It’s Equal Pay Day, everyone!
As per tradition, progressives mark the occasion by using fabricated numbers to drive a destructive narrative of division and faux-victimhood.
In other words, Equal Pay Day is just like any other day, except with more hashtags.
During the State of the Union, Obama referred to the ‘wage gap’ as a ‘workplace policy that belongs in a Mad Men episode.’ Dutifully, his
cattle constituents have latched onto the State-approved talking point and run with it:
— AAUW (@AAUW) April 8, 2014
— Rep.George Miller (@askgeorge) April 8, 2014
— MomsRising (@MomsRising) April 8, 2014
— Rosa DeLauro (@rosadelauro) April 8, 2014
— Jessica G., J.D. (@jessgshantell) April 8, 2014
This afternoon, Obama again addressed the phantom wage gap by signing another executive order, and delivering a few pandering remarks on a stage strategically decorated with mutli-cultural female props.
Despite the fact that the White House has admitted that the “women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns” rhetoric is misleading and false, Obama chose to regurgitate it anyway:
“Now, here’s the challenge: Today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns; for African American women, Latinas, it’s even less. And in 2014, that’s an embarrassment. It is wrong.”
As many have pointed out, the hypocrisy here is staggering. In Obama’s own staff, women make substantially less than men. Even in the Senate, the Democrat leaders have all selected men as their top aides.
Imagine the arrogance of a man who gallops in front of cameras, pledging to rescue all of womanhood from the oppressive grasp of the national wage gap, while electing to maintain those disparities for the females in his immediate employ.
Wow. Next thing you know, the dude will be sermonizing about the evils of guns while surrounded by armed men, or preaching about the dastardly One Percent while hoarding millions of dollars and refusing to donate his entire presidential salary to the poor.
Ah, but surely even this president couldn’t be that unwilling to live by the standards he wishes to impose upon the rest of us.
So I’d like to cut Obama some slack (he’s earned it!) and instead address the two primary suppositions behind the ‘wage gap’ rhetoric.
First, that anything useful can be gleaned from the vague statement that ‘women earn less than men,’ and second, that the actual existence of a wage gap automatically proves discrimination.
Let’s start with the first thing first:
Do women make ’77 cents for every dollar men earn’? Sure, according to some figures. But that statistic is about as meaningful as saying, ‘women give birth to one hundred percent of the babies’ or that they ‘spend a billion dollars more each year at the gynecologist.’ All of these things are probably true, but if you cite them in an effort to prove discrimination, you are being ridiculous.
You’re also lying.
The ’77 cents’ figure lies by omission.
Purposefully left out of the equation are relevant details like: tenure, job title, hours worked, region, experience, skill level, industry, occupation, safety risks, education level and difficulty. The figure simply compares all women and all men who work over 35 hours in any job, in any part of the country, for any period of time, at any experience level, however poorly or however competently.
A receptionist working 38 hours a week at your local dentist’s office is evenly stacked up against a stock broker or a coal miner. The salary of a male neurosurgeon is compared to a female manicurist. A male electrician is contrasted against a Denny’s waitress.
In all cases, the disparity is shoved under the ‘wage gap’ blanket, and used to paint a picture of sexism and paternalistic oppression.
Men are more likely to work dangerous, physically demanding, high stress jobs. They’re more likely to work weekends and holidays. They’re more likely to be willing to relocate. They’re more likely to pursue jobs in higher paying fields.
Loggers and steel workers are paid well, but the job requires the sort of brute force that most women don’t possess. A job on an offshore oil rig will pay handsomely because of the risks, the physical nature of the work, and the demands it places on your time. You will find more men taking these positions than women, but are we ready to chalk that up to ‘discrimination’?
Women business owners earn 50 percent less than men business owners. Does this mean women business owners are discriminating against themselves? Does it mean that customers often refuse to patronize a certain establishment if they find out it’s owned by a woman?
So, 77 cents on the dollar? Ok, and…? What does that prove?
This is the kind of math only done by politicians and propagandists. If you need workable and realistic numbers — statistics that tell you something important or relevant or even slightly functional — you would, obviously, control for factors that threaten to wildly skew your data, disproportionately impact the equation, and fog your ultimate conclusion.
Imagine this hypothetical. A crazy guy puts a gun to your head:
Guy with gun: Do some research and come back with one solid figure that will give me the clearest insight into gender discrimination in the workplace, or I’ll kill you!
You: Ok, here! I’ve got it! Women earn 77 percent of what men earn!
Guy with gun: Hmmm, that is compelling. Did you control for hours worked?
Guy with gun: Type of job?
Guy with gun: Experience level?
Guy with gun: Tenure?
Guy with gun: Geographic region? Risk? Skill level? Overtime? Holidays?
You: Well, no. And no. And no. And no. And no.
Guy with gun: So this is a number that merely reflects the fact that, broadly speaking, women and men work different hours, in different fields, with different skills, with different educational backgrounds, for different periods of time, in different parts of the country, in different positions, assuming different degrees of risk?
Guy with gun: [BLAM]
See how that hypothetical ended? You died.
But don’t worry, you wouldn’t die in real life, because in real life you wouldn’t use that 77 percent figure if you felt any incentive to be honest and forthright. This is a number that works only for stump speeches and Facebook debates. It clouds the issue, and that is its precise purpose.
Now, all of this said, what if you narrow the field down a bit and still find a gap?
You’ve probably seen this study bandied about. According to research published last year, female doctors make about 50 grand less annually than male doctors.
Ah, a smoking gun of sexism and misogyny. Discrimination, at last! What else could it be?
Well, it could be, for one thing, the fact that women gravitate towards pediatrics while men are more likely to be surgeons and radiologists. Men go for the higher paying specialties, and women tend to become family care doctors.
Surgeons make more than pediatricians. Women are more likely to be pediatricians. Hence, women are more likely to make less money in the medical field. Discrimination?
No, it’s called choice.
Indeed, no matter where you look, you probably won’t find demonstrable and provable sexism, but you will find women making choices that lead to more time at home, more time working with children, and lower wages.
And thank God for that.
The Department of Labor — hardly a conservative think tank — published its own report on the wage gap. They admit that “economic research has identified numerous factors that contribute to the observed difference between wages paid to women and wages paid to men, commonly called the gender wage gap. Many relate to differences in the choices and behavior of women and men in balancing their work, personal, and family lives. These factors include, most notably, the occupations and industries in which they work, and their human capital development, work experience, career interruptions, and motherhood.” Read the full report here.
No matter what the progressive radicals say, many women still put family above fortune. Their nurturing instincts still often drive them towards caring for kids — whether their own or someone else’s.
And thank God for that.
Despite the urgings of these consumerist drones who place ‘professional success’ and ‘workplace advancement’ above all things, many people still decide to strive for something deeper.
And thank God for that.
The gender wage gap exists, in large part, because women are still more likely to take time off when they have kids, and if they do return to the workforce, they’re more likely to make professional choices that prioritize their children over their careers.
And thank God for that.
When you lament the ‘wage gap’ you are lamenting the fact that women like to be with their families, and they frequently choose jobs that allow them to care for children. You might see this as a travesty of justice, but I see it as something absolutely healthy, empowering, and wonderful.
If you really want to come up with a statistic that gives insight into sexism, you’d need to look at people with the same tenure and job title, working the same hours, in the same region, with the same experience, with the same skill level, in the same industry, in the same occupation, with the safety risks, with the same education and competency level and doing a task with the same difficulty, but then you’d also need to ensure that they have the same professional ambitions, made the same choices, have the same priorities and proclivities and personal inclinations, and are a part of the same sort of family dynamic.
Then, once you’ve somehow numerically quantified all of that, you merely have to come up with the ability to peer into an employer’s soul and determine if discrimination and sexism are behind the pay differences between all of these individuals. But this would require you to first disprove other biases. You’d have to rule out a prejudice based on age, or personality, or body odor, or any multitude of other human characteristics that might cause another human to view them in a positive or negative light.
There. Simple enough.
Come back when you’ve done all the calculations.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to see the wage gap as an indication that men and women are different, make different choices, and have different goals and ambitions that manifest themselves in different ways, and are achieved through different means.
And thank God for that.