When I was a kid, women were demanding “Equal Pay for Equal Work.” Somewhere along the way in the last 50 years, that has been conveniently truncated to “Equal Pay — Period.”
At least, that SHOULD be the slogan — if truth in advertising laws could be applied to political posturing — because Equal Pay Day, which falls on Tuesday, April 9, is not about equal pay for equal work, but just about increasing women’s pay arbitrarily as a form of Marxist social engineering.
The press release I got from the (George Soros-funded) National Partnership for Women & Families lamented the fact that women in Montana are “paid just 75 cents for every dollar paid to men” and that “collectively, this amounts to a loss of more than $1.3 billion in income every year.”
And it wasn’t just a Montana problem — nationally, I was told, women are paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to men.
Except that these numbers — 75 percent and 77 percent — are not just “lies” or “damned lies.” They are “statistics” and thus should be held in the very lowest regard. If an idle mind is the devil’s playground, then statistics must be regarded as the devil’s monkey bars, luring many into danger and then dropping them on their head.
An unfortunate example for Montana of someone dropped on his head is our own esteemed six-term U.S. senator, Max Baucus, who sent out a press release last month encouraging Montanans to support “paycheck fairness.” He claimed that “it’s not right” that Montana women make “almost $11,000 less per year to pay the bills, buy groceries for the family, buy gas to take the kids to school.” And according to Max “we need to fix it.”
But what exactly are we fixing? What exactly is broken (other than Max’s noggin)? Are Montana women really being cheated out of $11,000 per year?
Of course, not. You can’t just lump all women together and all men together and claim that, based on gender alone, their average salaries should somehow match. It takes about 30 seconds of logical thought to realize that this statistic (women’s wages as a percentage of men’s wages) is a politically expedient chimera that has no relationship to any meaningful metric.
It has two purposes only: It is supposed to make us feel: (a) exploited (if we are women) or (b) ashamed (if we are men).
And it works! Even the reputable American Association of University Women (now known as AAUW) sent me a press release asking, “How is the average woman who loses out on thousands of dollars in wages each year due to the [pay] gap supposed to make up for cuts to these [federal] programs [due to sequestration]?”
How DARE the heartless employers of our country pay women LESS just because they are WOMEN! And then the federal government has the audacity to target programs that benefit women!
But wait a minute. The federal government is making across-the-board cuts, not targeted cuts! And the average woman isn’t being cheated out of thousands of dollars in her salary either. She just happens to make less than some people who do different jobs than her. You can’t say that a male janitor should make the same amount of money as a male CEO, can you? It is outrageous, therefore, to say that a woman janitor should make the same money as a male CEO. But that is the underlying logic of pay equity — “equal pay for unequal work.”
TAKE NOTE CAREFULLY: No one, not even the solicitous Sen. Baucus, is claiming that women are paid 77 percent less than men in the same line of work with the same amount of experience and the same ability who live in a region of the country with the same cost of living and the same market conditions. THAT would be despicable and outrageous and a moral wrong that would shock the sensibilities of anyone.
In general, a woman hired to do an electrician’s job should be paid approximately the same amount of money to do approximately the same amount of work as a male electrician. That’s common sense, and if you can find an employer anywhere in America who would try to pay women 77 percent of what a man makes for the same work in the same location under the same conditions, then by all means hold that employer up for ridicule and shame.
BUT you are almost never going to find such a STUPID employer. Indeed, employers have come to depend on their female work force as an absolute essential to doing business. To insult women in the workplace with sub-standard wages while paying men premium wages would not only be an offense against humanity, it would be bad business. Let such employers be visited with fines, penalties and public opprobrium. Let stocks be returned to the public square and march these jackasses out to sweat in the midday sun with their neck and hands bound while passing children spit in their face.
On the other hand, if an employer (let’s say an electric company) pays those who work safely in an office 77 percent (or even less) of what they pay those who work as linemen installing power lines outdoors in often dangerous conditions, we should not be surprised. And the employer should not have to feel ashamed if most of those office workers are women and most of those linemen are men. Jobs have to be filled with those most qualified among the applicant pool, and as a matter of record, women are less inclined to work in dangerous manufacturing or industrial jobs, which means they have oftentimes self-selected a lower-paying job.
It has NOTHING to do with employer bias or gender discrimination.
And that is just one of many examples of how the nature of women’s jobs and their work choices account for the preponderance of the pay disparity which is trumpeted on Equal Pay Day. Other factors include willingness to travel, length of continuous service and willingness to work a flexible schedule. But no matter how many logical explanations you can provide, it is hard to counter the emotion-based argument that “women make less than men.”
Ultimately, the so-called “paycheck fairness” movement can best be described by one word — Marxism. “From each according to his abilities; to each according to his (or in this case ‘her’) needs.” By lumping all men into one wage pool and all women into another wage pool and then demanding that both pools should be equal, we are insisting on redistribution of wealth (or in this case “income”). Merit doesn’t matter. Work conditions don’t matter. Experience doesn’t matter. Choices about what kind of work to pursue don’t matter. What matters is equality of outcome, not fairness.
Indeed, the underlying logic (or lack of logic) of paycheck equity which demands that all men should make the same amount of money as all women will not stop with men being pitted against women. Eventually, you can expect to see the same perverse logic applied to show that American workers are unfairly making more than workers in Mexico... and then the Philippines... and then China. All people, you see, should make the same amount of money as all other people.
At least Karl Marx thinks so. But is there any reason why an American citizen should?