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Week One: Women's contribution & budget sources

 
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Week One: Women's contribution & budget sources
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wilpf
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Joined: 31 Dec 1969
Posts: 8

Post Week One: Women's contribution & budget sources Reply with quote
Welcome everyone! It is so exciting to finally be starting our bookread on Women and the US Budget. During this week we will focus on the first two chapters of the book: “Women and Abundance” and “Where Does the Money Come From”.

In the first chapter we read about the contributions made by women to the budget and the abundance of economic resources in our country which, if prioritized differently, could provide for everyone's economic security and overall well being. Instead, we see lawmakers attempting to privatize programs such as social security and health care, pass laws which benefit corporations and restrict the rights of individuals, and decrease funding for educational, environmental and social programs. Recent congressional scandals have emphasized the role that large financial contributions play in influencing politicians. Jane asks us to think about how monies that go into the US treasury, particularly women's tax monies, do not go to benefit women in relation to their needs. This is a novel way of looking at a government's budget. Might it be possible to get the government to act in terms of proportionality, that is, percentages of the federal budget allocated to spending on women's needs in proportion to women's tax percentages.?


In the second chapter we read about the complexities of budget and how taxation affects public policy by determining where the money comes from, where it goes and how much disposable income we have to spend. Tax cuts are promoted as a way for the wealthy to have more money to invest in the economy which will provide trickle down benefits to everyone else when we know the policy promotes a redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy. Corporations provide only 10% of the government's source of income (figure 2.1 p. 26). The possibilities for overcoming women's greater state of poverty in the US and elsewhere, for promoting peaceful conditions for women instead of them fearing violence on the streets and at home, and for the many other conditions where women find themselves in greater need than men because their tax monies have a lesser influence on the federal budget would not be possibilities but likelihoods if the 60% of corporations that have not paid any taxes from 1996 to to 2000 (p. 27) had paid taxes. What can we do to put women's tax monies where their needs are?

Pat Willis
Scotty Michaelsen
Tue Sep 26, 2006 3:50 pm View user's profile Send private message
Patricia Willis



Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Posts: 3
Location: North Carolina

Post Reply with quote
First I want to say that I think WILPF should have 3-4 bookreads per year, one every three to four months. They can be sponsored by the committees and/or campaigns. We could even have two or more simultaneous bookreads particular to issue areas. I think they are an excellent way to get people in touch with each other and an issue.

The US is a wealthy country but I don’t feel that wealth and there are many more who feel it less than I do. I am indignant beyond words that corporations pay so little taxes, especially when they benefit so greatly from legislation. (I really appreciated WILPF’s analysis of capitalism and corporatism in its Mil-Corp Connection. That analysis was what prompted me to join WILPF.) Our ‘democracy’ is not one: it’s an oligarchy of the wealthy, the corporations, and the politicians. The propagandizing forces of this triumvirate have us believing that there is not enough money to fully fund needed social programs but it’s a ruse. The 150 billion plus for Iraq and the rest of the military budget would go a long way to providing for women’s and men’s economic needs. The government gave billions away to the airlines over the Sept 11 event but made no, not a single provision for airline employees pink-slipped because of Sept 11, of which there were thousands in the US, mostly lower paid employees with no default paycheck. The most they had was unemployment, which is very limited in pay out and in duration. And where was the outcry over this? Not even those affected mounted an outcry. Propagandized and too poor to protest.

And social security, that failsafe for many millions of elderly, especially women (who receive less than men on average) put in place by the Roosevelts, let us not forget Eleanor’s influence here, up for grabs by profiteers! Pirates is what they are.

Jane Midgely’s book is very helpful in explaining in elemental enough terms the conditions of the US budget. Governments budgets are very uninteresting topics to me and I found that I was not only able to follow it but interested in it.
Pat Willis

:x
Tue Oct 10, 2006 3:36 pm View user's profile Send private message
Ellen F. Murtha



Joined: 05 Oct 2006
Posts: 2

Post Reply with quote
I appreciate hearing that government use of funds shows the administration's priorities and values. This pre-election time is ripe for Democrats to speak about geniune valuing families through supporting programs such as education, child care, health services, and elder care rather than corporate welfare and military spending.
In response to the earlier suggestion of proportional spending on women based on how much women contribute to the economy, I think it is dangerously divisive; when what can be great about government is the ability to use funds where most needed to improve life, regaredless of exactly how much any one put in. Thank you.
Tue Oct 10, 2006 3:49 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Patricia Willis



Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Posts: 3
Location: North Carolina

Post Reply with quote
You're right Ellen about proportionality except that if women's and girls social needs were met to the percentage that women currently pay taxes I think that would be a great increase over what the federal government pays out today. I would just like, for starters, for the government to acknowledge materially that women do pay taxes and that women deserve government services such as the child care you mention, health care, etc etc in greater proportion to what our tax monies allocate currently. We really need representative budgeting or democratic budgeting, or participatory budgeting, whatever someone wants call it but first we have to have an educated and civic minded populace and we lack that.
Tue Oct 10, 2006 5:51 pm View user's profile Send private message
Laura Roskos



Joined: 10 Oct 2006
Posts: 4
Location: Cambridge, MA

Post Define Abundance Reply with quote
In 1996, hundreds of women's organizations and more than ten thousand US women participated in a process that generated a harmonized women's agenda. In the introduction to that document, published by the Stanley Foundation of Iowa, the editors note three crosscutting themes that emerged in every issue area. The first of these was reprioritization of the federal budget away from defense toward social programs; the second was to define national defense in a less militaristic way so as to include the multifaceted dimensions of human security.

In 1996, I understood that capitalism relied on poverty and perpetuates it. What I didn't see then, but I think I see now is that capitalism creates poverty. I think the graphs Jane provides charting women's entry into paid employment is telling, as is her discussion of the changing nature of the sorts of jobs being created. But it is also interesting that during the historical period during which women have pushed so hard for paid employment is the same period during which we've documented the feminization of poverty. So, what seems to be happening, on a global scale, is that as women are becoming more cash dependent they are simultaneously becoming poorer, or impoverished (as Shiva might put it in Monocultures of the Mind).

Therefore, I am very intrigued by the title of the first chapter of Women and the U.S. Budget, "Women and Abundance." Jane moves quickly to a discussion of how women's unwaged work is really the foundation enabling the configuration of waged work and the flow of cash wages (which are then taxed to support the military). But, what's been troubling me is that I can't see how struggles for pay equity for women are ever going to help stop the cycle. Recently, it has seemed to me that instead we want to struggle to keep some aspect of human life outside the nexus of cash exchange and, when possible, move more aspects of life into this arena (of barter, gifting, sharing, and subsistence). I'd like to know where others are in their thinking about "abundance." Is it appropriate to talk about "economic abundance" (income, wealth, assets) as separate from "abundance as plenty"?
Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:26 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
juliannekent



Joined: 05 Oct 2006
Posts: 5
Location: Boston

Post Just a thought... Reply with quote
The idea of women as an integral part of the economy has always been relegated to the category of "silly feminist argument". Jane Midgley's book is breaking out of a classic battle between the sexes and opening our eyes to the fact, not opinion, that women take responsibility and give contributions to the U.S. economy . She is striving to educate readers about a financial plan effecting everyone in the United States and as a result, around the world. Whether one is an impoverished female teenager or a wealthy socialite, because you are a human being, you are "inextricably connected to what happens in Washington". I think a lot of women forget this and assume their status as women alone removes them from the right to political efficacy or from economic consideration by the federal government. Midgley tells us that only 13% of Congress is made up of women and that our voices are not being heard, but I think too many women have succumbed to an archaic mold of "meant to be seen not heard". However, when a woman breaks the mold and acquires great power and influence, it's like she is no longer considered by females as a gender counterpart. The women who are in positions of political power, i.e. Hillary Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Condaleeza Rice, are often ridiculed for attempting to fill the shoes of a mans position and giving up their femininity along the way.
Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:22 pm View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
juliannekent



Joined: 05 Oct 2006
Posts: 5
Location: Boston

Post Reply with quote
Professor Roskos brings up an interesting point. If a woman is doing the same work as a man, why should she receive anything but cash? Let's examine...bartering, gifting, favors in exchange for a woman's work stems from the archaic belief that women needed to "earn their keep". The nexus of cash exchange- meaning someone works and receives monetary reimbursment, it's a symbiotic relationship so the amount of the contribution given and taken should be equal and sometimes this isn't always the case. Food stamps, vouchers, free tickets, favors, subsidized housing, free healthcare-these things are helpful to only a certain degree. It's a very limiting strategy. But I believe the conflict lies within the concern for those who are irresponsible and would spend cash on nothing beneficiary to self-improvement or running a household. Does capitalism really rely on poverty or do the impoverished rely on the central government? A long time ago, women didn't have a chance to be breadwinners. When women started earning places in the workforce, especially corporations, they still did not receive the same treatment and pay as men and still do not to this day. While education opportunities are the same nowadays, women do not always have as much time to devote to a job, mentally and physically, as men. They raise children, keep a household, are more emotional and sensitive and have to deal with this and if they got a phone call from a sick relative asking for help for the week, a woman is probably more likely than a man to take the time off of work. I think, given the history of civilization, men will always have a higher cash value than women. This is something natural and intrinsic to society and I don't know if it can change just due to the fact that men and women are not always made of the same emotional and physical capabilities...it's evoultion. Men equate success with money and will do anything to get it. Women look for success in a lot of different areas and they have a lot of dignity to consider when something, like a lot of cash reimbursement may seem to good to be true. The woman must always question the man's motives. Absolute gender equality is impossible. A perfect example is maternity leave. If a man wants a child, he is dependent on a woman. The woman must take, at some point, paid maternity leave. While she gets the same salary, employers often get irritated that there is a shift or major change because of a "woman's issue" when it's really an issue for a whole family. On the other hand, In this day and age, many women want to have the finest things, they want an abundance of goods, just like men do. What is plenty to survive and what is plenty to live like a queen? This is where the term abundance becomes controversial here. Is it really just women who feel they are not getting plenty to survive or is the problem women who want plenty to survive and more? Are women taking advantage of all they can education and opportunity wise? Do they have a choice> There are so many ways to look at this.
Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:00 pm View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
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