Tag: Pay Equity

The Unfeminine Feminism of the “Pay Gap” Debate


We begin with an anachronistic soapbox derby using laughable safety equipment on a course no rich-piggy liberal who drives an Audi would let their kid within a mile of. The voiceover begins: “What do I tell my daughter? That her grandfather is worth more than her grandmother… Her father is worth more than her mother… she will automatically be valued as less than every man she ever meets…” Then ends with the words on the screen, “Audi of America is committed to equal pay for equal work. Progress is for everyone.”

You’ve got to wonder what country (and what century) Audi is talking about. The ad executives and writers of this idiocy have obviously never had any contact with any real daughters, mothers or fathers, or grandparents. Let me tell the story of a typical family — mine. In fact, it’s a stereotypical family since a cop being married to a nurse is almost a cliché.

When my wife graduated from nursing school, I had been on the force for three years. She immediately got a job that paid 25¢ an hour more than me. Think about that for a minute. We each had a BS degree from one the largest public universities in the state. I was in a primarily male occupation with three years of experience and pay raises, and her wage as novice nurse was larger than mine. But she did not earn more than me that year, or for several years afterward. She never worked more than 40 hours a week. I very seldom worked fewer than 50 hours a week.

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.

A Challenge for Hillary Clinton: Return to a JFK Growth Agenda


JFK 2_0When John F. Kennedy was elected president he surprised both Democrats and Republicans with a bold tax-cutting plan to solve the problem of a moribund economy. He had campaigned on “getting the country moving again,” and had set a 5 percent economic-growth target, but he never specified how he was going to do it. Then he opened everyone’s eyes with a plan to lower marginal tax rates across-the-board.

JFK’s advisors proposed a traditional Democratic approach: temporary targeted tax cuts. But Kennedy insisted on lower tax rates that would create much higher rewards for work, saving, and investment. And Kennedy argued that his lower tax-rate incentives would so expand the economy that after a few years his tax cuts would pay for themselves.

He was right.

Academy Awards Enters Equal Pay Debate…Unfortunately


ArquetteThe #AskHerMore Twitter campaign encouraged reporters to ask female Oscar nominees about more than just than their fashion choices. Hearing more about their films? Great. But hearing more from nominees, of either gender, about public policy is often not a path to viewer enlightenment — particularly if their film has nothing to do with that particular issue. Example:

Patricia Arquette used her big win at the Oscars on Sunday as an opportunity to talk about an issue that is extremely important to her — women’s rights. In accepting the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Boyhood,” Arquette read from a sheet of paper and began her comments by thanking her children. At the end of her speech, Arquette made a call for action on women’s rights and argued that it’s time for women to renew the push for equal pay. “We have fought about everyone else’s right,” Arquette, 46, said. “It’s about time we fought for our own; it’s about time we have equal pay and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

I don’t know about Hollywood — I will give Arquette the benefit of the doubt about her own industry — but studies suggest overall that 5% or maybe less of the gender difference in worker pay has to do with discrimination vs. the fact that men a) work longer hours than women, b) work at more dangerous and financially risky jobs, c) have greater years of continuous work experience on average, and d) choose college majors with more value in the marketplace. AEI’s Andrew Biggs and Mark Perry:

The Fictitious Holiday Based on a Faux Statistic — Sabrina Schaeffer


PFA_graphicTuesday, April 8th, marks “Equal Pay Day,” the fictitious “holiday” liberal women’s groups have manufactured to expose the so-called “wage gap.”

No doubt you’ve heard that women only make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. The faux statistic is repeated so often it may as well be part of the morning weather report. Of course, unlike the weather report, which is only sometimes wrong, the wage gap statistic is always wrong.

When economists control for any number of important factors – such as college major, work experience, time spent out of the workplace – the pay gap shrinks to almost nothing. (See here for more.) And if you don’t trust me, just see what progressive writers like Hanna Rosin and even the Washington Post editorial board have had to say.