Thursday, February 17, 2011

Republican officials: If you're too broke to afford private childcare, you should quit your job

Frederick County, Maryland commisioners voted on February 8 to drastically cut funding for their Head Start program.  The reason?  To force more women out of their jobs, and back into their homes, so they can be proper mothers:
Women are reacting with outrage over the comments made by two Frederick County commissioners Tuesday advising Head Start mothers to stay married and not hold jobs outside the home. 
Commissioners Kirby Delauter (R) and C. Paul Smith (R) said during a meeting that the best way to help their children succeed in life is to stay married and stay home with their children. Both men touted their wives and the sacrifices they made by not holding jobs outside the home.
If we tweak their words a bit, what they said right here isn't completely inaccurate.  Two parents who are in a happy and healthy marriage should probably try to stay that way, but who in a happy and healthy marriage doesn't want to stay that way?  And what about single parents?  They're addressing next to no one with these statements.  Of course if a woman wants to stay home, and it's financially responsible to do so, she should be able to.  But giving her no other option is putting women right back to where we were decades ago, and since Head Start serves only the families who fall below the poverty line, for anyone in these families to have to quit their jobs or get fired as a result of lacking childcare would be even more economically devastating.

The irony, of course, is that just like all the other anti-women measures Republicans wasted no time in initiating, this one does not create jobs.  And not only does this funding slash not create jobs, it may do exactly what no one wants, except for Delauter and Smith: force many people to lose their jobs, because many parents -- married or single -- can't afford private childcare.  And, as we already know, the recession has disproportionately affected men, with most of the job losses occurring in male-dominated fields like construction and trade work.  When these men are the sole breadwinners, their entire families are hurt by the job losses and lack of other employment options.  As a result of the job losses in these male-dominated fields, many women are already the sole earners, or the half of the working married couple who earns the most money.  How will these wingnuts react when it ends up being the husbands and fathers who have to quit their jobs to stay home with the kids, because their wives are earning more than they are?

Still, they stand by their votes, and their comments.  After all, their wives were able to stay home with their kids:
"I'd just like to say that I have four kids that graduated from Frederick County Public Schools," he said. "My wife is college educated and could go out and get a very good job. She gave that up for 18 years, so she could stay home with our kids and we gave up a lot to do that. I agree with Commissioner Smith. The marriage thing is very important." 
Delauter told the parents that they should not rely on the government to educate their kids. 
"I never relied on anyone else to guarantee the education of my kids," he said. "My wife and I are the ultimate decision makers on the education of our kids."
(Emphasis mine.)

So, basically, she gave up any hope to see any economic or professional benefits of her education so that she could stay home and educate their kids, and her husband thinks that he made some sacrifices, and that he didn't rely on anyone else to educate his kids.  Except, as he mentions, his wife.  Oh, and the Frederick County public school system.

The blatant hypocrisy and utterly transparent motives of these whackjobs never ceases to amaze me.