In spite of his own mostly impressive educational pedigree, President Obama has always harbored an anti-intellectual (or, to be generous, anti-academic) streak. Whether insulting art history in a failed appeal to "Real 'Muricans," or developing a philistine "College Scorecard," which reduces the entire value of education to future earnings, it's become apparent that in the president's estimation, American higher education should basically be a network of pretty good trade schools. You know, the kind of place where the “folks” drop their G’s when engaging in conversation.
Now, in his new tax proposal, the president is taking aim at another segment of academia: the feminist Left. As Ramesh Ponnuru points out at Bloomberg View, Obama "wants to triple the existing tax credit for child-care expenses, and create a new credit for second earners. Those proposals will help some parents and couples, but have nothing to offer families where one parent concentrates on home-based tasks."
Starting several decades ago, feminist scholars began drawing attention to the vast amount of uncompensated labor – cleaning, cooking etc. - that occurs in the home. The lion's share of this work is of course performed by women. A 1988 tome entitled If Women Counted showed, in the words of reviewer Julie A. Nelson, “how the unpaid work traditionally done by women has been made invisible within national accounting systems.” That women’s domestic labor is unfairly compensated and accounted for has become an article of faith in elite Gender Studies and Sociology departments across the country. But now, President Obama seems set on exacerbating the inequities that feminist scholars have discovered by subsidizing women who choose to work outside the home, and offering not even a pittance to women whose home-based labor is already undervalued.
President Obama almost certainly pulled down something approaching Soviet levels of support in those Gender Studies and Sociology departments, of course. Truly, has there ever been a president so contemptuous of his own most vociferous supporters?