Dear women of America, Mitt Romney thinks you’re stupid.
I say this because the strategy debuted by Team Romney to combat the glaring, and growing, gender gap between him and President Obama is to insult your intelligence and lie to you.
Apparently ignoring the nationwide assault on women’s rights, from attempts to ban abortion, mandate ultrasounds, and forbid birth control, the Romney campaign has chosen to focus on the economic aspect of the War on Women with a series of fantastical claims and contradictions.
The most obvious and egregious lie posed by the Romney campaign today is the lie that “92 percent of the jobs lost [in the recession] have belonged to women.” A number so ridiculous it feels degrading to even take it seriously, but the stakes are far too high in this election not to.
The reality is men lost more jobs in the recession than women, but are also recovering jobs quicker. This is not a function of policy however, it’s just the nature of the particular industries men and women traditionally occupy, not some shady Obama plot.
Ezra Klein elaborates.
To put this a bit differently, the crisis began in industries that men dominate, like construction and manufacturing. That was where we saw the bulk of the job losses. But the aftermath has been harder on industries that women dominate, like retail and teaching. Because Obama took office midway into the recession, he’s got less of the initial crisis on “his” record, but all of the aftermath.
The reality is that the recession has been easier on women than men. You might remember various magazines branding it the “he-cession.” But that’s not really the fault of either George W. Bush or Barack Obama.
Men lost more jobs because the industries they typically occupy were hit the hardest, but now that those industries are recovering, men are gaining jobs quicker than women.
(chart via TPM)
Furthermore, as Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post points out, the Romney campaign is also using a narrow range of dates to produce the 92 percent number rather than the full breadth of the recession.
How could women lose more jobs than the overall total? It’s a function of the dates one picks. In fact, the picture becomes clearer if you start running the data from the date the recession began — December 2007. With that starting point, the total decline in jobs was just over 5 million, with women accounting for nearly 1.8 million of those jobs.
Now look what happens when we just look at the past year, March 2011 to March 2012. Men gained nearly 1.9 million jobs while women gained 635,000 jobs.
Men gaining nearly three times as many jobs over the past year as women may indeed be a function of policy, but if it is, it’s a function of Republican policy.
Why? Because it’s Republican policy which has lead to thousands of layoffs of teachers and local government employees across the nation as states embrace austerity with reckless abandon. Professions that employ higher percentages of women.
This past year, the year the Romney campaign is using to produce their phony numbers, marked the first year wherein the budgets passed by our Tea Party overlords in state governments, who swept to power in 2010, went into effect. Care to explain that?
Considering the fact that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus) prevented tens of thousands of layoffs of teachers and local government employees, which employ a higher percentage of women, the economic aspect of the War on Women the Romeny campaign has chosen to focus on seems to lean even more in the president’s favor.
I’m sure that’s not the conclusion the Romney campaign wants you to reach though.