People wonder: Who decides who gets those waivers? And where do regular folks have to go to get a waiver of their own?
The bailouts and job packages also seem like politics at their worst. It’s not just Wall Street banks soaking in billions of taxpayer dollars, but state governments' raking in federal cash to shield over-paid, unionized, public sector workers from the recession's effects. So-called “Green jobs” programs receive billions and must enrich someone—but they sure haven't helped bring down energy costs for normal families. Women hear of housing programs that may provide relief for some under-water homeowners. But who is being helped? Who qualifies for such programs? And who is paying for the cost of this help?
Together, there's a sense that instead of helping those who work hard and live by the rules, Washington is in the business of changing the rules to help a few favored friends.
Women who have watched government officials target children's lemonade stands across the country this summer are likely wondering about policymakers' priorities. Have they lost touch completely with what's good about this country—with the entrepreneurial idea that we've traditionally fostered in our eight-year-olds as they paint brightly-colored signs and sell Minute Maid for a quarter? Is that why there are almost daily stories about new government efforts to regulate and stymie private enterprise?
The President will make another speech this week. He has a big challenge in winning back women. Women rarely appreciate buck-passing. If he offers more of the same – the same anger toward Congress, the same big-government programs that we've heard about before, and that seem to always devolve into a debt-increasing payoff for some politically connected constituency—expect women to shrug and change the channel. And then expect many women who supported the President in 2008 to look elsewhere next November.