News Release

The Day After “State of the Union” Speech, Critics Charge Double Standard for Parents


Some researchers said Wednesday that President Clinton’s proposal to provide a tax credit for parents who stay home to care for their children is based on a double standard. The specialists contended that Clinton’s new plan is at odds with his welfare reform policy.

Among those available for interviews:

A professor of social policy at the School of Social Work at Hunter College, Abramovitz said that “the $250 tax credit proposed by the president for stay-at-home parents — mostly mothers — usefully recognizes the value of women’s work in the home as does the popular income-tax deduction for the care of dependents…. This thinking stands in sharp contrast to the lack of support for parenting found in the administration’s welfare reform policy.”
Abramovitz added: “The early research, tracking women forced off the welfare rolls, finds most of them deeply anxious about what is happening to their kids while they are away from home. As one woman on welfare said, `Poor kids need their moms too.’ The proposed child tax credit for stay-at-home mothers is only one of many ways that U.S. social policies reveal a double standard for women based on their marital status and income level. But it is one of the most blatant and hypocritical — given the bipartisan insistence that women on welfare `work first’ regardless of their own or their family’s needs.”

The author of books titled “Regulating the Lives of Women” and “Under Attack, Fighting Back: Women and Welfare in the United States,” Abramovitz said Wednesday: “Why not give poor women on welfare the same consideration and the same choices that we give to other women — often with more resources — who want or need to stay home with their kids?”

Withorn, professor of social policy at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, commented that Clinton delivered his State of the Union speech “in utter denial of the disappeared Americans: the 50 percent of recipients who have left the welfare rolls but not found jobs; the single mothers who still need assistance taking care of their families and now with welfare’s virtual end are tempted to return to batterers; the welfare moms being denied the same chance to attend college he pledges to guarantee others; the increasing numbers of people who are homeless and hungry. They weren’t in his `strong Union.'”
Withorn added that Clinton “wants to pretend that his policies have not created an even larger group of people who are denied access to the national community of which he is so proud.” Co-editor of “For Crying Out Loud: Women’s Poverty in the U.S.,” Withorn criticized Clinton’s policies the day after his speech: “The federal government that he proclaims as `a progressive instrument of the common good’ has made things worse for millions of poor Americans.”

For more information, contact the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167