Hoping for Inequality?


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Rick Santorum’s speech at the Detroit Economic Club stirred a bit of controversy when he said: “I’m not about equality of result when it comes to income inequality. There is income inequality in America. There always has been, and hopefully — and I do say that — there always will be.” That kind of statement, though having merit, should not be made to people who have little or no understanding. Let’s look at inequality.

Kay S. Hymowitz’s article “Why the Gender Gap Won’t Go Away. Ever,” in City Journal (Summer 2011), shows that female doctors earn only 64 percent of the income that male doctors earn. What should be done about that? It turns out that only 16 percent of surgeons are women but 50 percent of pediatricians are women. Even though surgeons have many more years of education and training than do pediatricians, should Congress equalize their salaries or make pediatricians become surgeons?

Wage inequality is everywhere. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Asian men and women earn more than white men and women. Female cafeteria attendants earn more than their male counterparts. Females who are younger than 30 and have never been married earn salaries 8 percent higher than males of the same description. Among women who graduated from college during 1992-93, by 2003 more than one-fifth were no longer in the workforce, and another 17 percent were working part time. That’s to be compared with only 2 percent of men in either category. Hymowitz cites several studies showing significant career choice and lifestyle differences between men and women that result in income inequality.

There are other inequalities that ought to be addressed. With all of the excitement about New York Knick Jeremy Lin’s rising stardom, nobody questions league domination by blacks, who are a mere 13 percent of our population but constitute 80 percent of NBA players and are the highest-paid ones. It’s not much better in the NFL, with blacks being 65 percent of its players.

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  • pardonmygrammar

    The world is about competition, some might consider this as cruel but it's the truth.

    • Sage on the Stage

      The NFL is a good example of why competition between businesses is good. See my comment below..

  • StephenD

    The problem with his approach is the majority of America doesn't get it. He is taken to traveling down side roads to slay dragons that, though very much need to be slain, are not the issues to confront presently. The President has enough issues on which to fry him. Instead he has Santorum chasing bogymen down dark hallways.

    • pardonmygrammar

      I agree partially, but then again someone has to say these kind of things to the public. I think that it's about time the people hear things like this. cheers!

  • Jim_C

    StephenD is right, above. I understood what Santorum said only because I spend a lot of time around conservatives. If you are not political, then you stand to be highly insulted by a guy who, let's face it, is great fodder for jokes and not ready for prime time. He makes it sound like it's good to have a world of Haves and Have Nots. The conservative message should be, as Mitch Daniels put it, about "Haves and Soon-to-Haves."

  • http://ampatriot.blogspot.com/ C.R.

    This is not a well written article–its rather disappointing coming from Walter Williams!

  • Sage on the Stage

    Very good article from Dr. Williams; there are lots of things in America that aren't quite fair; but those things won't be made fair by forcing equality of outcome. For example, its not quite fair that the NFL has priced itself out of the market for middle income people. In 1969, a ticket to an NFL game cost six dollars–that bought a bleacher seat on the 10 yard line. Today, when tickets are available, a bleacher seat on the 10 yard line can't be had for less than $100. Thus an afternoon's entertainment for two, in the NFL, is likely to cost at least $250. Unaffordable for a family on a budget.

    • pardonmygrammar

      "..those things won't be made fair by forcing equality of outcome." agreed fully! what is fair anyway? What I think I fair might be unfair to some.

  • Hugh Retter

    Another important and cogent article by Dr Williams.