Are Women Responsible For Growth in Goverment?

May 26th, 2008 8:59 PM

John R. Lott, Jr. makes a compelling case in his article posted over at Fox News. Lott writes:

Women's suffrage also explains much of the federal government's
growth from the 1920s to the 1960s. In the 45 years after the
adoption of suffrage, as women's voting rates gradually increased
until finally reaching the same level as men's, the size of state and
federal governments expanded as women became an increasingly
important part of the electorate.

But the battle between the sexes does not end there. During
the early 1970s, just as women's share of the voting population
was leveling off, something else was changing: The American
family began to break down, with rising divorce rates and increasing
numbers of out-of-wedlock births.

Over the course of women's lives, their political views on average
vary more than those of men. Young single women start out being
much more liberal than their male counterparts and are about 50
percent more likely to vote Democratic. As previously noted, these
women also support a higher, more progressive income tax as well
as more educational and welfare spending.

Mr. Lott continues his article surmising why women look for government solutions:

Because women generally shoulder most of the child-rearing responsibilities, married men are more likely to acquire marketable skills that help them earn money outside the household. If a man gets divorced, he still retains these skills. But if a woman gets divorced, she is unable to recoup her investment in running the household.

Hence, single women who believe they may marry in the future, as well as married women who most fear divorce, look to the government as a form of protection against this risk from a possible divorce: a more progressive tax system and other government transfers of wealth from rich to poor. The more certain a woman is that she doesn't risk divorce, the more likely she is to oppose government transfers.

I have an alternative theory. Many big government ideas tug at the heart strings. Emotional arguments appeal to women. For example, those who argue for universal health care cite the millions without health insurance. How can one not want health insurance provided for everyone? Big government types also believe the quality of education will improve if we spend more but forget their logic just doesn't hold up to the actual statistics. Environmentalists also use sentimental pleas by sounding the alarm of having a clean environment for "future generations," all the while calling for the federal government to institute a cap and trade system for carbon emissions.

Every American, male or female, should want accessible health care, a
quality educational system, and a clean environment. However, where liberals
and conservatives differ is how hands on our government should be to deal with these issues.