Economy,  Stateside,  Women's Rights

Family values?

One of the graphs I linked to in my “American class warfare” post Tuesday is worthy of special consideration.

Now I think most people can agree that no single factor explains this dramatic rise in the percentage of working women with young children. Part of it surely has to do with the increase in single-parent households. And part of it has to do with the enormous and positive change in the status of women generally.

But in large part, I think, it has to do with some of the trends reflected in the other graphs on the page– namely the stagnating incomes of the majority of American workers. More and more households now require two income-earners to maintain a standard of living that previously could be provided by one earner.

Surely, if they could afford to, many working women with children would prefer to be stay-at-home moms. (Of course higher incomes generally would also allow some fathers to be stay-at-home dads if they choose.) Some of the millions of mothers with young children who work at low-paying “pink-collar” jobs may be doing so out of a sense of feminist fulfillment; but I think most would probably prefer to be at home with the kids if they could afford it.

So who is standing up for family values? Someone like Fox News’s conservative commentator Brit Hume, who says, “If [income] inequality is at a very much higher level, who cares?” Or those who raise concerns about income inequality and stagnating incomes?

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