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Oprah Winfrey is paid $386 million a year, much more than the nation’s top paid corporate executive, Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison. The Wall Street Journal’s analysis of CEO pay this year says Ellison takes home only $184 million. But aren’t women always paid less than men? That’s the long-held political verity.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Nov. 18 groused: “Senate Republicans today disrespected America’s working women by voting to prevent any debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act,”
An avid protector of women, Trumka probably hadn’t kicked any non-union woman in the kneecap all week.
Of all the least important and solely kowtowing pieces of legislation for the lame-duck Congress to be acting on, the Paycheck Fairness Act probably headed the list. The House-passed measure failed by two votes to reach the 60-vote supermajority needed to break a Republican filibuster. Congress decided to go home for Thanksgiving instead of acting on the most crucial issue at hand—what to do about the Bush tax cuts.
Boss Trumka charged that the cruel Republican male Senators “encourage discrimination against women in the workplace.”(GOP Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas, all females, also voted against the “fairness” legislation).
The old cliché was dragged out about women earning 77 cents for every dollar earned by a male worker. Trumka on a high rhetorical pedestal whined, “Efforts like this legislation to close the income gap in our country are an essential component to long-term economic recovery (Actually unemployment is higher among men than women). He added indignantly that “Republicans in the cold pursuit of their political goals and interests of their Wall Street allies…have one message to the elderly, the unemployed, the uninsured, and now even women: ‘NO.’”
President Obama reacted to the Senate vote as if in high dudgeon. He vowed to “continue to fight for a woman’s right to equal pay for equal work,” as if the rationale of the bill—supposedly perverse sexual discrimination in the workplace—was as self-evident as universal suffrage, as The Wall Street Journal pointed out in an editorial Nov. 19.
The legislation was intended as a gift to the Democrat-supporting trial lawyers. Under the legislation, businesses would have had to prove that their pay policies were not the result of workplace bias. It also automatically drafted women as plaintiffs in class action suits when lawyers sue employers.
What campaigners for equal pay call the gender wage gap, to the extent that it still exists, is mostly a factor of occupational choices and the composition of the workforce—heavily influenced by the wide-open fact that it’s women who have babies. And most females of all races, creeds, or other distinctions stop working to care for their children, at least while the kids are young. So many inevitably lose experience, seniority—and compensation.
The wage gap that still exists is partly explained by the fact that many older women work in jobs still marked by attitudes of the past. In contrast, young women reflect women’s social and legal advances and are paid close to men’s pay for the same work.
True, decades after women entered the work force en masse, pay disparity between men and women has fallen but not disappeared,
according to the Labor Department. The Government Accountability Office said the pay gap has declined mainly because men’s and women’s experience as well as educational attainment has become more similar.
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