DNC - Senator McCain is Out of Touch With the Challenges Facing Working Women

Washington, DC - John McCain may be reaching out to women voters today, but he and his campaign have spent the entire week showing how out of touch McCain is with the economic challenges facing women and families.  After months of McCain saying the problems in our economy are "psychological," his top economic advisor Phil Gramm claimed that the economic downturn is a "mental recession" and called America "a nation of whiners." [Washington Times, 7/9/08]

McCain and Gramm apparently don't understand that women have paid a particularly heavy price under the Bush-McCain economic policies.  Unemployment for women is up 18 percent since 2001.  Women are more likely to live in poverty, more likely to be unemployed, and more likely to be effected by the housing crisis. And, while women's wages have fallen faster than their male counterparts, McCain opposed this year's equal pay bill in Congress. 

Instead of defending McCain's real record, another leading McCain advisor, RNC Victory 08 Chair Carly Fiorina, resorted to distorting the facts.  Fiorina falsely claimed McCain supports efforts to ensure health insurance companies pay for birth control despite that fact that he voted against it--a vote McCain later claimed he could not remember.  She also was caught distorting Senator Obama's record on small businesses.  [San Francisco Chronicle, 7/9/08; Time Magazine's Swampland blog, 7/8/08]

"The last thing American women want or need right now is Phil Gramm and John McCain trying to tell us that the $70 we pay to fill up our gas tanks, the rising costs of health care, rent and food, is all in our heads," said Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Karen Finney.   "Rather than trying to distort the truth about his record or ducking legitimate questions, McCain should explain to America's women why they should vote for four more years of a Republican president who opposes equal pay legislation, refuses to stand up against insurers who would force them to pay out of pocket for birth control, and promotes a reckless and out of touch economic agenda that has left us paying more for everything from gas to groceries."

John McCain Is Hopelessly Out Of Touch With Americans on The Economy

McCain Claimed Americans Were "Better Off Because We Have Had A Pretty Good Prosperous Time." In the January 2008 Republican debate, McCain commented, "I think you could argue that Americans overall are better off, because we have had a pretty good prosperous time, with low unemployment and low inflation and a lot of good things have happened. A lot of jobs have been created." [CNN GOP Debate, 1/30/08]


Unemployment Up 18% since 2000. Unemployment for women is up since President Bush took office. The rate was 4.1% in 2000, and the preliminary figure for June 2008 is 4.7%. The number of unemployed women has gone up from 2,717,000 to 3,208,000, an increase of 491,000 workers. [Unemployment Statistics, Household Data Annual Averages, Employment Status of Civilian Population, (Seasonally Adjusted), Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed 7/9/08, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t01.htm, ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/lf/aat2.txt]

Absolute Number of Employed Mothers Decreased From 2001 To 2006, Even Though Total Number of Women Employed Increased. "In terms of the numbers of mothers employed in the United States, the peak year was 2001, when 25,030,000 women with children under 18 years of age worked for pay. By 2006, that number had fallen to 24,728,000, a drop in the absolute number of working mothers of 302,000. At the same time, the total number of employed women in the United States grew from 63,586,000 to 66,925,000, an increase of 3,339,000." [Heidi Hartman, PhD, Institute for Women's Policy Research, Testimony to Joint Economic Committee, 6/6/08, www.iwpr.org]


Median Income For Women Increased At Double The Rate In The Nineties Than It Did Under Bush.  The median income for women has remained stagnant from an average of $32,153 in 2000 to $32,515 in 2006, a modest increase of $362. Yet from 1990 to 1996, average median income for women rose from $29,643 to $30,339, an increase of $696. [US Census Bureau, Historical Income Tables, Earnings in 2006 CPI Adjusted Dollars, census.gov]

Women Earn Less Than Men. Women "earn less than men, an estimated average of 80 cents for every dollar made by a man." [Christian Science Monitor, 7/2/08]  

Women Median Wages Decreased At Faster Rate Than Men in 2007. "The downturn has caused women's wages to fall and this decline is significantly larger than what men have suffered. In 2007, the real median wage for adult women workers dropped 3%; wages for adult male workers dropped by.5% over the same period. Women's wages are also more volatile than men's wages, and they face a much higher risk of seeing large drops in income than men do."  [Office of Senator Ted. Kennedy, Press Release, 4/18/08, kennedy.senate.gov]

Higher Rate of Poverty among Women. The poverty rate for women id 17% while only 13% among men.  [Adult Poverty Rate by Gender, 2006 U.S. Census, statehealthfacts.org]

Food Prices At 18-Year High. "Consumer prices rose by 4.1% for all of 2007, up sharply from a 2.5% increase in 2006, the Labor Department said." The Consumer Price Index for food rose 5% last year, the highest increase "in two decades." The price of a gallon of milk rose 27% since March of 2007 and the price of a dozen eggs rose 38%. [BBC, 1/16/08, bbc.co.uk; The Associated Press, 5/18/08, abcnews.go.com]

Inflation Disproportionately Affects Limited Family Budgets. "Rising costs for energy, food, and other necessities take a bigger bite out of women's more limited family budgets." [National Women's Law Center, Women Stimulus Fact Sheet, 1/28/08, nwlc.org]

80% Of Single Parent Household Are Headed By Women. "Eight out of ten single-parent families are headed by women." [U.S. Census Bureau, Families and Living Arrangements: 2006 (2007); National Women's Law Center, Women Stimulus Fact Sheet, 1/28/08, nwlc.org]


New Home Sales at 17-Year Low.  "New-home sales in the U.S. probably fell to a 17-year low and consumer confidence sank, signs the housing slump is dragging down the economy, economists said before reports today. Purchases of new homes dropped 1.1 percent in April to an annual pace of 520,000, the fewest since September 1991, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey." [Bloomberg.com, 5/27/08, bloomberg.com] 

More Women Work In Real Estate Than Men. According to experts, "This economic downturn is taking a particularly hard toll on women" because, "much of the downturn is focused on the real estate market, where a disproportionately large number of women work. [Christian Science Monitor, 7/2/08]  

30% More Women Exposed to Real Estate Sector. 142,000 women work in real estate, compared to 42,000 of men. [Christian Science Monitor, 7/2/08]  


Bank Repossessions Doubled, Foreclosures Up 50%. Bank repossessions more than doubled in May and foreclosure filings rose 48 percent from a year earlier as previously foreclosed properties dragged down housing prices, trapping borrowers in mortgages they couldn't afford, RealtyTrac Inc. said in a report today" [Bloomberg News, 6/13/08, www.bloomberg.com]

Women "Disproportionately" Affected By Mortgage Crisis; Credit Barriers, Lower Wealth, Predatory Lending Cited As Causes. A report by the Consumer Federation of America found that, "women are also disproportionately affected by the subprime mortgage crisis…the study cited women's lower wealth and income, historical barriers to credit for women, predatory lending, and women's lower confidence in their own financial abilities as possible reasons why women are more likely to receive subprime mortgages." [Christian Science Monitor, 7/2/08]

32% of Women Owned Subprime Mortgages in 2005, 8% More Than Men. "Substantially more women than men have subprime mortgages," according to reports. In 2005, 32 percent of women held subprime mortgages, a consumer report found, compared with only 24% of men. [Christian Science Monitor, 7/2/08]