Stupid Men, Stupid Women and Equal Pay for Equal Jobs

I’ve got three links to share and don’t write a word of commentary unless you read them all.

First, Dahlia Lithwick at Salon in “How Dumb Are We?”:

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, already passed by the House, would have reinstated the law as it was interpreted by most appellate courts and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, i.e., that every single discriminatory paycheck represents a new act of discrimination and that the 180-day period begins anew with every one. Yet 42 members of the Senate—including Majority Leader Harry Reid, but only procedurally to keep the bill alive—voted to block cloture. How can that be? As Kia Franklin notes here: Women in the United States are paid only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men; African-American women earn only 63 cents, and Latinas earn only 52 cents for every dollar paid to white men. Yet the Ledbetter decision tells employers that as long as they can hide their discriminatory behavior for six months, they’ve got the green light to treat female employees badly forever. Why isn’t this problem sufficiently real to be addressed by Congress?

Do not skip the reasons outlined by Lithwick.

Second, Gail Collins in The New York Times’ “McCain’s Compassion Tour”:

The fact that workers generally have no idea what other people are making when they start a job did not concern the court nearly as much as what Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, called “the burden of defending claims arising from employment decisions that are long past.” In other words, pay discrimination is illegal unless it goes on for more than six months.

Having delivered his objections to the Ledbetter bill this week, McCain went on to tell reporters that what women really need is “education and training, particularly since more and more women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else. And it’s hard for them to leave their families when they don’t have somebody to take care of them.”

Maybe George Bush isn’t all that incoherent after all.

Was McCain saying that it’s less important to give working women the right to sue for equal pay than to give them help taking care of their families? There have been many attempts to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act to protect more workers who need to stay home to take care of a sick kid or an ailing parent. “We’ve never gotten his support on any of that agenda,” said Debra Ness, the president of the National Partnership for Women and Families.

We also have yet to hear a McCain policy address on how working mothers are supposed to find quality child care. If it comes, I suspect the women trying to support their kids on $20,000 a year are going to learn they’re in line for some whopping big income-tax deductions.

Third, an NYT article from today called “Not So Personal Finances,” about how, if we are going to ask people about how many orgasms they have, how can we not also ask how much money they make.

Talk about establishing the fact that for the last umpteen decades, it would be nearly impossible for people to learn of unequal pay unless someone slipped or broke the law, this article implies that if sharing orgasm figures is the threshold that needs to be reached in order to feel comfortable in sharing how much you make, there is no wonder that 180 days from when the first instance of discrimination occurs is a completely inadequate statute of limitation.

Hattip to Suzanne, Nelle and this post.

56 thoughts on “Stupid Men, Stupid Women and Equal Pay for Equal Jobs

  1. You mean the tip from the former HR personal that now teaches in a local university.
    I think that person should have studied law; he sent her on wild goose chase a day late and buck short. Now he is actively setting her up for lectures, maybe he had his own agenda; she is a hero that got zero.
    A feminist empress with no clothes

  2. Pingback: Have Coffee Will Write » Blog Archive » MY COMMENT…

  3. Shalom John,

    Unionism, as the perfect balance to Capitalism, can be re-imagined in the 21st century.

    In any community, the market for a particular type of skilled labor is always limited and can be viewed as an oligarchy. Capitalists therefore hold an advantage in that laborers cannot easily go elsewhere.

    Capital is tremendously more mobile than labor.

    Unionism allows for the creation of a level playing field — the ideal situation for contractual agreements — where both Capitalist and Unionists wield oligarchic power and can bargain in good faith for a rightly limited resource.

    I’m all for improving upon Golden Ages.

    B’shalom,

    Jeff

  4. I do not feel that sorry for Lilly Ledbetter, I believe she new all along and waited until she retired.

    I am still trying to come up with a solution other than retribution or damages.

    Aside from the inequality Ledbetter got her, pension and her social security, she also has comprehensive benefits for her and her spouse.

    I am not sure if sitting, waiting, and then filling is the answer, it could encourage that. Ledbetter is not a hero, she took the safe approach, and she risked nothing in her approach. Her chance at heroism expired in the 1970’s.

    Am I being paid equitably, to ask the question and then be told you cannot discuss pay is conflicting. That is what needs addressed and every 180 days according to the Supreme Court. The only choice is asking for disclosure of proof of equal pay every 180 days, if denied then file a complaint. If you are terminated then you have the Supreme Court decision to fall back on, equal pay for equal work and any complaint must be filed with 180 days, they must provide the information, they can not hold it against you for asking.

    Corporations could be forced to provide groupings and ranks for pay, put it in front of their employees and let them decide if it is fair or not. I they refuse then they can be sued.

    Ledbetter is not a hero, she tried to cash in on discrimination after the fact, call it what it is.

  5. Nice you see you have a double standard. You were perfectly ok with badamerican calling me names. You are quite a witch.

  6. Unions have far too many legal protections. I would wipe them out if possible. They are responsible for the situation the American auto manufacturers find them in. I hope those union […edited out for violent suggestion toward people].

  7. Jeff, good for you for taking a new, more interesting tack on this conversation. That’s an interesting point, but I can’t help thinking that it’s going to be difficult to impossible to bring back the golden age of union power, given a host of structural changes in American society since their heyday, in the mid-20th century. Having said that, there is one promising experiment that all those with an interest in worker equity should be watching: Andy Stern and his Service Workers International. They’re years ahead of all others in fundamentally rethinking unions for the 21st century. It’ll be interesting to watch.

  8. Shalom Jill,

    Wow, touched a nerve here didn’t you.

    First, the Dahlia Lithwick piece is at Slate.

    Second, this is an important discussion, but I wish we could leave out the wobbly women only make 77 cents for every dollar men make meme. It’s about as statistically valid as the we only use one-tenth of our brains, 50 percent of American marriages end in divorce, and one in three of American women is the victim of sexual assault memes.

    What this really speaks to is the need for unions of all workers. Unions where we all know what we’re making for the work we’re doing.

    If an employer wants to reward an exceptional employee for exceptional work, then give them a bump in pay based upon that performance; but all employees in the same job classification get the same pay in the same locale for the same level of experience.

    Companies would be free to set their own levels for competitive reasons, but the scale within a company must be consistent with the above metric. That is, if employer A pays $50,000/year for job X and employer B pays $60,000/year for job X that’s fine, as long as all workers in job X at company B start from the same base of $60,000/year.

    Unions can accomplish that.

    B’shalom,

    Jeff

  9. tj:

    You said it better than I. But you’re spitting into a hurricane with some of these people.

    Actually, there WAS a plan not so long ago (I know because I read it in World Net Daily when I used to read WND) that some people wanted to buy and island and invite all the laissez faire types there to live the kind of lives they wanted to – free of ‘gubmint’ (as they like to spell it) interference in the holy marketplace (you know, the one God gave us through his prophet Adam Smith). I still think it’s a good idea.

    And where can I vote for the “dictatorship of Jill?” Do you think you’re up to bettering the dictatorship of the proletariat?

    Here’s a bone for the righties: yep, I’m a socialist. Do I think it will ever work on this planet? Probably not. As long as our genetic makeup is what it is, greed and other lower forms of human behavior will out. It is a standard to work for, although I think we’ll plant this planet in it’s grave before we ever learn that we need to work cooperatively to save it. And I think with the current crises we see in food and fuel we can see the light at the end of the tunnel right now – and it’s an oncoming train.

  10. Matt: But discriminating against someone is robbery under the protection of the state. If we sanction your paying someone less than they should get–ofttimes women and men working side by side or blacks by whites or illegals by legals, it is no different than if at the door of the factory some one demanded money from you to enter to work or upon leaving –exc. the state has sanctioned it. The inability to buy proper medicine, food, education, and shelter, does cause harm and death. When we say it is too expensive to provide health care for everyone, we are saying it is more important for those of us fortunate enough to be high on the hog (not to mention those up in the stratosphere) to have a few more dollars to play with–whether due to dumb luck or talent–than to prevent someone from dying of a curable disease. There is no such thing as a free market whether you have a government or not. (W/o a govt. “Big Bob” or “Jake” will order the market.) Actually the so-called free market so sought after by conservative pilgrims would not exist without the support of a broad based government. And all those giving their consent have the right to determine how their resources are to be used. Where would your be free market be without contract law? Without patent law? w/o copyright law? Without roads? W/o the pentagon, et. al.? W/o an air-control system? (Yes, however bad an example the FAA is, try flying w/o its infrastructure!) Gads, it seems we are very upset with the free market in intellectual property concerning software, movies, designer labels, with free market entrepreneurs in India, China, and other emerging market economies where the government doesn’t interfere so much! Oops, I forgot…don’t talk about reality. And do you really want a free market in medicine and law? A totally free market in these –not using resources from ALL of US would mean your next trip to the doctor could be quite an adventure. It could be me never having set foot in med school but freed of all those stupid governmental interferences in the free market could open my practice! Or maybe I could be a lawyer, but alas, what court would enforce your contract?

    Seriously, the economics journals have decade of studies on employers being “irrational” practicing varying discriminations. And politically look at Somalia and Iraq for what happens when there’s no effective government.

  11. tj wrote: Anon: I see you are reluctant to post with your real name because you are afraid of being discriminated against! I thought no rational businessperson would do such!

    I never said that there was no discrimination. If you go back in the thread, you’ll see that I said, “I don’t deny that pay discrimination on the basis of sex occurs.”

    Likewise you claim conservatives don’t have an ideology. I agree. They have a religion of “free market, low taxes for me, leave me alone but you better not…, etc”.

    I never said that either. I think you’re confusing me with someone else.

  12. Bad Amerian wrote: Anon: (sigh) fair enough. You gotta do what you gotta do I guess. And if you’re argument is with the methodology, I understand the basis of your argument. I don’t get into the esoterica of statistics since I’m lousy at math. Ergo I pay an accountant to keep me out of trouble.

    You’re correct that my primary concern is with the methodology. Before something constructive can be done about a problem, one needs to understand the nature of the problem as best as possible, which means numbers as accurate as possible.

    As far as the subject matter goes, I think there’s still enough smoke to yell fire as far as equal pay. I think the problem we have is that real salary figures are hard to pin down in private industry because they are held in secret for the most part. We can extrapolate through government reports and filings but hard data is elusive.

    Agreed. I haven’t looked closely, but I expect there are evaluations of the problem that are much more informative than the 77-cent “analysis,” which I consider sophistic.

    If I were hiring, I’d be looking for who can do the job. I know many other people look for “fits” which can cover a whole range of subjective personal issues. Quite frankly, I’m more in fear of being ‘out there’ as a lib than if I spouted free-market conservatism. I just got tired of living in constant fear of being denied the ability to earn a living because of my beliefs. If that is an issue it says more about our society than anything I believe in. Hopefully I can remain self-employed.

    I think you’re correct to think that your beliefs could negatively affect your employment. (I believe there are decision-makers on both the right and left who will penalize those who don’t think “correctly.”) Good luck on your bookstore.

    In any case, sorry for jumping to conclusions.

    No problem.

  13. You’ve made your point, Matt. The fact that you haven’t convinced me, or possibly anyone else, here anyway, doesn’t mean that we haven’t heard you or don’t understand. It means we don’t agree with you. We might even be wrong – you might be right. But that doesn’t have anything to do with agreeing with you.

    And I can live with that – are you having trouble with that?

  14. You have the power to convince a few readers on the merits of this legislation. That is more power than a typical voter has.

    I practice what I preach by opposing legislation which a greater burden on entrepreneurs.

    And I’ve noted that the market takes care of discrimination. For example, during the civil rights movement with the Montgomery Bus Boycott, it was government which lowered the cost of racists to be discriminatory- A private busing service could not afford to discriminate in the way a public busing service can.

    Even though I believe it’s not happening, if women truly are being discriminated in the work place, they should stop working for there and tell everyone they know about it.

    The market will punish those who discriminate with a great accuracy. While this legislation, like most government solutions, is about as useful as a sledgehammer during brain surgery.

  15. Matt I don’t doubt you feel that way – I’ve never questioned that you feel that way. I don’t deny your right to feel that way.

    But if you think it’s just me, the way you write the comments, then you are giving me way more power than I actually have. Now you don’t want me to start calling you delusional and all kinds of other clinical names again, do you?

    So instead of saying you wish that Jill or whomever would mind their own business – why not say you wish EVERYONE – yourself included – would mind their own business.

    Where’s the proof that you follow what you preach?

  16. sorry jill, I apologize for that. But I do really wish you would mind your own business. Ohio’s economy is in bad enough shape… With your efforts to increase the size, scope and power of the Federal government, is this your evil scheme to make all of America look like Cleveland?

  17. More name calling… how nice.

    I have huge disagreements with Rand on theology, morality, epistemology, voluntary community, the importance of permanent things. Buckley was right to cast her and the Birchers out of the conservative movement.

    So first you sidestep the issue by calling me names, then say “well I’m a business man… so there!”, then accuse me of sidestepping the issue at hand, then you go on a rant using the overused leftist “people, not profits” motif, then you tell me to buy an island. You need to learn how to debate, you pathetic person.

  18. Matt – my blog, my rules – you are repeating yourself and not in a nice way so censor yourself before I have to – re: “I’d rather have a world where businesses can tell busybodies like you and Jill to mind their own darn business.”

    You can make the point without making it personal.

    Thank you.

  19. Sorry Matt N but in civilized societies businesses (should) be licensed to act in the common good for all. And that means NO DISCRIMINATION.

    Don’t worry, someday they will buy an island for all you laissez faire Randians and we will bid you a fond adieu.

  20. Sorry TJ, but laws against discrimination in the workplace are not the same as the laws which prevent me, for example, from punching you in the face.

    This is the difference between negative and positive rights. Negative rights are rights where you must merely refrain from someone from doing something or harming them. But positive rights are that one person imposes a legal obligation on a person to do something for someone. And in this case, you are forcing a company to act and use it’s resources as you deem moral. In a free society, unless you are a shareholder, I’d rather have a world where businesses can tell busybodies like you and Jill to mind their own darn business.

  21. Anon: I see you are reluctant to post with your real name because you are afraid of being discriminated against! I thought no rational businessperson would do such!

    Likewise you claim conservatives don’t have an ideology. I agree. They have a religion of “free market, low taxes for me, leave me alone but you better not…, etc”.

    No discrimination exists or have ever existed. Well, pure economics alone isn’t all that motivates people. Obviously you have never had a job refused to you even though you got all the questions right on the hastily scrounged up so called qualification exam. You have never had a store clerk deliberately not wait on you to the extent that even the other customers were complaining.

    The wages and salary figures do exist and are not too buried, once you start digging, esp. the academic economic journals have done a lot already.

    Governments exist to change what would happen in their absence, not to sanctify the gross results of a so-called free market.

    To quote Barry Goldwater “there must be a change of heart”. But until the heart changes, the “big stick” of a law can change overt behavior to keep you from hitting me over the head, my stealing your car, and someone else discriminating against the both of us for what we think.

    Sorry, Jill for going so far off topic.

  22. John:
    104 Water Street. For now. 🙂

    Anon: (sigh) fair enough. You gotta do what you gotta do I guess. And if you’re argument is with the methodology, I understand the basis of your argument. I don’t get into the esoterica of statistics since I’m lousy at math. Ergo I pay an accountant to keep me out of trouble.

    As far as the subject matter goes, I think there’s still enough smoke to yell fire as far as equal pay. I think the problem we have is that real salary figures are hard to pin down in private industry because they are held in secret for the most part. We can extrapolate through government reports and filings but hard data is elusive.

    If I were hiring, I’d be looking for who can do the job. I know many other people look for “fits” which can cover a whole range of subjective personal issues. Quite frankly, I’m more in fear of being ‘out there’ as a lib than if I spouted free-market conservatism. I just got tired of living in constant fear of being denied the ability to earn a living because of my beliefs. If that is an issue it says more about our society than anything I believe in. Hopefully I can remain self-employed.

    In any case, sorry for jumping to conclusions.

  23. Bad American wrote: Anon, (why are these people anonymous with no links?? why do they hide?)

    Why do I post as “Anon?” Because I hold unpopular views that I believe would be used against me if they were easily identified with me. For example, you own a small business. If I applied for employment and you knew of my views, would they influence your hiring decision?

    [Anon] cites questions that are simply a smokescreen for more discrimination. Again, when one works in small jobs in the real world, they can see the discrimination. Women get paid less for working the SAME JOBS men do. I’ve met many of them who became aware of this.

    Actually, my questions are not “a smokescreen for more discrimination.” I don’t deny that pay discrimination on the basis of sex occurs (perhaps widely). What I am suggesting is that use of the 77-cent figure as conclusive evidence that “[w]omen get paid less for working the SAME JOBS men do” is fallacious.

    Of course you’ll NEVER be able to prove or convince the ‘anon’s’ of the world. They will stand behind their corporate masters, justifying every act of discrimination and every other wound they inflict upon the people and the planet as ‘the price of freedom.’

    You know next to nothing about me. I don’t have a “corporate master” and do not support pay discrimination. What I do oppose is sloppy argumentation that undercuts the position it purports to advance.

  24. Matt:

    You’re evading the issue of course, but that’s what your kind does when they’re called out. Retreat behind a veil of civility that you’re kind never honors when it’s dishing it out.

    Seriously, I own a bookstore in Chardon. It’s easy to find. And I would never dream of hiring a women to do the same job as a man and paying her less for ANY reason. Because, see, our moms taught us what was right and wrong a long time ago – and that doesn’t take into account capitalist economy theory. It’s either right or it’s wrong.

    So you want to know what makes me so angry? Heck, I’ll be the first to admit I get angry often – because I see so much unfairness and misery masquerading as economic theory. AND because I see it right in front of my eyes on a regular basis. I know of REAL PEOPLE who are hurt by this dog-eat-dog all hail the so-called ‘free market’ type of approach.

    I have always believed that the economic system should MOVE and WORK for the people, NOT the other way around. This is the fundamental disagreement I have with the people who never seem to see workers as real people but simply an aggregate assemblage of assets and liabilities.

    Take again, Ms. Ledbetter. Assume maybe that could be your mother, sister, aunt or some other member of your family. Someone who has given most of her adult life to making the company profitable. And then in the end, she finds out that her contribution to the company’s success is rewarded less than men who work the same jobs. Do you want to put an arm around her shoulder and gently explain Adam Smith to her? Do you?

    Because I gotta tell you, I don’t give a hoot in hell for any economic theory that devalues human beings as living, breathing entities whose contributions MEAN something – not just to their corporations, but to the society at large. Every person has a role, and a valued one at that, in how we ALL stand or fall together as a society.

    Here in Ohio we see the wreckage of a system where hard working people were cast aside because the capital class found a lower form of slave labor willing to work for peanuts overseas. Henry Ford, rat bastard though he was, at least had the intellectual skill to realize that his workers needed to make enough to afford the cars he was making. Even Mark Hanna, commenting on the Pullman strike, said “it’s a damn fool who won’t meet his own men half way.”

    But even the noblesse oblige of the Gilded Age has given way to the most inhuman calculus of labor seen in a long time. I took so much heat from the right wingers at another website for excoriating Wal-Mart for what they were doing to Debbie Shank:

    http://tinyurl.com/2j3mhx

    No amount of economic theory or justification will EVER convince me that people should be treated in such ways to satisfy the bottom line or shareholders. The system moves for people, not the other way around.

    And as I pointed out there are MANY other Debbie Shanks out there we will never hear about. All over this country their is a terrible human toll being paid for the benefit of a system that is pile driving the world into a grave.

    So if you want to know why I get so mad about it, there’s your answer. Blame Catholic Social Teaching – the only part of Catholicism that took hold over me – and thank God for that.

  25. Calling me a punk, and being a small business owner, doesn’t change the fact that you are wrong.

    And why are you so angry and wanting to pick an anonymous e-fight? I’d never expect such hateful language coming from a peaceful, egalitarian liberal such as yourself.

  26. Wow, Jill, you attract some real left wing idiots. I thought I was being fair, and then I’m called a Nazi. We could get into a debate about the truth of Nazi’s (the National Socialist Party), which were anything but free market types. But that wouldn’t solve anything.

    Anytime punk.

    What cave? Have turned this debate to Plato, or are you calling me a cave-dwelling Neanderthal?

    If the shoe fits.

    By the way, I’m a small business owner. You?

  27. What cave? Have turned this debate to Plato, or are you calling me a cave-dwelling Neanderthal? I think I should sue you for discrimination!

    I’ll get out of the cave, if you get out of efforts to tell businessmen, who take incredible risks everyday, how to run their business.

    Now, lets get into this documentation you claim. I think that because of the type of education they receive and the time off they take off after married or becoming mother, I’d be happy to show you why whatever unequal pay you are referring to is hardly unjustifiable.

  28. I’m on deadline and cannot deal with this with a fine-toothed comb.

    Business has had more than enough opportunity to figure out how to be humane and they aren’t doing it – people get pushy and they push back with explanations like yours. If that is so great, why are we where we are?

    You can’t be the party of values or claim to be a person of values without supporting acts that will penalize people for discriminating.

    People who can do that are hypocrites and possibly narcissists and/or sociopaths – having no conscience or care for others.

    The discriination may be most well-documented against women but no doubt it’s there against men, and other minorities.

    Get out of the cave, Matt.

  29. Actually, the burden of proof is upon you to defend your legislation. As that T. Sowell video notes, discrimination in a free market is quite expensive, and gives non-discriminatory firms a strategic benefit over sexist firms. If a firm could really hire 4 women at the same cost as 3 men and have an increase in output, a rational, profit-seeking firm would hire no men.

    Big businesses are going to love your proposed law, as increases in paperwork and legal fees to fend off such lawsuits increases the barriers to entry. So, your efforts discourage small businesses— maybe even small businesses entirely run by women– from starting their own business.

    Furthermore, if a woman feels her pay too low, she should try to renegotiate her contract (ie, “ask for a raise) or quit. No one is forcing her to work in a toxic, discriminatory environment. She should leave and blow the whistle on that company, which will hurt their reputation and hurt their sales.

    You can not legislate discrimination out of existence. While morons, sexists and bigots will always exist, the market, on its own accord, will do more to marginalize them than any law could.

    So what is my solution? If I was asked to write one, I would reduce business regulations, cut taxes, and get government out of the way to unleash profit-seeking entrepreneurs… including women entrepreneurs… to do what they do best.

  30. Matt – that is about the most thoughtfully crafted comment I’ve ever seen you leave.

    But I still have to correct part of it: I could care less about how big gov’t is or isn’t. If people don’t act with integrity toward humans – regardless of whether it’s in their family or their office – then everyone loses and the people who suffer should have a form or redress available to them. If legislation is what’s necessary to provide an avenue for redress, so be it.

    If you can come up with a better solution for how to compensate for business owners who fail to treat the people who help them earn a profit with humanity – and that includes no discriminatory acts, including no discriminatory pay structure – I’m all ears.

  31. Wow, Jill, you attract some real left wing idiots. I thought I was being fair, and then I’m called a Nazi. We could get into a debate about the truth of Nazi’s (the National Socialist Party), which were anything but free market types. But that wouldn’t solve anything.

    Jill, I admire your good hearted intentions in wanting to end discrimination. But your plans to attempt to use big government to legislate discrimination out of existence is truly scary to me.

  32. And. . . there they are! The “free market” kool aid drinkers attack on cue!

    Matt N, channeling his hero Ley (ONLY THE EMPLOYER CAN DECIDE! CAPITALISM UBER ALLES!), makes that case that discrimination is key to American freedom! Love it! Oh my God, I almost fell down laughing if it weren’t so sad (Jill – did you feel properly chastised YOU ARE WRONG TO QUESTION CAPITALISM!!!! WRONG!!!!) to know that so many people believe this. These are people who exist in the rarefied air above the concerns of common working people like Ms. Ledbetter, whose experience is legion around the USA but the vast majority of cases you never hear about (shhhh! because we need to keep salaries TOP SECRET so people never know how badly they’re being screwed!).

    Anon, (why are these people anonymous with no links?? why do they hide?) cites questions that are simply a smokescreen for more discrimination. Again, when one works in small jobs in the real world, they can see the discrimination. Women get paid less for working the SAME JOBS men do. I’ve met many of them who became aware of this.

    Of course you’ll NEVER be able to prove or convince the ‘anon’s’ of the world. They will stand behind their corporate masters, justifying every act of discrimination and every other wound they inflict upon the people and the planet as ‘the price of freedom.’

    Oh, one more thing that – that “mutually agreed upon contract” – is horseshit as anyone who has worked in the real world knows. The employer holds all the cards in the relationship with non-union labor.

  33. Jill quoted Dahlia Lithwick, who quoted Kia Franklin, who noted, “Women in the United States are paid only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men[.]” Franklin was quoting a “Pay Equity Factsheet” from the National Women’s Law Center. From the factsheet, one finds that the 77-cent figure is derived from Census Bureau pay data.

    If one checks Census Bureau pay data for women and men, one will find that median total earnings for women who worked at full time jobs 50 weeks or more in 2006 was $32,515, while median total earnings for men who worked at full time jobs 50 weeks or more in 2006 was $42,261. The ratio $32,515/$42,261 equals 0.769, so that is presumably the basis for the statement, “Women in the United States are paid only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.”

    Now, here are my questions.
    1) Is it reasonable to believe that median earnings will vary by workers’ education, experience, and job category?
    2) Is it reasonable to believe that the distributions of education, experience and job category differ between women and men?
    3) The cited Census Bureau data does not consider workers’ education, experience, or job category. So, if earnings vary by education/experience/job category, and women and men have different distributions of
    education/experience/job categories, why would one not expect there to be a difference between median earnings of women and men?
    4) How would one make the argument that the cited Census Bureau data supports the proposition that women do not receive equal pay for equal work?

  34. Conservatives are not ideological… In fact, conservatives oppose ideology.

    Instead, I would define conservatism as a paradigm of essences toward which the phenomenology of the world is in continuing approximation.

    Barry Goldwater was right to oppose the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and many legal scholars of the day agreed with his constitutional position.

    I find discrimination to be abhorrent, but what I find more offensive is your desire to control and mold businesses into what you deem appropriate. And your comfort with government getting involved in social engineering is frightening.

  35. I will tell you what discrimination is okay means to me, Matt – you needn’t put words out there from me that I haven’t said and wouldn’t say.

    I don’t necessarily disagree that in some notion of a free society there would be discrimination – but that’s not the society that makes up this country. This country clearly defines itself as a society that balances that freedom with the quality of life and assurances of equality for all Americans. That’s what that little thing called the Constitution and the Bill of Rights seeks to do, regardless of how Scalia and others may interpret it.

    It is a balancing act, Matt and you and I have different preferences as to which ideas and ideologies should be given more weight.

  36. Discrimination is not ok. People shouldn’t do business with discriminatory people.

    However, discrimination by business owners must be allowed in a free society. Plus, as I mentioned above, in a free market, discrimination has negative consequences to a business’ bottom line, which is good.

    Saying “discrimination is OK” to you means “We must use the blunt hand of government to end discrimination.” And I disagree with you.

  37. “Employment should be a mutually agreed upon contract”

    Nothing wrong with that assertion Matt but not if the terms are discriminatory. Being mutual doesn’t make being discriminatory okay.

  38. First the negative. As a male it is always bothersome to me, and I think it muddles the issues, that the “female avg wage to male avg wage ratio” is cited. (And likewise I object to when housework is defined not to include the things that males typically do at home!)

    In my opinion it would be best to cite comparable in field wages taking into account age, education, and experience. Why? Using the ratio I cite would clarify what is pure simple, outright sexism, which is easy to deal with by law.

    But aren’t women disadvantaged by going into low paying jobs, time off for child rearing,etc? Yes, And this is what I’d call social-contextual discrimination which has a very different–and more difficult– solution set…changing the socialization and education of girls, dealing with worker time off–although the last is difficult to come up with solutions that are both fair and just for both women and men. (Men too are sometimes out of their job field for long periods of time, and find it difficult to go back. In my own case medical issues have caused me to miss five years. I really can not expect to re-enter the field at the same salary level of those who have not taken time off. Even though I had no choice in taking time off, the reality is that the technology of the field has advanced so much that is difficult just to reenter at almost any level above the very bottom.)

    The positive: I totally agree–how bone headed can the Republicans be to oppose this? It just affirms my belief that Republicans have lost their moral center. Other examples, they oppose $5 billion over 10 years for child medical care, but freely spend $3B a week on Iraq –I weakly support the goals there, so I’m not just opposing– or X hundreds of billions a year in tax cuts for the top 1%. If a Republican can sincerely defend this, I’d welcome a response.

  39. This is all nonsense, as is the argument that women are paid less than women. Watch this Thomas Sowell video for more:

    If companies could hire 4 women at the same price at 3 men, then that company would have a strong incentive to hire no men. A company may be run by sexist, but even the most sexist companies aren’t immune from the competition who, if this nonsense about unequal pay was true, would take full advantage of increasing output for the same amount of total pay.

    And regardless, it is the business which invests the capital and takes the risk. Employment should be a mutually agreed upon contract, and the only role for government should be the enforcement of that contract.

    These type of federal discrimination laws are unconstitutional expansions of the commerce clause.

  40. Bad American – you know, I really owe you – not only for not getting out to the bookstore but because you read what I write. AND share some opinions. That’s like a very lucky day. 🙂
    The link works now. Tx.

  41. Having said that, I’ll read about orgasms later (there’s real irony in that statement but that’s as far as I go).

    Anyway, look:

    What do you expect from the Republicans? They simply believe what their ideological forbear said so many years ago:

    “Only the employer can decide”

    — Robert Ley, Nazi Labor Minister.

    And I’m sure there are those who also believe that GOD anointed the employer to do as he wishes with his female employers. As Archie Bunker said “women came from the rib – a cheaper cut.” Therefore their labor, being as they are not as intelligent or hard working as men AND — perish forbid — they expect to drop OUT of the work force and give birth to the next generation! Not good for the employer and in the good old US of A that’s all that matters.

    I’m sure you’ll get the usual suspects in here defending the indefensible.

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