Although the Left does not like to attribute it to conservatives, everyone is in favor of equality. Nowhere is this most misconstrued than in the alleged discrepancy between the pay for men and women. Such noted economists like Beyonce and Barack Obama have used the “women make 77 cents to a man’s dollar” meme although true economists have correctly dismissed this lie. One can get to that figure by comparing apples to oranges, but when you more accurately compare apples to apples, the alleged wage gap all but disappears. The Left’s current poster child- [mc_name name=’Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’W000817′ ]- had this to say: “We believe- I can’t believe I have to say this is 2014- we believe in equal pay for equal work.” Newsflash: The Left has no monopoly on this belief. What is unbelievable is that a Harvard-educated president and a Senator who was a Harvard professor actually spout these lies. One can expect it from Beyonce, but it leads me to believe that there may be a problem with a Harvard education.
Perhaps there was a wage gap in the past of this magnitude, but it does not exist today. In fact, when everything is held constant between genders- that is, everything is equal- women earn 96 cents to a male’s dollar. Yes, there is still 4 cents to be made up, but that is certainly a hell of a lot better than the false 23 cents. And that 4 cents is likely attributable to something the Left cannot wrap their heads around unless they are talking about abortion- personal choice.
According to the Census Bureau, women living in metropolitan areas actually make 8% more than their male counterparts. It makes sense since they are generally better educated. More women are attending and graduating from college than men these days and have been since 1981. Females graduating with a master’s degree surpassed males in 1986 and females surpassed males in the number of doctorate degrees in 2005. This trend is projected to continue.
As for those choices, this also likely explains the existing 4 cent gap. Looking at starting salaries for college majors, we find the following:
- Engineering $63,000
- Computer science $60,000
- Business $54,000
- Communications $43,000
- Math and science $42,700
- Education $40,000
- Humanities/social science $37,000
What we find is that women college graduates predominate in the fields of education and humanities/social science while males dominate the fields of engineering and computer science. You want to make up that real 4 cent gap real quick? Have more women enter the field of engineering. Or maybe there should be more male theater majors. Either scenario would even out the gap.
There are other issues at play here. Unless I missed some major news story, women get pregnant and often leave the labor force for a specific period of time to raise children. There is nothing inherently wrong with this although it usually does not mesh with a feminist definition of today’s woman. Also, some women may simply pass up a promotion and higher potential pay for personal or family reasons. But, it is their choice based on their preference just as choice of a college major or profession is their choice. The only place where there may be a problem is if there are institutional barriers to women entering the higher paying professions. One institutional barrier is the erroneous assumption that a graduate of Harvard, for example, is somehow superior to a graduate of a non-Ivy League school. Perhaps we should be railing against that myth before we rant about a non-existent pay gap. That is the proper place for the righteous indignation of feminists and the Left.
Perhaps there was a wage gap problem years ago, but recent proposals like the Paycheck Fairness Act are unnecessary legislative attempts designed to keep women in the role of victim when statistics and sober analysis indicate they are anything but victims today. Intentional discrimination has been against the law since 1963 and is actionable under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This new law would allow class action lawsuits based on disparate impact alone where although the pay would be equal, the work may not be equal. The result is that employers would simply adhere to some rigid pay scale formula not based on ability, proficiency or qualifications, but avoidance of costly lawsuits. In the end, everyone suffers in the name of equality. Isn’t that the rationale behind and the sad effects of socialism?