REPORT FINDS TAX CUTS HURTS WOMEN MORE THAN MEN-Andrew Stelzer

04/06/06

The national council for research on women has published a new report, titled Taxes are a women’s issue; reframing the debate. The report is the kick off of a campaign to try and encourage women, and the media to see through political rhetoric and effectively understand tax policy and the tremendous impact it has on women’s lives. WMNFs Andrew Stelzer has more.

ACT-Entmacher “What were seeing is organizations that focused on healthcare, etc, see that all those issues are being changed because of tax cuts,

Joan Entmacher is the vice president for family economic security at the National Women’s law center.

"What we're seeing today is a lot of groups that have traditionally focused on childcare or healthcare or housing or religious organizations that focus on generally making provisions for the needy have understood that all of those priorities are being undercut by tax cuts.�

Entmacher was one member of the council for research on women who spoke to reporters about their concerns about the misperceptions many Americans—especially women have about tax policy. Linda Basch, president of the national council for research on women, said she wants to make sure the public policy debate on taxes considers women and families more.

“The House of Representatives is just about to pass a budget resolution. Their proposals, to expand tax cuts for the very wealthy and cut vital services will have a detrimental impact on women and their families. Women are more often paid less then men, are more likely to be single parents and live longer than men, have more part-time jobs and more interrupted career paths because they are the nation's primary care givers. According to a New York Times analysis of IRS data the Administration's saved the very wealthy $1 million each on April 15, while those only making $50,000 only save $435 in tax cuts. But as our report shows these tax cuts drain the Federal Government of adequate resources that women especially rely on.�

Entmacher noted that when federal taxes are cut, the loss of revenue is often taken out of federal programs, which aid women and families. Additionally, states often have to make up the difference by raising sales taxes, which often hurt women supporting a family. Calling for a change in federal tax policy, Entmacher suggested that the federal government strengthen childcare expense tax credit. University of Oregon anthropology Professor Sandra Morgan, who is also the director of the university’s center for the study of women in society, said that most tax cuts since 2000 have not benefited women, following a pattern, which began around 1980. Low-income women are now caught in a cycle where those who need tax cuts the most are getting the least benefit.

ACT-Morgan “They're clustered in these lower and middle income groups because of these lower salary and wages, because women have and control less wealth than men, because of there greater responsibility as care-givers effects their aggregate life time earning and simply because they live longer than men. In addition to the economic insecurities and hardships that women face, because of these lower income and less wealth they've also been the big losers as tax policy has showered disproportionate benefits on those with higher incomes.�

Changes to capital gain, dividend, estate, inheritance and corporate income taxes have benefited the wealthy more than the lower and middle class. Meanwhile, Morgen says the government has shifted from taxing wealth to taxing work.

ACT-Morgen “Women have been hit with a double whammy, they benefited far less from the tax cuts of the past quarter century and especially since 2000. And secondly, because of greater family responsibility, especially lower income women are more directly affected by the deep cuts in social programs that have and are projected to take place.

Bonnie Thorten Dill, professor chair of women’s studies at the University of Maryland, and director of the consortium on race gender and ethnicity said the way many politicians characterize the beneficiaries of tax cuts is manipulative and untrue.

ACT-Dill “Women of color receive an disproportionately smaller share of government benefits through the tax system. And thus taxes and the tax policy should be of special concern to them. Ironically public discourse about government benefits suggest the opposite. That poor Blacks and Latinos, particularly women are overly dependent on government benefits. The image of people of color as the primary recipient of undeserved government benefits deflects the ways the tax system protects the rich at the expense of the poor and increasingly the middle class �

Dill says there are actually 2 welfare systems in the United States, but the cuts which benefit the women who need them most have been stigmatized.

“The report distinguishes between the social welfare system, which is a direct benefits to citizens which take to form of payments and services and the fiscal welfare system a system of hidden and invisible benefits, usually distributed through the tax code. While women are the majority of the beneficiaries of the social welfare system and benefit greatly from services offered, they receive much less support, especially women of color, from the fiscal welfare system. The report quotes one study the African-Americans in fact receive smaller payments than white in the social welfare system, veteran benefits, social security and Medicare for example. But there is an even greater disparity of benefits from the fiscal welfare system in such things as private pensions and mortgage interest payments�

Bash says she hopes women will be swayed in this years election by promises of tax cuts that will actually hurt them and their families, and Morgen called on members of the media who were listening to the conference call press conference to play a part in increasing peoples understanding of the importance of tax policy.

“The basic problems with the tax system are comprehensible and you all in the popular press have an enormously important role to play in helping break this down and make it accessible and help people understand that it doesn't take a degree in account or economics to understand the tax system and the fundamental problems with the tax system..�

To view the Taxes are a women’s issue; reframing the debate. Report, log onto www.ncrw.org/researchforaction/

For WMNF news, I’m Andrew Stelzer

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