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The Unsolvable Equation of Equal Pay for Equal Work

The reality of men and women in the workplace.

by
Jazz Shaw

Bio

April 11, 2014 - 12:35 am
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Now that we’ve passed what is referred to as Equal Pay Day – for which I once again failed to receive so much as a single Hallmark card – and in an election year to boot, Democrats across the land are busily engaged in their now biannual ritual of declaring that Republicans hate women. Favorite among their numerous points of so-called proof of the war on all things female is the stubborn refusal of many conservatives to buy into a variety of legislative adventures into social correction regarding wages earned by each gender. The preferred phrase which is shouted from rooftops near and far is, “equal pay for equal work.”

There are quite a few toppings on this particular stinkburger, some of which have already been covered by critical thinkers from across the ideological spectrum. And while I feel there is a more fundamental problem with this progressive argument – which I’ll return to shortly – there are two which are worth revisiting here.

First, at the highest level, it has already been discovered that the much ballyhooed meme of women making 77 cents on the dollar as compared to their male counterparts is not the result of evil bosses attempting to keep the womenfolk pregnant in the kitchen sans shoes. Less excitable observers have already noted that of the ten most financially lucrative degree programs in colleges, nine of them attract a majority of boys. Conversely, in the ten areas of study leading to the lowest average financial remuneration, 90% are favored more heavily by girls. Assuming you bothered to take even the most rudimentary math classes in school, you should be able to suss out how the wage cookie crumbles given those starting parameters.

The second is an argument which was already made admirably by Katie Packer Gage. Even if you boil down employees in any discipline to nothing more than the sum of the items on their individual resumes, coming up with a definition of “equal” is a virtual impossibility. If a company seeks to hire some set number of engineers, accounts, attorneys or architects, should the males be paid more than the females for each opening filled? Obviously not. But should they all be paid the same amount? The answer, again, is no. What if one has more years of experience than another? Holds more patents? Arrives with a list of loyal clients they will bring to the firm?  The very idea of “equality” in this setting is entirely fictional.

But neither of these entirely valid points gets to what I personally view as the deeper problem with the rallying cry of Equal Pay for Equal work. Excuse me for making a rather boorish observation, but it’s my solemn duty to inform some of you that this entire enterprise is constructed on a flawed foundation. In the real world, where those earning or providing paychecks must exist, the concept of equal pay for equal work is battered by the reality that, above the level of minimum wage labor, both the quality and quantity of work is rarely equal. And attempts by Care Bear government nannies to forcibly level this particular playing field are not only patently unfair, but toxic to the entire concept of labor and enterprise.

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Top Rated Comments   
Question:
If Bob Averages 47 hours a week and Joanne Averages 41 hours a week is it really the "Same" work?
It cannot be construed to be Equal work.
(Keep in mind that the $0.77 figure is based SOLELY on Aggregate Salary totals compared.)
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"when the incentive ... is diminished, the ... incentive ... vanishes."

That's the goal. Dumb them down, and they are more easily controlled. Create scarcity, and the populace looks for a supplier. Create danger, and the populace looks for a defender.

It's all about creating a malleable, controllable populace.

Excellence in any area, whether it be thought, initiative, morals, or any other factor, is a threat to those who would control us.





32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Somewhere, a boss is faced with a dilemma: His male engineer, Bob, makes $70K per year, and his female engineer, Joanne, makes $60K per year for the same work. A law is passed. Joanne MUST be paid the same as Bob. The boss calls in Bob and tells him he is reducing his pay by $10K per year so that he and Joanne make the same amount. Problem solved. Oops! I just realized that I made the boss a man. I apologize.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (18)
All Comments   (18)
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Collectivism aims to reduce all human effort to the lowest common denominator, thus eliminating merit, excellence and superior performance. All men are NOT created equal ,unless you can think like Einstein and jump like Jordan; and you can't. Read the parable of the Talents in Mt.25 and see that God, Who is perfect, rewards on the basis of merit. Man, therefore, must do the same. As noted above, "equal work" is is a fiction.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Government has no constitutional authority to even go near this situation. Ergo, all subsequent discussion is irrelevant. The Tenth Amendment means what it says. Unless the constitution contains a specific authorization the Government may not act. Failure to comprehend and implement that fact is responsible for every single politiical and economic problem we face today. If we are to be free at all we must be free to assume responsibility for our own problems; not have Big Government ready to foist them on the backs of others. Lets Grow UP! and learn to be Right, Responsible and Realistic. At SCOTUS we have the Unholy Trinity of female dingbats plus Stevens, sometimes Kennedy and lately Judas Roberts ruling maliciously and egregriously against the crystal clear provisions of the Tenth Amendment. We must rid ourselves of those who hate our Constitution and replace them with men who understand and appreciate the value of small government.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
" And attempts by Care Bear government nannies to forcibly level this particular playing field are not only patently unfair, but toxic to the entire concept of labor and enterprise."
This was a fun bit of writing.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
TedShep - you forgot a factor: Obama is president. So, Bob quits his job and can't find another for two years. In that time, he collects unemployment, disincentivizing him to do anything else. He gets his health insurance on the exchange (at least he thinks that sign-up process worked), and buys his potato chips and lobster with his new SNAP card. His daughter qualifies for free college tuition to study gender inequality in the Nevada Desert Tortoise because her father is unemployed. Consequently, he begins voting Democrat so he can continue to keep all the goodies without having to put up with that S.O.B. of a boss...
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
female MDs get the EXACT same fee from medicare and insurance. But the take home less..........just more statistical BS
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
I suspect some of it is also a veiled attempt to counter merit pay systems, which are hated by the teacher's unions, among others.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
tedh754, Reducing men's pay is EXACTLY what will happen...thus negatively impacting their wives (who ironically happen to be women) & their kids (likely 1/2 of which are female). Hubby calls this the "Law of Intended Consequences"!!
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
It also takes away an employees ability to negotiate a favorable combination of monetary compensation and benefits. Flexible hours, working from home, personal use of a company vehicle or equipment, a company cellphone, employer funding of continuing education, higher 401K contributions.... or any of a million things that I might find more valuable than $$$.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
There was a time, and within my own lifetime at that, when a woman might be paid less than a man in a given job. That's long since past. Good news, that.
The dispute has moved to far more tenuous grounds. Hours put in, clients pleased, deals closed -- these are much more difficult to quantify as value to the employer and therefore grounds for higher compensation.
Even more difficult is comparing jobs themselves. A clinical social worker and an engineer would usually both have master's degrees and some period of internship, although mileage varies. They almost certainly work for different employers and they are recruited for different tasks and from different markets of candidates and jobs. It's absurd to assume that engineers should make more money or less money based on the years of education required to get the appropriate credential.
As you move up the chain, it's harder and harder to make valid comparisons. A physician with a carefully-honed skill set can negotiate a higher salary than a family practitioner, whether male or female. An attorney with a lethal reputation can command a higher salary and profit package than one who has handled family matters primarily through relatively amicable negotiation.
The market is the best arbiter we have. It has its own problems but all known market interventions are worse.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, if the inequality is real we should start asking everyone else to disclose their pay rate and be prepared to disclose ours. Yeah, that's going to happen.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy nancyfor
They pay me weakly. Very weakly.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
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