The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page this morning reports on a battle between Republicans and Conservatives in the New York Governor race.  Mr. Faso, the Conservative Party’s candidate for Governor, has come under attack for, among other things, voting against a comparable worth bill.  The Republican Main Street Partnership-a group that purports to represent centrist, fiscally conservative Republicans-should know better than to follow the radical feminist line that a vote against comparable worth is a vote against women.

Comparable worth is based on the ridiculous idea that government bureaucrats will better be able to determine wages than the market.  Feminist groups often lament that some careers that women disproportionately pursue-such as librarians and elementary school teachers-have lower pay than jobs that require less education, but are disproportionately male-like truck drivers and janitors. 

What this critique ignores is the basic concept of supply and demand:  employers have to offer a higher salary to attract people to become janitors and truck drivers, because they are in many ways grueling occupations.  On the other hand, there’s often a surplus of people vying for teaching jobs, in spite of the relatively low pay, because many people-particularly women-find that line of work attractive. 

As The Wall Street Journal puts it: 

The reference is to Mr. Faso’s votes against “comparable worth,” the liberal notion that wages should be set by federal bureaucrats instead of free markets. This idea has been consistently debunked by economists of all stripes, though it lives on in socialist backwaters like academia and the New York assembly.

It’s a signal of the sorry state of the New York Republican party that they would resort to this kind of nonsense to attack one of their own.