Free and Proper Elections

NCFPE Poltical Blog and News Tracker

Free and Proper Elections - NCFPE Poltical Blog and News Tracker

Why the minimum wage ought to top the list of “women’s issues”

What do women want? Too many commentators assume that when it comes to politics, women only care about matters of sex and gender, discrimination and reproduction. That’s why so many pundits on both right and left got it wrong about the historic Women’s Marches and the global phenomenon they inspired: they missed the reality that economic security—the basic ability to pay the bills and support a family—are women’s issues too. And although it did not get much discussion during a presidential campaign that was said to hinge on “economic anxiety,” one of the most important economic issues impacting women right now is the inadequate minimum wage. And this is not some new, unprecedented or shocking notion that suddenly appeared in the American workforce. The hard truth is that poor women, women of color, rural women, immigrant women and single women have always had to work outside of the home to provide some measure of economic security for themselves and their families. And while more high-paying jobs and careers have, happily, opened up for some women in recent decades, economic options for most women continue to be clustered in the low-wage service, retail, and “caring” (home health, child, elder care) industries. Today, this kind of “women’s work” provides critical support to the almost two-thirds of North Carolina households that include a working woman. Women’s earning power is and always has been a key to making sure families can pay their bills, particularly families of color. That’s why raising the minimum wage is so important—it puts more money in the pockets of the women whose paychecks are vital to helping support themselves and their families. Yet two old, tired and outdated ideas hold us back from recognizing the important role women’s work and women’s wages play in keeping our families financially afloat. One such belief is that all women have (or need) a man in their family who is supporting them. But the fact that the woman is the primary breadwinner in more than 40 percent of North Carolina families provides strong evidence that this idea is just a sexist myth. Similarly, a closely related set of beliefs manifests in the constant devaluing of what is considered “women’s work.” Serving food, housekeeping, providing assistance for everyday tasks, caring for children, the elderly and the frail—this is work that has also traditionally been done without pay by women in the home. When performed outside of the home, however, this work is clearly useful and necessary. It also allows for others to pursue successful careers in a variety of high paying industries. This “women’s work” has so much value in our society—both in terms of the skills and overall productivity it provides—that it deserves better than the low wages typically paid these workers. Another myth about women’s work holds that low wage jobs were never meant to sustain a family, and were instead designed with teenagers and young adults just getting started in mind. This is just not true in today’s North Carolina economy. A recent study found that more than 90% of low-wage workers are over age 20; almost two-thirds of these workers are women; and approximately 20% of these women have children. Yet this myth has allowed less ethical companies to exploit all of their workers by building low wages into their business plans. Raising the minimum wage will raise the economic security of these families. Raising the minimum wage will also help spur the economy. Low wage jobs have accounted for more than half of the new jobs created in North Carolina since the end of the Great Recession in 2009. And while small businesses have always been tough to get off the ground, many of these low-wage jobs are part of already well-established, multi-billion dollar industries that are driving our country’s economic engine. Putting more money in the pockets of working women (many of whom make the key spending decisions for their families) puts more money back into the economy. It can also help provide the extra boost that many women need in order to seek additional training, advance their careers and achieve even greater economic security. Raising the minimum wage is what women want. At first glance, it may not seem like a traditional “women’s empowerment” message, but it is a direct way to lift thousands upon thousands of North Carolina women and families out of poverty. Women’s work has always contributed to our economy’s success, and it’s time we placed a proper value on it. Tara Romano is the Executive Director of NARAL-Pro Choice North Carolina and President of North Carolina Women United.

The post Why the minimum wage ought to top the list of “women’s issues” appeared first on NC Policy Watch.

Senate Republicans look to “Trumpify” NC’s tax code

Latest crude, simplistic and shortsighted proposal would wreak havoc for years to come

Donald Trump has always been well known for his “act first, worry about the mess later” approach to the world around him. Long before he became President, the blustering billionaire fashioned a notorious career predicated upon some crude and simplistic tactics familiar to any schoolyard bully – yell the loudest and grab what you can for yourself, intimidate opponents, deny the existence of complexity and gray areas and dumb things down as much as possible, appeal to people’s baser instincts like fear and selfishness and always, always, always, elevate the present over the future.

The post Senate Republicans look to “Trumpify” NC’s tax code appeared first on NC Policy Watch.

Larry Hall wins unanimous committee approval for Veteran Affairs post

Decked out in ‘Marine Corps red,’ nominee impresses Senate committee

Larry Hall stood tall Thursday in a bright red jacket holding a cigar in one hand and a similar-colored cover in the other. He had just been recommended by a Senate committee for confirmation as Secretary of the state Department of Military and Veteran Affairs.

“This is Marine Corps red,” Hall told a reporter. “The Marine Corps has a tradition you’ll notice, usually it’s a red stripe down the dress blue trousers, and that’s a blood stripe.”

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Gov. Cooper’s DEQ budget adds more than 20 people, but Trump’s cuts to EPA could hurt programs

For the last six years, the NC Department of Environmental Quality has served as a budgetary piñata. Republican lawmakers, and for most of that time, Gov. McCrory, often took a whack at the department, spilling personnel and programs all over the House and Senate floor.

The post Gov. Cooper’s DEQ budget adds more than 20 people, but Trump’s cuts to EPA could hurt programs appeared first on NC Policy Watch.

Governor Cooper’s budget: Pragmatic progress, but past GOP tax cuts remain a big problem

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper unveiled his proposed two-year budget plan today. The Governor touted his proposal under the heading “Common Ground Solutions” and stated that it would make “critical investments in education, health care, economic development and public safety…without raising taxes or fees, cutting services, or borrowing from special funds.”

The post Governor Cooper’s budget: Pragmatic progress, but past GOP tax cuts remain a big problem appeared first on NC Policy Watch.

Scheduled Maintenance | The NC Policy Watch website will be down from 5PM EST 2/24/2017 – 12PM 2/25/2017

We’ll be back soon! Sorry for the inconvenience; we’re currently implementing an exciting site redesign. In the meantime, read the latest on the Progressive Pulse blog, or shoot us an email (info@ncpolicywatch.com). We’ll be back online Saturday 2/25/17, 12:00 EST!

The post Scheduled Maintenance | The NC Policy Watch website will be down from 5PM EST 2/24/2017 – 12PM 2/25/2017 appeared first on NC Policy Watch.

GET IN FORMATION: Democracy Summer

Democracy Summer is an innovative internship program that exposes young leaders to new ideas and political movements, teaching them how to organize people around a shared vision for a better democracy in our state. The program also equips young people with lifelong skills that they can use to work for positive social change in their […]