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John Stossel: The bogus war on women

You've probably heard that Democratic Party leaders decided that a way to win votes this November is to shout loudly that Republicans wage "war on women." Politico calls this a "proven, persuasive argument."

Give me a break. The idea of a conservative "war on women" is as silly as propaganda I was taught in college: Aside from sex organs, genders are exactly equal, said my leftist professors, and any admission of differences between men and women is oppressive.

I was taught that the only reason boys and girls behave differently is because we're raised differently. If society and parents were to treat genders the same, behavior differences would vanish. I believed it.

Then I had kids, and spent more time with kids, and learned what a fool I'd been.

Back in my ABC News days, I did a TV show about the differences. A typical mom said, "We gave them each trucks. She just wouldn't play with trucks. We wouldn't let him play with guns, so he pretended carrots were guns."

There were exceptions, of course. But it turns out that there's plenty of science documenting that men and women are just programmed differently.

Yet when I reported on that, feminist icon Gloria Steinem told me that gender differences shouldn't even be studied. She sneered, it's "anti-American, crazy thinking to do this kind of research."

At the time, fire departments had dropped strength tests to avoid being accused of sex discrimination. When I told Steinem that one of my interviewees complained that instead of being carried during a fire, now she would be dragged downstairs, with her head hitting each stair, Steinem retorted, "It's better to drag them out ... there's less smoke down there."

Such mindless egalitarianism appeals to politicians, so governments push more of it. President Barack Obama and his supporters brag that Obamacare forces health insurance companies to sell men and women health insurance for the exact same price. On my TV show this week, Democratic activist Jehmu Greene asks indignantly, "Do you want to live in a country where you charge women more than men?"

Well, yes, I do. Insurance should account for costs. Women go to doctors much more often. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say, even if you exclude pregnancy visits, women are 33 percent more likely to visit a doctor. Insurance companies used to reflect that in prices. That isn't bigotry — it's just math.

Insurance companies still charge men more for car and life insurance. A survey of car insurance companies found that the cheapest policy for a woman cost 39 percent less than for a man. A 60-year-old woman pays 20 percent less than a man for a 10-year life insurance policy. Seventy-year-old women pay half as much as men.

That's just math, too, because most women live longer than men and, despite the "woman-driver" stereotype, we men get into more car accidents.

I don't hear activists complaining about men paying too much. The "victim" propaganda works only when women pay more.

The sexes are simply different. Yet government demands that colleges have gender-equal sports participation. It's fine if dance and art groups are mostly women, but if athletic teams are too male, lawsuits follow.

Obama even cynically repeats the misleading claim that women make 77 cents for every dollar men make, although his own Department of Labor says the difference evaporates once you control for experience and other choices.

Government once even claimed that Hooters discriminates against men because it hires big-breasted female waiters. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission only dropped its complaint after Hooters ran a commercial showing a hairy male server wearing Hooters' skimpy uniform. Good for Hooters for mocking the bureaucrats; most companies just cringe and pay.

Liberal social engineers may dream of a society where genders are exactly equal, but that's nonsense. Men and women are different. We should celebrate that difference instead of claiming that women are victims.

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed."


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Michael Layon said:

John Stossel hit the ball out the park with this. Isn't Ted Kennedy the only politician with a confirmed kill on women? Remind me to which party he belongs? Oh yeah, the same one as our very own Jeanne Shaheen who laments and votes on the oft repeated lie that women earn less than men. When I called her office and asked if she could name a SINGLE company in NH or in any of the states where this is true, she was unable to do so. Not one! The WSJ ran an article a few weeks ago finally elucidating one industry which is dominated by men and typically pays women much less-Hollywood-the progressive playground. Whatever happened to celebrating the differences of BOTH genders? It is when we unite that we are successful, but it seems than when we can be divided we are more easy to control in elections. Women voters, Black voters, etc. Am I alone in still believing all men (mankind) are endowed with the same unalienable rights at birth and that natural anatomical and physiological differences are something that should bring us together, not divide us? If anyone thinks I am THAT nuts try this: go outside and observe all of the birds returning to NH. Ask yourself if the males and females all behave identically or if there are indeed gender differences? Those differences are complementary and no different in humans.
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March 14, 2014 9:23 am


"Am I alone in still believing all men (mankind) are endowed with the same unalienable rights at birth and that natural anatomical and physiological differences are something that should bring us together, not divide us?" Actually, the unalienable right idea originated from our Declaration of Independence and our Constitutional framework. It was that declaration and that constitution that made 'unalienable rights' a real statement in fact. Brilliant, of course. But a very different attitude than what came before. The issue of equal pay is real. Guys tend to be buddies at work still. It's natural and unsurprising. Women are more than half the population but are far less than half in Congress. We've never had a woman President or Vice President. We finally have a man of color as President and look at the 'in your face' opposition he's getting from the hugely white Republican party--no matter the issue, no matter his proposal, he faces unrelenting, unanimous opposition to anything and everything. You find that un-natural? I don't. It's quite explainable, but we're not supposed to finger the real motivation because, well, it's so unseemly. What with the unalienable rights stuff and all way back when we owned slaves. We have a long way to go yet.
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March 15, 2014 10:40 am


Stossel is an apologist for the status quo. So he automatically begins by constructing barriers to innovation or to approaching a problem differently. He's a 'no' type of guy. This is the attitude we must reject. We must instead embrace the attitude that what we need is more cooperation and less finger-pointing, which is Stossel's sole tactic by the way. As to health insurance, that is different than providing medical care. Insurance does discriminate based upon profitability. Unfortunately we're not talking cars and houses with medical care, we are talking lives. Different issues involved, and insurance really isn't critical to any solution. Think of it this way, in total, the number of people who get sick and need a doctor is unaffected by anything involving insurance. We need to address the total problem, which is a lot of people cannot get affordable access to high quality health care. There is no private market solution to solving this problem. Stossel cannot admit that because he's a 'no' type of guy. Unfortunately there's a lot of 'guys' who feel this way--and a lot fewer women, by the way. Just saying.
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March 15, 2014 10:56 am


Chris, how can you say people don't have access to high quality affordable health care? Is that not precisely what the ACA is supposed to provide now that it is law? Years in the making the president still arbitrarily postpones or changes parts of his own law depending on political expediency. Blaming congress in general or the GOP in particular is now just an automatic reaction by you and many other liberal/"progressives". You have been a proponent and cheerleader for the ACA but now say lack of access is the problem, which is it Chris?
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March 15, 2014 2:57 pm


Chris you correctly pointed put that we have never had a woman president, despite women outnumbering men. Clearly the women aren't voting for them, or maybe they're too ill to go to the polls due yo lack of healthcare access as a result of the conservative war on women?
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March 15, 2014 3:03 pm


Ken, I'm a progressive who wants a single payer, Medicare for all system, that doesn't pay health insurance companies 13-18 cents on every medical dollar. The ACA is still a health insurance centric concoction. It will get more people medical care, but cannot be universal until the costs are brought down substantially, which I don't think it can do and still pay all that money to insurance companies that add no value to medical care. The GOP simply won't allow that to be done. So I tell everyone who has a dimes worth of common sense to vote for Democrats. Nothing personal against Republicans, I know and like many of them. It's just that they've been brainwashed into thinking that so-called 'free markets' can cure all ills. They can't, particularly when the ill is medical.
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March 16, 2014 11:30 am

Michael Layon said:

Mr. Herbert, you are a communist who embraces and fights for the principles of collectivism as written by Marx using many of the strategies written by Alinsky. Progressivism is communism. You lack fact, logic and common sense. You claim there is a war on women, yet cannot name a single company which pays women differently than men when they are equally qualified. Your post above is there for everyone to see, it is you, the progressive, who insists on describing our president by the color of his skin rather than the quality of his character or his actions in office. You are a racist, which you are free to be, but that is disgusting. Comrade Herbert, you attack private slave owners, but think when the government is the slave owner that slavery is just. It is sad that you interject the unrelated topic of healthcare, but sinc you brought it up: Why does the democrat party treat women as a vagina without a brain? Seriously, it is the democrat party which tells women that they can't keep their legs closed and lack the ability to decide with whom they will have sex? Look up Mr. Herbert, women have brains. It is the democrat party which insists on telling women they don't earn as much as men-but can't cite a single example to back up their audacious claim. It is the democrats who defend treating women as "workers", right out of Marx-rather than treating them with respect. IT is the democrat party MR Herbert which insists on abortion on demand AND at the same time paying the dumbest, lest educated people to pop out more children under welfare. You are sick, very, very sick in the head.
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March 16, 2014 1:58 pm

cody whitmore said:

Michael Layton, job well done, that will put Mr Communist Herbert in his place!!!!
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March 17, 2014 1:06 pm


Chris, The GOP "simply wont allow that to be done"? seriously...How many in the GOP voted for the ACA exactly. How many in the GOP have been able to change, block or forestall any of the unilateral changes, made to a LAW mind you, by our president. The president has made it clear that he will do what he feels is necessary for this country with or without congress, including democrats. Any assertion that republicans are in the way is patently false.
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March 18, 2014 3:04 am


Michael Layon well said. As a woman I take real issue with being told I am a victim, that I cannot make decisions for myself about birth control, that I am not being treated fairly, and all the rest of it. Women are perfectly capable and able to make our own choices and I control my income, my family size, and more all by myself. I am sick and tired of Democrats telling me that as a woman the deck is hopelessly stacked against me and that I need them to hold my hand through life. What a horrible message that sends to young girls coming of age. No politician in Washington cares about you; YOU have to care about you.
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March 18, 2014 10:07 am

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