Two powerful forces make American families more fragile

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  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    July 31, 2014 5:33 p.m.

    @Redshirt: Real wages weren't going up, at least not for the bottom 75%. Inflation was matching or outpacing wage gains for the last 30 years, unless you were in the upper segment. The older home-owning middle class was only getting by because of growing real estate values. People who got in at the peak got badly hurt in the 2008 collapse.

    You probably don't remember, because it doesn't fit your scenario, but Obama had nothing to do with the financial breakdown. When the stuff hit the fan in 2008, before Obama even won the election, that banking crisis cratered stock and real estate values and plunged many middle-class Americans into near-poverty, eating up many retirements. If anything, Obama has overseen a great stabilization and recovery over the last 5 1/2 years.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    July 31, 2014 4:33 p.m.

    To "A Quaker" if it was Reagans policies that destroyed the living wage, then why is it that up until Obama took office that people's wages were going up? Since Obama and his policies took effect the average income in the US has dropped by over $5,000.

    Tell us, what hurts workers more an increasing wage and opportunities or decreasing wages and few opportunities?

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    July 31, 2014 2:28 p.m.

    @DiligentDave: Perhaps I failed to make my point. It wasn't about men. It was about wages. Everyone's.

    In promoting "business-friendly" economics, the conservative policies first implemented with Reagan have destroyed the living wage for a wide swath of the workforce. That inflation-indexed minimum wage until 1982, and strong hourly wages for union workers, indirectly raised the wages of all Americans. Dismantling those hurt. @MomOfSix correctly identifies outsourcing as another drain on wages, and you correctly allude to offshoring. These were other business-friendly policies that killed American wages.

    Smothering wages and wage growth forced more people into the workforce to help support their families, creating job scarcity and further lowering wages. Where we are now is that kids coming out of universities with important and expensive degrees are having trouble finding jobs, in some cases ANY job.

    Those racial discriminations you identify had nothing to do with the minimum wage. Still don't.

  • nycut New York, NY
    July 31, 2014 9:41 a.m.

    You work harder for less not because of gays or immigrants or lazy people or feminists whatever “enemy” has been whipped up to grab your attention, but because the massively wealthy have systematically altered our democracy while we squabble.

    They are programmatically undermining democracy by buying elections and politicians, dismantling policies that benefit the middle class, and eviscerating industry regulations that promote competition and protect the economy, all while creating jobs overseas where labor is easily exploited and human rights are easily abused and simultaneously sheltering their personal profits from taxes.

    They’ve got you debating with your neighbor about who’s the most selfish while they reach into both your back pockets to build private empires with your money, your time, your future and your consent.

  • kgr Salt Lake City, UT
    July 30, 2014 11:06 p.m.

    So how do we make progress? For post-modern thinkers like David Deida and Ken Wilber, fearlessly unleashing BOTH the power of the masculine traits like drive, ambition, and direction; AND the power of the feminine traits like intuition and compassion precisely because they are different and naturally complementary is the key to progress, and to strengthening family and partner relationships. Freeing our selves to love full out, and express ALL of our talents, natural drives, and innate traits is a huge step forward. For practical tips on how to unleash you and your partner's strengths, and to integrate your sexuality with your spirituality, I highly recommend "Blue Truth" by David Deida.

  • kgr Salt Lake City, UT
    July 30, 2014 11:05 p.m.

    With respect to Male and Female relationships, gender "equality" is a modernist notion. Creating unisex people by encouraging men to acquire feminine traits like emotional intuition and women to acquire masculine traits like ambition simply denies nature, and disempowers us all. It constrains and limits us. And it asks us to deny who we are. It does not serve us.

    And of course, naively returning to traditional male and female roles in the interest of simplistic male domination and female subjugation is misogynist and backwards. We've already been there, and know for certain there is a better way.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    July 30, 2014 2:59 p.m.

    To "citygrrl" you realize that it the militant feminist women that belittle and condemn mothers that do the hard thing by staying home to raise their children.

    Having a job and working for the "the man" when you say that you wish you could be home raising your kids is selling out or else when a woman is only working because she is pressured by militant feminists to work rather than doing what she wants and staying home to raise her children.

    Choosing to stay home is a job, it is a massive job that fewer women these days have the courage to do. If you think corporate life is hard, try balancing the schedules, lives, and educating of your children. There is a reason why few men stay at home and it is because they couldn't handle the pressures.

    Standing up to militant feminists and the media by sacrificing a career IS the very definition of defiance.

    If a woman chooses to work full time that is fine, just don't complain to me when her kids don't respect her and when she complains that she has no time or is jealous of stay at home moms.

  • citygrrl SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 30, 2014 2:30 p.m.

    Sorry, RedShirt, but "should" cuts both ways. If women want to stay home and raise kids, fine. I said as much in my previous post. But just because some women are fulfilled in this role, doesn't mean it works for all women. And those who need to work or want to work should have the same chance as men to pursue opportunities. And they shouldn't be judged as "unfulfilled" either.

    And since when has having a job equate to working for "the man," implying that gainful employment is somehow a sell-out? Has chosing not to have a job, for whatever reason, become a noble act of defiance?

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    July 30, 2014 8:03 a.m.

    To "Mom of Six" I am not judging your decisions. I am only trying to show that you made a decision that going back to work was not a necessity, but was a choice you made for whatever reason you used. I don't care if you work or not, the point is that you said that you could have stayed home but have chosen to work so that you can afford more stuff. You said that living off your husband's income alone would be difficult, not impossible, that is not something I said. If you didn't go to work to be able to afford more things, then why did you go back to work?

    You defensiveness is not something I understand, and can be an entirely different conversation.

    To "citygrrl" actually we are pushing the clock forward. A woman should be able to raise her children without being judged or "unfulfilled" or whatever the feminazis say about women who choose to raise their kids rather than work for "the man."

  • ThereIsRoomForYou Provo, UT
    July 29, 2014 6:13 p.m.

    The title of this article is wildly misleading. Since when does the fact that there are two opposing forces automatically mean both of them are bad? This is directly from the original article: among college-educated Americans, women’s increased earning power seems to have stabilized marriages." The problem is clearly economic inequality, not equality for women.

  • Mom of Six Northern Utah, UT
    July 29, 2014 6:11 p.m.

    @ Redshirt- Who are you to judge others decisions? I live in a modest home. I was a stay at home mother for 15 years with no regrets. I only went back to school to get my education after having two children with autoimmune diseases that require medication and many doctor's visits per year. If buying medication and doctor's visits equate to things than by all means I guess I am working for better healthcare for my children without getting on government assistance to do so.

    I know very few women who do not work to assist their families in some way whether it is selling Mary Kay, Norwex products, or working from home for JetBlue. Are these women home, sure, but they are also working. I feel fortunate enough to have been home to raise my children while they were little. Not all women have that type of opportunity. I just have a wonderfully loving husband who has always believed in me that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to do. It is ok to not have traditional roles as long as each spouse supports one another with love and respect. I feel both blessed and lucky!

  • citygrrl SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 29, 2014 5:14 p.m.

    So we're going to turn back the clock and have women stay home, saddled with more children than they and their husband wanted, just so men can get a job, leave their mothers' basement and feel good about themselves? Maybe if the men that feel so inferior because women have a shot at a good education and a decent job were more resilient, they may achieve some economic success. And while women are surpassing men in the earning of a college degree, within the academic arena men still outnumber women in fields that pay much more than fields in which women continue to gravitate to; for example, engineering versus education.

    What it boils down to people, is that you do what you need to do. If a family can make it on one income and that's what you want, do it. If you can handle the demands of raising a family and having a two-income couple, go for it. Live within your means, have the number of children you feel you can support, accept the consequences. But please don't thwart the ambitions and goals of those who may dream differently than you.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    July 29, 2014 4:01 p.m.

    @A Quaker

    I agree that it use to be easier to make good money for men. But the union jobs were largely doomed, since it was figured if men with low skills could do things like assemble automobiles in America could be done for much less money and hassle in developing countries. Our need to get smarter, in part, was/is necessary. But, on the other hand, getting smarter doesn't forcibly mean killing ourselves by (college) degrees.

    And while minimum wages might have helped some, they hurt others. Notably, black economist and columnist Thomas Sowell has shown how both the initial implementation of minimum wage laws, and the gradual increase in minimum wages, have helped to greatly put young black men out of work, (at least, they have largely been unable to get jobs), and, thereby, forcing them to turn to drugs and prostitution, theft, etc, to make money. This has resulted in the wholesale destruction of African American families.

    Inequality between rich and poor, also, is much less when birthrates are higher, as underscored by French economist Mr. Pickety. But, when so many women work outside the home, birthrates go down greatly.

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    July 29, 2014 3:53 p.m.

    Reading the comment board is always good for a laugh.
    @John charity spring: "Modern Hollywood has an open and stated agenda of promoting substance abuse and wanton sexuality as part of its quest to destroy traditional marriage and family" Do you honestly believe that? Please post the reference to that stated agenda, i would love to see it.
    @Diligent Dave; "they which lead thee cause thee to err" So you are actually blaming women for all your mistakes?
    @Jamescmeyer the 1% you venerate would cut your heart out for a dime. This 1% has been the cause of much of the complaints about the economy as posted here. The people that have been the real catalyst for innovation are coming from the middle class and are being educated at our better learning institutions e.g Stanford and Cal.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    July 29, 2014 3:52 p.m.

    This "compilation" seems skewed and misrepresents the work of Dr. Stephanie Coontz.

    Her arguments were not that we were better off when gender inequality prevailed, as many "traditionalist" commenters seem to interpret it.

    Rather, she concludes this NYTimes article:

    "Turning back the [economic] inequality revolution... would certainly help more families... than turning back the gender revolution."

    Dr. Coontz also wrote an article for the NYTimes back in 2012 (Sep) titled "The Myth of Male Decline".

    In that article she explains:

    "What we are seeing is a convergence in economic fortunes, not female ascendance."

    "ONE thing standing in the way of further progress for many men is the same obstacle that held women back for so long: overinvestment in their gender identity instead of their individual personhood."

    "Now men need to liberate themselves from the pressure to prove their masculinity."

    "...the next major obstacle to improving the well-being of most men and women is the growing socioeconomic inequality within each sex."

    Same message in both essays: socioeconomic inequality is the problem needing to be fixed, NOT gender equality.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    July 29, 2014 2:59 p.m.

    The things that motivated my father to get up and go to work every day no longer exist in our society.
    Fortunately, there are fewer children as a result of the pill so there is less suffering.
    Expect more males to choose mom's basement.
    One day women will wake up and wonder why they ever wanted to enter the rat race; then they will join the men in the basement.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    July 29, 2014 1:26 p.m.

    Jamescmeyer, thank you for saying to RanchHand what I would have said.

    @Mom of Six - Maria Sophia Aguirre, featured in the 2006 documentary (found in it's entirety on YouTube) said that her research shows a woman needs to make about $120,000 or more in this country to counter the costs of a mother working outside the home. My wife makes far less than that, and has worked outside the home for 2-1/2 years only, mostly to get decent health insurance coverage. We lose, however, far more than the savings she achieved depending on me solely for our family's income, than she spends on utilities and groceries. And we ate better, more nutritious meals then, too.

    Elizabeth Warren, the new Massachusetts senator speaks mostly nonsense (though not completely). But I agree with most of what she wrote in her book of a decade back called "The 2-Income Trap". She points out in it how 2-income families have pushed costs up in so many areas, making them far more vulnerable overall than single income households 40 to 50 years ago and more were. Many more go bankrupt now.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    July 29, 2014 12:13 p.m.

    This article also forgets about the feminization of the education system. The school system has gone from a system that pushed boys to a system that caters to girls. Just look at how many boys have "ADHD" compared to 40 years ago. If a boy can't sit still and act like the girls, he is put on meds. The problem isn't that the boy has an attention problem, but that the teachers are not taught how to teach boys.

    To "Mom of Six" so what you are saying is that you don't like to do hard things. Maybe that is part of the problem too. You said "it is difficult to live off of one salary alone". To me that says that you could live off of your husband's salary but you like your stuff more than staying home with your kids.

    Personally I think that more families could live on a single income if they really wanted to, but most choose not to because they want more stuff. They don't want the 2000 square foot house for their 4 kids, they want the 4000 square foot house.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    July 29, 2014 11:15 a.m.

    Conservatives, it seems, are bewildered at the results of their policies. On the one hand, we have the dismantling of the labor movement in the aid of "free commerce." Minimum wages were decoupled from inflation during the first year of Reagan's term, and the attack on unions and labor organizing began in earnest.

    On the other hand, there's a desire to somehow strengthen the nuclear family, on the model of the 1950s sitcom family.

    Well, you can't do both.

    Socially conscious boomers (like me) lament what this economy is doing to our younger generations. The CPI numbers understate the impact of the last 40 years. In 1976 Manhattan, monthly rent on older rent-stabilized 4-room apartments on decent blocks cost under 55 minimum wage hours, with no job shortage. Mine paid twice that, plenty to be comfortable, and save.

    Breaking the social contract with working people meant many could no longer support families. Women had to enter the workforce, and suddenly there were twice as many potential workers for the same number of jobs.

    So, decide. You can have one-worker families or a weak labor movement. Not both.

  • AFCoug Colorado Springs, CO
    July 29, 2014 9:32 a.m.

    Mom of Six you are so right. I recently retired from the Air Force and have been very blessed with affordable health care, generous retirement, etc. I sometimes wonder how someone affords paying $300 plus a month in healthcare insurance. My wife has been able to stay home but I worry my daughters will not have that opportunity. Allowing my wife to stay home has required me to continue to get more education and move up through the ranks.

    I sometimes wonder why we have so much inflation when wages do not increase at the same rate. It seems the two should be related? Homes 30 years ago cost 1/3rd or less of todays prices, yet wages have not increased by the 2/3rds homes, milk, gas, etc have. Even minimun wage has less than doubled when costs have essentially tripled of goods and basic needs. Inflation seems to be some arbitrary number driven by corporate america and the federal government based on printing money.

  • Shane333 Cedar Hills, UT
    July 29, 2014 9:26 a.m.

    I want to thank Mom of Six for her insight. I believe much of it is very helpful.

    Some economic principles to consider: Ceteris paribus, increasing the supply (or increasing competition) of something will bring the price of that commodity or service down. In the past few decades women have flooded into the workforce. This has provided wonderful opportunities for women, but the side effect of this increase in workforce supply is that it brings down the "price" or wages associated with the jobs involved. Thus we've seen stagnating wages relative to the cost of living. That isn't about anybody's fault, just a natural economic reality.

    Second, increasing taxes and increased government micromanagement hamstring economic growth.

    Third, subsidizing a behavior tends strongly to increase and encourage it. Out of kindness we subsidize single parenthood, and a side effect has been that we've ended up encouraging more of it.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    July 29, 2014 9:24 a.m.

    @Diligent Dave, that's an interesting insight to consider.

    @Ranch, please study business and economics more thoroughly. The 1% of people who head the companies that employ and pay people to work have brought more industrial, technological, medical advances, and a higher quality of life for the remaining 99% than every and all countries that force that 1% to pay everyone more "evenly".

    It also doesn't seem that Dave was "blaming women"; rather he seemed to be pointing out results of the sexually self-centered culture we live in now, where men and women are treated as individuals who occasionally cooperate, rather than partners who can't reach their full potential without the other.

  • Mom of Six Northern Utah, UT
    July 29, 2014 8:57 a.m.

    As a college educated working mother, my husband and I would absolutely love it if I could stay home. In this day and age though, it is difficult to live off of one salary alone. My husband makes far more than I do as a teacher.(However, my insurance coverage for healthcare is better than his.) I think the main problem has to do with the outsourcing of jobs, and the fact that wages have not moved up to support the ever growing inflation. Also we pay for things now that they didn't in the 60's. We have to pay more for transportation, health care, and housing. We also pay more out of choice, for internet, and cell phones. What the article failed to mention was the fact that those who are not college educated struggle to find decent paying jobs, due once again to outsourcing. There is also a good many single moms who have children without being married (+40%), which is looked on as ok in popular culture, but in reality makes life far too difficult.

  • Bloodhound Provo, UT
    July 29, 2014 8:56 a.m.

    I think the article makes some good points. Selfishness is a big problem. Both feminism and the Playboy philosophy emphasize the individual's ego and needs over the needs of the family. Technology has also taken a toll. The introduction of birth control pills, relatively safe legal abortions, and hard core pornographic filth being pumped into every digital device imaginable has contributed to an anything goes mentality regarding human sexuality. Unfortunately, we all pay a price in destroyed marriages and marriages that are never formed in the first place.

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    July 29, 2014 8:19 a.m.

    There is a far more pernicious influence responsible for destroying families: the influence of so-called popular culture.

    Modern Hollywood has an open and stated agenda of promoting substance abuse and wanton sexuality as part of its quest to destroy traditional marriage and family. This article ignores this factor, to the peril of the readers.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    July 29, 2014 8:01 a.m.

    That's right, Dave, blame it all on the women. Forget that the 1% takes more and more of the rewards and gives the actual producers less and less.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    July 29, 2014 7:11 a.m.

    I have long pondered what the following scripture points to— "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." —Isaiah 3:12

    For a long time, I thought the reference to women (ruling) ovr them meant politically. Now, I'm more inclined to think it might mean culturally. And for this, I have several examples.

    Educationally, women, today, rule. By far and away, the majority of college students, and hence graduates, are women. This seems to put them in a position to call the shots, and to prevent men, more and more, from doing so. Hiring is to a great extent today based on an individuals education. Women, from elementary school to graduate school are being advanced more and more than men. This has it's consequences, and they are not good for many men.

    Politically, while women are still very much in the minority as office holders, they do often prevail at polling booths in who they vote for. Clinton and Obama won 4 elections because of women.