Women fear economic issues most this election

Amy Oliver Cooke Contributor
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Lately, Colorado women have been seeing plenty of “fear factor” television advertising. Over the past few weeks, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has spent thousands of dollars on TV ads to scare women into believing that Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck is anti-woman and will infringe upon a woman’s right to have an abortion.

This strategy may backfire on appointed Democrat Senator Michael Bennet and his supporters because it assumes that in 2010 women are single-issue voters. It even prompted Denver Post editorial page editor Dan Haley to write, “No one in 2010 is talking about social issues except Bennet. This election is about the economy. It’s about jobs. It’s about taxes. It’s about health care. It’s about the debt. It’s about voter anger.”

A Gallup survey released last month supports Haley’s observation about the 2010 election. The top issues on the minds of Americans include the economy, jobs, “dissatisfaction” with government, the federal budget deficit, health care and immigration. Abortion didn’t even crack the top 10.

It is true for women, as well. Kellyanne Conway, a Republican who specializes in polling female voters, told Politico that her recent survey shows, “Women are looking at this election almost entirely through an economic lens.”

Conway conducted the survey of 600 women voters between September 30 and October 3. Forty-one percent identified themselves as Democrats, 37 percent identified themselves as Republicans and 15 percent identified themselves as independents. Conway found that a majority of women don’t like much of the legislation this Congress passed, such as health care reform and the “stimulus” package, both of which got an affirmative vote from Senator Bennet.

Perhaps most worrisome for Bennet, these women concerned about economic issues are motivated to take action. Conway’s results show that more than two-thirds of those registered to vote are “100 percent likely to vote.”

Conway’s and Gallup’s findings support my own experiences. As the founder of Mothers Against Debt (MAD), I’ve spoken to women throughout Colorado and the rest of the country. Abortion or reproductive rights has never been mentioned as a top issue for this election.

So many women understand what is at stake in 2010, and for them it isn’t reproductive rights.

Based on polls and my experience, a majority of women fear our children will grow up to find a world with fewer opportunities — and where 10 percent unemployment is the norm. We fear that when our sons and daughters start working, most of their paychecks will be consumed by taxes used to pay the debts we incurred.

The women with whom I’ve spoken are outraged at how government recklessly spends our money. We care when government uses $181,406 of our money to study how cocaine enhances the sex drive of the Japanese quail; or $2.6 million to train Chinese prostitutes, in China, to drink responsibly; or $3.9 million to develop a sex education video game for kids. These may seem like inconsequential expenditures, but they represent disrespect for our money. Every dime government wastes is a dime less that we can use to raise and care for our children.

The arrogance of Washington and the fear that we will be the first generation to leave our children worse off angers many. That’s why a growing number of women (and men) are joining Mothers Against Debt, which is dedicated to letting our elected representatives know that it’s unacceptable to rack up trillion-dollar deficits each year.

Mothers Against Debt holds no meetings and doesn’t require any dues. Members take a simple pledge to hold accountable any elected official, bureaucrat or government employee who has access to taxpayer money, who adds to our children’s debt.

As of this writing, a child born in the United States owes more than $43,818 for his share of the national debt, which does not include the roughly $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities. If that child is born in Colorado, his debt burden, including state and local debt, is nearly $53,000. It’s fiscal child abuse, and responsible parents won’t stand for it anymore.

The reproductive rights fear factor is out of place in this election. The real fear for MAD moms does not come from whether or not our teenage daughters will have unfettered access to an abortion; the real fear comes from what type of economic catastrophe we will leave our sons and daughters to face.

Amy Oliver Cooke is the founder of Mother Against Debt, www.MothersAgainstDebt.com.