do you call a man who sermonizes about the evils of paying women less
than men but allows that very practice in his own office? While a certain
unflattering noun would leap to the mind of most, we can now apply a
proper one: Barack Obama.
Although the Illinois
senator has vowed to make pay equity between the sexes a priority in
his administration, it has been revealed that he doesn’t practice
what he preaches. Writes CNSNEWS.com:
On average, women working in Obama’s Senate office were paid at
least $6,000 below the average man working for the Illinois senator
. . . . Of the five people in Obama's Senate office who were paid $100,000
or more on an annual basis, only one – Obama’s administrative
manager – was a woman.
some might call Obama a hypocrite. Isn’t he guilty of the very
invidious discrimination he claims plagues America? It’s certainly
easy to take this tack, and many on my side will have a field day doing
so. Yet, such an analysis only qualifies us for a job such as, well,
working in a leftist senator’s office. Let’s look a little
this topic recently, I cited member of the fairer sex Carrie Lukas,
All the relevant
factors that affect pay -- occupation, experience, seniority, education
and hours worked -- are ignored [by those citing the wage gap]. This
sound-bite statistic fails to take into account the different roles
that work tends to play in men's and women's lives.
In truth, I'm
the cause of the wage gap – I and hundreds of thousands of women
like me. I have a good education and have worked full time for 10
years. Yet throughout my career, I've made things other than money
a priority. I chose to work in the nonprofit world because I find
it fulfilling. I sought out a specialty and employer that seemed best
suited to balancing my work and family life. When I had my daughter,
I took time off and then opted to stay home full time and telecommute.
I'm not making as much money as I could, but I'm compensated by having
the best working arrangement I could hope for.
make similar trade-offs all the time. Surveys have shown for years that
women tend to place a higher priority on flexibility and personal fulfillment
than do men, who focus more on pay. Women tend to avoid jobs that require
travel or relocation, and they take more time off and spend fewer hours
in the office than men do.
To expand on this, women are more likely to decline promotions citing
familial responsibilities; tend to gravitate toward lower-paying fields
(e.g., favoring social sciences over hard ones); and, according to US
Census Bureau statistics, full-time men average 2,213 working hours
a year versus only 1,796 for "full-time" women. Thus, the
same data telling us women earn less than men also explains why.
it’s entirely possible that Senator Obama is a sexist, misogynistic
creep who gleefully rubs his hands together and laughs demonically while
scheming to persecute his female employees. Maybe he has nothing better
to do. But far more likely is that the aforementioned factors explain
his office’s inter-sex pay differential. Perhaps his male employees
work more hours, have been more likely to accept promotions involving
greater responsibility, have more experience, sacrificed “personal
fulfillment” and instead chose more lucrative fields, and/or have
greater seniority. Whatever the reasons, I’m quite sure of one
thing: The phenomenon is attributable to natural, market-based factors
and not a conscious desire to disenfranchise women.
course, I could nonetheless level charges of invidious discrimination
in an effort to score political points – just as the senator has
done. Instead, though, I will extend him a fairness that he denies to
the millions of American businessmen he demonizes through implication.
That is the right thing to do, Mr. Obama.
fairness is what leftists claim to want to achieve when issuing their
feminist, 77-cents-on-a-dollar rallying cry. Yet this is an often ambiguous
concept. “OK, Duke,” you say, “you want specificity?
How about equal pay for equal work?” Well, that’s an interesting
once read that female fashion models earn three times as much as their
male peers. Then, it’s well-known that heavyweight boxers make
more than lightweights. Would you support government intervention to
ensure pay equity among fashion models and boxers? I mean, as for the
latter, lightweights have to train as hard and also endure ruinous blows.
course, you might point out that to succeed in the lightweight division,
you only have to beat lightweights, but to keep your teeth in the heavyweight
division, you have to beat heavyweights, a more difficult task. So it’s
fair, isn’t it?
agree, but often fairness is reckoned very differently when the lower-paid
group has been assigned victim status. For instance, in tennis, there
long was talk about the “grave injustice” of offering female
players less prize money at Grand Slam events. Yet it’s the same
as in boxing. Whether or not the women train as hard, the fact remains
that to succeed in women’s tennis, they only have to vanquish
women, not the far stiffer competition on the men’s tour. Thus,
in either sport, it’s ridiculous to rally for equal pay based
on an equality argument because the systems are inherently unequal,
in that both lightweight boxers and female tennis players are offered
an arena in which to compete that excludes the best competition. Yet
the competitors do have recourse. If lightweights want the glory and
purses of the heavyweights, they can move up into that division. Likewise,
if the women want the men’s money, they should play on the men’s
this doesn’t explain the discrimination against male fashion models
in an industry where all and sundry compete in the same arena. They
all do “equal work,” don’t they? Perhaps, and this
is the problem with advocating social engineering in the name of fairness.
we earn has nothing to do with idealistic notions of fairness but is
determined by the value the market -- our fellow citizens, in other
words -- assigns to our labors. Is it fair that rap thugs and sports
stars earn more than doctors and teachers? Is it fair that mainstream
media propagandists who peddle the wage-gap myth earn more than an alternative-media
journalist who tries to debunk it (well, that’s not fair!)?
Not just female fashion models but also heavyweight boxers
and male tennis players earn more money for one reason, and one reason
only. It has nothing to do with performing more arduous or impressive
work but because the market values them more highly.
the end of the day, the only question is who will determine wages and
on what basis? Should it be 300 million citizens or a small number of
politicians and bureaucrats, a market democracy or market autocracy?
In other words, all of us, every day -- through what we buy, watch and
show interest in -- essentially “vote” on what will get
produced, how much people get paid, etc. Are we fair? Again, fairness
is a hard thing to reckon. I can’t boast about our embrace of
shock jocks and reality television, but I will use a variation on a
famous Winston Churchill line: Market democracy is the worst system
in the world . . . except for all the rest. I’ll take the “unfairness”
of the market over that of pseudo-elite politicians any day. Now let’s
contrast these two models.
the market does in fact discriminate. It compensates those who work
longer hours, accept greater responsibility and risk, prevail over stiffer
competition, and/or have great “drawing power” more than
those who don’t, for instance. (This is why I used the modifier
“invidious,” meaning “likely to create ill will,”
earlier in this piece -- not all discrimination is created equal.) And,
as I illustrated, certain groups benefit from this moral discrimination,
such as heavyweight boxers and men. Then there are groups privileged
simply because of what they are, such as female fashion models (however,
“what they are” makes their employers more money). Now,
I ask again, should the government intervene on behalf of lightweight
boxers and/or male fashion models?
of your answer, a Big Brother market autocracy won’t. What it
will do is train its sights on only politically-incorrect targets, such
as men. Thus, in the name of eliminating discrimination, statists are
creating second-class groups which are told that they alone may not
enjoy compensation commensurate with the market’s assessment of
their worth, simply because it’s fashionable to discriminate against
them. You see, when jockeying for votes by playing group politics, some
groups must be cast as villains. And guess what, men, you’re one
that’s what I call invidious.
surprisingly, this social engineering is already having an effect. In
writer Carey Roberts explains:
are getting $6,500 more [than men]. Co-eds who majored in petroleum
engineering are being offered $4,400 more. And women computer programmers
are being enticed with $7,200 extra pay. In fact for dozens of majors
and occupations, women coming out of college are getting better offers
than men. . . .
Why these disparities?
Because in traditionally male-dominated professions, employers are
willing to ante up more greenbacks to attract females in order to
forestall a costly discrimination lawsuit.
this is just the beginning. The left will never acknowledge that men
earn more due to legitimate market forces, and since trumping those
forces isn’t easy, expect more government action to achieve “fairness.”
I wrote about this in
my piece, the one I cited earlier:
. . we can see a glimpse of the future in Norway, a land synonymous
with über-feminism. In 2002, the nation embraced affirmative action
on steroids, mandating that 40 percent of corporate boardroom members
must be female. Since only seven percent were prior to this social engineering,
just imagine how many highly qualified men are now denied jobs in the
name of complying with this quota.
implications of such government meddling are more profound than you
may think, in that it harms women and children as well. As I went on
. . as we force employers to deny positions, promotions and pay raises
to qualified men in order to satisfy social engineers, many men will
no longer be able to fulfill their obligation to put bread on the table.
And this hurts the traditional family, forcing women out of the home
to compensate for their now financially handicapped husbands and relegating
children to day-care centers . . . . [And] It means, ladies, that your
husbands, brothers and sons will find it increasingly difficult to get
a fair shake in this Norway-quota brave new world.
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we can choose the discrimination of the market’s meritocracy or
that of the statists’ bureaucracy. I, for one, will settle on
the people’s determinations every time.
say this even if they do sometimes give us things such as rap thugs,
reality television, and Barack Obama.
Selwyn Duke is a writer, columnist
and public speaker whose work has been published widely online and in
print, on both the local and national levels. He has been featured on
the Rush Limbaugh Show and has been a regular guest on the award-winning
Michael Savage Show. His work has appeared in Pat Buchanan's magazine,
The American Conservative, and he writes regularly for The New American,
and Christian Music Perspective.
Now, some might call
Obama a hypocrite. Isn’t he guilty of the very invidious discrimination
he claims plagues America? It’s certainly easy to take this tack,
and many on my side will have a field day doing so.