This article appeared in the August 9, 2010 edition of USA Today.>
Recently, I was reminded of a joke about a man whose credit card was stolen. When asked by his bank why it took him so long to report it missing, he replied that the thief spent less than his wife. I can understand that poor man’s frustration when I look at how our government is on a similar reckless spending spree, borrowing on all of our futures.
A healthy segment of female voters are feeling a similar outrage. Dubbed ” Wal-Mart moms” by political strategists, these women are moderate and possible swing voters in November; more than half voted for Barack Obama, yet they are unhappy with the new health care law and say economic anxiety is their chief worry.
It’s no wonder. Deficit spending is hitting home for moms just as they are preparing to send teenagers off to college and dealing with the declining health of their parents. To make matters worse, moms are cutting back because costs continue to climb, with taxes and fees leading the way. One local government – Montgomery County, Md. – has instituted a $40 users fee for a dog park as a way to increase revenue. Other states, such as New York and Indiana, are seeking revenue through taxes on small businesses and pre-paid mobile phones. Both Pennsylvania and North Carolina are hiking tuition for their states’ colleges this year.
Hits on health care
Perhaps the biggest tax increase comes with the newly passed health care law. It includes 19 new taxes, seven of which hit families making less than $250,000 a year.
The economy has moms worried, but it’s the continuous, clueless deficit spending of our political leaders that is getting them downright angry.
A Rasmussen poll earlier this year reported that 83% of Americans blame the deficit on politicians’ unwillingness to cut spending. Rather than trimming the budget, like families are trying to do, Congress spends more and expects the taxpayers to pick up the tab, whether it’s for bailing out banks or auto companies.
The Beverly LaHaye Institute, a public policy organization, released a report on the negative impact of Obamanomics on women and the family budget. For example, the marriage penalty encourages couples not to marry because they would be subject to higher taxes and fees, according to the Heritage Foundation. If they have children and are separated, the numbers get worse. The poverty rate of single mothers is five times higher than the rate for married couples with children.
Also, many economists predict Medicare and Medicaid recipients are likely to receive lower standards of care under Obamacare.
Women make up 69% of Medicaid recipients. Because they might not be able to afford anything else, even with a tax credit to buy a private plan, they’ll be stuck with subpar care.
Wal-Mart moms place the health care law at the top of their grievances. Fifty-two percent oppose it, with 42% saying it will make things worse for families.
Lawmakers seeking leadership positions should focus on the family budget. After all, these fed-up moms got their name by seeking out the retail giant’s price cuts on the essentials for their families. What’s to stop these moms rolling back their elected representatives and searching out more conservative alternatives to the runaway spending culture of this current Congress?
If they vote their pocketbooks this election – and all signs indicate that they will – “rollbacks” could become the new buzzword in Washington.
Penny Nance is CEO of Concerned Women for America, a national public policy group.