"Money is one of the greatest instruments of freedom ever invented by man." — F. A. Hayek
Money may have been invented by man, but most of it passes through woman's hands and her handbag! Consider this:
Women make or influence 85% of all spending decisions in the U.S.
80% of all personal checks are signed by women
$55 billion of the $96 billion worth of electronics sold were bought by women
The number of women buying cars has now surpassed men
Money is the economy's medium of exchange and a method of voluntary cooperation. It is how producers are rewarded for their intellectual and physical labor, and how consumers acquire the goods, services and property they value.
Choices, choices, choices. When a woman is free to choose her production and consumption, she has the ability to solve her economic problems. True, she may need to weigh her choices carefully: Should she take the better paying job or the more interesting one? Should she purchase health insurance coverage or a new car? But as long as the choices are hers to make, she is empowered to live life and pursue happiness in her own unique way.
American women have enjoyed personal and economic liberty for so long that we may take it for granted. Can we lose it? Yes, we can ... if we let either our personal finances or our capitalist free-market economic system slip away from us.
Chances are you will make some of your most important personal and financial decisions between your 18th and 30th birthdays. These decisions may include post-secondary education, employment, debt, savings and investment, marriage, homebuying, and having children.
It pays to take control of your personal financial health early in life. But "financial savvy doesn't come naturally," write Kellyanne Conway and Celinda Lake, authors of What Women Really Want; "it has to be taught and learned."
The FOX Business News and Kiplinger websites offer an array of online money and career management tools, calculators and resources to get you started, and we've added links to a few of those tools so you can check them out.
It's your life, so take control. You can rely on many counselors, but no one will manage your life better than you.
American women have made great economic strides in the past few decades.
The percentage of women over 25 with a bachelor's degree (28%) is virtually on par with men (29.5%)
A majority of first year law, dental, and veterinarian students are now women
Women are a labor and economic force to be reckoned with - they are property owners, business owners, and investors
Women, in fact, make the capitalist free-market economic engine purr, even if we may privately admit we don't understand it all that well.
Our economy is simple and yet amazingly complex. As economist Milton Friedman illustrates in the two-minute video, The Pencil, it operates through the free, independent, and cooperative actions of millions of individuals, each working in their own self-interest to better their lives. (Want a quick primer? Read Karol Boudreaux's The Freedom and Economics of Choice).
Some nations, however, live under a socialist centrally-planned economic system, which operates through the dictates of an authoritarian rulers or ruling elites. In full socialist economies, individuals are disempowered completely: no choices, no risks or rewards, and no property ownership.
Americans already live under two major socialist-style policies put into place in the early 1900s: the government public school system, where government officials (not parents) choose a child's school; and the federal Social Security system, where government officials (rather than individuals) choose citizens' general retirement plan.
How are those working for you?
Conservative British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has it right in the video (right) when she says socialist policies make everyone, including the poor, poorer. Experience teaches that the socialist economic system eventually collapses under its own weight. Worse, socialist policies can become a slippery slope to the kind of totalitarianism that devastated people in some European nations during the last century.
Capitalism is your economy, and if you like making decisions for yourself, you need to protect it!
A woman's financial, or economic, liberty can not be separated from her individual, or personal, liberty: they are inextricably connected. So it pays for women to understand the public policy process and actively seek to influence policy decisions.
Government is the one entity with sufficient coercive power to interfere with women's personal and economic liberty. Government taxes, regulations, programs, tariffs, subsidies, bail-outs - no matter how well-intentioned - are never neutral in their effect. They privilege some while hurting others.
Government Coercion. If government enacts laws requiring everyone to buy health insurance coverage with costly maternity and infant care, the woman with no need of these types of medical services is forced to pay much higher monthly insurance premiums than necessary. She loses two freedoms: her personal freedom to choose a health care plan better suited to her needs; and her economic freedom to choose how her earnings are spent. Moreover, she is forced to subsidize the cost of others' health care. (For an overview of the health care debate, read Who Should Pay for Health Care? See also Investors.com's list of 20 ways freedom is lost under the recently enacted Obamacare.)
Government as Moral Dictator. Governments also use laws, regulations and taxes to coerce human behavior to achieve a government-defined moral objective. In such cases, government acts as a moral dictator, supplanting the citizen's personal code of good-and-bad or right-and-wrong with a centrally-planned one. A simple example is the 'sin' tax imposed on alcohol and tobacco. A more complex example is the array of 'climate crisis' laws, regulations and taxes that subtly dictate the types of cars produced, the forms of fuel and energy people have available to use, the conditions under which a private property owner can farm or build a home, the foods available, etc.
American women have achieved unprecedented economic advancement and independence during the past century. We can sustain these advancements - and the right to live life and pursue happiness on our own terms - only if we safeguard the liberty and capitalist economic system that made them possible.
Economic Freedom in America - the second in a series of short videos explaining how economic freedom affects Americans' quality of life:
The Triumphant Return of Hayek | Newsweek | Keynes, Friedman, and Hayek were leading lights of the three most influential schools of economic thought of the last century ... The systematic perversion of Keynes’s and Friedman’s thought is now resulting in a fall in their fortunes, leaving Hayek triumphant, once again.
Wage Gap Between Men and Women Due to Individual Choices | US Dept of Labor Report prepared by CONSAD Research Corporation (2009) | Conclusion: "...the differences in the compensation of men and women are the result of a multitude of factors and that the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers” [emphasis added].
Capitalism on Campus | Future of Capitalism | Improving the teaching about capitalism on major university campuses
Liberty and Tyranny
Mark Levin, Threshold Editions, 2009| An antidote to the tyranny in our time and nation, the last chapter offers a Conservative Manifesto that will warm the heart of every conservative woman.
The End of Prosperity: How Taxes Will Doom the Economy, if we let it happen
Arthur B. Laffer, Stephen Moore, & Peter J. Tanous, Threshold Editions, 2008| The U.S. is in an economic crisis, and Americans are worried. This new book explains to the layman which policies have proven to attract capital, expand industry and jobs, and build prosperity - and why other policies have failed miserably. Readers will find it an understandable roadmap for turning the U.S. economy from crisis to recovery, and a timely, useful guide by which to judge elected leaders' handling of the nation's economy.
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism
Robert P. Murphy, Regnery Publishing, 2007| The liberal media and propagandists masquerading as educators have filled the world - and deformed public policy - with politically correct errors about capitalism and economics in general. This book cuts through all their nonsense, shattering liberal myths and fashionable socialist cliches to set the record straight.