May 23, 2019

Elizabeth Warren and the One-Income Trap

“Recently, under the somewhat unlikely inspiration of Elizabeth Warren, some conservatives have revived an old debate: Did millions of women entering the work force actually make families worse off?

In her lost days as a heterodox public intellectual, Warren made the case that indeed it did, because instead of getting richer, dual-earner households found themselves in what she and her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, called the “two-income trap,” bidding up the price of real estate and child care, losing the division-of-labor benefits of homemaking, and generally working harder for little or no economic gain.

This argument, now almost 15 years old, has been picked up lately by social conservatives worried about the decline of marriage and childbearing and frustrated by the Republican Party’s longstanding inattention to family policy. On Fox News, Tucker Carlson has become a tribune of the idea that the G.O.P. should try to help families live on a single income. And two weekends ago in these pages, Helen Andrews argued that American politics desperately needs a prominent spokeswoman for the desires and interests of mothers who prefer to stay home.”

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