May 24 2012
Despite the heated debate lately over the Paycheck Fairness Act and bringing an end to the “wage gap,” it appears there’s a rather blatant gender-gap on Capitol Hill. According to Andrew Stiles of The Washington Free Beacon, “a substantial gender pay gap exists” in Democratic Senate offices.
Stiles find that several of the leading voices advocating for the PFA are paying their female staff members much less than their male counterparts:
Murray, who has repeatedly accused Republicans of waging a “war a 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 35.2 percent.
That is well above the 23 percent gap that Democrats claim exists between male and female workers nationwide.
…A significant “gender gap” exists in Feinstein’s 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.
Boxer’s female staffers made about $5,000 less, a difference of 7.3 percent.
This is the wake of a similar scandal at the White House in which female employees were found to earn about 18 percent less than the average male employee. To make matters worse, the pay gap may be, in part, a function of Democrats’ preference (!!) for men in leadership positions. Stiles finds there is a “noticeable preference among Senate Democrats for male chiefs of staff, who typically draw the highest congressional salaries.” So much for the left’s obsession over the shortage of women executives!
While this certainly paints Democrats in a bad light and hints at possible sexism, perhaps it will help demonstrate why the premise of the wage gap is so misguided. These “raw” salaries tell us nothing about the qualifications, educational background, or work-life needs of any of these individuals.
As a speechwriter in the Senate many years ago, I recall learning that my male predecessor made significantly more than I did. While it may have been a function of gender preference, it likely had something to do with his experience. He may have chosen a more relevant college major, been working for the Senator for more years and demonstrated loyalty, or may have willing to work endless hours.
Hypocritical? Yes. But maybe now Democrats will realize that the pay gap between men and women has more to do with freedom and choices than widespread discrimination, and laws like the Paycheck Fairness Act – despite what Democrats will have you believe – will not create equal pay on Main Street or on Capitol Hill. It will simply make it more difficult for employers to tie compensation to work quality, productivity and experience. It will reduce flexibility in the workplace, make it easier to file frivolous lawsuits, and make it more expensive to employ women.
Let’s see how Capitol Hill responds to that!