Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Republican right wing is beginning to discover that it just shot itself in the … no, not in the foot. It’s another part of the anatomy.

With the inevitable addition of Brett Kavanaugh, the U.S. Supreme Court is about to swing hard to the right, no matter what Democrats do. And in the long run, Roe vs. Wade is dead. The only question is whether Roe will die hard and fast, or suffer a slow death of a thousand cuts.

So the so-called conservatives are out there dancing in the streets, right? Wait a second, not so fast.

The Federalist, a right wing journal that would warm the cockles of Justice Antonin Scalia’s wicked heart (were he still among us to have his cockles warmed) just put its finger on a small, umm, problem. It’s a replacement parts shortage. Human replacement parts.

To keep the wealth engine of the One Percent growing, the  United States population also has to keep growing. Otherwise, the very rich would have to pay more and more in taxes as the population declines, while having fewer and fewer people to sell their goods to.

Moreover, the rich need worker bees. You know, people who do the real work, whether that relates to picking fruit, picking up the toddlers after school, or picking their noses in front of a computer screen. But guess what?

Here’s what, according to Melissa Langsam Braunstein, who writes the “parenting” column online for the Federalist: 
“It’s just not clear we all enjoy raising flesh and blood miniature humans anymore.”
Quick Jeeves, the smelling salts! Oh my blinking stars! Say what, Melissa? 
“…it seems clear that millennials will either have fewer children than they’d wanted or opt out of parenthood altogether .”
What a terrifying thought! Who will keep our economic engine’s gears oiled and its wheels turning, and its innovations hatching if we don’t have enough replacement babies? For that matter, who will keep the ranks of our enlisted military populated? 

We used to have immigrants for all of that. But no longer, what with Trump slamming the gates shut, and a Supreme Court about to solder our national rudder in place so that hereafter we can turn only in rightward circles. Trump and his merry band of idiot bullies have just shot themselves — and the United States of America — in the testicles.

No wonder that  social conservatives, in addition to trying to eliminate abortion are going after birth control. Damnit women, they need your babies, even if it means confiscating your birth control pills so you’ll be forced to become a baby machine. Who knows? If it's deemed necessary, armed cops may be able to haul you away to the hospital and pry out your IUD with a wire cutter and a pair of pliers. But only to save the lives of the unborn, of course. Already one conservative publication, The National Review, is shrieking that IUDs are “contraception that kills.” 

But throwing you in the slammer if you dare to sell or swallow a birth control pill (or perhaps for using an IUD, you child-killing thug-ette) is a slow way to grow the population. Can’t we get all those potential handmaidens popping out babies any faster? What do we have to do? Arrest women caught with implanted IUDs for murder? And perhaps execute a few?

Not to worry. Federalist columnist Melissa Langsam Braunstein, has a solution: encourage millennials to have babies more often by brazenly misleading and confusing them. In a recent column entitled “6 Reasons Millenials Should Stop And Embrace Parenthood,” Melissa tries to sell you on having more pregnancies with reasoning like this:

1. Focus on What You Can Control. Among millennials with fewer children than they’d wanted, 49 percent said they’re “worried about the economy,” 37 percent are “worried about global instability,” 36 percent are “worried about domestic politics,” 33 percent are “worried about climate change,” and 27 percent are “worried about population growth.” Whew, that’s a lot of big worries!I understand wanting to err on the side of caution, but the world has never been problem-free, and sometimes we need to act in spite of that. Further, the most meaningful things in life often require a leap of faith at the outset. Or, in the wise words of a mentor, “Leap and the net will appear.”
Right, Melissa. Don’t fix the economy so that people can afford to have babies. Just encourage everyone to close their eyes and jump. Tell you what, Melissa. Go jump out of a window, preferably the window of a very tall sky scraper. If a safety net appears, as you promise, to prevent you from becoming a sidewalk serving of scrambled brains, I’m sure a lot more millennials will be convinced. Personally I prefer the old maxim, “Look before you leap.”
2. Paid Family Leave Is On The Rise. Parents, 39 percent of you say you’re having fewer kids than your ideal because there’s “not enough paid family leave” and 38 percent said there’s none. According to Working Mother, however, “Since late 2017, an increasing number of private employers have expanded their paid maternity leave and paternity leave offerings, some doing so dramatically,” all to attract and retain employees like you. Employers hear you, and they’re responding.
There's a small problem with that one, Melissa. You’re asking people to have babies on spec — the speculations that their own employers will read Working Mother,” take the cue, and “dramatically” increase parental leave. Not very damn likely in a nation that more and more is being run by so-called conservatives. 

More likely, FMLA, the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, will be repealed, either by Congress or by Supreme Court fiat. Employers who are freed from workplace discrimination enforcement will find your pregnancy a reason to not promote you, or even to fire you. Oh right, that’s already happening.
3. Child Care Is Tough But Not Impossible. Sixty-four percent of current parents and 31 percent of would-be parents cited the high cost of child care. I’m with you. It’s not only tough, but can also be expensive to find people you trust to care for your children.The good news is that it’s not forever. For most families, the first five years are the most costly in this category. Every family has different needs and preferences, but there are ways to control costs, whether it’s help from family members, parents adjusting work schedules to be home, or a trade between families who alternate watching one another’s children.
Right-O, Melissa. Parents can just go and tell the boss, “Now see here, I need to adjust my work schedule to take care of my child, so I won’t be able to come in Mondays and Thursdays. But I’m trading baby-watching schedules with my friends from the bowling alley, the Smiths. So Muffy or Chip Smith will be here to attend status meetings instead of me on Mondays.” 

Know what the boss is likely to say? Hint: It’s a favorite phrase of Donald Trump’s. It starts with the word “You’re...” and ends with an exclamation point. Your next persuasive point, Melissa?
4. Babies Don’t Need Houses. Now, among those without children, 24 percent of respondents remain so because they “can’t afford a house.” If you think you need to buy a house in a great school district, consider: You have five years and nine months (at least!) before your firstborn starts kindergarten. That’s several years to save and buy into your ideal district or devise an acceptable Plan B. Apartment living works just fine in the short-term.
Save how much, Melissa? How can you save a dime, especially in cities like, say, San Francisco where the median home value is now $1.61 million and rising fast. But you say, “apartment living works just fine in the short term.” In the short term, rents in the same city have risen 40 to 50 percent and the average rent for a two bedroom apartment in that town is now $4,382 a month. 

But do people have to go to San Francisco? Isn't life lots cheaper in Nowheresville? 

Yes, assuredly. The problem is, there are no jobs in Nowheresville. That’s why it’s so cheap. And that’s why everybody’s trying to squeeze into cities like San Francisco. So yeah, Melissa, saving up for a $1.6 million house in five years while paying $4,382 a month for rent and a wad of money for child care is no problem, no problem at all. Are you also selling bridges? How about the one in Brooklyn? People could buy it from you and live under it. Babies can live under bridges just like other homeless people, right Melissa?

Oh, and I'm not even going to think about what you mean by "a good school district." Well actually, I am. I think you mean, a district that doesn't have too many of "those people."

Next, Melissa suggests reducing student debt. I got all excited and upbeat about that one, until I read what she had to say about it.
5. Let’s Reduce Student Debt. Thirteen percent of respondents say they’re not sure about parenthood because they have “too much student debt.” Everyone’s situation is different, but this could be a good time for students, parents, and alumni to start pressuring the federal government to weigh practical solutions to the student loan crisis, including reducing the flow of federal dollars to universities (since that actually raises students’ costs).Here in Washington, DC, American University allows students to graduate in three years, saving families a whole year of tuition. Perhaps more schools should introduce such programs, and we should encourage students to talk to potential employers before choosing majors, so they know they’re employable post-graduation.
Right Melissa, by starving universities, you’ll force them to lower tuition. Could you show us how that works, please? No? The article you linked to certainly doesn't. It just makes what appears to be a baseless claim. 

And you’d also recommend turning college from a learning experience to a pressure cooker experience, blasting through four years of courses in three. The one thing you seem to have forgotten is Bernie Sanders’ proposal for student loan forgiveness, which would reduce student debt to zero instantly. While  we’re at it, tuition-free college supported by the government, working pretty much the way the GI Bill of Rights worked immediately after WWII, would prevent most student debt from ever happening. And that policy was part of an effort that unleashed a great wave of post-war prosperity. Oh sorry, I forgot who I was talking to.

Lastly, Melissa threatens us with self-inflicted death. 
6. Family Isn’t Your Jam. This is the group that most concerns me, amidst our crisis of loneliness, crisis of meaning, and the rise in suicides....
She goes on but I won’t, save to repeat that Trump and the Republicans have shot themselves and this nation in the testicles, aided and abetted by people like Melissa. We won’t be able to sustain the population internally. We won’t be able to replenish the population by letting in immigrants. Instead, we’re in danger of becoming a withering-away nation, our population aging, our ability to create prosperity falling, our future slowly going down the drain.

So the only solution the so-called Conservatives see is to force the majority of this nation’s women to effectively become unwilling handmaidens — baby machines serving the state. 

Very smart, conservatives. Very smart.


Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

"...a sidewalk serving of scrambled brains..."


Assumes facts not in evidence.

Specifically, that Melissa has any brains to be scrambled. ;)

Never Ben Better said...

Eh, the one percent will simply Trump their workers: import strong backs from abroad for crap wages, stiff them out of even that pittance, and ship them back home when they're no longer useful. It works for Saudi Arabia, after all.

Sleeve98 said...

Title's premise is wrong - the right wing has been programmed to never recognize or acknowledge their culpability in ANYthing, and in particular deny all responsibility when their policies cause real damage to real (those) people.

If Trump dies penniless and powerless and humiliated in prison, they'll still shriek on about the 'Deep State' and Hillary's emails, just as they deceive themselves by repeating that Nixon was framed. They want what they want, and they don't care about the consequences of their actions.

So, again, Bill's objection is sustained: assumes facts not in evidence.