No love for the white guys
February 11, 2009
By Jessica Peck Corry
February may be the month of love, but for white men, they certainly aren’t getting any. At least not from the Obama White House, congressional Democrats, or the economy.
As The New York Times recently reported, women are now on the verge of making up a majority of the American workforce. The reason: women are less likely to work in the fields hardest hit by the recession, including construction and manufacturing. Men have been the recipients of 82 percent of all layoffs since the recession started.
“Given how stark and concentrated the job losses are among men, and that women represented a high proportion of the labor force in the beginning of this recession, women are now bearing the burden — or the opportunity, one could say — of being breadwinners,” Heather Boushey, a senior economist at the Center for American Progress, told the Times.
The Times‘ report, based on government-issued jobs figures, is a far cry from the rhetoric pushed by President Barack Obama and his cabinet. As the media only briefly noted two weeks ago, Obama economic adviser Robert Reich told congressional Democrats that he believes government should ensure that job relief doesn’t just go to white guys.
“I am certain, as many of you are, that these jobs not simply go to high-skilled people who are already professionals or to white male construction workers…I have nothing against white male construction workers,” Reich told his audience. “Criteria can be set so that the money does go to others, the long term unemployed minorities, women, people who are not necessarily construction workers or high-skilled professionals.”
As it turns out, however, it’s the male construction workers who need the help the most these days. Women, more likely to work in publicly-funded health care or education jobs, are much less likely to see their jobs cut these days.
But not a peep of an apology, condemnation, or clarification has since come from Obama for the ignorant and bigoted assumptions made by Reich. The remarks, in fact, seemed to have inspired action by Democrats to push more social engineering in the form of gender and race-based job allocation.
Rep. Barnie Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, is now proposing an amendment to H.R. 384 that would establish as part of the federal government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program an “Office of Minority and Women Inclusion.”
The office would fall under the Department of Treasury and would be required to “develop and implement standards and procedures to ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the inclusion and utilization of minorities [including women].”
And Frank isn’t alone. In a Jan. 27 Denver Post guest column, titled “Remember the Ladies,” freshman Congressman Jared Polis, D-Boulder, makes the case that government should not only fund infrastructure jobs as part of its economic recovery plan, but that it should also extend additional opportunities to women, who represent less than 10 percent of the construction workforce.