Only one woman on the "Super Committee"?
Here's the math: Women are 50.7% of our population, only 17% of Congress, and an appallingly low 8% of the Super Committee.
This lack of representation on the debt ceiling Super Committee which is charged with cutting $1.5 trillion from the federal budget is pathetic, particularly given that critical programs -- like Medicaid, Medicare, child care, education, food assistance, and Social Security -- which have the biggest impacts on women and families are at stake.
The solutions that come out of the Super Committee need to reflect the needs of Main Street, and not just greedy Wall Street corporations.
Why is it an 'ouch' that there's only one woman on the Super Committee?
Because, as news outlets report, "When women aren't at the table, programs that disproportionately benefit and employ women -- like child care, education, food assistance, and Medicare -- are often the first to go."
It's also a problem that there's only one woman on the Super Committee because numerous studies have found that when women don't have equal representation at negotiating tables, the outcomes are worse for everyone. For example, NPR recently reported, "Psychologists have found that when groups are predominantly male, individuals tend to act in increasingly aggressive ways... They show off."
Further, the Harvard Business Review recently reported, "If a group includes more women, its collective intelligence rises."
Every bit of American ingenuity possible is needed to fix our economy -- and not having equal representation of women on the Super Committee hurts us all.
Our nation simply can't afford to continue the way we're going with tax breaks for millionaire CEOs and corporate jet owners, while the rest of us pay an unfair portion of the taxes and have poorer schools and services.
With unemployment at a high 9%, we know corporate tax cuts aren't sparking job creation for average workers. In fact, right now many corporations are paying increasingly outrageously high upper management salaries: Top executives at big companies made an incredibly high average of $10.8 million each last year, a 23 percent pay increase from just 2009. In contrast, the average worker made just $752 a week last year, or $39,104 per year, and many people can't get jobs at all.
(And while this is happening, the number of female CEOs is falling. There were 15 female CEOs in the Fortune 500 last year, and now there are only 12 female CEOs in the Fortune 500 companies. This drop is despite the fact that a 19-year Pepperdine University survey of Fortune 500 companies showed that those with the best record of promoting women outperformed the competition by anywhere from 41 to 116 percent. Our economy needs every bit of entrepreneurship possible, and disproportionately leaving out women hampers our nation's success.)
In short, pay for CEOs is sky rocketing, while the wages of real people are stagnant, decreasing, or worse, non-existent.
Our economic system is out of whack: A Northeastern University study recently found that since 2009 "corporate profits captured 88% of the growth in real national income while aggregate wages and salaries accounted for only slightly more than 1% of the growth in real national income. ...The absence of any positive share of national income growth due to wages and salaries received by American workers during the current economic recovery is historically unprecedented."
Clearly the "trickle down" theory isn't working. We need a better approach.
At MomsRising.org our over million members tell us every day that they're struggling to pay for food, to find housing, child care, health coverage, fair pay, a lack of sick days, and more.
There's a serious concern that the members of Congress who were chosen for the Super Committee are out of touch with what's going on in the lives of real people.
It's simply un-American to ignore the needs of constituents while greedy corporations take their profits elsewhere.
Balanced, common-sense solutions for real people are needed. And there's wide agreement that the best way to reduce the budget deficit is by a combination of both cutting federal spending AND by increasing revenues though ending tax breaks to the very wealthy.
Representatives on the Super Committee will need to take a hard look at revenue options--and, quite simply, the Bush tax breaks and war spending can't be ignored because as one study found: "The Bush tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will account for almost half of the $20 trillion in debt that, under current policies, the nation will owe by 2019."
The Super Committee must prioritize putting people back to work in our nation, and not reinforce bad tax break policies for the very wealthiest Americans who can afford to buy political influence while everyday people struggle.
However, looking at the outcomes of the recent past negotiations in a Congress that's only 17% women, without more women on the Super Committee it's going to be an uphill battle to make changes we need to get our nation back on track through this avenue.
Time is wasting.
The USDA reports that 1 in 4 children in our nation are experiencing food scarcity due to family economic limitations.
We don't have time for politicians to show off, to grandstand, or to get in testosterone battles about who signed whose anti-tax contract. (And those anti-tax politicians who are competing to make our government small enough to drown it in a bathtub are in for trouble--don't they know that taxpayer dollars pay for the water that fills their tub?)
Appointing only one woman to the Super Committee was a major mistake.
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