When actress Patricia Arquette won an Oscar, she pled for “wage equality” for women: “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen in this nation: We have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
Days later, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said, “I think we all cheered at Patricia Arquette’s speech at the Oscars, because she’s right — it’s time to have wage equality.” Back in April 2014, Hillary Clinton sent out this tweet: “20 years ago, women made 72 cents on the dollar to men. Today it’s still just 77 cents. More work to do.”
Today women, supposedly, only make 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men. Here’s the problem — it simply is not true. When you compare apples to apples, the earnings gap shrinks to between four and seven cents, and the Labor Department suggests “non-sexist” reasons explain even this small gap.
The Department of Labor commissioned a study from an organization called CONSAD Research Corporation. The report, which came out in 2009, is called “An Analysis of Reasons for the Disparity in Wages Between Men and Women.” In its foreword, The Labor Department concedes that the “gap” is a myth:
“There are observable differences in the attributes of men and women that account for most of the wage gap. Statistical analysis that includes those variables has produced results that collectively account for between 65.1 and 76.4 percent of a raw gender wage gap of 20.4 percent, and thereby leave an adjusted gender wage gap that is between 4.8 and 7.1 percent.”
The Labor Department also said that the remaining gap could be explained by choices that men and women make. Specifically:
“A greater percentage of women than men tend to work part-time. Part-time work tends to pay less than full-time work.
“A greater percentage of women than men tend to leave the labor force for childbirth, child care and elder care. Some of the wage gap is explained by the percentage of women who were not in the labor force during previous years, the age of women, and the number of children in the home.
“Women, especially working mothers, tend to value ‘family friendly’ workplace policies more than men.”
This brings us back to Hillary Clinton. Does she practice “wage equality”?
An analysis by the Washington Free Beacon found Clinton paid the women on her Senate staff 72 cents for each dollar she paid the men:
“During (2002 to 2008), the median annual salary for a woman working in Clinton’s office was $15,708.38 less than the median salary for a man, according to the analysis of data compiled from official Senate expenditure reports.”
President Barack Obama’s White House female staffers also earn less than the male staffers. According to the 2011 annual report on White House staff, female White House employees earn a median annual salary of $60,000 — or 18 percent less than male employees’ $71,000 salary. Last July, an analysis by The Washington Post found “the White House has not narrowed the gap between the average pay of male and female employees since President Obama’s first year in office.”
In 2012, after several female senators called a press conference to push for gender “paycheck fairness,” the Washington Free Beacon looked at the salary “equality” in the their own offices:
“(Patty) Murray, (D-Wash.), who has repeatedly accused Republicans of waging a ‘war on women,’ is one of the worst offenders. Female members of Murray’s staff made about $21,000 less per year than male staffers in 2011, a difference of 33.8 percent. … A significant ‘gender gap’ exists in (Dianne) Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) office, where women also made about $21,000 less than men in 2011, but the percentage difference — 41 percent — was even higher than Murray’s. (Barbara) Boxer’s (D-Calif.) female staffers made about $5,000 less, a difference of 7.3 percent.”
Arquette’s plea comes after the Sony Pictures cyber attack. Publically disclosed private emails shows that then co-studio chief Amy Pascal paid Jennifer Lawrence less money than her not-as-popular male co-stars in “American Hustle” — and this was after Lawrence starred in the blockbuster “Hunger Games.”
When asked why, Ms. Pascal was blunt: “Here’s the problem: I run a business. People want to work for less money, I’ll pay them less money. I don’t call them up and say, ‘Can I give you some more?’ Because that’s not what you do when you run a business. The truth is, what women have to do is not work for less money. They have to walk away. People shouldn’t be so grateful for jobs. … People should know what they’re worth.” Pascal, like Patricial Arquette, is also a contributor to the “pay equity” Democratic Party.
For his second term, President Obama wants to combat “income inequality.” To get started, he won’t even have to leave the White House.
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host.