The best way to help women thrive in the workplace is to ensure that we have plentiful jobs, a growing economy, and a dynamic work environment that allows companies to offer diverse employment arrangements.
Unfortunately, there are certain government policies that impede these goals, and may particularly impact women.
Government Debt Accumulation: Our nation is accruing debt at a record-setting pace. We borrowed more than one trillion last year, and are expected to do so again this year. Such numbers can be a little mindboggling. A trillion has 12 zeroes in it. That's one million one millions. It’s not just future generations that pay the price for government’s overspending. Massive government spending also takes a toll on our economy, squeezing out the private sector and distorting the marketplace. When government borrows trillions of dollars there is less capital available for those in the private sector who also would like to borrow (for example to start or expand a business).
A Politicized Economy: Government spending does more than just waste taxpayer money. It also puts bureaucrats, instead of the market, in charge of allocating resources. In a competitive market, money tends to flow to businesses that offer the best value. When politicians control resources, they take political considerations into account. That’s why it’s no surprise that all the stories of companies that have been showered with taxpayer money that then go bankrupt almost always turn out to be connected to a big political donor. This is corruption at its worst making it harder for other companies to compete against those receiving political favors. If you believe that Washington remains an Old Boys Network, women should be particularly concerned. These government giveaways are less likely to be reaching women like them.
Taxes: Tax laws profoundly affect women, and in some ways even more so than men. High marginal tax rates on second-earners discourage married women some from going to work, leaving them with less work experience, which can be a cause of real hardship in the event of divorce or widowhood. But high taxes also push others who might prefer to stay home into the workplace since one after-tax salary isn’t enough to make ends meet. Our tax code also is a big burden on American businesses, leaving our companies less competitive. In 2009, the National Taxpayers Union estimated that compliance costs alone would take $159.4 billion from American corporations. That's money that could have been spent creating jobs and expanding.
ObamaCare Mandates: As IWF has written about elsewhere, ObamaCare is another step in the wrong direction both for health care and our economy. The mandates in this new health care law are making insurance and medical care more expensive, and discouraging employers for hiring employees. Indeed, many are scaling back their workforces because of these high costs. Such mandates make our economy less flexible and reduce the availability of jobs. Congress needs to go back to the drawing board and repeal ObamaCare as a first step to real, positive health care reform.