Mitt Romney took aim at working moms today at NBC News’ Education Nation Summit, saying that it’s better if one parent can stay at home during early years.
Watch here via NBC:
In a discussion about early childhood education, Romney announced, “It’s an advantage to have two parents, but to have one parent to stay closely connected and at home during those early years of education can be very, very important.”
No one is going to dispute that having a stay at home parent can be helpful, but Mitt Romney might want to get out a bit. We don’t live in the 1950’s economy that allows middle class families to comfortably have a stay at home parent, and even if we did, many parents find working an important part of their identity. And by parents, I mean women, since Romney clearly thinks of the stay at home parent as the mother.
Remember when Mitt Romney gloated over Hillary Rosen’s “attacks” on Ann Romney not “working” and therefor not understanding what most Americans face? He cutely called that a “war on moms”, hoping to divert attention from the Republican war on women. The issue missed in Romney’s big show was that Mitt said he was going to get all of the information he needed about women’s issues from Ann, who was fortunate enough to be able to stay at home to take care of her five children. Yet, Ann isn’t typical of most American women.
In fact, more than half of mothers with young children work outside of the home. To be precise, 63.9% of American mothers work outside of the home. So, the question should be, how would Mitt Romney’s policies help one parent stay at home, if this is his Big Idea on education? They don’t.
Mitt Romney wants to get rid of many of the “entitlement” programs including SNAP, which poor working parents often find themselves depending on to feed their children. Romney’s secret tax plan takes aim at deductions used by the working poor and middle class. Mitt Romney wants to defund Planned Parenthood, which many poor and middle income women use to responsibly plan their families (birth control helps these women and their families plan their families). Without birth control, a woman could have a lot more children to feed — how would she do that while staying at home? How exactly would one parent be able to stay at home under his policies?
And what of single parents? What are they to do under this scenario? Just let their children suffer at school? What is Mitt Romney’s answer to their challenges – how is he going to help them be there at school when they’re needed? Scolding them by saying their children would be doing better if they were there isn’t helpful. Most parents are aware of their mounting responsibilities, but they put the need to feed their children first for obvious reasons. Most parents want to be there. How is Mitt Romney going to help them be there?
Mitt Romney likes to call the 47% “victims” for needing assistance in a recession brought on by his own party’s economic policies, but somehow he expects them to magically stay at home with their kids while not needing any help from the government. Mitt Romney really has no idea about the average American family’s finances. Mitt Romney thought that a $19,000 a year job at Staples was a good middle class job, so clearly he not only doesn’t get it, but he has no interest in learning.
It’s also time to point that in fact, food stamp usage is starting to come down as the economy recovers, proving that Americans really don’t want “free stuff” — they tend to only take help when they really need it.
Romney managed to sound much more civil than he has on the topic of education, but that’s easy to do when no one is asking him to explain his plan to take aim at the Department of Education in order to kill unions.
Overheard at a private fundraiser in April of this year, Mitt Romney made the case for why he won’t tell the public what agencies he will eliminate or curtail, and how he plans on using the Department of Education to destroy teachers unions:
“The Department of Education: I will either consolidate with another agency, or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller. I’m not going to get rid of it entirely,” Romney said, explaining that part of his reasoning behind preserving the agency was to maintain a federal role in pushing back against teachers’ unions. Romney added that he learned in his 1994 campaign for Senate that proposing to eliminate the agency was politically volatile.
At that time, Sen. Ted Kennedy ran ads against Romney — then a political neophyte — accusing him of being uncaring for saying he wished to eliminate the agency.
Romney told the audience here tonight (along with the Weekly Standard in an interview in early April) that that experience remains fresh in his mind. It’s contributed to his caution in publicly naming federal agencies and programs he would eliminate or dramatically curtail.
Romney’s Big Idea is that if more of you mommies would do your job and stay at home instead of working for fun, your kids would get a better education. Let this be yet another lesson to you lazy parasites. You shouldn’t take money from the government to pay for your children’s food, but you also should stay at home in the early years. Make it work on one of Romney’s great middle class jobs that pay $19,000.00 a year.
A man who thinks that $19,000 a year is a good middle class job also thinks one of the answers to education is having one parent stay at home in the early years. Math much, Mitt?
Mitt Romney gloated over his imaginary Democratic “war on moms”; but in reality, Mitt Romney’s policies are a war on working moms – both working stay at home moms and working outside of the home moms. Many stay at home moms are struggling to get by financially; not all are wealthy. How is Mitt Romney supporting one parent at home when his policies remove all options for working moms?
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.