The Spectacle Blog

File Under: Not A Mental Recession

By on 7.22.08 | 12:15PM

Here's an above the fold, front page headline from the New York Times today: WOMEN ARE NOW EQUAL AS VICTIMS OF POOR ECONOMY.


I thought initially this was a victory--Hey, Raul Castro may have recently declared egalitarianism dead, but not us! Go America!--but, as the article quickly demonstrates, this is actually a hitherto undiscovered strain of bad equality. To our political consultant friends, trust us, Equality of Opportunity...To Fail remains a losing campaign slogan. Or is it?

After moving into virtually every occupation, women are being afflicted on a large scale by the same troubles as men: downturns, layoffs, outsourcing, stagnant wages or the discouraging prospect of an outright pay cut. And they are responding as men have, by dropping out or disappearing for a while.

While losing a job is certainly not the best case scenarios, surely being in the position to be affected by downturns is better than being kept out of those positions during good and bad times, no? And, since this post title provides an opportunity as equal as any other, I've been meaning to post a link to James Poulos' typically outside the box take on Phil Gramm's now (infamous, I guess) pegging of ours as a nation of whiners:

The point is that Americans are whiners, but also sometimes not whiners. They are sometimes whiners about bad actual things they can't affect, and sometimes whiners about stupid things (my gas is going up! It'll cost so much to drive to Starbucks!) but not about much less stupid things (I won't be able to afford heat this winter!). Gramm's rhetoric is so troublesome because it's so falsely polarizing -- in a world where there are two types of people, whiners and nonwhiners, a redress of grievances is impossible, because there are no grievances worthy of the name.

So, yes, my initial glee at Gramm saying the unsayable has been somewhat tempered by the explications of two of my much smarter, well respected colleagues--Jim Antle, being the second--even if, I must admit, it has not yet been extinguished. Maybe it's a personal failing or just a soft spot for free-market orthodoxy espoused by those who resemble melancholy woodland creatures. It's anyone's guess, really.
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