Sunday, September 30, 2012

Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal Comments on the Republican Women’s Problem

And In the Process Demonstrates She Does Not Know Politics or Tax Basics

One of the reasons everyone knows the Mitt Romney campaign is in trouble is that the supporters are not supporting.  None of the usual suspects of the Conservative press are writing in praise of Mr. Romney or his campaign, instead all are in the advice offering business.  If Mr. Romney starts to recover and Mr. Obama to falters, this will switch and everyone will see Obama supporters writing the ‘Dear Abby’ advice column to the campaign.

The Wall Street Journal columnists are all taking up the arms, and this time it is regular columnist Kimberly Strassel’s turn.  Her theme involves the Republican relationships with women, and her advice to Mr. Romney is to get with it, to turn women on to his campaign.

The GOP's female problem may help lose the presidential election. Women—in particular women who are independent voters—are going to decide this race. They are the demographic most up for grabs. The campaigns know it, which explains the obsessive focus by both sides on the female electorate. And yet for all the Republican attention to the women's vote, the party is blowing a huge opportunity to bring women to its side.

So how does Ms. Strassel propose that the Republicans appeal to women?  Well first of all she claims the Democrats don’t really deserve the support of women.

It isn't as if Democrats are in tune with today's woman. The Obama campaign is serving a straight-up 1970s feminist agenda: contraception, abortion, equal pay. In this world view, women can't and don't think much beyond their reproductive apparatus. 

which must mean that the overwhelming support that Mr. Obama enjoys from women is because women are too stupid to know what is best for them.  And exactly what does ‘equal pay’ have to do with ‘reproduction apparatus'.

And on health care Ms. Strassel seems to think it is a winning argument to kick those 26 year old offspring off the parents health insurance.

The Independent Women's Voice, by contrast, is directly taking on elements of the law that are popular with women, explaining that seemingly attractive provisions—say, letting 26-year-olds stay on parental insurance—will in fact raise costs and worsen care. In controlled tests of the households where the IWV message had been received, the group found a significant uptick in women and independents who want the law repealed and who support Mr. Romney.

Yeah, deny health insurance to your son or daughter, that’s sure to be a winning argument for getting women’s votes.

And here Ms. Strassel demonstrates a lack of basic knowledge of the tax system.

While Democrats brag about their Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Mr. Romney might note that the greatest pay injustice for women is the steep marginal tax-rate system that Mr. Obama loves. Since most women are second earners, their income is added to their husband's and taxed at his top rate. A married woman who does the same job as a single man keeps fewer of her dollars. Mr. Romney's tax reforms will benefit all taxpayers, but they will particularly benefit women. It's that simple.

Actually an increasing number of women are not ‘second earners’ and would not like to be classified as such.  But Ms. Strassel doesn’t know tax basics, that the rates for joint filing ameliorate the point about women’s earnings being taxed higher even if they are the ‘second’ earner.  Oh, and Mr. Romney’s tax proposals, if they are to even attempt to reach his goal of revenue neutrality would have to remove the child tax credit and the child care tax credit.  Exactly how does that attract women?  (It doesn’t which is why Mr. Romney won’t mention it.)

And here is a real howler.

Mr. Romney could note that his health-care reforms—which would finally empower families to buy affordable insurance outside the workplace—would especially help the millions of women who work part time and so don't qualify for corporate health plans. He could note that his plans for strengthening Medicare and eliminating the death tax will matter most to women, who tend to outlive their husbands.

See what Ms. Strassel apparently does not know is that the Estate Tax provides for a 100% exclusion for assets bequeathed to the spouse.  So there is no Estate Tax on the estate a husband who pre-deceases his wife leaves to her.  And of course the Estate Tax only currently affects estates in excess of $10 million.  Guess what, Mr. Romney already has the votes of those people.

One would think that knowledge of basic tax provisions would be a requirement for someone to opine in the Wall Street Journal.  Apparently not, at least not if the one opining spews the company line, as illogical and contradictory as it may be.

As for the advice, well speaking for the Romney campaign we'll decline Ms. Strassel's suggestions.  Things are bad enough as it is.

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