there are also lots of families like us, I suspect, but whom the good Lord has entrusted with children. Frugal, hardworking, excruciatingly careful with their money, rarely indulgent, and barely getting by. They deserve better than to be told “you need to stop spending so much.”

    • Ted Seeber

      I will when big business gives me the room to live as I choose instead of forcing me to be a wage slave.

  • THE Lisa

    Furthermore, when President George W. Bush took office, our national debt was $5.768 trillion. By the time Bush left office, it had nearly doubled, to $10.626 trillion. So Bush’s record on deficit spending was not good at all: During his presidency, the national debt rose by an average of $607 billion a year. How does that compare to Obama? During Obama’s presidency to date, the national debt has risen by an average of $1.723 trillion a year — or by a jaw-dropping $1.116 trillion more, per year, than it rose even under Bush. That’s Marksism.

    • Will

      As I asked Michael above:

      What are the dates for the Obama and George W. Bush spending and debts? Mr. Bush was responsible for the budget and, to a certain extent, the economy that Mr. Obama inherited.

      • Peggy R

        Mr. Obama has not put forth a responsible budget since 2009. The Senate Dems haven’t voted for a budget in 3 years now. There is uncontrollable spending going on. I’ll accept your premise of economic and budget problems when O entered office. But he has done nothing to improve the economy or to move toward a balanced or at least responsible budget. He has only exacerbated these problems. The economy has settled into a static state for 3 years now until we see what happens with O-care and whether O and his over-regulation, over-taxing and expanded welfare state are re-elected. I think you’ll see cash start to flow and businesses start to hire once it is clear that O’s statism is on its way out. That is my professional economic opinion. Some one below asked whether folks here are read Marx. I have read the Manifesto. Much of it is a crazy rant against the US and the Catholic Church. He raised important points about workers’ conditions which many concerned many writers of the era. But he went off the deep end.

    • kenneth

      Has anyone here who drops the term “Marxism” ever read any primary Marxist sources or even looked up a Wikipedia article on the word?

      • Ted Seeber

        I have. Though I don’t use the word Marxism. I use the term “atheistic communism” instead. It’s slightly more accurate from a philosophical point of view. I usually compare and contrast it to “atheistic libertarianism” which covers both the left and right wing libertines in the Untied States (pun and misspelling intended). I myself am “Je Suis Marxiste, Tendance Chesterton”- in that I think the state *does* have a role in protecting Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and therefore has a positive *duty* to engineer the economy to provide those rights.

        This government is neglecting it’s duty- go back to the atheistic libertarians for that one.

  • http://signsshadows.blogspot.com/ Colin Gormley

    As a point of order, the second graph doesn’t list actual percentage of profits vs. revenue. It list the percentage increase between 2009 and 2010 of profits. This is an important distinction, as the only way to really see what the true profits are is to compare the revenue streams (including expenses) from the two years and compare the two. And why only nine months? Why not include the full fiscal year?

    TL;DR – The second graph is useless.

    • THE Lisa

      The profits are irrelevent, unless you subscribe to the Marxist notion that they are immoral. Are we to be happier if the companies were losing money? United Health Care took in $100b, paid $9b in taxes and returned $5b to its common shares. Is this sinful? Mark seems to imply that it is. If so, what would be a “moral” number? How about $1b to the shareholders? How about nothing? What’s the moral number according to the Marksist theory?

      • Mark Shea

        Since “Marksist theory” is the coinage of your brain, you will have to provide the answer. I have no theory. Just the general notion that since the role of the state is to protect and privilege the family, it should do more than give lip service.

        • Art

          I agree mark that is the role of the state, but to what degree or extent? I think that is where the rubber meets the road and arguments of how to accomplish that is divisive.

        • THE Lisa

          Mark, that is a wonderful thing you said: “that it is the role of the state to protect and privlege the family.”

          Beautiful, really, but I wonder how many of our pols, and how many of our electorate would agree with that mission.

          “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
          I agree that to promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty you have to put the family first, including the broader family of Christ, but the thinking in Washington is an admixture of priorities mainly dominated by corporatists, egalitarians, environmentalists and Christ-haters. If you can sell your mission, I’ll sell our house and give all the money to the Elect Mark for Prez PAC. And I’ll wear nothing but a VOTE MARK sandwich sign on Michigan Avenue.

          As for the “moral” profit question, I argue that there is no such thing. Water runs down hill; profits flow to successful companies. They are amoral statements (provided everyone plays by the rules). It’s ugly at times, like the weather, but there’s nothing to about it.

          ——————————————————————————–

      • Ted Seeber

        http://distributistreview.com/mag/2012/05/the-contradictions-of-liberals-and-conservatives/

        Thanks to Caelum Et Terra for providing me this link, I have the only possible solution to that conundrum.

  • CK

    Uh, those countries with radically high maternity leave impositions are hardly instances of places that defend the human family (ie Canada, Norway). In fact, there is an argument that such policies are destructive to human families.

    Also, think about what draconian paid maternity leave policies would do to small businesses.

    Nota bene, it is the bohemouth corporation that can handle the costs associated with maternity leave and the attendant regulatory compliance burdens (ie attorney costs). Big corps love to tout their ability to handle things like maternity leave, the same cannot be said for others. Mom and pop shops and the Chestertonian small is beautiful proprietorships cannot hack these burdens. Be careful of what you wish for, and open your eyes to what is seen and not seen.

    • David K. Monroe

      Thank you for this sensible comment. People don’t seem to realize that what we’d need to do to get out of the “0″ column is to either have the government pay for maternity leave, or force all business to offer paid maternity leave. The result of one is more government debt, and the result of the other is businesses being shuttered.

      • Ted Seeber

        If a business cannot provide a family wage for their workers, and all that entails, then there is no common good in it and it SHOULD be shuttered, because there’s no reason left to put up with it’s existence.

        • David K. Monroe

          What a responsible political platform for a country in the middle of a protracted recession. The unemployed of America thank you, I’m sure.

          No more small business, America! Only corporate behemoths who can afford to pay for maternity leave may exist! Vote Ted Seeber, and do away with the little guy!

          • Ted Seeber

            I know PLENTY of small businesses that pay their workers equal to, or better than, the owner. And they usually provide health insurance and maternity leave just fine; the difference is that their owner isn’t earning $325,000/year and they don’t bother to pay their CEO six figures either.

            My complaint is with the “corporate behemoths” who claim that being unionized means they won’t have enough money to pay their CEO 400x minimum wage.

  • RUs

    (1) “Your apparent assumption that women who work outside the home neglect their children . . .”

    You are probably taking the worst possible connotation of “neglect.” I don’t mean that form of abuse where you leave them without the necessary arrangements for health and nourishment in such a way that would get you arrested. I mean that you simply neglect them at those times, and I stand firm that they would be far, far better off with their mother present. We have become a selfish society that neglects children far more than they should be. Sorry if that disturbs you or offends you, but I won’t mollify the truth to make you feel better about neglecting children.

    “Funny how nobody accuses a man who works outside the home of neglecting his children.”

    Right. Because men are not the traditional bread-winners of families, and the newfound freedom to neglect our children should fall equally upon those who didn’t abandon the role of nurturing mother.

    (2) “This idea . . . is a relatively recent concept . . .”

    Right. History is full of mothers who didn’t take care of their children. This is laughable on its face, and, btw, I never said mothers don’t/didn’t have additional roles and duties.

    (3) “What happened is that some women discovered they really liked working outside the home, and that they had a talent for careers other than raising children.”

    Exactly. Many women decided quite selfishly that this deceptive and ephemeral new fulfillment was more important to them than taking care of their children. They were willing to compromise the well-being of their children for the sake of some ego-fulfilling career.

    “. . . it would be ridiculous to expect them to all do the same thing.”

    It is equally ridiculous to assume that men are all doing what they want rather than making a sacrifice for their family. But it has to be done, so they all do it.

    “Yet we expect all mothers everywhere to take the same job — stay-at-home mom — and like it.”

    It is even more absurd to characterize one the most important positions in society, focusing on the most important things (children) in their lives as somehow this cookie-cutter, invariable, and somehow lesser experience than the wide variety of drudgeries that most males don’t want to do. If the only choice was to mop floors, all good fathers would be mopping floors. That’s a far cry from having the privilege of staying home and nurturing your family.

    “Is it really so hard to understand that different women have different interests, talents, personalities, and skills? That there is no one right way to be a good mother?”

    I didn’t imply either of those things. However, leaving them for long periods of time so that the mother can work is not a “way” of motherhood. It is trading away motherhood for something else. Sometimes they must do it for survival, so they are trading their motherhood for food on the table. But more often than not, they are trading away their motherhood for expensive hairdos and makeovers, nicer cars, nicer clothes, booze, and a billion other things that are far, far less important. What are you trading away your motherhood for? (I don’t expect an answer–it’s none of my business. But it is something you should ask yourself.)

    (4) “… and funny how feminists are blamed for both making our culture too feminine and making women to masculine”

    I probably should have used a different term. I was referring mostly to feminism rather than the feminization of men. And, yes, feminism is definitely making women more “masculine,” except it is the cartoon character of masculinity that is the worst part of men, rather than the true masculinity that rejects those foibles. Women have taken on the egos of men that send them on ephemeral and elusive pursuits for their fulfillment. Here’s a clue: a true masculine man gets the majority of his fulfillment from his job by how it supports and enables his family, not by how big and powerful it makes him feel. But try to convince a feminist of that.

    “Rather, those are the results of a major change in economics and capitalism, a growing focus on profits above all else, information and communications technology, globalization, etc.”

    Sure, there are many economic factors for current affairs–positive and negative. That makes no difference regarding the economic effect of women in the workforce.

    “The fact that these happened concurrently with second-wave feminism does not prove causation.”

    I agree with that. However, the effects of supply and demand on the economy are well known and understood, and the influx of women into the workforce have created massive supply to provide for the same demand. We know for fact that supply of such magnitude suppresses the cost and results in much lower wages. Sorry if you can’t except economic fact, but that’s economic fact. If all the mothers who could quit the work force and tended to their families, wages would increase dramatically, and families would enjoy more wealth for less work.

    We can go round and round about this, but I unfortunately don’t have time. Those are the facts and I’ll let the readers evaluate them without further argument on my part.

    • Ted Seeber

      “I probably should have used a different term. I was referring mostly to feminism rather than the feminization of men. And, yes, feminism is definitely making women more “masculine,” except it is the cartoon character of masculinity that is the worst part of men, rather than the true masculinity that rejects those foibles. Women have taken on the egos of men that send them on ephemeral and elusive pursuits for their fulfillment. Here’s a clue: a true masculine man gets the majority of his fulfillment from his job by how it supports and enables his family, not by how big and powerful it makes him feel. But try to convince a feminist of that.”

      I love this paragraph, and the same idea is behind my comment above that a business that cannot provide a man a family wage job, is worthless to society and should be closed.

      • RUs

        Well, I think I disagree with you, though. There are many reasons a company might not provide a family wage, including positions usually given to adolescents and people working their way through college. Not every job is intended to sustain a family. But that’s a long conversation with many, many examples.

        That being said, I sort of agree with you in general.

        • Ted Seeber

          ” There are many reasons a company might not provide a family wage, including positions usually given to adolescents and people working their way through college.”

          Yes, but all that does is discourage marriage and encourage abortion.

          “Not every job is intended to sustain a family.”

          But if we had an ideally just society, every job should be, if for no other reason than to encourage marriage when people are biologically best able to have and raise children (those teenagers, for instance).

      • ds

        Closed by who? The government? YOU ARE A SOCIALIST.

        • Ted Seeber

          How about closed by having no money to operate because the CEO and shareholders are crooks?

    • Art

      Rus I understand that you are not going to provide further argument, but I agree that you are right in one aspect but I also believe you are wrong in the other.

      I agree with the premise of a mother that is able or chooses to stay at home and assist the children in growing up is admirable, awesome, and makes the home a much easier place to live.

      I disagree with the premise of a mother that is able or chooses to work is by default neglecting her children. A mother can most definitely be there for her child. Obviously she will not be there 100% of the time.

      When a mother is away from her child in order to work whether it be for career or living pay check by pay check is not always neglect even in the way you talk about neglect. A mother needs to be a mother to her children as does a father needing to be a father. There are in fact single mother’s and single father’s who do this on a daily basis and live pay check by pay check… whether the father be deceased, invalid marriage, or divorce.

      The argument that ‘if a child is not around his or her mother the majority of the time, the child will not be better off’ is simply not true. A mother can work while her child is going to a day care, learning center, elementary, jr. high, high school, etc and still be there for her child/children at those pivotal moments. The key is truly being a mother by giving your children the ‘right’ attention and moral upbringing.

      Also some parents who both work and are raising children are not always doing it for career focused reasons in order to retain more material nice things, even if they are very well to do. Perhaps they want to provide their child with the best education possible via private school.

      Sure there are those who very well might be putting the job before the child and that is wrong. It’s not about the mother or father at that point… it is what is best for the children and the family.

      In it’s proper way a woman can most definitely work or stay at home and still provide that child with raising her child. Let’s not forget, the father should not just work and come home and be fed and go to sleep. He has a very important responsibility in raising those kids too.

      I don’t want to disagree too much, as I think some of the points you make are extremely valid in regards to making men less men and making women more masculine. I think that can very well happen as it is happening for some. However, some can handle it while others cannot.

      I have more of a problem with TV and iPads/Tablets raising our children than I do a mother being able to work.

      • Beadgirl

        Thank you for this, Art, you said it a lot more graciously than I could have.

      • RUs

        Art, now that I have had a chance to read this more carefully, I see you are saying quite a bit more than I previously assessed.

        “The argument that ‘if a child is not around his or her mother the majority of the time, the child will not be better off’ is simply not true.”

        It is true. We know that children are better off when the mother is with them the majority of the time. The inescapable converse of that, which no one wants to admit, is that they are worse off when the mother is not with them the majority of the time. That’s simply a fact of life that neglectful mothers would like to pretend isn’t true.

        “A mother can work while her child is going to a day care, learning center, elementary, jr. high, high school, etc and still be there for her child/children at those pivotal moments. The key is truly being a mother by giving your children the ‘right’ attention and moral upbringing.”

        There is a vast difference between being there only at key moments and being there all the time, and the consequences to the upbringing of your children is profound. It is naive to think otherwise, though popular among feminists who think they can do it all. Sure, when you trade away your motherhood for selfish and material pursuits, you can optimize that part of the motherhood that you don’t trade away. But that doesn’t change the fact that a working mother has traded away an enormous and extremely important part of her motherhood for material gain.

        I already discussed those paycheck-to-paycheck families who have no choice but to make the trade. They have to do it–but it is still an enormous loss to motherhood in the family.

    • Oregon Catholic

      RU – I agree heartily with the points you make except that I would change the argument to one parent working and one staying home. The assumption that it should always be the mother who stays home isn’t right. Some wives have a greater earning capacity and some men are more nurturing. It should be up to the individual family. But yes, we have far too many people in the work force and it’s dragging down living wages and way too many kids are being emotionally and physically neglected. Part of the rise in childhood obesity can be directly shown to be caused by latchkey kids who watch TV and play video games because it’s not safe for them to play outside in neighborhoods where all the parents are at work. Those of us who grew up in the 50s and 60s with SAHMs know very well how different things were for our children’s generation from our own in just a few short years.

      A lot of the families who need two jobs to survive would be able to get by with one in a less worker dense economy. The trouble is how to get there from here.

  • Peggy R

    I had paid FMLA. Shouldn’t we have mothers home instead of at work for the State or Corp, anyway?

  • Pansy Moss

    Mark, I don’t know how you can stand it some times.

  • THE Lisa

    “If all the mothers who could quit the work force and tended to their families, wages would increase dramatically, and families would enjoy more wealth for less work.”

    Sorry, but that is just plain silly. First of all, the wealth of a nation is created by the cumulative value added by all its workers. If half the workers stay home, half the wealth will evaporate. The GDP per capita would be cut in half (roughly). Secondly, the working women of the US create a ton of demand. I buy an Indian take out because I can afford it and I dont have the time to cook. Lastly,
    your simple economic analysis forgets that we live in a global economy, that Chinese women work their hinds off making all the stuff our women buy at Walmart, and our women work their hinds off working their hinds off on tread mills made in Taiwan after sipping lattes from beans picked by women in Costa Rica.

    • Oregon Catholic

      Lisa – If you look at the economics of a family situation, not national wealth, it makes sense for one parent to work if that person can bring home higher wages plus you add to that all the savings in child care and home economics, work clothes, gas, one less car, etc.

  • RUs

    “First of all, the wealth of a nation is created by the cumulative value added by all its workers. If half the workers stay home, half the wealth will evaporate.”

    Um. No. Beg your pardon, but that’s ignorant. It just isn’t that simple. Cumulative wages is very relative value that does not accurately reflect wealth, and it is not a factor in calculating the GDP. Another thing that will result from a lower supply of workers is that the jobs that produce no value or very inefficient value will be weeded out or be made more efficient. There are so many more things to say about it, but I just don’t have the time to school you, and there are far many better resources than me for that purpose available to you.

    • THE Lisa

      Well, RU, I’m sure you’re a very busy woman and I do not resent your not having the time to “school” me on economics. It’s news to me that cumulative wages are not a factor in calculating GDP. I was taught that cumulative wages must equal total production in monetary evaluations. I agree that GDP is not direct measure of national wealth, but it’s the best number we have. For example, everyone could stay home from work next year except you. I could pay you $15t to “school” me on economics. The US GDP would be $15t, but we wouldnt have produced much wealth would we. Let me leave it as Adam Smith would have put it: if our nation has more workers making pins, then after one year, our nation will have more pins.

      Avez-vous un bon weekend!

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      Cumulative value does not equal cumulative wages. It never has. I just had an interview. In it I identified a weakness in my employer to be’s backup scheme, cold, during the interview. I created value for which I will never be compensated in wages. This is whether I get hired or not.

      Go look at the Firefox browser, something for which many people worked long hours on for years. No wages ever paid for that programming but does that mean it has no value? Of course it has.

  • Jim in Ohio

    The important thing is that women need to stop wearing pants and get back to modest skirts and dresses.

    • Ted Seeber

      Huh?

      You know, as an autistic, I’ve never understood what is supposed to be so modest about a skirt. If I was a less moral person, it looks like an invitation to rape to me (providing easy access).

      • Andy, Bad Person

        Ted,

        Jim is dropping an inside joke here. A while back there was a huge, ongoing controversy about pants/skirts for women, which was simultaneously ridiculous for how much ferocious opinion it provoked, and hilarious for anyone watching from the wings.

        I, for one, look forward to The Great Pants Debate Reboot.

  • RUs

    Art, I think you are essentially saying that there are things worth trading motherhood for, and that it is not necessarily neglectful behavior to neglect them for some of those trades. I would agree with that, and I think I left room in my discussion for that understanding. For example, I talked about trading for survival. Certainly parents can neglect their children for a night to have a date–realizing that keeping the husband and wife relationship strong is an integral part of being good parents and worth the trade. There’s nothing wrong with a mother simply taking a break–even for occasionally selfish reasons. But there is no question that more time mothers and fathers spend with their children is better for them, and if you spend extended time away such as is necessary for work it will be worse off for them. And not paying attention to your kids for the sake of something else is the very definition of neglect. The question is–are the trades for the better of the children and family, or for more selfish purposes? The overwhelming truth in the current world is the latter, I’m afraid.

  • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

    I would say it’s worth looking at some of these countries and what they bring to the table. Not that America is going anywhere better. Since our goal seems to be to live up to what many of these countries are, I’m sure we’ll get there soon enough. But caution. We often trash our country (I know, hard to believe) when it comes to those who didn’t rise up in outrage at the rise of various dictatorships in the 30s, all because to some, they looked so efficient. After all, Italy did get the trains to run faster! Be careful always looking at just one side of the debate. There’s plenty to be concerned about all the way around. America doesn’t hold a monopoly on problems.

  • Mark R

    The top countries on the wheel have long maternity leaves as an enticement for their citizens (I mean their non-immigrant or guestworker folk) to reproduce more. This has not been very successful. These differences do not matter so much in the United States and people are still reproducing fine…although long maternity leave would still be very nice here.

    • kenneth

      The children they do have in most of these other countries, on average, have much better outcomes in life by virtually any measure we can choose. Kids in most of these countries are far, far ahead of us academically, especially in math and science. They have far fewer teen pregnancies. Most of these countries have incarceration and murder rates that are a tiny fraction of ours. There’s no way to say for certain how much of this, if any, is the result of paid maternity leave. On the other hand, their policies to make at least some collective investment in child raising certainly doesn’t seem to be hurting them, and our supposed commitment to hands-off capitalism isn’t producing any great results.

      • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

        Demographics is a very long game. TFR less than replacement rate (which most of these comparison countries have) leads to poor outcomes as fewer people are left to pay for extensive, no longer needed, infrastructure.

        In reality, the US has middle of the pack results for a 1st world country on education and outrageously overpays for the results. That’s got nothing to do with paid maternity leave.

  • Andy

    I think that so many commenters have missed the mark – it is not about Family Leave, it is about a system that is stacked against the common person. It is about a system that favors socialism for the well-off. It is about a system that worships mammon not God. It is about forgetting that without people the ruling class has nobody to lord it over. Please, recognize that our country is broken, not because of Obama or Bush but because we worship the culture of spending and the god mammon.

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      If you think that Think Progress is for the common man against socialism for the rich you don’t know them very well. Our country *is* broken, but the reforms advocated here are not what we need. We need to create enough wealth that we can afford to take time off for our children. We need to create enough new businesses that there’s always a job for re-entering people. This sort of world is in the process of being born and it’s the Think Progress people who are generally standing in the way.

      • Andy

        I have no way of replying – I have no idea where you got think progress from my comment. I have not said we do not have to create enough money for people to be able to take care of their children – not wealth as that is synonym for mammon. I did not mention socialism, though we already practice it in terms of corporate welfare. The fact is that we have focused so much on making money and lots of it that we have lost the will to think about the ramifications of wealth. We have lost the value of family and we no longer measure a person by what they do, and how well they do it. We measure them by how much money they make. If you think that the republicans are going to change this, dream on.

        • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

          Think Progress is the “ritually impure” outfit that posted the original infographic. I don’t believe in totally discounting stuff from the opposition. It leads to excess levels of laziness and stupidity. I do believe in handling such information with tongs. Btw: I agree with you about corporate welfare and think that its abolishment would be a major step up for the ordinary citizen.

          Right now, we have insufficient capital to do some pretty important things. We can’t provide the basic tools for every 3rd world peasant to transition to a life of decent security where they don’t have to make horrific choices for themselves and their families. We could be doing and should be doing a better job of taking what capital we have and distributing according to Christ’s instruction. I do not look to the government or politics to solve this problem, but rather the Church. I look for government to get out of the Church’s way in its work, no more.

      • Dan C

        Material success is not real success. You are promoting salvation through wealth. It is not something close to Catholic economic philosophy.

        • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

          Modest material success is, in general the natural course of life if people don’t get in the way of honest work. You may not be aware of the economic work regarding famine which holds that famine is generally the result of politics, not natural causes. Ultimately famine is used as a weapon by politicians and military people and famine is also caused by dumb economic policies that prevent natural disaster caused food shortages from being resolved by import of food. Taking the dumb policies off the table as an underlying cause of famine is an important method of pursuing Christ’s message to feed the hungry. Removing the political blocks that stop people from feeding themselves is honest christian work.

          Ultimately, there are two problems, having enough material resources to permit all of God’s children to live a decent life, and having the christian discernment necessary for proper distribution of those resources. The first is the only problem that is truly a matter of free market economics and it is the best system we know for resolving that issue. The second is a matter for the Church, whose work to the end of days is salvation.

          I find it extremely perverse to force populations into unnecessary rationing decisions by reducing production via sub-optimal economic policy. Limiting production while making insufficient provision for the simple fact that not everybody is a saint and therefore distribution will have inefficiency losses. In real terms that is creating excess poor, hungry, and dying. It offends me as I hope it offends you and I do believe that knowingly creating more hungry offends Christ.

          At a certain point, we can dial back the money chase because we’ve hit a sufficient cushion that we feel the increased risk of excess death is trivial. All first world nations do this. We might want to do it more or less or differently but unbridled materialism in large populations is a myth. We have a hierarchy and mix of other values. They may be insufficiently Christian, but they do exist and show up in the economic data.

  • RUs

    Well, Lisa, it seems you are beginning to think in more depth, and discovering it’s not so simple. Long way to go, but that’s a step in the right direction.

  • Richard Johnson

    It’s comforting to see that the “pro-family-as-long-as-it-doesn’t-cost-me-money” wing of the Church is still alive and well. All hail the Mammon!

    • Sean O

      It’s the Neocon Free Market Catholicism. Don’t have an abortion or do anything wrong & by the way you are on your own.

  • Richard Johnson

    “I do not look to the government or politics to solve this problem, but rather the Church. I look for government to get out of the Church’s way in its work, no more.”

    What is currently preventing the church (either the Catholic Church or the church universal) from working now to solve this problem? They seem pretty good at building larger and larger church buildings, putting in theater-quality A/V systems with comfortable seating, and lobbying the government on a host of issues. Could it be that, at least in part, the problem is also a church management issue?

  • Sean O

    Exactly. Who or what is stopping all these” leave the gov’t out of it” guys from acting right now? Even with gov’t involvement there are plenty of needy people around. We do not lack folks in distress of all kinds. Message to “would be” or “restrained” Do-gooders: Get the finger out.


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