Equal Pay? Acta non Verba Senator Obama

Senator Obama is accusing Senator McCain (via this ad, for instance) of not being for equal pay for equal work (specifically as it concerns woman and men). This is based on John McCain’s opposition to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Legislation is fine, Senator Obama, but what about putting your policy position into practice?

“Barack Obama says he’s for equal pay for women, but women working in his Senate office earn an average of $9,000 less than men. By contrast, women in John McCain’s Senate office actually earn an average of nearly $2,000 more than men. The American people understand that real leadership for the change we need is all about what you do, not just empty words.” — McCain-Palin spokesman Brian Rogers

The Boston Globe tries to spin this:

The study that McCain’s campaign cites, however, notes that a major reason for the disparity is that McCain has more women in senior, higher-paid positions — not that women are being paid less than men for the same job.

So, let me get this straight. To follow the Globe’s line of reasoning: just because Senator McCain has more top-level–and thus higher-paid–women campaign staffers than Senator Obama doesn’t mean that Senator McCain necessarily supports equal opportunity and equitable pay for women. I guess he just makes it look that way by his actions.

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leprechaun
leprechaun
12 years ago

I’m sick of this equal pay fiasco ! If in all federal government employment , city , town and state employment ,police , firefighters ,union carpenters , plumbers , electricians , teachers , nurses ,all the rest of the union workers and 99% of corporate America are required to recieve ” Equal Pay For Equal Work ” just where does the disparity exist ? Maybe now that the “glass ceiling ” is finally all but broken this myth can be busted also .

OldTimeLefty
12 years ago

Marc,
Instead of dancing around the question, why don’t you state McCain’s reasons for opposition to the legislation.
When asked why John McCain said that he was opposed to the the bill that’s known as the Lilly Ledbetter bill, and he said that we could fix sexism in the workplace and pay equality by giving women better training, how did that make you feel?
Lilly Ledbetter replied,

That proved to me, without a shadow of a doubt, that John McCain was out of touch with reality. Because, I’ve met a lot of women that have been discriminated against, but one stands out to me. She was a medical doctor in New York and she ran the pediatric wing at the hospital but she was paid less than the two male doctors that worked under her. And when she complained to the hospital, they cut her title and they cut her opportunities to work outside the hospital. Now, John McCain’s not right because, in that case, you can’t get much more education than being a pediatric doctor. John McCain is out of touch with reality.

so if we educate women, but not those who issue the pay checks – business being sacrosanct, I guess – we educate the victim and let the culprits slither away. This shows McCain, the privileged son and grandson of admirals and the owner of seven homes/estates and the husband of a multi millionairess, as a real man of the people. What a common touch, a let’em eat cake solution.
Cut it out the man knows nothing about ordinary people leading ordinary work-a-day lives and you jump on his bandwagon. Shame on both of you and your elitism.
OldTimeLefty

Marc
12 years ago

OTL, Yup, that’s me, an elitist. What gave it away? My 4 and 10 year old cars? My 3 bedroom mansion? My 5 figure income? Sheesh, Hello Pot.
As for relating to the “ordinary people,” like it or not, Palin is closest of ’em all as far as “relating” goes. But I guess you wouldn’t consider “those people” as ordinary, right? Too religious, gun-loving and small-town.
As to your point about the specific piece of legislation…well, sure, it sounds great. In fact, if I may quote myself, I said “legislation is fine.” My point is that Obama can support all the words he wants, he just comes up short when it comes to putting his rhetoric into action. Whether McCain is right or wrong is secondary: in practice, he pays his female employees more and more of them are working at higher levels in his campaign.

OldTimeLefty
12 years ago

Marc,
Elitist is as elitist does. Your autos don’t make you an elitist. Your attitudes and your support for politicians whose policies are elitist do. You are at very least a wannabe. Your lack of comment regarding McCain’s run away from voting on the Ledbetter act say a lot more about you and your politics than your proffered denials. Go to your room and practice introspection for a few years and maybe you’ll let some light shine in on your benighted attitudes.
As for McCain and his staff, I could point out that slave holders let a few in the big house. It probably eased their conscience while they got the services they needed.
And indeed I’d like to see Obama take a sharp turn to the Left. I’m disappointed with his lukewarm approach, but have to prefer it to McCain’s cold touch.
OldTimeLefty

Monique
Editor
12 years ago

“”Barack Obama says he’s for equal pay for women, but women working in his Senate office earn an average of $9,000 less than men. By contrast, women in John McCain’s Senate office actually earn an average of nearly $2,000 more than men.”
Oo, ouch.

msteven
msteven
12 years ago

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Does this mean non-union employees must get paid the same as union?
Does this mean the amount of job experience cannot be a factor?
Does thie mean the number of employees cannot be a factor?
Does this mean job performance cannot be a factor?
Does this also apply to products – all same products must cost the same to the purchaser?
Go to your room and think about how this can be “fairly” implemented. Unless the government is sole producer and seller of all products and services including entertainment. Now that sounds like an idea you’d be proud of.

mrh
mrh
12 years ago

Well, now, hang on a minute. The story you cite certainly might be evidence that Obama needs to be a better job at hiring women for high-status jobs. But equal pay doesn’t mean that everyone should earn the same salary. It means that women should be paid the same as men in the same or comparable positions.

Justin Katz
12 years ago

I don’t have time to dig into it right now, but individual anecdotes aside, my recollection is that the “paid less for the same job” statistic requires that one not take into account the higher number of years (on average) that women spend away from work child rearing, and other such factors.
I’d suggest that a better way to go about the stated goal would be to protest and refuse to patronize businesses that demonstrably paid women less, but if The One gets a pass, it would seem awfully unfair to hold lesser mortals to a higher standard.

mrh
mrh
12 years ago

Hey, Justin! Been a while, huh?
Your first paragraph just accepts structural and institutional sexist as a given, which I’d prefer not to do, thanks.
Your second sentence seems to ignore my point entirely, unless you can point me to something claiming that Obama is paying women less than men in the same position. If so, I’ll mount the barricades, man.
I like the idea of forcing equal pay through private social action, but I think you’d have some problems with “demonstrably.” Also, enforcing labor market equality is, to me, a valid function of government. (I imagine we disagree here.)
Also, “The One”? Keanu Reaves is running for president?

mrh
mrh
12 years ago

Crap. “Sexism,” not “sexist” in para 1.

Marc
12 years ago

OTL, yes, believing that government led by enlightened politicians can cure societies ills is definitely not elitist. You got me. Same with your argumentum ex silencio regarding McCain running away. (Oops, just being a wannabe again…) You continue to try to broaden the intent of my post, I’ve already explained it was about contrasting actions and words, not the legislation itself. As to the rest, sticks and stones, oh bravely anonymous one!

OldTimeLefty
12 years ago

Marc,
Let’s change the words “government” to “business” and “politicians” to “capitalists” and keep your low grade sarcasm and we have you saying – “yes, believing that business led by enlightened capitalists can cure societies ills is definitely not elitist.”
As to my argument regarding McCain running away, it’s a fact that he was in Washington, the Senate vote was 59-40 in favor of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and McCain never showed up to vote.
Your attempt to contrast actions and words fails utterly because you cannot demonstrate that Obama pays female staff members at a lower rate than he pays males in the same or similar position.
With regard to my being “Bravely anonymous” (another piece of two bit sarcasm) if you want to know who I am go ask Justin he dug into Anger Rising’s archives and published my name complete with old photo.
OldTimeLefty

Justin Katz
12 years ago

Your first paragraph just accepts structural and institutional sexist as a given

No. It acknowledges differences in the decisions that people make. If women (on average) tend to, for example, take a number of years off in their careers to raise children, then paying them at the same rate as men who take fewer years off is actually paying them more.
The decisions that people make are not structural “isms.”

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

The Ledbetter Act deals with expanding the time limits within which people can file discrimination claims – it’s a financial sop to plaintiffs attorneys and a PR slop to “feminists.”
Discrimination in compensation based on gender has already been unlawful for decades.
What this is really all about is eventually slipping “comparable worth” into the statutory realm – in effect having the government decide what people in every occupation should be paid – furthering government takeover of the private economy (and thus imposing collectivism / Marxism / socialism) under the misleading disguise of feminism (much as is also being done under the misleading disguise of environmentalism).
The Marxists like Obama aren’t stupid – one can defeat capitalism and impose collectivism / Marxism more easily through the incremental dismantling of a free market economy via government regulation. In fact, it’s easier to do it this way than through attempting open revolution (“that’s so 20th century passe!”).

OldTimeLefty
12 years ago

TomW, You said, The Ledbetter Act deals with expanding the time limits within which people can file discrimination claims – it’s a financial sop to plaintiffs attorneys and a PR slop to “feminists.” The Supreme Court ruled that Ledbetter’s 18 months time to file had passed and suggested that the Congress remedy the situation. This meant 60 Senate votes were necessary to survive a Bush veto. The Supreme Court’s interpretation actually drastically shrunk the time to file. Until the Court’s decision the law was interpreted so that the time period to file began with the issuance of each pay check. The Court decided that the time to file began with the issuance of the first pay check, and did not continue with the issuance subsequent checks. The Senate vote to “fix” the legislation was 59-40. McCain didn’t vote on the issue while he was in D.C. and the measure died. McCain, through inaction, killed it. If had principles or cajones he would have cast a vote either way. Instead he whimped out. You also said: “Discrimination in compensation based on gender has already been unlawful for decades.” That is true as far as it goes, but the Court’s decision greatly weakened existing statutes – that’s why the matter came up again in the congress. You also said What this is really all about is eventually slipping “comparable worth” into the statutory realm – in effect having the government decide what people in every occupation should be paid – furthering government takeover of the private economy (and thus imposing collectivism / Marxism / socialism) under the misleading disguise of feminism (much as is also being done under the misleading disguise of environmentalism). These are assertions which you fail to back up with proof. WHAT YOU FREELY ASSERT, I JUST AS FREELY… Read more »

mrh
mrh
12 years ago

Justin,
The decisions that people make are not strongly influenced by structural “isms.”
Fixed that for you.
What I’m getting at is asking why women are more likely to take time off work to raise children than men? A big part of it is personal preference (which is of course influenced, for better or ill, by societal norms). But it also has to do with rational calculations about whose salary can be spared, whose career can/should be interrupted, and what societal, legal, and financial supports are available.
Anyway, sounds like you’re willing to accept my point that Marc’s making a somewhat misleading argument in his post, and I’m happy to have the debate: “Equal Pay for Equal Work: Pro or Con?”

mrh
mrh
12 years ago

Oy, I shouldn’t try to get fancy. I meant to have the word “not” crossed out, but it didn’t work, and that kind of completely alters the meaning of my comment, eh?

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>>TomW, 
You said, The Ledbetter Act deals with expanding the time limits within which people can file discrimination claims – it’s a financial sop to plaintiffs attorneys and a PR slop to “feminists.” >>The Supreme Court ruled that Ledbetter’s 18 months time to file had passed and suggested that the Congress remedy the situation. This meant 60 Senate votes were necessary to survive a Bush veto. The Supreme Court’s interpretation actually drastically shrunk the time to file. Until the Court’s decision the law was interpreted so that the time period to file began with the issuance of each pay check. The Court decided that the time to file began with the issuance of the first pay check, and did not continue with the issuance subsequent checks. There are valid arguments both ways on this. There are statutes of limitations for virtually all causes of action, and for good reason. Consider the scenario in which a person gets paid for 10 years, then claims that the initial decision of pay rate was discriminatory – an allegation made long after relevant records have probably been discarded, the potential witnesses unavailable and even if available, memories faded. >>The Senate vote to “fix” the legislation was 59-40. McCain didn’t vote on the issue while he was in D.C. and the measure died. McCain, through inaction, killed it. If had principles or cajones he would have cast a vote either way. Instead he whimped out. Perhaps he drew inspiration from Barack “Present” Obama. >>You also said: “Discrimination in compensation based on gender has already been unlawful for decades.” That is true as far as it goes, but the Court’s decision greatly weakened existing statutes – that’s why the matter came up again in the congress. If the matter was a clear cut as you assert,… Read more »

Justin Katz
12 years ago

If there is a problem now, it is with government bailouts insulating the wrongdoers from losses

Preceded by regulation that increased barriers to entry and competition and created incentive to run big and outsource elsewhere.

Anthony
Anthony
12 years ago

C’mon, comparing John McCain to a slave owner? Get real.
As for the equal pay issue, my guess is that both Obama and McCain agree that two people performing the same job should get paid the same—assuming that the peformance is the same.
Oh wait, Obama is heavily pro-union, so he probably believed that the two people should get paid the same even if one performs better than the other.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
12 years ago

“Oh wait, Obama is heavily pro-union, so he probably believed that the two people should get paid the same even if one performs better than the other.”
Seniority uber alles!
Call out Herr Crowley and the Duckstapo to enforce the edict!
And while we’re at it, let’s hold a rally in Nuremberg, err, I mean Denver!

OldTimeLefty
12 years ago

TomW
You said

Consider the scenario in which a person gets paid for 10 years, then claims that the initial decision of pay rate was discriminatory – an allegation made long after relevant records have probably been discarded, the potential witnesses unavailable and even if available, memories faded.

In the event of such a scenario there would be no grounds for a suit.
You also said

Perhaps he drew inspiration from Barack “Present” Obama.

The point is McCain didn’t vote on the issue and Obama did so this “argument” through insult goes nowhere.
There is no attempt to dance around the past two years. The Democrats, and I’m not one – haven’t been one since Lyndon Johnson went against his own word and practiced escalatio on the North Vietnamese – have had their legislative hands tied by an obstreperous Republican Party and a Republican president ready to veto any proposal that didn’t carry through the Senate by a 60-40 vote. McCain’s refusal to vote killed the Ledbetter Bill, but I guess that point went by you.
You say “Unlike the public sector, capitalism if left alone will correct itself.” I say not so. You need more than an assertion here -WHAT YOU FREELY ASSERT, I JUST AS FREELY DENY.
And how in hell did you change the topic of the Ledbetter Bill to government bailouts. We can discuss that somewhere else.
Your guy copped out on the vote, and calling names or diverting subjects does not change that fact one iota. McCain was present and didn’t have the cajones to vote either way. That is the point
OldTimeLefty

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>>TomW
 You said Consider the scenario in which a person gets paid for 10 years, then claims that the initial decision of pay rate was discriminatory – an allegation made long after relevant records have probably been discarded, the potential witnesses unavailable and even if available, memories faded. In the event of such a scenario there would be no grounds for a suit. The bill effectively extends the statute of limitations through the last paycheck attributable to the “original” discriminatory act, so … >>You also said Perhaps he drew inspiration from Barack “Present” Obama. The point is McCain didn’t vote on the issue and Obama did so this “argument” through insult goes nowhere. Yeah, other than Democrats trying to make this a cause celebre, not voting on a technical amendment to a discrimination law, which really is just a SOP to the trial bar, is shocking, shocking! >>There is no attempt to dance around the past two years. The Democrats, and I’m not one – If I were one I wouldn’t admit it in public either. >>haven’t been one since Lyndon Johnson went against his own word and practiced escalatio on the North Vietnamese – have had their legislative hands tied by an obstreperous Republican Party and a Republican president ready to veto any proposal that didn’t carry through the Senate by a 60-40 vote. McCain’s refusal to vote killed the Ledbetter Bill, but I guess that point went by you. Gee, an opposition party opposes. What a concept! >>You say “Unlike the public sector, capitalism if left alone will correct itself.” I say not so. You need more than an assertion here -WHAT YOU FREELY ASSERT, I JUST AS FREELY DENY. Look at economic history. Bubbles and excesses occur – try reading “Extraordinary Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”… Read more »

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

BTW, did I mention that this cause celebre attempt is merely a naked political effort to try to draw female voter support back away from McCain-Palin and back toward Obama-Clinton, err, I mean Obama-Biden?
“Obama makes their tired claims his own in his campaign’s new ad. He repeats the misleading statistic that women make “77 cents to the dollar a man makes,” and charges that McCain opposes “equal pay for women” because he doesn’t support giving the federal government the power to regulate private sector wages.”
http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MTMxMWQ4OTgyODllYjAzMTQ0NGMwMTliMTg5NzQ2N2U=

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