White House: Yes, we’re lying about the ‘wage gap,’ and we’re not going to stop
Something absolutely astounding happened to the Obama White House on Monday: a reporter actually asked them a tough question. A White House talking point was challenged. And the Obama apparatchik had to admit her talking point was a lie… but of course, they’re going to keep repeating it, because lying to “raise awareness” of a “good cause” is OK if you have the right Party credentials.
This is all part of Obama’s “War on Women” plan to make women, especially single women, feel like helpless victims of a patriarchy that only statist Democrats can defeat. At issue is the “wage gap,” in which women are supposedly paid less than men, because sexism. A great deal of harrumphing ensues when anyone dares to point out that Obama himself pays female employees considerably less than his male employees. The media finally felt compelled to discuss this uncomfortable fact on the eve of “Equal Pay Day 2014,” leading to some hilarious shucking and jiving from the White House over whether its pay gap is smaller than the private-sector gap it’s treating as a national crisis. Sure, we pay women 12 cents on the dollar less than men, and we used to pay them 18 cents less, but the private sector pays them 23 cents less, so there!
In reality, the pay gap in the White House is a lot harder to explain than anything going on in the private sector, because the White House staff is a relatively small group of people with broadly similar skills, while the immense American private sector offers countless logical, non-sexist reasons why women would make less than men – they often work in dramatically different lines of employment. This “wage gap” mythology is one of the most thoroughly debunked talking points on the American political landscape – when non-sexist factors based on the free choices of women are controlled for, they do not make significantly less than men. In fact, as one debunking from CBS News pointed out, unmarried women without children actually make more than men. Men choose to work longer hours in more dangerous, stressful, higher-paying jobs. Women are, unsurprisingly, more likely to take time off for childbirth and child-rearing.
None of which does much to explain why Barack Obama pays his female employees 11 percent less, and used to pay them 18 percent less, before people started noticing his hypocrisy. One of Obama’s planned executive orders will require federal contractors to submit a mountain of data about how employees are compensated by sex and race. Let’s require the White House to lead the way by publishing the same data… and let’s make sure the data harvest includes all of the relevant factors, not just sex, race, and pay. If activists want to make “Equal Pay Day” all about asking hard questions of discriminatory employers, they should begin the day at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and they’ll probably still be there when night falls, waiting for Obama to face the music.
Another round of debunking greets the “wage gap” myth every single year, but it lives on, using the most wildly misleading assumptions to create insane, headline-grabbing numbers. Virtually every media report cites a factoid that claims women make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men; it’s usually right in the headlines, as a tsunami of front-page stories washes across the land.
And the White House just admitted this figure is a lie. An absolute lie. It’s not even remotely accurate, but they’re going to keep using it. At this point, it would be hard to stop their loyal media lapdogs from repeating the figure ad infinitum, in editorials quoting media stories quoting White House press releases, like an endless gallery of funhouse mirrors.
Debunking the 77-cent myth took nothing more than a single reporter asking one serious question, as chronicled by the Washington Examiner. (It was McClatchy reporter Lindsay Wise who asked the question, but even though they’ve published plenty of articles critical of wage-gap mythology, I haven’t seen a blow-by-blow account of this particular exchange on their website yet.) Ashe Schow of the Examiner puts plenty of well-deserved sarcasm into her account:
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 despite women contributing 44 percent of their household incomes, they continue to make less than men. Obama has declared Tuesday “Equal Pay Day” to highlight his administration’s focus on that issue.
“They’re 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 she’s saying men and women doing the exact same job are earning very different pay.
Myth debunked. Women, we are oppressed. I take back everything I wrote about the 77-cent claimbeing a myth.
Except, 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 wouldn’t have meant to say that.”
Oh, I’m sorry, I guess when Stevenson said “we see it when men and women are working side by side doing identical work” — that was an accident?
“Seventy-seven cents captures the annual earnings of full-time, full-year women divided by the annual earnings of full-time, full-year men,” Stevenson clarified. “There are a lot of things that go into that 77-cents figure, there are a lot of things that contribute and no one’s trying to say that it’s all about discrimination, but I don’t think there’s a better figure.”
No one’s trying to blame discrimination? Isn’t that what the entire Paycheck Fairness Act and Equal Pay Day are based on?
This has got to be one of the most astonishing clown acts ever performed in the low-information circus America has become. These people are openly admitting that their spectacular stop-the-presses figure is complete B.S., a made-up number that has no logical connection to the gigantic regulatory apparatus they want to put in place. They’re admitting the problem doesn’t exist… but they’re going to keep lying about it, because loudly complaining about the non-existent problem, and imposing burdensome “solutions” that expand the power of the State, are crucial political objectives for Democrats.
You can bet the data harvested from Obama’s expensive executive orders will be popping up in plenty of misleading political ads in the years ahead. He’s basically ordering federal contractors to cut campaign commercials for Hillary! 2016.
Meanwhile, the American people are once again made to see themselves as criminals – sexist monsters, the lot of us! – who deserve whatever surveillance and punishment the ever-growing State sees fit to mete out.