The Purpose of This Bl;og

By and large, liberals are very decent, kind, and compassionate people who genuinely want what is best. This should be kept in mind as we explore the Law of Unintended Negative Consequences near invariably resulting from Leftist big-hearted solutions to societal problems.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Equal Pay for Equal Work - Wrong Approach

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the notion of income inequality between the sexes isn't a politically manipulative myth, and that eliminating the alleged gender wage gap is rightly a high priority and worth pursuing and promoting, the question remains whether government intrusion into private business and elsewhere is the right approach?

As intimated in the introduction to this series, the wage divide had been shrinking for decades, with no thanks to the government, but liberals weren't satisfied, and after intervening in 2009 with the Ledbetter Equal Pay Act. and designating April 9th as Equal Pay Day, they managed to make matters worse. (See also HERE)

This wasn't the first time that this has happened. Following the passage of the Equal Pay act in 1963 (see HERE),  and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 (see HERE), the wage gap widened from around 40% to about 43% (i.e. women dropped from making 60% to 57% the earnings of men), and for the most part remained above 40% for more than a decade and half (see HERE), or until 1982 when Ronald Reagan became President. (see HERE).

Thus, in spite of their good intents, on multiple occasions the Left just couldn't leave well-enough alone, and had to mess up the works with their favorite entity, the federal government. Clearly, government intrusion was and is the wrong approach.

Logically, then, this leaves us with the salient questions of what, if anything, may be the right approach? What factors may lead to shrinking gender income inequality?

According to the Institute For Women's Policy Research, given the general upward trend in women's earnings in proportion to men since 1960, the gender wage gap will completely close by 2058, presumably absent any direct public policy initiatives. (See HERE)

However, this means that women currently working in the labor force, or who may soon enter, will not achieve complete wage parity with their male counterparts during their work life--not that this is necessarily a bad thing.

And, in spite of what was indicated in my previous posts regarding the "unequal pay for equal work" myth, the rate at which the gender wage gap is shrinking on its own is unacceptable to many liberals, particularly among so-called Millennial Women or Generation X. (See HERE)

I find this fascinating given the fact that the wages of young women (ages 16 to 34) currently average around 90% of men their own age, as compared with older women (35 to 65+) averaging only 74.9% earnings as men their age. (See HERE and HERE).

Therefore, if anyone has cause to complain, it would be older rather than younger women. But, there it is.

So, what, if anything, is to be done to accelerate the gap closure?

According to the IWPR graph, and as intimated earlier, women saw their greatest steady gains towards income parity during the years of 1982 to 1990, when Reagan was in office. It dipped slightly in 1991, but climbed steadily over the last three years of the Bush Sr. administration. Then, it dropped slightly during the first year that Clinton was President, went up the next two years, went down and didn't recover for the next three years, and finally went up during the last two years he was in office. It rose fairly steadily over the eight years of the Bush Jr. Presidency, and then it has since dropped fairly steadily over the last six years that Obama has been in office.

Evidently, then, the more conservative the President, the more shrinkage in the gender wage gap and the greater the gain in wage parity.

Coincidence? Perhaps, though unlikely given the Leftist LUNC mentioned above where liberal government interventions seems to invariably make matters worse.

Ironically, if liberals wish to diminish income inequality between the sexes, the best thing and perhaps the only realistic thing for them to do is elect conservative Presidents, who in turn would leave the matter of income inequity to resolve itself naturally through rational market forces and the free choice of women--assuming that is direction women genuinely wish things to go (i.e. whether they generally wish to work as long and as hard and inflexibly and productively and at the same risky and dirty and challenging and highly competitive jobs as men).

Again, good luck with that.

For an explanation as to why these Leftist LUNCs may occur, please see: Gov: Wrong Tool for the Right Job - Introduction and Cold Nanny as well as The Politics of Compassion, Emotions, Ignorance, Denial, Blame-Shifting, Equality, and Victimization

Friday, February 7, 2014

Equal Pay for Equal Work - Worse Cases

With all the recent public attention devoted to "equal pay for equal work," one may well wonder why, if the disparity in earnings is of paramount concern among liberals, they have been conspicuously silent about various other cases of income inequality, some of which are far worse than between the sexes.

For example, according to a number of studies, gay women make about 6% more than straight women (see HERE), while gay men make 10 to 32% less than straight men. Where is the mainstream outrage from the Left against lesbians, and sympathy for gay men? (See HERE and HERE and HERE)

Another example is the huge inequality in wages across age groups. For 2012, the median weekly income for both sexes age 16 to 19 was $356, while the median weakly income for both sexes age 55 to 64 was $897 (see HERE, table 1) This means that some younger people were making only 40% of what certain older people made, which represents more than double the average wage difference between men and women. So, why aren't liberals up in arms about this kind of alleged age discrimination?

Still another example is that in 2011, while on average women earned 82.2% of what men earned that year, Hispanics/Latinos men earned only 59% of what Asian men had made. (See HERE)  In other words, there was more that 12% greater disparity in wages between the races as there was between the sexes. Why wasn't a big deal made of this racially sensitive issue?

Furthermore, as indicated in my previous post, there is as much as 40% disparity in median incomes between states, even for the same exact jobs, and yet not a whimper from the liberals.

In fact, in 2007 the average income for Republican states was $34,200.00, whereas for Democrat states it was $41,183.00 (see HERE), a difference of 17%, or almost the same disparity as between the sexes. Why haven't the liberals beat themselves up for this disparity between red and blue states?

Perhaps these other more serious cases of income inequality are also ironically unequal to liberals in terms of political mileage?

Whatever the case, the Leftist LUNC here is that the manufactured drama and myth about unequal pay for equal work between the sexes may have not only ironically drawn unequal attention and action, but perhaps also at the expense of more serious cases.

For an explanation as to why these Leftist LUNCs may occur, please see: Gov: Wrong Tool for the Right Job - Introduction and Cold Nanny as well as The Politics of Compassion, Emotions, Ignorance, Denial, Blame-Shifting, Equality, and Victimization

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Equal Pay for Equal Work - Different Locations, Different Pay

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report of 2012, "Median weekly earnings and women’s-to-men’s earnings ratios vary by state of residence." (See HERE, p. 6)

This should come as no surprise to those of us who have labored in different places across the nation and/or who have run and/or worked for national corporations.

For example, the median weekly wage for both sexes in South Dakota is $664, whereas in the District of Columbia it is $1,102 (ibid. p 36); whereas the average annual salary for a neonatal care nurse is about $90k in California, as compared with $53k in Iowa. (See HERE) Quite a disparity!

In short, different locations pay differently even for the same jobs, and they pay men and women differently.

Interestingly enough, given the numbers indicated above, to some extent the inequality in pay between certain states is far greater than the disparity in wages between men and women (as high as 40% difference as compared with 23%). So, if liberals are concerned about wage inequity, perhaps they should focus on the bigger problem between states rather than between the sexes.

Be that as it may, the inequality of pay between the states and sexes isn't because of wrongful prejudice and malice, but, as the BLS report explains, among other things: "The differences among the states reflect, in part, variation in the occupations and industries found in each state and diversity in the age composition of each state’s labor force." (See HERE, p. 6)

This means that in order for Democrats to decrease income disparity using their preferred method of government intervention, the government would have to force a sizable number of women to move to and work in higher paying states and also states with lower disparity in pay between the sexes.

Not only would this produce the Leftist LUNC of violating personal freedoms and women's right to chose, but it presents a confounding problem in that, among many things, some of the highest paying states have the greatest disparity in wages between the sexes, and vice verse.

For instance, Alaska's median weekly earning for both sexes is $888. which is well above the national average of $768, while the median earnings for women is 73.9 % that of men, which is well below the national average of 80.9%; whereas in Arizona the earnings for both sexes is $732, which is below the national average of $768, while the median earnings for women is 86.8% that of men, which is well above the national average of 80.9%. (ibid., pp. 36-37)

To which of these two states do liberals propose women should be forced to move in the mythical quest for wage equity?

For an explanation as to why these Leftist LUNCs may occur, please see: Gov: Wrong Tool for the Right Job - Introduction and Cold Nanny as well as The Politics of Compassion, Emotions, Ignorance, Denial, Blame-Shifting, Equality, and Victimization

Equal Pay for Equal Work - Different Value, Different Pay

Do women do equal work as men? Or, in other words, are women as productive and add as much value to their jobs as men?

It is an indisputable and unavoidable fact of life that some individuals are not equal in knowledge, experience, strength, wisdom, courage, loyalty, skills, ambition, size, appealing looks, etc. to other individuals. There naturally exists a broad spectrum of talents and abilities and marketable attributes among humans.

This is no less true within the general labor force, or even for respective jobs, than in various other walks of life.

Not all professional football players become Super Bowl MVPs. Not all mutual fund managers pick the most successful portfolios. Not all McDonald's burger flippers achieve King of the Grill. Relatively few actresses and actors win Oscars. Only a handful of designers consistently sell out their line of clothes. Not many software companies are as lucrative as Microsoft. Scientists rarely attain the notoriety of Einstein or Hawking. Few entry-level employees rise through the ranks to become CEOs. The list goes on and on.

And, where there is inequality of talents and abilities, there is inequality of work--even at the same jobs. Typically, each sales team has their stand-outs, assembly lines have their high producers, schools have their favorite teachers, restaurants have their preferred cooks and waitresses, trucking companies have their safest drivers, administrative offices have their fastest and most organized typists, and so on and so forth.

This fact of life and occupations seems so obvious to me that it ought to go without saying. However, it is completely ignored by those indiscriminately and misleading employing the soundbite: "Equal pay for equal work!" By and large, the notion of "equal work" is a myth, and in some respects the opposite is the general rule.

Furthermore, where there is inequality of work, free and rational markets tend to demand value-for-value, or in other words inequality of pay.for inequality of work.  This is why Michael Jordan was paid millions of dollar more each year for doing essentially the same job (play professional basketball) as Dennis Rodman; and why George Clooney gets paid millions of dollars more each movie for doing essentially the same job (acting) as some of his co-stars and bit actors; and why female super models get paid far more than their female and male counter-parts; and why Jack Welch got paid more as a CEO than most other CEO's; and why the salesperson of the month gets a bonus and not the other members of the sales team; etc., etc.

Is there inequality in talents and abilities and market appeal between the sexes? Can men do certain jobs better than women, and vice verse?

As indicated in a previous post, there are certain occupations that are dominated by men--such as engineering and technology and transportation and construction and hazardous jobs, etc. (See HERE and HERE, pp. 4-5)

Men are more prevalent in these fields for a variety of reasons--not the least of which is they, as a general rule, are better at these jobs than women.

Granted, part of the reason that men may be better at these occupations is because those occupations are more suited to the interests of men than women (people tend to do better at jobs where their hearts and minds are innately drawn to what they are doing), and were women equally interested they might do just as good as men.

However, it would be unwise to ignore other natural gender-inequalities like physical prowess (speed and strength and agility), risk comfort, and related cognitive/emotional aptitudes. (See HERE) It is not coincidental, nor a function of wrongful prejudice and injustice, or even purely a matter of interest, that more men than women drive heavy equipment, hang drywall, fight fires, serve on the front-lines at war, trade stocks, collect garbage, teach physics, play professional sports, etc..

This is not to suggest that women don't have areas in which they dominate and excel. They do. (ibid., see also my previous post)

It is just that, because of rational market forces, they tend to be paid less for their gender-superior talents and abilities than men.

This is also not to suggest that the evident work inequality between the sexes only exists between different occupations. Reason would suggest that, just as there is inequality of work among males in the same occupation, there would also be inequalities of work between the sexes within the same occupations; and thus inequality in pay within occupations, and rightly so.

One of the primary ways in which work inequality tends to manifest itself within occupations is in terms of experience. As already explained, women tend to enter the work force later than men, and leave the workforce earlier than men, and work less hours per week and years as men. (See HERE and HERE. p.6)

In other words, on average women have 23% less work experience than men.

The same, in principle, is true for work-related knowledge, talents, risk tolerance, passions, etc.

And, since greater experience and knowledge and passion, etc. often lend themselves to greater efficiency and productivity, and thus inequality in work results and value, even for the exact same job, this rightly translates into higher pay or inequality in pay--though, based on experience alone, women tend to be paid more than men. (ibid.)

To summarize, the harsh reality is that the sexes are not exactly working equally, even within the same occupations, and are thus not exactly due equal pay.

Consequently, if liberals are intent on demanding equal pay in spite of this harsh reality, it would necessitate either doing away with the notion of "equal pay for equal work" and revising it to "equal pay for unequal work" (i.e. women basketball players must be paid the same as Michael Jordan), or requiring women to provide equal work as men (more women would be forced to hang drywall and be as productive in doing so as men). Women would literally have to be made equal in the labor market value to men.

Good luck with that.

Either way, the Leftist LUNC here is that it would necessitate counter-rational violations of liberty--not excluding the violation of women's right to chose to be and behave as women.

For an explanation as to why these Leftist LUNCs may occur, please see: Gov: Wrong Tool for the Right Job - Introduction and Cold Nanny as well as The Politics of Compassion, Emotions, Ignorance, Denial, Blame-Shifting, Equality, and Victimization

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Equal Pay for Equal Work - Different Hours, Different Pay

Again, in order for the "equal pay for equal work" slogan to correctly apply, the work needs to be equal as well as the pay. Do women do equal work as men? Or, in other words, do women work as long and as many hours as men?

Anthony Kang noted: "Generally, women value relationships more than their careers or money, enter and leave the work force at a much higher rate, work part-time at a much higher rate....Wage gap statistics also do not account for time commitment. On average, women work far less than men because they choose to have much more balance in their lives. A study by the Center for Policy Alternatives and Lifetime Television found that nearly 85 percent of women took advantage of flexible work arrangements offered by their employers. And a decade after graduating college, 39 percent of women leave the work force or work part-time, versus 3 percent of men. Aside from the obvious benefits of working longer, workers who average 44 or more hours per week earn approximately 100 percent more than workers who average 40 hours." (See HERE)

Government statistics back this up. First, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS) in 2012, "Among full-time workers (that is, those working at a job 35 hours or more per week), men are more likely than women to have a longer workweek. Twenty-six percent of men worked 41 or more hours per week in 2012, compared with 14 percent of women who did so." (See HERE. p.6, see also HERE p.7 and HERE p.17 and  HERE)

This accounts for at least some of the wage difference noted in studies of full-time workers. The more overtime hours worked by full-time men, rationally equals more weekly and annual pay than women.

Second, "Women are more likely than men to work part time—that is, less than 35 hours per week on a sole, or principal, job. Women who worked part time made up 26 percent of all female wage and salary workers in 2012. In contrast, 13 percent of men in wage and salary jobs worked part time." (ibid.)

Said another way, about twice as many women (16 million) worked part time as compared to men (less than 7.5 million men--ibid., p. 38), which amounts to about 35% of women who worked part time as compared with 18% of men. (ibid. p.50).

This difference in part time work is much greater among parents with children at home. According to Joann Wiener: "...fathers are more likely to work full-time than mothers. Nearly 40 percent of mothers worked part-time or not at all compared with 3 percent of fathers, according to a study by the American Association of University Women." (See  HERE)

As best I can tell, women average around 37 hours a week compared with 41 hours for men, which means that women average around 208 less hours of work a year than men. (ibid., p.40) At $16 and hour, plus overtime, this amounts to about $3,700 less in pay per year for women than men, or a difference of about 11%. Again, the more hours worked by men rationally equals more weekly and annual pay.

Third, women typically work for shorter periods of time throughout their lives than men. Females tend to enter the labor force later than males, leave the labor force to raise children (opt out), and retire earlier than males (see HERE and HERE--Table 1, and HERE p. 8 and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE), and since there is a large disparity in wages between young and old workers (as much as 60 % in 2012--see ibid)--in large part because of disparity in work experience and tenure, one may rightly expect that on average females would earn less than males.

Wiener explains:  "Women who leave the labor force don’t gain much work experience so that when they return to work, they’re likely to make less than another person, male or female, with the same qualifications who has an unbroken career record. Again, the data support this assertion. Judith Warner recently wrote for the New York Times Magazine about the cost to mothers when they leave their careers to spend more time with their families. Warner found that the women she interviewed who had returned to the work force a decade after leaving their jobs to take care of their kids were generally in lower paying, less prestigious jobs than the ones they left. A separate study found that women who returned to work after an extended time off were paid 16 percent less than before they left the work force, while another study Warner cites found that only one-quarter of women who returned to the work force took a traditional hard-driving job, such as banking, compared with the two-thirds of women who were employed in such jobs before taking time off." (See HERE)

As further substantiation, the General Accounting Office (GOA). the independent audit and evaluation and investigative arm of the United States Congress (see HERE), indicated as recently as 2003: "Of the many factors that account for differences in earnings between men and women, our model indicated that work patterns are key. Specifically, women have fewer years of work experience, work fewer hours per year, are less likely to work a full-time schedule, and leave the labor force for longer periods of time than men." (See HERE)

According to the Maryland State Commission on Equal Pay: "The GAO study found that women on average have fewer years of work experience than men (men have 16 years of experience, while women have 12), work fewer hours per year (men work 2147, while women work 1675 - a difference of 472 hours per year), are less likely to work a full-time schedule, and leave the labor force for longer periods of time than men" (See HERE)

In short, on average women have about about 75% as much work experience or time on the job as men, and yet they still manage to earn between 77% and 82% as much as men. Thus, women make slightly more than men based on experience, which is exactly the opposite perception from what the "equal pay for equal work" slogan was intended to convey.

So, women don't work equal to men, and the wage gap isn't primarily because of prejudice and injustice against women, but a product of women freely choosing to work less hours, or more flexible hours, or "opt out" for a time, and generally work less years than men.

As such, the Leftist-LUNC here is that in order for liberals to decrease income inequality using their preferred method of government intervention, they would have to force women to work more hours and more years and disallow flexibility and opting out. They would have to violate women's right to choose how much time to put in at work and take away from their families.

Do liberals really want to go there?

For an explanation as to why these Leftist LUNCs may occur, please see: Gov: Wrong Tool for the Right Job - Introduction and Cold Nanny as well as The Politics of Compassion, Emotions, Ignorance, Denial, Blame-Shifting, Equality, and Victimization

Equal Pay for Equal Work - Different Jobs, Different Pay

There are two aspects of the "equal pay for equal work" slogan--i.e. "pay" and "work." In order for the slogan to correctly apply, the work needs to be equal as well as the pay.

Do women do equal work as men? Or, in other words do women do the same jobs as men?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for 2012, in the general category of "Management, Professional, and Related Occupations," even though the majority (52%) of workers in that category were women, their median weekly earnings were about 71% that of men. (See HERE, pp. 4-5)

Why is that?

As the BLS explained: "Within this occupational category...the proportion of women employed in the higher paying job groups is much smaller than the proportion of men employed in them. In 2012, 9 percent of women in professional and related occupations were employed in the relatively high-paying computer and engineering fields, compared with 45 percent of men in this field.Women in professional and related occupations were more likely to work in education and healthcare jobs, in which the pay is generally lower than that for computer and engineering jobs. Sixty-eight percent of  women in this occupational category worked in the education and healthcare fields in 2012, compared with 30 percent of men." (ibid.)

Joan Weiner reports: "On the first point, rocket scientists certainly do make more than teachers. The median wage for an aerospace engineer in 2012 was $103,720, almost double the $53,400 a typical elementary school teacher could expect to make that year. It’s also true that only about 14 percent of architects and engineers are women, while more than 80 percent of elementary and middle school teachers are women. Over all occupations, women’s wages would be lower than men’s wages due to differences in occupational choices." (See HERE)

Furthermore, "Men are also more likely to have dangerous jobs, high stress jobs, and work longer hours than women. These kinds of jobs tend to pay more. About 93 percent of all workplace fatalities are men." (see HERE)  Men "dominate jobs that are in an unpleasant environment (sanitation vs. child care), require harder-to-attain skills (physics vs. philosophy), require longer work hours, demand financial risk (entrepreneur vs. teaching), are inconvenient (i.e., relocation), are hazardous (construction vs. librarian)." (See HERE)

So, no, women are not doing the same jobs, or equal work, as men.

Now, people are free to object all they want to engineers getting paid more than teachers--for all the good it will do. Either way, the difference in pay isn't because of some mythical gender bias or prejudice against female-dominated professions, but a function of free-market forces like supply/demand.

In truth, as a general rule, women have chosen to work in lower paying careers, and men have chosen otherwise. It isn't that women and men aren't getting equal pay for equal work. Instead, what is happening is that they, by choice, are getting different pay for different work.

This means that in order for liberals to decrease income disparity using their preferred method of government intervention, they would have to force a sizable number of women to abandon their chosen and desired careers in education and healthcare, etc., and herd them instead into higher paying computer and engineering fields, or more dangerous and stressful occupations where they may have little interest.

In other words, attempts to achieve the goal of wage equality would require violating women's right to choose their own careers.

I am not sure this Leftist-LUNC would meet with much approval even among the liberals.

Also, among workers who were paid hourly rates in 2012, 6 percent of women and 3 percent of men had hourly earnings at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25."(ibid. p.8) In other words, proportionately speaking, and for whatever reasons, more than twice as many women as men chose to work in the lowest paying jobs.

For an explanation as to why these Leftist LUNCs may occur, please see: Gov: Wrong Tool for the Right Job - Introduction and Cold Nanny as well as The Politics of Compassion, Emotions, Ignorance, Denial, Blame-Shifting, Equality, and Victimization

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Equal Pay for Equal Work - Fog of Disinformation

As indicated in my previous post, liberals assert that women aren't paid equal to men for the same work. In support of this assertion, Democrats claim that women make about 77 cents for every dollar made by men.

However, equating these two assertions is highly deceptive at worse and very misleading at best, not to mention it doesn't make sense. As Dennis Prager intimated in his review of the 2014 State of the Union Address (see HERE), anyone with even a modest grasp of basic economics would know that businesses have a built-in disincentive to pay 23% more than they need to for the exact same work. It is analogous to were a woman to sell iPads for 23% less than a man....who would you buy from? Would you buy from the man? Of course not.

In truth,  the two assertions are not only like comparing apples to oranges, but also comparing apples to a whole cornucopia of fruits and vegetables. The first assertion is job specific and based on an hourly rate for equal work and results, whereas the second is an average of annual wages across a broad spectrum of occupations with varied work, hours, and results. The first assertion does NOT account for a number of factors that DO in fact figure into the second assertion. Carrie Lukas wrote: "All the relevant factors that affect pay -- occupation, experience, seniority, education and hours worked -- are ignored [by those citing the wage gap]. This sound-bite statistic fails to take into account the different roles that work tends to play in men's and women's lives." (See HERE, as quoted HERE)

To get a better sense for what Carrie was suggesting, I will unpack the second assertion using government statistics (except where otherwise specified, I will use data from the 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistic Report--see HERE), and point out key reasons for the disparity.

As will be demonstrated in the next several articles, while annual earnings differences are an established fact, it isn't in spite of equal work, but because of inequality of work. For the most part, the disparity isn't due to wrongful discrimination or "Mad Man" policies--as Obama falsely insinuated (see HERE and HERE), but a function of personal choices and free market forces--including, more particularly, on the part of women. It is neither an injustice or an embarrassment, but a result of liberty.

The 2009 Labor Department report indicates: "This study leads to the unambiguous conclusion that 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.” (Quoted HERE)

It is high time the dense fog of disinformation is lifted from this ongoing issue and the LUNC-ish myths put to rest--strained claims to the contrary notwithstanding (see HERE), and instead consider the distinct plausibility that liberals have been feverishly and misleadingly attempting to "fix" something that isn't broken, and this at the risk (i.e. Leftist LUNC) of stepping on personal and business rights and making matters worse for all parties, including the women for whom the misleading "fix" was intended to help.

Let me break this down even further--see:

For an explanation as to why these Leftist LUNCs may occur, please see: Gov: Wrong Tool for the Right Job - Introduction and Cold Nanny as well as The Politics of Compassion, Emotions, Ignorance, Denial, Blame-Shifting, Equality, and Victimization

Equal Pay for Equal Work - No Job, No Pay

Because of the heightened sensitivity of liberals to women's issues, it is not uncommon for Democrat politicians to conveniently exploit these issues and use them to distract attention away from other more critical and more time-sensitive matters.

For instance, since Obama was elected president, the country has undergone an economic crisis (which, admittedly, was not entirely his fault) and the worst recovery since the Great Depression (which was primarily his fault).(See HERE) And, his administration has been embroiled in numerous scandals. (See HERE)  So, it isn't surprising to see the President periodically prioritizing certain sensationalistic women's issues in his campaign speeches and State of the Union addresses.

While this may work politically, and garner votes and appreciation where needed, the unfortunate reality is that some of the significant matters from which attention may be distracted, tend to impact women more negatively and extensively than some of the women's issues being trotted out. Having the government pay for women's contraceptives is certainly far less grave than seeing women losing their homes and retirement savings to a downward-spiraling economy.

And, as vital as it may seem for liberals to achieve the mythical state of wage equity between the sexes (see the next several posts), the difference in wages between men and women becomes relatively meaningless to the growing number of laborers who have lost their jobs and are not working. At least unequal wages are better than none--though ironically income equality invariably occurs through unemployment (zero jobs equal zero pay for both sexes).

With this in mind, since 1979 the number and proportion of women in the workforce steadily increased, particularly among wage earners (as differentiated from salaried workers), where in 1999 female wage earners began to outnumber men. (See HERE)

However, this upward trend reversed itself in 2009, the first year of the Obama presidency. (ibid.)

Granted, the upward trend for working men also reversed in 2009, though women were forced out of work in proportionately greater numbers than men. (ibid.)

From 2009 to 2011, a net of more than 2 million women, or 3.2% of the female labor market, lost work (as compared with 2.1 million men, or 3.1% of the male labor market). (ibid)

To me, this is huge, and ought to be priority one among women's issues.

Yet, one of the Leftist LUNCs of the "equal pay for equal work" movement, is that attention and political energy has been distracted away for the grave matter of disproportionate female unemployment, and directed instead towards the misguided and counterproductive pursuit of mythical income inequality.

For an explanation as to why these Leftist LUNCs may occur, please see: Gov: Wrong Tool for the Right Job - Introduction and Cold Nanny as well as The Politics of Compassion, Emotions, Ignorance, Denial, Blame-Shifting, Equality, and Victimization

Monday, February 3, 2014

Equal Pay for Equal Work - Intro

For decades, liberals have been engaged on a number of fronts in the war between the sexes, or as they consider it the "war on women" and so-called "women's rights" issues.

And, one of the more endearing and enduring left-wing campaigns has been to decrease the disparity in wages between men and women, and this under the rousing slogan of "equal pay for equal work!"

President Obama and other Democrats have long been vocal proponents of this cause. During his first run for the presidency, Obama promised: "We're gonna make sure that equal pay for equal work is a reality in this country." (See HERE)

At the 2008 Democrat Convention, Michele Obama said this about her husband's legislative background: "[He was busy] moving people from welfare to jobs, passing tax cuts for hard-working families, and making sure women get equal pay for equal work."(Quoted HERE) This last claim was confirmed by Politifacts. (ibid., see also HERE)

As his first act as President, Obama singed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, passed earlier by the Democrat Congress.

In April of 2013, President Obama set aside the 9th of that month as "National Equal Pay Day." (See HERE) On that occasion he said: “Women -- who make up nearly half of our Nation's workforce -- face a pay gap that means they earn 23 percent less on average than men do. That disparity is even greater for African-American women and Latinas....On National Equal Pay Day, we recognize this injustice by marking how far into the new year women have to work just to make what men did in the previous one. To grow our middle class and spur progress in the years ahead, we need to address longstanding inequity that keeps women from earning a living equal to their efforts. That is why I have made pay equity a top priority -- from signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act days after I took office to cracking down on equal pay law violations wherever they occur. And to back our belief in equality with the weight of law, I continue to call on the Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.” (See HERE)

Even as recently as the Sate of the Union address in January of 2014, the President remarked: "Today, women make up about half our workforce.  But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.  That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work...It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a 'Mad Men' episode.  This year, let’s all come together – Congress, the White House, and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street – to give every woman the opportunity she deserves.  Because I firmly believe when women succeed, America succeeds." (See HERE)

 Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Who can doubt the ardent commitment of Obama and his liberal supporters?

Although it is customary for conservatives to point out the rank hypocrisy ("On average, women working in Obama's Senate office were paid at least $6,000 below the average man working for the Illinois senator . . . .Of the five people in Obama's Senate office who were paid $100,000 or more on an annual basis, only one - Obama's administrative manager - was a woman."--quoted HERE; and during Obama's presidency,"70 percent of White House staffers in the top-salary bracket were men, and male White House staffers earn on average 13 percent more than female staffers"--see HERE and HERE), my interest for this article leans more towards determining the Leftist LUNCs of how successful the liberals have been in their efforts (the fact that Obama is still pressing the issue 6 years into his presidency and long after signing the Fair Pay Act into law, should give some indication).

I would also like to consider explanations for the lack of success, and perhaps possible ulterior motives behind the supposedly worthwhile cause.

ABC News, which is anything but a Republican news outlet, reported back in 2012 regarding the President's claims: "The only problem? Women don’t enjoy equal pay, it’s improved little during Obama’s term and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act has hardly been a 'big step' toward the goal. In 2010, the most recent data available, women on average earned 77.4 cents for every dollar earned by men holding the same full-time, year-round job, according to Census data analyzed by the National Committee on Pay Equity. The gap was virtually unchanged from 2009, when it was 77 percent and 2008 when it stood at 77.1 percent, before the law was enacted." (See HERE)

More recent studies suggest, ironically, that since Obama took office the income disparity between the sexes has expanded. The Washington Post reported: "For much of the past three decades, the wage gap between men and women began to shrink. But progress has slowed in recent years, and the wage gap has actually widened during the current recovery, according to a new study from the Institute for Women's Policy Research. In 2012, women working full-time earned 80.9 percent of what men earned in terms of weekly pay — a drop from 82.2 percent in 2011, according to the IWPR study. In terms of annual earnings, women lagged men even further, making just 77 percent of what men earned, a half a percentage point down from 2011. In dollar terms, that meant that women working full-time earned an average of $691 a week in 2012, less than they had in 2011, while men earned $854 on average, which marked a small gain over their 2011 earnings." (See HERE)

In other words, the Leftist LUNC here is that while the wage divide had been shrinking for decades, with no thanks to the government, liberals weren't satisfied, and after intervening, they managed to make matters worse. (See HERE)  With all their good intents, they just couldn't leave well-enough alone, but had to mess up the works with their favorite entity, the federal government.

There are a number of explanations that can be posited for the lack of success and the reversal in trend.

First, liberals are irrationally pointing the finger in the wrong direction:

Here are several other plausible explanations:
[Update 10/18/2015: George Will also provides "A Philosopher's Take on the Left's Obsession with Income Inequality," which is based, in part, on Harry G Frankfurt's book on "Inequality." Please also see Kevin D. Williamson's article on A Few Thoughts on a Futile Project: Income Inequality.]
[Update 10/22/2015: The Fundamental Dishonesty of Income Inequality Arguments]
[Update 02/15/17:  The Myth of the Gender Wage Gap]
Updated 03/06/17:

[Update 08/26/17:

For an explanation as to why these Leftist LUNCs may occur, please see: Gov: Wrong Tool for the Right Job - Introduction and Cold Nanny as well as The Politics of CompassionEmotionsIgnoranceDenialBlame-ShiftingEquality, and Victimization