Michele v. Michelle on Breast pumps

What Women Really Think
Feb. 16 2011 1:20 PM

Michele v. Michelle on Breast pumps

/blogs/xx_factor/2011/02/16/michele_bachmann_says_that_michelle_obamas_push_for_taxdeductible_breast_pumps_is_nannystatism/jcr:content/body/slate_image

Whether and how long to breastfeed has long been a flashpoint in the mommy wars (see Hanna Rosin's piece in the Atlantic from a couple years ago for a primer), but the argument's always been about what's best for the baby and the mom. Now, Michele Bachmann wants us to think about what's best for reducing the federal deficit and size of the government when it comes to breastfeeding: She went on Laura Ingraham's radio show to complain about Michelle Obama's push to encourage more women in the African-American community to breastfeed (a community in which 40 percent of children aren't ever breastfed, according to Obama), as part of her broader campaign against childhood obesity, the likelihood of which breastfeeding has been shown to reduce. The IRS also announced that breast pumps would be tax deductible, alongside such medical "flex" expenditures like contact solution and bandages. Bachmann's problem isn't with breast-feeding-she did it for all five of her kids, she notes-but rather with the government incentive to do so.

Advertisement

While breast pumps aren't cheap, they can end up saving a working mom money: Even an expensive model is still less than paying for a good-quality formula for the first year of a baby's life. That way a new mom can get back into the workforce when she's ready-you know, the workforce, that thing that powers and grows the U.S. economy, and that thing that you need to be a part so you don't have to rely on the goverment for "handouts." And don't conservatives love tax breaks? It's hard not to think that Bachmann was more excited by the prospect of making a joke about how this is the defintion of the nanny state (get it?!), and the opportunity to ding Michelle Obama for her crunchy health campaigns and set off some Drudge sirens for herself than she was about thinking through the logical implications of her argument.

Photograph of Michele Bachmann by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Noreen Malone is a senior editor at New York magazine.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Yes, Black Families Tend to Spank More. That Doesn’t Mean It’s Good for Black Kids.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

The World

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies

They’re just not ready to admit it yet.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 16 2014 4:08 PM More Than Scottish Pride Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 1:27 PM The Veronica Mars Spinoff Is Just Amusing Enough to Keep Me Watching
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.