Where Are the Socially Conservative Women in This Fight? By Helen Andrews.
Marriage has become less appealing in part because of the “two-income trap,” as Senator Elizabeth Warren, now a 2020 presidential candidate, christened it in 2003, when she was a Harvard professor.
Marriage simply no longer offers the financial security it once did. The consumer goods that singles buy have gotten cheaper, but the things that middle-aged parents spend the most money on — houses, education, health care — have gotten more expensive, while wages have stagnated. It has become difficult for a family with one breadwinner to afford a middle-class standard of living. “Mom’s paycheck has been pumped directly into the basic costs of keeping the children in the middle class,” Ms. Warren’s book “The Two-Income Trap” explained.
The mass entry of women into the work force is one reason for this financial insecurity. Ms. Warren said as much in her book, although she has since backed away from such a politically explosive suggestion. Those of us who don’t have a Democratic primary ahead of us can say what she won’t: When mothers started entering paid employment in large numbers in the 1970s, it led to a bidding war over middle-class amenities that left everyone paying more for the privilege of being no better off than before.
The result is a two-tiered system that isn’t working for anybody. In the bottom tier, marriage is disappearing as lower-income women have too few men with solid jobs to choose from and as the growing number of men without regular work — by one analysis, 20 percent of prime-age males were not working full time at the start of 2018 — are being cut out of the marriage market altogether.
In the top tier, college-educated women feel they can’t afford to take time off from their careers to raise their children even when they want to, as many of them do …. Many career moms manage their stressful work-life balance thanks only to low-wage immigrant labor to take care of their children, clean their houses and deliver their takeout. Even with hired help, working women still spend nearly as much time on household tasks as their stay-at-home mothers and grandmothers did. The result is stress, frustration — and cries for national action.
The response of the conservative establishment to this crisis has been to double down on shoveling women into the work force.
Supply and demand. Let’s start by reducing immigration, and increasing the supply of housing.