Hadley Heath

It's clear that the government cannot afford to continue on its current path. Entitlement programs, particularly Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, are becoming rapidly more expensive and, without reform, will consume a growing portion of the federal budget, crowding out other priorities. Budget-savvy American women know that something must be done. They are unlikely to fall for charges that any proposed changes represent a gutting of these programs or threaten the poor. They are going to want to hear the details—to know that the most vulnerable are being protected—but will likely understand and sympathize with the need to make sensible changes to bring costs down.

Today, feminists are trying demonize changes to other programs, such as Head Start and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which face big cuts in the House Republicans’ proposal ($1.83 billion and $758 million respectively), as “draconian.” But women are going to want to hear more.

They know that many government programs don't work how they are supposed to. When they hear about the government-mandated study that failed to find any meaningful lasting benefits for Head Start participants, many will not only support cuts, but be interested in hearing about larger reforms to the program.

Similarly, women are likely to want to take a closer look at WIC, and will find that this program also has some important unintended consequences. Despite attempts to educate and encourage the program's beneficiaries about the importance of breastfeeding, the program facilitates the use of formula, to the detriment of children's health. In fact, 54 percent of the baby formula in the United States is consumed by WIC participants, a number out of proportion with the number of infants in the program. This phenomenon is so great that WIC has disrupted the baby formula market and affected prices for other paying customers.

Women, even those who benefit from these programs, know that there will be costs and consequences to allowing our government to continue racking up trillion dollar deficits. They know that this has negative effects on the economy, impedes job creation today, and will leave a bigger burden on the next generation.

Women across the country who practice kitchen-table budgeting for their families do their best to make ends meet and save for the future because they love their families, and want to improve their family's prospects. These women know that the same needs to be done at the federal level to put us all back on the road to a prosperity that will exist not just today, but for future generations.


Hadley Heath

Hadley Heath is a Policy Analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum.