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Jewish World Review /Oct. 2, 1998/12 Tishrei, 5759

Larry Elder

Larry Elder

Clinton -- friend of the working woman

A COALITION OF 15 FEMINIST and civil rights groups recently descended on Capitol Hill. The issue? Why, the protection of our beleaguered president, of course. Leave him alone! Stop the impeachment process! Bill Clinton's been good for women!

Patricia Ireland, president of the National Organization for Women, said, "On balance, women have had an ally in the White House. If this reactionary campaign succeeds, the unfinished agenda of women on equality, in Social Security, pay equity, child care, anti-poverty remedies, minimum wage, Medicare, real campaign-finance reform ... will continue to languish in Congress."

My, my. What about the preservation of baseball as we know it? Post-Bill Clinton, will we still get good cable reception? When we pick up the phone, will we still get a dial tone? At one time, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. According to the gang of 15, whatever's good for Clinton is good for the country. For, without Clinton, we face mass starvation, riots in the streets and a run on fresh New York steaks. Stop the madness!

Let's examine some of NOW's points.

Day care. Most parents arrange day care through an informal network of friends and family. Most simply don't trust private day care given its uneven quality and expense. Government measures to "improve the quality" of outside care will add to its expense and decrease availability. Cutting taxes will free up more family and friends for day care availability.

Minimum wage. Nobel laureate Milton Friedman called minimum-wage laws perhaps the most "anti-black" laws on the statute books. He notes, as have many researchers, that minimum-wage hikes destroy entry-level work for the most needy -- teens, minorities and female secondary wage earners.

HMO reform. Let's back up for a minute and discuss the HMO phenomenon. The government already pays for 50 percent of our health care.

Before the Medicare Act of 1965, the length of a hospital stay had increased just threefold in the previous 20 years. After Medicare, however, a typical stay in a hospital bed increased eightfold over the next 20 years -- easily outpacing inflation.

Lawmakers then sought to stem the dramatically over-budget price tag of Medicare. They imposed guidelines. But many doctors and hospitals found the guidelines too stingy and either ordered unnecessary and duplicate tests and procedures or shifted costs onto the private sector to recoup the difference. This only increased costs.

Enter the HMO. Many solo or small practitioners, like small hamburger/hot-dog stand operators, take more time and provide more service. HMOs enhance profits by imposing uniform standards and procedures, and by streamlining overhead, such as personnel costs and billing procedures. The result: more efficient but less personalized service. But remember, the impetus behind HMOs remains reining in medical costs, a situation made worse than through government intervention.

Fairness in pay. Please. Women and men who do the same work, with the same qualifications and experience, make the same money. President Clinton points out that women make 75 cents on the dollar, as if women did exactly the same work for their 75 cents. If so, companies (run by greedy capitalists, right?) would simply hire the less expensive women and fire the more expensive men, pocketing the difference. Why doesn't this happen?

The government assumes private-sector indifference to the wants and needs of its employees. But in the real world, to attract and retain good workers, employers must institute policies and create an atmosphere to keep workers happy. For some employers, this means an on-site day-care center. For others, it means allowing good ol' Rosie six months off, with pay and benefits, to care for her ailing mother. After all, the company does not want to lose her. Does the government need to tell the employer to do that which is in his own best interest?

On equality. Presumably, NOW means Clinton's, uh, demonstrated respect and concern for women. Really. According to the independent counsel's report, the president called Monica Lewinsky a "stalker." The president's aide, James Carville, said of Paula Jones, that if you drag a $100 through a trailer park, you never know what trash you get.

And, in his grand jury testimony, the president called Kathleen Willey -- who said he groped her -- a liar, which meant he was also calling her a perjurer. He also called Gennifer Flowers a liar, only to later admit before the grand jury a sexual relationship with her. And he allegedly placed his longtime secretary, Betty Currie, in harm's way by involving her in the retrieval of gifts the president had given to Monica Lewinsky, gifts under subpoena.

And, according to the Linda Tripp tapes, Monica Lewinsky allegedly asked the president why he refused to settle in the Paula Jones case, he replied, I can't, there would be "hundreds."

William Jefferson Clinton. Friend of the working woman. Go "figure."


9/28/98: George Washington vs. the Grand Jury
9/18/98: It's the perjury, stupid
9/14/98: The "Larry List" of the most fascinating women in politics
9/07/98: Why blacks shouldn't support Clinton
8/27/98:The Brown bomber strikes Justice Thomas
8/21/98:So very clintonesque
8/17/98: Gary Coleman, hate criminal?
8/07/98: How much mea culpa?
7/24/98: ATM Al?
7/24/98: Advising the advisors
7/17/98: Camille Cosby's carelessness
7/9/98: Moses mugged
7/2/98: Al Campanis -- forever a racist?
6/25/98: And you thought "coke" was worse than smokes
6/19/98: Is Jasper ‘America'?
6/12/98: Guess who's not coming to dinner
6/5/98: What now, NOW?
5/29/98:What's next, ‘burger busters'?
5/21/98: 'Stuff' happens
5/18/98: This just in
5/11/98: Stepping up
4/30/98: Who's faking whom?
4/16/98:To spank or not to spank

©1998, Laurence A. Elder