UnderCover Waitress: Waitress Moms

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Waitress Moms

I can't let election season end without commenting on Waitress Moms. We've all heard the term, no? According to Globe and Mail, Waitress Moms are white, uneducated and working class women. I might add, they don't sound very bright.

I know a lot of waitresses. They come in all colors of the rainbow, and much to the chagrin of self-important customers who must feel superior, waitresses also have all levels of education. "Waitress Mom" was coined to describe a female demographic that is easily duped because she does not read nor analyze news sources. Therefore, she is fair game for dubious political advertisements on television. Two paragraphs from Globe and Mail:

Waitress moms abandoned Mr. Romney in big numbers in the wake of his “47 per cent” remark. Many of these women may not make enough to pay income taxes, but they resented Mr. Romney’s suggestion that they are “dependent on government.”
 Yet, these waitress moms had a lot to do with Mr. Romney’s rise in the polls after the first presidential debate on Oct. 3. The precariousness of their economic situation – millions of working-class women have been unable to find full-time employment in the past four years – led them to take a second look at the Republican nominee.

The article goes on to point out that Waitress Moms favor Obama for his stance on women's rights to health care, including preventive health services and abortion. As far as the news is concerned, Waitress Moms seem to flip-flop and change their minds as often as Romney.

I thought the Dallas News article, "Waitress Moms" May Serve Up Big Impact On Presidential Election, make the demographic sound especially, well, stupid. A single mother whose children receive Medicaid is quoted as saying "I don't want [their Medicaid] messed with" but is considering voting for Romney. And this from another Waitress Mom considering Romney:
“Women worked so hard to get where we are today and to take our rights away from us is — no,” she said, shaking her head.
Well, let's see: Romney and Ryan wish to repeal Obamacare and turn Medicare and Medicaid into a voucher system. "Voucher system" boils down to once you have used up your credits, you pay out of pocket or go without. Obama supports the idea that this Waitress Mom's children have access to health care. And what about women's rights? Ryan thinks your 15 year old sister's rape and subsequent pregnancy is a precious little bean and gift from G-d. Obama supports women's rights to control their bodies and their health care.

The president is a consistent man; he also supports Lily Ledbetter equal pay for equal work. Which brings me to why Waitress Moms say they are considering Romney: the economy. Which blows my mind; Romney does not support the government protecting women from pay discrimination in the workplace.

I think a big part of the problem is that people do not understand all of the various forms of income. Salaries, wages and tips are not the half of it; these are the types of working class income that people who work for a living must pay up to 35% taxes. Investment incomes, interest, capital gains, fees, bonuses, and more are all taxed at lower rates, but they are income. If you can swing it just right, you don't even need to work. Should you not pay taxes on all types of income? Obama will raise taxes on these other forms of income, not on some waitress's tips.

Back to Waitress Moms, Bryce Covert, writing for Forbes, gives more credit to the ability of Waitress Moms to analyze the message from both candidates. However, she is too disturbed by the fact that a Waitress Mom can think that she must change the name given to the demographic: white, uneducated women in the working class are dubbed "Secretary Moms" by Covert.
"...men can no longer graduate high school knowing they can easily land a factory job. But it’s hit women just as hard. These are the waitress moms, but they might be better described as secretary moms, because this mid-wage job loss has been concentrated among secretaries and administrative assistants." 
She is correct, but I thought the term Waitress Mom was coined, at least in part, because those who lost their administrative assistant jobs went to work as waitresses. Which has everything to do with the fear of more job losses.

It seems to boil down to whether a voter wishes to continue to trust "trickle down" and giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, or whether the American voter will choose to even the playing field by building a society that works together. Tax the wealthy, build the infrastructure, and give the middle class the breathing room to keep the economy going. As long as we continue to pander to the lies of the greedy billionaires, the majority of American citizens will be hungry, cold, and wondering where all the jobs are.

Covert ends her article:

"... women feel the pain and know that everyone needs more help in a down economy.
 Obama’s lead with women still holds with those who have a college degree, who also gave him 52 percent of their votes in 2008. But a new allegiance from working-class women could add even more momentum this time around. Secretary moms, out of work and feeling the burden of difficult times, may be turning toward a Democrat in the hopes of giving everyone a better chance to escape this mess."

I hope she is right.


  1. Very well put, Under Cover.

    Bottom line, every single thing I have seen out of Romney and the GOP throughout the campaign demonstrates their fondest wish to turn back the clock socially speaking, to pander to the paranoid fringe, to go back sixty years in time to a Father Knows Best sort of America.

  2. Sigh, I hate when they make such broad generalizations about the electorate.
    I guess the one common denominator for moms who wait tables is lack of healthcare, since restaurants rarely provide coverage. My "waitress mom" coworker makes enough to pay plenty in taxes, but not enough to afford health insurance. So like many of us uninsured folk, she is voting for Obama in the hopes that she *might* get some kind of coverage.
    The millionaires may spend a little more money if they get their tax breaks from Romney but it will be on Prada and Swiss vacation homes and not at the restaurants we work at. Trickle down is more like dribble down.


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