Women in Power Would Mean Higher Taxes, If a Better Country

A kinder, gentler country? Maybe. But we'd pay for it.

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

My TJS colleague Mary Kate Cary refers us to an interesting Christian Science Monitor opinion piece by her former Bush #41 speechwriting colleague, Mark Lange, who proposes that women might do better running the world than men:

Doubt it? Here's a test. Would any of the women you admire have set up a healthcare system as Byzantine, costly, and underperforming as America's? Or a financial system where mortgage lenders don't have to care about being paid back? Or a bailout that spends $1 trillion in public money to subsidize the purchase of junk debt from the same geniuses that generated it?

I agree with him on all those points except for one thing: Let's look at societies where women have been in charge and see if they have made major differences in healthcare and finance. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was as much a "man" as any of her conservative colleagues when it came to keeping taxes low. The British public healthcare system is and always has been a bureaucratic mess (long waits for poor quality service) and I'm not sure what if any impact Thatcher had on it.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is coming to the end of her first four-year term. Before becoming president she ran the Chilean health service. According to the government's website, she made major improvements in Chile's healthcare system while running it:

As Minister, Bachelet established a system whereby patients could make appointments over the phone by calling toll-free numbers. She also extended medical and dental coverage for all patients in the public health system and instituted a policy guaranteeing medical treatment within 24 hours to all children under one year old and all seniors over 65.Medical clinics were opened on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the country during the wintertime, and were kept open later every day of the week, until 8:00 pm. Special medical facilities were created for children and adults with acute respiratory infections, which are common in Chile during the winter months and sometimes fatal.

But this is, of course, according to the website of the government she now runs, so bias cannot be avoided.

Would women run a kinder, gentler world? Probably. But they'd also most likely run a higher-tax world, at least initially. And I'm not sure America is ready for that.

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