Posts Tagged ‘Economics’

Memory Lapse

June 30, 2014

The Supreme Court today ruled that privately held corporations (at the very least) could not be compelled by the Affordable Healthcare Act to provide contraceptive and abortifacient coverage to their employees if it violates the religious convictions of the corporate owners.  Already the press is hard at work depicting this as a monumental blow to women’s rights.  This despite the fact that the right didn’t even exist a few short years ago, and this despite the fact that requiring such employee-sponsored coverage is an equally monumental blow to freedom of religion.

Had the court ruled differently, it would have in essence affirmed the current administration’s stance that religious people who start businesses have no right to allow those religious beliefs to guide their business operations.

Press coverage is amazingly skewed.  Consider this single, brief article.

“Many religiously affiliated employers were already exempt from the requirement.” – Actually, no.  Only institutions and organizations with the primary purpose of providing religious services were exempted.  Basically, churches – not church-affiliated institutions such as hospitals, educational institutions, etc.

“some for-profit companies don’t have to pay for contraceptives either” – The implication being that any for-profit company clearly has an obligation to offer such services, or to be forced to abide by whatever regulatory decrees the government finds useful.  Why is it that seeking to make a profit is treated in a derogatory fashion, as though somehow someone with religious convictions that drive their personal and business ethos is unimaginable?

I’d take serious issue with the assertion that this ruling affects millions of women.  The small number of largely small, private companies that might seek protection under this ruling is not likely to impact anywhere close to millions of women.

Those who decry this decision once again seek to frame women as victims.  Women must be guaranteed that these services, which until alarmingly recently were nowhere, by no one, considered a right of all working women.  As a man, I find it offensive that after 50 years of gains in women’s rights, women continue to allow themselves to be portrayed as victims.

Here’s a novel thought – if free contraceptive and abortifacient coverage is important to you as a woman, then work for a company that provides such coverage.  There are plenty of them now.  I daresay the majority of major employers in the US won’t consider rolling back this coverage.  Work for one of those companies!  Women in the workforce are free to choose where they work, based on what sort of benefits the company offers.  Nothing new here.

I’m thrilled for the court’s decision.  Not because I disrespect women, but because I respect women and their ability to make choices about the type of work they want to do and who they wish to do it for.  I also respect deeply the idea that the owner of a company should be allowed to provide jobs to others without violating important aspects of their faith.

Meanwhile, in ‘Merica

June 27, 2014

A few recent tidbits on the State of our Union.  You know, the government of the people, by the people, and for the people?  That government?  Yeah.  Well.

President Obama is mad that the GOP is suing him for breaches of executive authority.  He isn’t apparently denying that what he did was questionable (or that he will continue to exercise questionable power).  Instead, he’s blaming Congress for not working with him.  It’s their fault he has to break the law.  And they call him names.  

It’s been a long time since my civics class in high school, but it seems to me that this is how government is supposed to function, yes?  Checks and balances?  Perhaps President Obama hasn’t considered that the Republican majority in the House of Representatives (and the very narrow Democratic majority in the Senate) reflect the attitude of the American people towards his policies, and should be taken as a sign that he doesn’t have a mandate to do whatever he wants.   And I’m fairly certain that our Constitutional framework intends it to be this way, and does not simply make provisos for the President to do what he wants without bothering to get necessary Congressional approval. 

At least the other parts of our government are functioning properly though, right?  Hmmm.

Today the IRS admitted that it inappropriately disseminated private information by releasing a tax form for a non-profit organization to the press (as required by law) without  removing names of donors to the organization (as required by law).  The IRS is paying $50,000 to a private organization to cover that organization’s legal fees involved in bringing this case to court.  It is not a punitive fine of any sort.  A judge has determined that it wasn’t really all that big of a deal.  Accidents happen.  Though if you read the chain of connections in the article above, it seems amazingly coincidental that this information found it’s way into the hands of liberal publications, which made it public during a presidential election, when one of the presidential candidates (hint: it wasn’t President Obama) was linked to the non-profit in question.  

This is the same IRS who recently claimed to have lost all sorts of e-mails that it is required by law to keep hard copies of.  E-mails directly related to a probe of the IRS’ activity in scrutinizing conservative groups during the 2012 election cycle.  Information that might be very embarrassing not just to the IRS but to currently sitting politicians in very high places.  Like the Oval Office.  This despite the IRS spending over $4 billion dollars in the last few years to upgrade technology.  Yet because of budget squeezes, there wasn’t enough money for the estimated $10 million dollars necessary to ensure that the e-mails were adequately backed up.  

Bummer, dude.