Friday, April 13, 2012

Romney's Wife, The Economy, and the President

Alright, I'm done ranting about how I will hate voting for Romney.  He's been given a gift in this attack on his wife that that can generate some real followers, if he's willing to use it.  As  a stay-at-home-mom, Ann Romney can speak with some authority about micro-economics.  I offer these suggestions from my own experience as a part-time adjunct instructor at a local university, as a home-schooling mom, as a care-giver for a disabled adult, as a wife, as a mother...  As what Simcha Fischer today calls an a-typical mom.

Because I only work part-time, I need child care for my son about 4 hours, one day a week.  Rather pay for him to go to a daycare where he would be surrounded by children much younger than he, he goes to the home of another home-school family.  She teaches him art, and I make them dinner that day.  Her side job is making home spun and died yarns, and the knitted items that come from them, as well as home made jewelry.  She has home-schooled her five children for years.    Ann Romney could talk about how this woman is clearly not lazy.

Ann Romney could talk about the effect of inflation on women and mothers in the last 3 years.  In the good old days of 2008, I could find a fair variety of meats on sale at the grocery store for under $2 a pound.  Now I'm lucky if I can find ground beef under $3.  In the salad days of '08, I could buy romaine lettuce or collard greens for under $1 a bunch.  Now it's closer to $2.  Butter, milk, cheese, flour, yeast, (yeah, I bake my own bread) have seen similar rises.  Canned tomatoes, frozen veggies, even dried beans and rice have almost doubled in price.  Mrs. Obama says we need to eat fresh and buy local, organic...  at the current prices, my family can't afford it.  Mrs. Romney could talk about Mrs. Obama's unrealistic expectations for us.

Filling our tank cost about $35 in '08.  This week it cost about $65.  In '08 I could buy two pairs of work jeans on sale for my husband for under $30.  Yesterday I paid $65 for the same style of jeans after the multiple discounts Kohls provides.

From a micro-economic perspective, inflation has gone up at an alarming rate.  Our basic necessities have about doubled in price.  But national inflation rates appear static. I don't know enough to be sure, but I think someone's playing with the way inflation is calculated in order to make stats look a lot better than my grocery bill.

I'm no economist, although I play one in the grocery store, but should Ann Romney talk about her experiences, and those of other stay-at-home-moms trying to manage a home?  Maybe her husband made enough money that she wouldn't feel the same about the economic pinch as I do.

But even among the wealthy, choices have been made.  Clean your house yourself, rather than provide employment to someone.  Drop the club membership, and someone else loses a job.  Eat at home more frequently, and restaurants close.  So while the wealthy lose some cushion, those they employ get hit hard.  These are real trickle-down consequences to inflation.  Ann and Mitt Romney could both talk about that.

The point is, everyone feels the pinch in a different way.  But moms, who stay home and manage the home, can see the real effects.  Everyday.  Economist can lie to themselves.  They can't lie to us.
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