A Ballot Committee of Citizens for Limited Taxation

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her syndicated columns appear weekly in the Salem Evening News and the Lowell Sun; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in other newspapers.

June, 2000

Less government, lower taxes get this woman's vote
By Barbara Anderson

The Caucus of Women Legislators celebrated its 25th anniversary on June 16th at the State House.

I'm not sure what it was celebrating exactly, but I've heard caucus members use the phrase "women in politics." Then someone usually laments the fact that there are so few of them, and someone else blames the "old boy network," which I deplore as well. I just don't see that an "old girl network" would be any improvement.

People sometimes expect that I, being a women, want to see more women both as activists and politicians. All I can honestly say is that I would welcome more politicians of either sex who vote for limited government, and more women AND men who want to work for limited taxation.

As soon as I figure out what I have in common with Hillary, we can talk about "women in politics."

Most Thursdays at noon I have lunch with Marjorie Clapprood on her WMEX radio show. We find a lot to talk about, but when we agree it's not usually about politics. On the other hand, I once did a weekly political show with two men and we agreed roughly 90 percent of the time.

I'm sure there's at least one issue on which I agree with the League of Women Voters, but I can't recall it at the moment.

Of the 52 female legislators, only seven voted for the state income tax rollback that I was collecting signatures on last weekend. And I can't help but notice that more women than men refuse to sign the petition. If this campaign runs true to my past experience, a higher proportion of men voters than women voters will support the tax rollback when it's on the ballot.

I don't understand this: I would expect women, like men, to want to keep more for their own families. In fact, with more women in the workplace, essentially holding two jobs, I would expect them to want to keep their hard-earned paychecks even more than men!

Rent or mortgage on homes with room for kids, children's quickly outgrown clothes, the orthodontist, babysitters, summer camp, family vacations, eventually some support for elderly parents, saving for college and the daughters' wedding not to mention their own retirement if they survive the daily stress: why would women want to give more of their money to the government than men are willing to give?

Most of the women I hang out with think they can spend their paychecks better than politicians can. But ours is not the majority viewpoint of our sex.

Maybe we don't really count as women, just as conservative blacks like J.C. Watts don't really count as blacks to those who define these things. Blacks and women are supposed to be liberal or "progressive" Democrats, right?

Perhaps we're supposed to assume that, unlike white men, we can't quite make it on our own. We have to hope the government has lots of money to hand out, even if that money is ours and could have been invested or saved by us to prepare for our own emergencies.

And for some reason we are not supposed to understand that a high-taxing government tends to spend itself into fiscal crises, so that its help might not be available if people really do need it.

There are women politicians who vote like men politicians, for whatever reasons the men have which rarely make sense either, but there is an assumption contained in the phrase "women in politics" that these women are more concerned with government-funded legislation that "takes care" of people than whatever it is that male politicians are concerned with.

Since women in politics are usually even more inclined than men in politics to want more of my money, as well as more of my freedom as they argue for "safety," I don't worry a lot that the "good old boy" network might keep them from attaining more power. I'd rather neither good old boys nor good old girls who get themselves elected had much power at all.

I once read a play about a society in which the roles were reversed, and women were in charge; without giving away the plot, let me just say that the world was not a better place. The phrase "power corrupts" applied equally to women, once they were given a chance.

Right now, though, the problem with many women is not too much power, but too much naivete when judging a politician who uses their need to be perceived as "caring" to manipulate their votes.

Find me more women who need to be perceived as "freedom-loving and independent"; we can have a caucus of our own.

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