As I pointed out earlier, Women’s History Month this year is set to be a bummer. Women are doing very well, thank you very much, and don’t require a special month of pandering. Even the administration’s much ballyhooed report on women in America-which sought to treat women as a special class in need of government goodies-couldn’t quite disguise this. (There was some desperate fiddling with those famously misleading wage-gap figures in the report, however.)
Men, on the other hand, aren’t doing that well. In a letter to the editor of the American Spectator, Tom Pauken, chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission and author of Bringing America Home, points out:
Long-term trends in the labor market have been particularly brutal for men, but our Washington policymakers appear to be either unaware of such trends or to have ignored them for the most part. Over the past decade, the total number of jobs for women went up by close to a million. Meanwhile, men lost more than 3 million jobs. From 1960 to 2008, the average unemployment rate for men 25 years and older was 4.2 percent. In the last two years, it has more than doubled, shooting up to 8.9 percent. By contrast, unemployment for women of the same age and for the same period of time went from 4.7 percent to 7.2 percent, an increase of 52 percent. The disparity is more striking if one considers that women’s rate of participation in the workforce has risen sharply since 1960 while the percentage of men in the job market has been shrinking.
Pauken says that, given the decline in manufacturing jobs, working-class men who suffer most. The unemployment leads to bad habits, including fathering children out of wedlock. Pauken adds:
One would think that Washington policymakers would see these developments as a cause for concern. Nonetheless, for more than a decade, they have looked the other way as good American jobs have been shipped overseas, outsourced or have simply gone away. Ironically, our business tax system incentivizes our companies to export jobs and prosperity overseas. Also, our government welfare system all but discourages an intact family of a father and mother by the way it distributes money.
All levels of government now have special programs designed to make sure that women and minority-owned businesses receive preferences in landing government contracts. Under the Historically Underutilized Business program in Texas, a Pakistani-owned business or a Sri Lankan-owned business have a built-in advantage over white-male-owned businesses in competing for government contracts.
Virtually every group seems to qualify for a preference in these set-aside programs except for white males. This is the case even with white males who have had their own educational and class barriers to overcome.
I agree with Pauken most of what Pauken wrote. But I want to add that I think the best thing government can do is get out of the way. Don’t add white males as a special subset that requires set-asides and what have you. Please, let’s not have Men’s History Month, too