While the political world continues to fixate on the upcoming November elections, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) has cast her gaze firmly upon 2016, and she‚??s already making the case for why we need a mighty feminist warrior in the White House: There‚??s a dangerous ‚??war on women.‚?Ě
At a Manhattan campaign event supporting Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY)¬†on Tuesday, Clinton addressed the frenzied crowd of New York Democrats,¬†saying that women in America are still the victims of discrimination, a claim bolstered by the apparent pay discrepancy that exists in virtually every industry across the country.
‚??The fact that women still get paid less than men for the same work costs them and their families thousands of dollars every year,‚?Ě Clinton said, according to¬†Business Insider¬†reporter Colin Campbell.¬†“Imagine what a working mom could do with the money she is owed. That extra money, she could use it to rent or even buy a better home for her kids and herself. Those groceries she could buy. That car payment she could make.‚?Ě
Women are mistreated, and Republican men are to blame. If you vote Republican, you are voting for a party of sexist bigots who don‚??t care about equal pay, equal rights, or anything else‚??except maybe low taxes and less ‚??big government,‚?Ě whatever that means.
The 2016 narrative practically writes itself, and anyone who has even a cursory interest in politics can see it coming a mile away. The so-called ‚??war on women‚?Ě is back, and it‚??s here to stay unless liberty-minded Americans can produce simple arguments that refute these ridiculous claims.
For starters, is there workplace discrimination against women? In some companies, yes. Are some women paid less than what they deserve simply because they are women? Yes, there likely are. But there are also many work environments where attractive people are given advantages; there are companies that discriminate against openly religious employees or against atheists; and I know many Greek restaurants in Chicago where everyone who works there are Greek‚??no white Anglo-Saxons allowed.
Should we strive to correct these unequal treatments? Of course! Everyone should be judged on the merits of their ideas, work ethic, and other productive qualities in the workplace. No one should be paid less because of gender, race, political affiliation, or anything else. But if you believe for even a second that there is some sort of extra-horrific treatment of women going on, you‚??re simply not looking at the facts.
The U.S. Department of Labor‚??s Pamela Coukos explained in 2012¬†that roughly 60 percent of the 18‚?? or 19-cent per dollar difference in weekly earnings data between men and women nationally is attributed to ‚??differences between workers or their jobs,‚?Ě not discrimination. The remaining 40 percent, which Coukos does attribute to discrimination, only amounts to a 7.6-cent difference.
The goal should obviously be to have no difference at all, but the exaggerated argument that women only earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to men,¬†espoused by President Obama in his 2014 State of the Union address,¬†is clearly a fallacy.
Further, Harvard economist Claudia Goldin revealed in her study,¬†as reported by¬†The New York Times,¬†that nearly all of the pay gap between men and women can be explained by the link between job success and hours worked. In professions that highly value employees willing to work longer hours, the gap between men and women regarding promotions, raises, and other advantages is more significant. Goldin suggests that, on average, women often want to work less hours than men in these fields because of family obligations.
In professions where the hours are relatively uniform,¬†there is essentially no gap in pay at all.¬†Goldin found that male and female advertising salespeople, human resources specialists, dental hygienists, and chemists all earn equal pay, or something close to it. Does this mean that dentists and advertising executives are less bigoted than every other group of American workers? Of course not. The obvious answer is that pay between men and women is, at least to some extent, affected greatly by family obligations at home.
This of course is becoming less of an issue in American society as both young men and young women are entering professions like law and medicine at similar rates and are waiting until much later in life to have children. Exclusive gender roles at home are also slowly disintegrating with younger generations, making family obligations a joint venture between younger men and women in a way that is novel in American society.
So while it is true that some lingering discrimination does still exist and needs to be corrected, there is certainly no ‚??war on women.‚?Ě And even more importantly, there is nothing Hillary Clinton can do to solve this problem.
Contrary to popular belief, the presidency is not a temporary monarchy, no matter how much Clinton would like it to be. If elected, she cannot simply wave her scepter in the air and magically fix the small pay gap that still exists. The best she can do is to support the creation of a federal law that protects women from being discriminated against when it comes to pay.
Oh yeah, that law already exists.
In 1963,¬†President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act¬†into law, thereby prohibiting, as Kennedy described it, ‚??arbitrary discrimination against women in the payment of wages.‚?Ě
It‚??s clear that Clinton and other Democrats who espouse the ‚??war on women‚?Ě are merely engaging in this divisive and untruthful rhetoric in the hopes of scaring women into thinking there is a ‚??war‚?Ě against them that only Democrats can solve. It doesn‚??t matter to Clinton whether there is any truth behind her assertions or that federal law already protects women from pay discrimination.
All that matters to Mrs. Clinton is that she wins in 2016, and she‚??ll say anything and scare anyone to make sure that happens.
Justin Haskins¬†(Jhaskins@heartland.org) is an author, blogger, and an editor of publications at The Heartland Institute, a leading free-market think tank based out of Chicago, IL. You can follow him @TheNewRevere or visit his personal site online at¬†http://traskhaskins.com/.