In the 1960s and ’70s, when American feminists were fighting to get women out of the house and into the workplace, there was another feminist arguing for something else. Selma James, a labor organizer from Brooklyn, pushed the idea of wages for housework. Ms. James, who worked in a factory as a young woman and later became a housewife and a mother, argued that household work was essential to the American economy and wondered why women weren’t being paid for it. As Ms. James and a colleague wrote in 1972, “Where women are concerned their labor appears to be a personal service outside of capital.”Oh! Here we go! The government is the new husband. It's the track we've been on all these years and the consummation is nigh.
Since women first began to enter the work force, families have increasingly relied on processed foods and inexpensive restaurant meals....Women going out to work was the problem. But we can't go back to old-fashioned husband-and-wife division of labor. We must do something new, moving into a closer and closer embrace with the government.
It’s nearly impossible for a single parent or even two parents working full time to cook every meal from scratch, planning it beforehand and cleaning it up afterward. This is why many working parents of means employ housekeepers. But if we put this work on women of lower socioeconomic status (as is almost always the case), what about their children? Who cooks and cleans up for them?One way for lower income people to have amenities similar to what rich people have is to have one partner stay home. To do this, you need to do the math and keep a budget. Part of the home-based work is economizing. It costs money to go to work, including all the extra spending on convenience foods. But people have forgotten how to run a family as a single economic unit. Both must work — it will be insisted. Both will work, incur excessive expenses because no one is at home, and they will pay these expenses with after-tax earnings.
Stay-at-home parents should qualify for a new government program while they are raising young children — one that provides money for good food, as well as education on cooking, meal planning and shopping — so that one parent in a two-parent household, or a single parent, can afford to be home with the children and provide wholesome, healthy meals.See? The money for all of this will be created by targeting those who pick the wrong option. By the way, how do you make sure the stay-at-home parent actually does cook and does produce "wholesome, healthy meals"? And isn't this the return of the welfare mother?
These payments could be financed by taxing harmful foods, like sugary beverages, highly caloric, processed snack foods and nutritionally poor options at fast food and other restaurants.
Now, I think at some point we will have a problem with women not producing enough offspring to maintain the population, and we might need to provide full support for the women who want this form of work. But who should "qualify for a new government program"? When/if that happens, I predict the people will want the participants in the program to be held to high standards and subjected to surveillance to insure that the rules are followed.
Wartman imagines a program that will be supported by the taxpayers because the money comes only from "a tax on harmful food products." She likes the symmetry of the positive and the negative reinforcement. She inhabits a policy wonk dream world that has so little to do with the ways of the human being that I'd like to think she's doing one of those "Modest Proposal" satires. But she's not. She's one of these people who are infatuated with government and have no realistic idea of what an awful husband the government really is.
This is one of those posts where I wrote one more sentence. Then I contemplated my writing, decided restraint was appropriate, and deleted it. I leave it to you to write a kicker sentence containing the word "fuck."