Read My Red Lips: RECESSION

By Katie Kieffer

Woman applying lipgloss

Image credit: “Sweet insanity” by Marcelo Moltedo” on Flickr via Creative Commons.

If you’re tracking the economy, start tracking women’s lips. If they’re red, plump and glossy, then you know that the economy is heading into a recession.

With the possible exception of Kim Kardashian, who has millions to blow on 72-day marriages, American women are putting off big-ticket investments like weddings, childbirth or home ownership because of the economy. Instead, they’re buying lipstick. Lots and lots of lipstick.

During the 2001 recession, Estée Lauder chairman emeritus Leonard Lauder conceived the “lipstick index” to describe the spike in cosmetic sales he witnessed during hard economic times. Today, lipstick and nail polish sales are soaring through the roof even as women struggle to keep roofs over their heads. As of October of 2011, lipstick sales were up 14 percent annually and nail polish sales were up 54 percent.

The reason women are opting for lipstick over houses is not because women don’t know how to budget. It’s because socialist and unconstitutional public policies have ravaged our free market economy to the point where the only self-help item many American women can immediately afford is a tube of lipstick or a jar of nail polish.

The Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate jumped to 8.2 percent in May—its first increase in nearly a year. For the third month in a row, U.S. businesses reported anemic job growth. May netted 69,000 new jobs (125,000 new jobs a month barely preserves status-quo). We also learned that part-time work, not full-time, is the secret behind many of the so-called “gains” in the latest jobs report. So, now economists are predicting yet another recession.

Unless you’re literally a Barbie doll, buying a home is a long shot for many women. Movoto Real Estate recently estimated that the price of a tiny 21 sq. foot home (the size of Barbie’s Malibu Dream House) on the real Malibu Beach would be $18,000. Unfortunately, real women cannot miniaturize themselves when the economy goes bad, so they are stuck with six-figure-plus home prices whether they have a job or not.

The American Dream. Image credit: "Human House" by {link url="http://www.flickr.com/photos/silent7seven/4184216102/"}silent7seven{/link} on Flickr via Creative Commons.

The American Dream. Image credit: “Human House” by silent7seven on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Besides preventing women (and men) from buying homes, the poor economy and job market is preventing young people from getting married and starting families. “Recessions have remained the one consistent predictor of American family size, with dips in birth and marriage rates immediately following the 1981-82, 1990-91 and 2001 recessions as well as the current downturn,” reports TIME Magazine.

In 2010, the Census Bureau reported that number of individuals who were cohabitating with a member of the opposite sex jumped 13 percent. Demographers blame this historic jump on the poor job market, pointing out that in many cases one partner lost their job or the economy made it tough for the couple to afford two separate living spaces.

Certainly, many young people cohabitate because they see marriage as a relic of the past. However, the poor job market accounts for the recent spike in people who otherwise would choose to date while living independently. The job market has essentially forced many women to (at least temporarily) throw marriage out the window in favor of survival. “People say they want to get married, but Americans are much less likely to actually be married than in the past,” writes Pew researcher D’Vera Cohn.

The lousy job market also puts car ownership out-of-reach. The average American is driving 6 percent fewer miles a year than they did in 2004. Additionally, the number of 14-to-34-year-olds without a driver’s license has climbed from 21 percent in 2000 to 26 percent in 2010, according to an April 5, 2012 study by the Frontier Group. Cars are just too expensive and President Obama’s subsidies for electric car battery technology that may start fires have simply thrown taxpayer money into the ash heap. Meanwhile, there is no use denying that Obama’s policies have caused gas prices to soar.

Obama’s unconstitutional and socialist policies like increasing taxes on the wealthy, subsidizing green technology, subsidizing college tuition, and blocking American drilling and mining are directly responsible for sending women to the cosmetic counter instead of the wedding chapel, the car dealership or the mortgage firm. (Not just Obama’s policies. Bill Clinton started a housing crisis which led to an overall economic downturn and George W. Bush did not do enough to reverse Clinton’s errors.)

Lipstick is nice, but, at the end of the day, most women would prefer to invest in houses, cars, weddings and children. Polls indicate that women are looking to put an economic-savvy job-creator in the White House; women intuitively understand the futility of socialism to satisfy their deepest hopes and dreams.

I think American women are ready to take their lipsticks and paint this note on President Obama’s bathroom mirror: “You’re fired! Ciao!”

Red lipstick and nail polish

Image credit: “red lipstick&&red nails” by thedramaqueentakesphotos on Flickr via Creative Commons.

To bring Katie to speak at your college campus or professional event, please complete this form to inquire about booking a speech.

Book Katie to speak Join e-List Purchase a book


  1. Kris says:

    Speak it! Great piece.

  2. Robert L. Gisel says:

    A most interesting economic indicator. It makes sense that in uncertain times people will hold on harder to their trusted habits just when they should be willing to change to something more workable.

    Your parenthetical is well noted where Bush "did not do enough to reverse Clinton's errors", for those who would say the same of the Bush to Obama scenario. It is too kind of you to refer to these as errors, however.

    Thanks for the post. Now I know where the girls have gone.

  3. Lodzia says:

    Katie, "Go, girl!"

Choose your avatar

Please choose an avatar by clicking above. If an avatar is not selected, the bottom-right default icon will be chosen.

Custom avatar

* Use Arrow Keys to Navigate Comment Box *
** Your email address will not be published **

Thanks for visiting KatieKieffer.com! Please know that your comments are your sole opinion and they are not endorsed by Katie or KatieKieffer.com even if they are posted. Please remember you are a visitor on this site and your commenting and posting privileges may be revoked if you fail to comply with the Terms of Use.