Skip to comments.Member of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers Admits White House 77 Cents Pay Gap Claim Is Bogus
Posted on 04/10/2014 9:18:01 AM PDT by Kaslin
President Obama and many other leftist politicians are running around the nation claiming that supposedly greedy employers are deliberately choosing to reduce their profits.
Theyre not actually making that specific claim, but thats what theyre asserting, for all intents and purposes, when they claim that women are not getting equal pay for equal work.
If genuine and pervasive sexism existed, then non-discriminatory employers could dramatically reduce labor costs and therefore dramatically increase profits by getting rid of overpaid male workers and hiring women. Does anyone really think entrepreneurs and business owners are willing to sacrifice big profits simply because of anti-women animus?
Thats what Obama would like us to believe. And he wants the government to have the power to second-guess the decisions of private businesses. Heck, he probably would like to make America like Europe, where there are efforts to impose gender quotas.
And one of his chief economists tried to back up the Presidents claims. Heres some of what Ashe Schow wrote on the issue for the Washington Examiner.
While detailing executive actions President Obama plans to take Tuesday regarding equal pay for women, Betsey Stevenson, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said very defiantly that women continue to make less than men. Theyre stuck at 77 cents on the dollar, and that gender wage gap is seen very persistently across the income distribution, within occupations, across occupations, and we see it when men and women are working side by side doing identical work. That sounds awfully specific. Stevenson certainly sounds like shes saying men and women doing the exact same job are earning very different pay.
Ms. Stevenson certainly was trying to be a loyal employee.
But then something very unusual happened. A journalist actually asked a real question.
And Ms. Stevenson, who obviously didnt want to make herself a laughingstock to her colleagues in the economics profession, was forced to admit that the President is peddling nonsense.
as soon as Stevenson was actually questioned about the statistic by McClatchy reporter Lindsay Wise, the White House adviser crumbled, admitting her earlier comments were inaccurate. If I said 77 cents was equal pay for equal work, then I completely misspoke, Stevenson said. So let me just apologize and say that I certainly wouldnt have meant to say that. Dont expect Obama to admit any of this as he travels around the country continuing to claim that women dont earn as much as men.
So why did Ms. Stevenson quickly back down? Well, perhaps she is familiar with the work of Christina Hoff Sommers, who has explained that men and women do get equal pay when you adjust for career choices, labor supply, and other factors.
Theres lots of evidence that the supposed sexist pay gap is a political weapon rather than economic reality.
Mary Perry and Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute just wrote a very thorough debunking of the pay gap myth for the Wall Street Journal. Here are some of the key passages, starting with an explanation that the pay gap largely disappears when you make apples-to-apples comparisons.
the numbers bandied about to make the claim of widespread discrimination are fundamentally misleading and economically illogical. Men were almost twice as likely as women to work more than 40 hours a week, and women almost twice as likely to work only 35 to 39 hours per week. Once that is taken into consideration, the pay gap begins to shrink. Women who worked a 40-hour week earned 88% of male earnings. Then there is the issue of marriage and children. The BLS reports that single women who have never married earned 96% of mens earnings in 2012.
Wow. No wonder Steve Chapman wrote that the lefts pay-gap rhetoric is a myth resting on a deception.
But theres more.
Risk is another factor. Nearly all the most dangerous occupations, such as loggers or iron workers, are majority male and 92% of work-related deaths in 2012 were to men. Dangerous jobs tend to pay higher salaries to attract workers. Also: Males are more likely to pursue occupations where compensation is risky from year to year, such as law and finance. Research shows that average pay in such jobs is higher to compensate for that risk.
Finally, Perry and Biggs seal the argument by pointing out that discrimination doesnt make sense in a competitive market.
gender-disparity claims are also economically illogical. If women were paid 77 cents on the dollar, a profit-oriented firm could dramatically cut labor costs by replacing male employees with females. Progressives assume that businesses nickel-and-dime suppliers, customers, consultants, anyone with whom they come into contactyet ignore a great opportunity to reduce wages costs by 23%. They dont ignore the opportunity because it doesnt exist.
By the way, this does not mean that discrimination doesnt exist.
Im sure there are still some employers who let sex or race play a role in their decisions. But such people are not only immoral, but also stupid. They are giving up potential profits to indulge their own insecurities.
And other employers will take advantage of their foolishness.
In other words, the free market is the best way to fight discrimination, not government intervention.
P.S. Walter Williams explains that racial and sexual profiling sometimes makes sense.
P.P.S. I explain that anti-discrimination laws can boomerang against intended beneficiaries.
P.P.P.S. There is real evidence that tall people and attractive people are paid more, though I nonetheless argue that government is incapable of addressing this issue.
P.P.P.P.S. For those who are genuinely worried about discrimination, particularly against minorities, the real issues to address are Social Security and government schools.
BTW, do these kind of statistics take into account the millions of middle aged men who can’t find work ?
Everything about Obama is bogus.
Oh, the 77 cents on the dollar figure is in fact accurate.
But only within the world of the White House staff.
Most blue collar jobs that pay well, do so because they are physically hard and unpleasant. By and large, women avoid those jobs. Ever see a female roofer?
Presto! Issue resolved!
.Vicky - carry all these stacks of asphalt shingles up the ladder to the trusses on the third floor before you go to lunch ...
Excellent point. Well put.