Anheuser-Busch gender gap trial has greater implications


I’m closely watching the jury trial for Francine Katz’ lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch.  The entire basis of the trial is that Katz was paid less because she’s a woman.

Counting bonuses and stock options, Katz earned more than $1 million annually after her 2002 promotion to vice president of communications and consumer affairs and elevation to the company’s influential strategy committee. Her predecessor, former National Urban League President John Jacob, earned four times that amount in his final year, Katz’s lawyer said. Katz said she didn’t realize the pay gap until reviewing tax filings connected to the sale to InBev.

It’s dishonest and dangerous to tie one specific case to a broad policy regarding “gender gap” but we know it’s going to happen.  Joshua Holland made this fatuous statement in Bill Moyers’ blog:

Let us first note that explaining why [emphasis in original] a phenomenon exists is not the same as demonstrating that it doesn’t exist. It’s not a “supposed pay gap” just because women pay an economic price for having kids.

Someone’s got to pay an economic price for having kids, and men are disqualified, physiologically, from the activity of baby-bearing.  Some women have their baby and return to work in just a few weeks.  Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer brought her baby to work, for which she was roundly criticized because she spent her own money to build the nursery at work, and she didn’t build one for every employee.

Those trumpeting a “pay gap” want something, but they’re not being clear about what they want.  They appear to want women to earn as much as men, by working as much as men, in the same positions as men, and joining in the hunting and fishing with men, doing manly things.  But this is absurd.  It’s as absurd as asking men to join in afternoon teas, quilting parties, and decorating.  Of course, there are men who do these things, and women who hunt and fish.  But it’s their choice to do it.

I’m left with the conclusion that the Lefties who want to remove all income inequality, based on everything (see Thomas Piketty), really want to remove all personal choice.  Because personal choices, good and bad, coupled with different innate potentials in every human being, lead to inequality, in income, and in everything.

The Katz v. Anheuser-Busch trial is going to come down to the jury’s sympathies:  biased statements reach the jury’s ears, like

Katz testified that one time when August Busch III was angry about an environmental issue, John Jacob told her Busch wouldn’t confront her because he was afraid she would cry.

They are going to paint August Busch III and his male friends, who like to hunt and fish and do guy-stuff, as an exclusionary chauvinist “boys club.”  And this may justify the claim that Katz is entitled to $9 million because she found out that the person she succeeded, who had far more responsibility in his position with A-B than Katz had in her job (though she “succeeded” him in the sense that he left when she was promoted), made far more money.

The outcome of this trial could have far greater implications than just lining Katz and her lawyers’ pockets.

If the jury finds against A-B, it’s bad juju for companies who wish to craft executive jobs based on the capabilities and potential of the people they choose to fill them.  Companies will be forced to create cookie-cutter jobs, with cookie-cutter salaries, fully disclosed and published, to prevent any kind of claim of inequality and the subsequent lawsuits.

Companies will be forced to behave like, well, the government.

And we know how efficient, motivating, and productive government is at getting things done.

It will be just one more step on the road toward a society where all choices are made for us, and all outcomes are the same.