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:
- No Job, No Pay
- A Fog of Disinformation
- Different Jobs, Different Pay
- Different Hours, Different Pay
- Different Value, Different Pay
- Different Locations, Different Pay
- Worse Cases
- Wrong Approach
[Update 10/22/2015: The Fundamental Dishonesty of Income Inequality Arguments]
[Update 02/15/17: The Myth of the Gender Wage Gap]