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Image: Cover of 'Independent Women's Forum' Report

Rebecca forwarded me a heck of an email from the "Independent Women's Forum," an anti-feminist rightwing astroturf group taking a break from yelling at women for emasculating men to push business-friendly policies with the very finest in faux feminist rhetoric. Here's a less detailed web version of the group's major announcement of a very important report on "Improving Women's Lives" through the magic of supply-side economics.

Gotta say, they spared no expense on licensing photos to prove they care about all the diverse women the group represents, from Active pregnant woman works with laptop and tablet works at outdoor to Young African woman sitting at a table at home using a laptop and writing addresses on packages for her home based online business.

Latina college student reading holding library books agrees: "Real women like me need the capital gains tax eliminated so we can make the most of our very real lives!"

We don't see why IWF didn't just copy in the faces of top staff from its "about us" webpage.

(Yes, we've removed names and headings and smooshed the pics together in a grid here.)

Or maybe we can guess.


The emailed press release for the report sure does its best to appeal to the concerns of most American women!

Women in the United States are healthier, wealthier, freer, and more prosperous than ever. This was true when Independent Women's Forum (IWF), a leading national women's organization, released its first Working for Women report in 2016, and it is even more true today.

Four years ago, IWF released its inaugural "Working for Women" agenda detailing policy recommendations and guidance to create a more flexible, modern economy that would empower all women to pursue their dreams. Many of these recommendations have since been implemented. Tax burdens are lower for American workers and our overall economic conditions have improved. As a result, job opportunities are more plentiful, wages are rising, benefits are expanding, and women's entrepreneurship is skyrocketing.

But there's still so much more to be done, says the report's lead author, IWF senior policy analyst Patrice Onwuka:

Some women still struggle to obtain jobs that suit their skill sets or worry about finding a path to a meaningful, fulfilling career. Many women desire more flexibility than their current job provides. Others worry about how they can afford to take time off when they need to such as to welcome a new baby. Families also face tight budgets and rising childcare costs, and struggle to save adequately for the future.

Fortunately, the new report has a whole bunch of ideas to make life easier for the average American woman! And wouldn't you know it, they all just happen to align with the desires of the investor class! Here's a dead giveaway from the executive summary: There is no patriarchy or discrimination, and women benefit most when capitalism is unleashed.

While women in America have more opportunities than ever before, their challenges are real. Unfortunately, politicians often imply that bad bosses or an overwhelmingly sexist society are the cause of women's obstacles, and argue that top-down government policies are necessary to protect women. Yet there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges women face, and these well-intentioned government efforts may help some, but they will backfire for many more by making our workplaces less flexible and discouraging job creation.

And that's why the group's recommended policy "reforms" read like a corporate wish list, framed in vaguely feminist language:

  • Make Tax Cuts Permanent for Workers
  • Protect Gig Workers and Independent Contractors
  • Reform Licensing Regimes
  • Earned Leave
  • Front-load Child Tax Credits
  • Allow People to Save on Their Own for Leave Time
  • Reform the Fair Labor Standard Act
  • Pass Compensatory Time for the Private Sector
  • Allow Employees to Agree to an 80/14 Schedule
  • Remove Other Barriers to Flexible Scheduling
  • Increase Tax Credits for Children
  • Eliminate Regulations That Make Day Care Needlessly Expensive
  • Encourage Saving for Early (and Lifetime) Education
  • Expand Catch-up Contributions to Retirement Savings Vehicles
  • Reduce Capital Gains Taxes
  • Reject Attempts to Increase Social Security Retirement Benefits
  • Reform Social Security to Protect the Safety Net
  • Make Social Security More Fair by Rewarding Work
  • Encourage Savings as Part of Social Security
  • Clarify Pregnancy Discrimination Act
  • Protect Arbitration

Sure, 2017's Big Fat Tax Cuts for Rich Fuckwads overwhelmingly favored the rich. and the corporate tax cuts added so much to the deficit that, to meet the GOP's own "fiscal responsibility" rules, Republicans built in an individual tax hike in 2027, Now that there's no need to pretend anymore, let's lock in the cuts for the highest income brackets! And don't worry about the debt -- it's only a concern if a Democrat gets elected.

Every goddamned line is a giveaway to employers. "Protect gig workers and independent contractors" by fighting laws requiring they be treated as employees with labor rights. (Yes, we're aware the law is crap for some, like freelance writers and does need to be amended.) "Earned Leave"? Yeah, that's Ivanka Trump's plan to make you trade away your own Social Security retirement benefits for some family leave, so employers or your fellow taxpayers pay nothing. The crap about "Flexible scheduling" means getting rid of that socialist Barack Obama's requirement that people who work over 40 hours a week get paid their goddamn overtime, and also, we must eliminate protections against sudden shift changes for low-wage workers.

Yes, ladies, Keeping McDonalds' Labor Costs Low is a feminist issue. Just ask Smiling Active Older Woman in Kitchen!

No you won't be surprised the Independent Women want Social Security to cease being a national retirement system. Instead, it should become "a safety net for those who need it most," so once it's perceived as a welfare program, it can be eliminated altogether. The nice independent women basically want to repeal what's left of the New Deal.

And we REALLY bet working moms are raring to get their kids into some affordable preschools that aren't burdened by "Regulations That Make Day Care Needlessly Expensive."

Regulations are one reason why day-care centers are so expensive. Everyone wants daycare centers to be safe, stimulating environments with well-trained childcare professionals. However, studies suggest that some regulations—specifically those with very low child-to-staff ratios—are not enhancing the quality of care that children receive, but are just increasing costs. Reforming or repealing such regulations could reduce the shortage of care, apply downward pressure on prices and encourage higher quality by increasing competition.

One or two people to look after 30 or 50 toddlers in a basement should be plenty, especially if they turn up the TV loud enough. In the longer policy section, the report explains that Elizabeth Warren's proposal to provide daycare and preschool for all families would ruin the American family by creating "a tremendous financial incentive for families to drop family-based care in favor of day care." Besides, Quebec had cheap childcare once, and a study found daycare only resulted in

increased family stress, increased aggressiveness and anxiety, worse health outcomes for the children, worse parenting, reduced mental health, and relationship satisfaction for the adults, and even a rise in criminality.

Anyone who has had a child in daycare can relate, we are certain. Breeding grounds for sickness and crime, they are.

In conclusion, this very important report by an astroturf "women's group" that got its start as the astroturf group "Women for Judge Thomas" -- really! -- probably has some important policy recommendations for all you ladies, who just need to stop whining and let the corporations do as they please. African-American Woman in Classroom gives it her enthusiastic endorsement.

She also says HEY, it's your OPEN THREAD!

[Working for Women: A Modern Agenda for Improving Women's Lives]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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