Tag: Equal Pay

Kamala Harris’ Salami Socialism


One of the most frightening developments in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election is the Democratic flirtation with socialist ideals. One recent manifestation of this unfortunate trend is the recent proposal from Senator Kamala Harris (CA) to have a vast government takeover of employment markets in the name of gender equity. In an age in which the phrase “diversity and inclusion” is on the lips of every business and university, she announces, without a shred of evidence, her deep conviction that labor markets consistently and systematically discriminate against women by failing to offer them equal wages for equal work. Her purpose is to hold “corporations accountable for pay inequality in America.” How? Through “the most aggressive equal pay proposal in history.”

The proposal goes downhill from there. The first question that one has to ask is why competitive labor markets need any form of wage regulation to protect women in the first place. Sure, there are thousands of large corporations in America, but they are in constant competition with each other, along with every small firm in the market, to hire the best talent they can find. Harris starts out with misleading statistics that lament that women only earn 80 percent of what men earn, and then waxes even more indignant that the ratios are even worse for Latina women (53 percent), Native American women (58 percent), and African American women (61 percent). Clearly, any effort to accurately explain these outcomes requires an accounting, as she acknowledges in the fine print, for education, hours worked, job classification, years of experience, parental leave, and many more factors. Accounting for some of these factors—many others are hard to identify, observe, and measure—reduces that gap to around 6 percent at most.

If the gap tops out at that level, the question is whether this massively coercive gambit is worthwhile. It is exceedingly difficult to make these adjustments, and Harris’s proposal comes at a peculiarly inopportune moment. The hands-off policy of the Trump administration on domestic employment markets—in painful contrast with his meddlesome approach on international trade—has led to “screaming shortages” for skilled and unskilled workers alike. Employers are moving heaven and earth to offer not only wage and salary increases, but also a variety of perks to fill gaps in their labor force. Does Harris really believe that the forces of discrimination are so ingrained that firms, many of which are run by women, would reject or underpay women because of their desire to establish a male hierarchy that costs them both time and money? If there is some systematic and significant evidence of salary imbalance, she should demonstrate it rigorously before undertaking this massive regulatory initiative. Her use of uncorrected numbers is totally indefensible.

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The Bee ran this piece about a pay raise in the California Senate for 71 women who had to endure the humiliation of being paid 96 cents on the patriarchal male dollar. It was a 10% raise that will cost over $600,000 annually.  What is so amusing is reading through this article quoting these clueless […]

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Women’s Wages and the ’77 Cents’ Myth — Again and Again and Again


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Eventually, liberals/progressives/Democrats might stop using the “women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes” factoid. This is a two “Pinocchio” claim, according to the Washington Post, by the way. I also recommend this critical note from my AEI colleagues Andrew Bigg and Mark Perry, which concludes, “Once education, marital status and occupations are considered, the ‘gender wage gap’ all but disappears.” And now we have this new study from the New York Fed, which also finds a relatively tiny gap:

Among recent college graduates as a whole, women earn about 97 cents on the dollar compared with men. That said, within this group, women tend to out-earn men in a number of college majors, sometimes by a substantial margin. We find these early career patterns fascinating, in part because they seem to present counter examples to the well-established male wage premium, but mostly because it is not entirely clear why we observe these patterns. To the extent that a wage premium for one gender represents discrimination, it may be that discrimination can occur in favor of either men or women, depending on college major, at least among recent college graduates. By mid-career, however, any wage premium earned by women completely disappears. As we grapple with the issue of gender pay equity, it is vital that we continue to examine these trends in more detail so that we can better understand their sources.

Has Feminism Jumped the Shark?


shutterstock_143044900A new video, “F-bombs for Feminism”, made the rounds on social media yesterday. (In case the title didn’t alert you, be warned that this is not something you necessarily want to watch without headphones!)

Following in the footsteps of Beyoncé, who last year made the “shocking” comment that “gender equality is a myth,” “F-bombs for Feminism” is a ridiculous attempt to wake people up to women’s rights. The group who created this video, FCKH8, gathered a group of little girls wearing princess dress-up clothing and using “offensive” language to bring attention to all the “really offensive” ways our patriarchal society discriminates against and mistreats women. And they play all the big hits: pay inequality, rape and sexual assault, and being pretty.

FCKH8 makes use of all the usual statistical suspects: “Women make 23% less than men for the exact same [expletive] work.” And, “One out of five women will be sexually assaulted or raped by a man. Stop telling girls how to dress and start teaching boys not to [expletive] rape.”

The Rising Generation of Blamers


Raise the WageAs I sit here typing, I can scarcely comprehend the work it takes to be a farmer—even moreso a farmer of 100 or 200 years ago. Early mornings, sowing seeds, tending to the animals, all while keeping the house, the children, and life in order. By the time one day was over, it was about time to start the next.

In many ways, the farmer (either of today or 100 years ago) serves as an example of the kind of person America was designed for: hard-working, self-reliant individuals who add to the country’s growth and value.

For the farmer of old, the responsibility of provision laid squarely upon his shoulders. There was no government bailout and certainly no standing before the cows with a sign demanding higher milk output for the same amount of work. It was do or die — in the most literal sense.

The Libertarian Podcast: Equal Pay, Discrimination, and Free Markets — Troy Senik


Our topic on this week’s installment of the Hoover Institution’s Libertarian podcast is wage discrimination and Professor Epstein is ready for battle.

He explains how free markets destroy the ability for systemic discrimination, why certain media memes persist despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and why President Obama’s pay equity executive order — slight though it might be — has the potential to yield destructive consequences.

The Dangers of the “Equal Pay” Canard


In the newest installment of my weekly column for the Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas, I take issue with the White House’s relentless insistence that there is a crisis in America of institutionalized employment discrimination against women, a claim that can’t stand up to even basic scrutiny:

Labor markets are intensely competitive, so the claim about systematic pay gaps has to assume both that women managers are hostile to women’s economic welfare, and that competitive markets are massively inefficient in matching people with positions. Competition for labor tends to lead to efficient outcomes. Indeed, by the standard account, price discrimination cannot survive in competitive markets, which means that the differentials in wages track differences in performance. Put simply, one danger of the Equal Pay Act is that it could mandate equal wages for unequal work, i.e. for two workers with different productivity.