Monday, September 29, 2008

Equal Pay for Equal Work?

One of the Obama ads that I hear quite often is one promoting his stance on women in the workplace -- "Equal Pay for Equal Work" is the line. I did a little scratch of the head about this, wondering if there is still widespread discrimination against women in the workplace when it comes to establishing salaries. Of course, it's possible and I'm sure there are cases out there, but enough to be an ad-worthy part of a campaign? It took me by surprise and got me to thinking.

Color me confused about the use of the word equal. Color me even more confused about the part of the ad that says something to the effect of (and I paraphrase, but it's pretty darn close) "...and McCain says women should just get more education and training." The tone in the ad makes it sound like it's a bad thing, which really had me confused.

The same pay for the same job? Are experience, merit, and education factored into this equation? Hmmm.

So I did a little research and found that part of the "equal pay for equal work" strategy is to raise the minimum wage and adjust for inflation because women hold a disproportionately large percentage of low-paying jobs. The theory is that by raising the minimum wage, it would help to close the gap between the average male and female wages.


Personally I don't know if the minimum wage needs to be increased or not, but if this is the sole reason then there's no friggin' way I'd support this ludicrous idea. I agree with McCain -- they need education and training. What they don't need is a handout. (A handout probably funded by you and I.) They might like one and it may be helpful in the short term, but it just isn't the right thing to do.

If anything, this policy keeps women in low-paying jobs. Where is the incentive to get education and training? Hey, you don't need it -- we'll throw more money at you to make you more comfortable in the crappy job you already have. Sounds like "more pay for not more work."

I believe that people have a right to earn whatever they can get paid. Some make millions, and some don't. That's how capitalism works. It may not always seem fair, but that's how it goes. Don't like it? Either work harder, get some education and training, get a different job, or move to Sweden.

If women want to make more money, they should have to earn it. Earn it by getting an education, not settling for low-paying jobs, and not dropping out of high school because you're 16 and pregnant.

Sure, there are a couple of other initiatives falling under the same "equality" banner -- like enforcing anti-discrimination laws. I'm okay with that (but it begs me to ask the question, why enforce these laws but not those against illegal immigration?). Another initiative is to reform the law to make it easier for women to sue their employer for pay discrimination. No thanks - I don't think more lawsuits is a good answer.

The conclusion I've drawn is that "equal pay for equal work" doesn't really mean that at all. It's just a catchy line that masks a plan to create more handouts. Ironically, I think it promotes inequality.

We are a capitalist society and I, personally, would like to keep it that way. I find myself really wanting to like Obama, but the truth is that he's just too socialist for my liking. And don't even get me started on his healthcare plan. The only reason I consider myself a fence sitter is the most remote possibility of ever having to say the words President Palin.


Los said...

Maybe McCain can talk about how Naive Obama is again at the next debate ... I thought that was pretty funny.

I think both Obama and McCain are flawed, but nowhere near as much as our current president.

Sandi said...

I agree with you 100%. Make education and training more accessible to women, don't give them incentive to not get educated and trained.

Your sister, the HR nerd said...

I don't get why this is such a hot button issue all of a sudden... Equal pay for equal work was instituted with the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which stated that companies are required to pay men and women the same for positions with the same required skill sets and responsibilties in similar locations.

SGM said...

First - love the new look of the blog.

The whole equal pay thing is a red herring - as you have so estutely laid out. Most of the catchy phrases in the political ads are. You can make stats say anything you want.

Heck, all the women I know make more than their spouses (who happen to be men BTW).

And you are right - these woman do need more education and training - not more incentive to stay in a low income job.

Capitalism works.
It works, and it works better than any other GD system that has ever been tried.
Does it always work perfectly - no.
But it does work, and left alone from no-nothing politicos, it will self correct.

Thanks for sniffing out the real story.

BTW - in this election it comes down to one thing for me - MY MONEY! I spend 1/3 of my life working - I would like to enjoy some of the benefits of it.


Will I get my wish, statistics are against me, I am afraid. But I can HOPE.

AOP said...

It's the pursuit of happiness, not the guarantee of happiness. Dimocrats just don't get it and never will.

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