Today is “Equal Pay Day,” which supposedly represents how far into the year women must work to make the same as men. This is based on the hoary and false statistic, which Obama loves to toss around, that women supposedly get paid 77 cents for every dollar made by men. Every single non-hyper-partisan analysis of this claim wholly debunks it, which is why Obama repeatedly gets Pinocchios from the fact checkers for making the claim.
When this 77% number is discussed, the soft-headed or simply uneducated in the electorate assume this means that apples are being compared to apples — meaning all relevant variables are controlled for. But they are not. There is no substantial evidence of a pay gap once you control for the proper variables. Here are Mark J. Perry and Andrew Biggs in the Wall Street Journal:
[E]very “full-time” worker, as the BLS notes, is not the same: 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 men’s earnings in 2012.
The supposed pay gap appears when marriage and children enter the picture. Child care takes mothers out of the labor market, so when they return they have less work experience than similarly-aged males. Many working mothers seek jobs that provide greater flexibility, such as telecommuting or flexible hours. Not all jobs can be flexible, and all other things being equal, those which are will pay less than those that do not.
Not only do working mothers choose more flexible jobs, by the way: those who plan to be working mothers choose more flexible careers. Some careers simply do not work for someone who plans to leave the profession for years at a time; your knowledge base disappears and you cannot be rehired. Prospective mothers know this and plan accordingly. There are also issues of education, risk, and other variables that the studies do not account for.
But Perry has a different observation that many will find amusing: the White House has its own pay gap! D’oh!!
In a CD post last September, I documented the significant gender wage gap for the White House staff, based on salary data from the “2013 Annual Report to Congress on White House Staff.” An analysis of White House payroll data reveals that the 229 female employees in the Obama White House are being paid a median annual salary of $65,000 this year, compared to a median annual salary of nearly $73,729 for the 229 male White House staffers (see chart above). In other words, female staffers at the Obama White House are paid less than 88 cents for every dollar paid to male staffers, and there is therefore a significant White House “gender pay gap” of more than 12%.
Carnie-man was asked about this, and he insisted that women get equal pay for the same position in the White House. Of course, that is never the question when asked about the free market. The 77% studies look at men and women in the aggregate, not comparing equal positions to equal positions.
And, putting that aside: WHY DOES OBAMA HATE WOMEN?!?!?! I guess he hates them a little less than the bosses in the free market do, but still: he hates them.
Of course, that is not the point of noting the White House’s own wage disparity: it just goes to prove that even when you are boosting women’s salaries to try to make things look good politically, the natural forces that cause the so-called pay gap are going to operate for you, too.
You’d think Obama would be shamed into admitting reality, but instead he is ordering federal contractors to report the wages they pay together with information on gender (and race, too, because, hey, why not?) That way, he can hector contractors for doing what he himself does.
One standard for me, and another for thee.
By the way, Perry calculates “Equal Pay Day” at the White House as February 20. Mark the date!