The Truth about ‘Wage Discrimination’

1e120686562e69a46fcdf51a22673b2e“President Obama Vows Zero Tolerance on Gender Wage Gap,” read one headline. Another read, “Women Still Earned 77 Cents On Men’s Dollar In 2012.” It’s presumed that big, greedy corporations are responsible for what is seen as wage injustice. Before discussing the “unjust” wage differences between men and women, let’s acknowledge an even greater injustice — which no one seems to care about — age injustice.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers ages 16 to 24 earn only 54 cents on every dollar earned by workers 25 or older ( This wage gap is 43 percent greater than the male/female gap. Our president, progressives, do-gooders, academics and union leaders show little interest in big, greedy corporations ripping off the nation’s youth. You might say, “Whoa, Williams! There’s a reason younger people earn less than older people. They don’t have the skills or experience.” My response would be — if I shared the vision of the president, media elite and do-gooders: Just as there can be no justification for big, greedy corporations paying women less than they pay men, there’s no justification for them to exploit the nation’s youth.

The 77 percent median income statistic, used in discussions about male/female differences in earnings, tells us nothing about differences that might explain the differences in income, and it leads to stupid discussions. Let’s use some common sense and look at some differences between men and women that may have a bearing on earnings.

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 what male doctors earn. But it turns out that only 16 percent of surgeons are women, whereas 50 percent of pediatricians are women. Even though surgeons have put in many more years of education and training than pediatricians and earn higher pay, should Obama and Congress equalize their salaries? Alternatively, they might force female pediatricians to become surgeons.

There are inequalities everywhere.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Asian men and women have median earnings higher 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 differences in income. 

According to 2010 BLS data, the following jobs contain 1 percent or less female workers: boilermakers, brick masonry, stonemasonry, septic tank servicing, sewer pipe cleaners and trash collectors. By contrast, women are 97 percent of preschool and kindergarten teachers, 80 percent of social workers, 82 percent of librarians and 92 percent of dietitians and nutritionists and registered nurses.

For people having limited thinking skills, differences in earnings cannot be explained away. For them, Congress has permitted — and even fostered — a misallocation of people by race, sex and ethnicity. They’ll argue that courts have consistently concluded that “gross” disparities are probative of a pattern and practice of discrimination. So what to do? Maybe President Obama and Congress should require women, who are overrepresented in preschool and kindergarten teaching, to become boilermakers, garbage collectors and brick masons and mandate that male boilermakers, trash collectors and brick masons become preschool and kindergarten teachers until both of their percentages are equal to their percentages in the population. You say, “Williams, to do that would be totalitarianism!” I say that if Americans accept that Congress can force us to buy health insurance, how much more totalitarian would it be for Congress to force people to take jobs they don’t want?

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  • A Z

    There is nothing futile about the Left’s/Democrats attempt to fight wage discrimination.

    A few of the democrats can do the math and control for all the variables and see that wage discrimination does not exist. Many of the rest know this is true.

    However it serves a useful purpose as an election year ply.

  • A Z

    Dr Walter Williams drilled down through the data to go beyond the Left’s simple statistic to prove the fallacy of their argument.

    Getting in the weeds has to be done in this and every other topic.

    People will have to take an essay like this and then read it and save it to the cloud, smart phone or tablet so that any time they talk politics with a friend, family member, neighbor or co-worker and the other person brings them up they can respectfully be shown the facts.

    If enough people know this data, the Democrats will be booed off stage, booted out of office or won’t even try to lie again.

    • Edward E

      What is happening to Whites IS GENOCIDE.

      ANY conditions imposed on a RACE that lead to its eventual non-existence
      is geNOcide.
Assimilation is a KNOWN tactic of Genocide.

      If we are denied anywhere for ourselves, denied enough homogenous space
      for our long term preservation, and you support that, then YOU support
      White geNOcide.
Naturally only an anti-White would justify White

      This IS White geNOcide.

      Anti-racist is a >codeword< for anti-White.

  • Clare Spark

    The statistics and arguments in this article are very interesting and challenge the Democrats’ arguments, but the issue of the subjugation of women, an international problem, is not addressed. I tried that here: “Gendered wage inequality: an overview”.

  • joeymegatron

    It’s ok to discriminate against white males; don’t you get it?

    • MarilynA

      You got it. It has been that way at least since 1975, when my son graduated from college, then went to Industrial electronics trade school to learn how to apply what he had learned. He and three others were recommended to apply at the local PBS station. One boy went into business with his family. Another was hired on the sport because he had white hair and looked like an albino. My son was told , “You are exactly what we are looking for, but we are under a federal mandate to hire a minority for this job.” My son retrieved his application, changed his nationality to American Indian, went back two weeks later and got the job. During his second year on the job he was nominated for an Emmy award for his video tape editing of the Lowell Thomas Remembers series. I am sure if a woman had been interested she would have gotten the job, although no woman was enrolled in the industrial electronics program., It’s little wonder that china is eating our cake. We have delegated the best and brightest to the bottom of the heap.

  • Jeff Ludwig

    Yes, assignment of people to jobs they don’t won’t is inevitably on the docket. Although you say it tongue in cheek Dr. Williams, it has to be part of the planning mentality. Isn’t a society a better society with the “right people” (sic) in the right jobs (sic)? Not only will this produce wage equalization but a higher happiness quotient. Women are not in those occupations you mentioned because they have been brainwashed by a false self-concept of womanhood. Once that changes, not only will they be doing what are presently men’s jobs, but in their new “wholeness” (sic) they will be more fulfilled. Think of it, Dr. Williams, we are moving towards a new age when new concepts of personhood converge upon economic demands for equality, with both converging with the widespread joy of the people finding that the smartest among us have made this the best of all possible worlds through wise and virtuous rules.

    • MarilynA

      Oh Pu lea se. Give me a break. there is a fundamental difference between males and females. Trying to regenderize them only ends up confusing the less than most intelligent as to their true identity. Women are the weaker sex by design. They dont’ have the body strength to lift heavy weights, nor the natural interest in hunting, designing, building, inventing etc. that males have. They are by nature nurturers. That is the reason they are built to have and rear children. Just remember, you are not God. You can’t just change things because you think God got it wrong. If you want to straighten things out, how about stop emasculating males and restoring them to their rightful position as chief providers for their families instead of trying to push women in front of them in the jobs markets.

  • nomoretraitors

    The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution. The leftist elite doesn’t care about “inequality” and “injustice.” They use these issues to dupe the weak and simple-minded to increase their power.