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But the truths about gender pay difference have always been blurred by politics. Democrats, particularly, and Obama specifically, have enjoyed kneading the dough of this political issue. Last year, Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier to file charges against employers for discrimination in paychecks.
Blowhard Trumka knows full well that union pay increases are based on seniority, not on who works better or faster or more efficiently. Union contracts suppress the wages of more productive workers and raise the wages of the less competent–be they male or female. If women can be paid less for the same job, why aren’t all the union employees women?
One of the most serious and scholarly studies of women’s pay and progress was published several years ago by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI), where I once served as vice president. The book, now in its second edition, is “Women’s Figures,” by Diana Furchtgott-Roth and Christine Stolba.
To shoot down myths of the glass ceiling, the wage gap, the pink ghetto, the authors document how in key areas of education and employment women have substantially achieved equality with men.
In the preface, the authors say, “A major thesis of popular media culture is that women are victims of their social condition (and) suffer from substantial discrimination that leaves them less well-off than men. The apostles of this women-as-victims perspective use selected statistics and anecdotes to illustrate their theory. For example, women are depicted as earning consistently less than men. The corollary to that theory is that only government intervention can eradicate such discrimination to achieve parity between men and women.
In debunking “feminist tropes about women in the workplace,” the book reveals faulty methodological assumptions behind the “conventional wisdom.” They conclude that complaints about systematic economic discrimination against women simply do not square with the evidence. They also highlight some of the many areas where women have made considerable gains: in education, in entrepreneurship, and in electoral politics, for instance.
A few citations:
“Even if women are getting equal pay for equal work, the fact is we’re not getting equal work. Aren’t we stuck in dead-end fields? Simply because one can find a higher concentration of women in certain occupations, it does not follow that they are being discriminated against. Instead if may reflect the needs of certain women to choose career paths that allow them flexibility in raising children without significant costs to their careers.”
“Do women-owned businesses receive government contracts? Government contracts are primarily made with publicly traded corporations, which have significant female ownership. Women also benefit from special government set-aside programs for minorities and women.”
In challenging the “image of women as helpless victims in American society,” significantly, the book stresses that “the best antidote for possible discrimination…is increase in job creation….Profits fall if they turn away qualified candidates.”
Much as Obama may yearn to do so, he cannot change the law of supply and demand.
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