In Vanity Fair Dee Dee Myers is taking Republicans to task for failing to support the Paycheck Fairness Act and “pretending” that the wage gap doesn’t exist. She claims that “study after study confirms… men still are compensated substantially more” (than women).
Yet Myers should take up her complaints not with Republicans, but with the Washington Post Fact Checker, who actually did dig into what “study after study” found, and concluded that “Broad comparisons are inherently problematic” and controlling for lifestyle factors explains the majority of the gap. That means that the Democrats’ “77 cents on the dollar” chant is flatly misleading.
Myers also might ask Democrat female Senators about what causes the wage gap. Reporter Andrew Stiles of the Free Beacon recently uncovered that some of the woman championing the Paycheck Fairness Act have significant “gaps” between what men and women earn in their own offices. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, for example, pays her female staffers 35 percent less than the males. The Senator probably has a good explanation for why such a difference exists, and in explaining those differences she would also explain why such gaps exist across the workforce more broadly.
Myers assumes that Republicans, by opposing a bill like the Paycheck Fairness Act, are exacerbating their problems with women voters. Undoubtedly, many conservatives are reluctant to endure being tarred as sexist for opposing a bill that, rather than helping women, would increase the number of frivolous lawsuits, make our workplaces less flexible, and lead to fewer jobs (note, again, even The Washington Post concluded in an editorial that the Paycheck Fairness Act was “a flawed approach to job bias.”).
However, research suggests that in this case, women are seeing through the over-wrought “War on Women” campaign rhetoric being levied by liberals. A new study conducted by Evolving Strategies for the Independent Women’s Voice found that only a third of women believe there is a Republican “War on Women” and that the debate over the Paycheck Fairness Act reduced women’s support for Democrats’ other economic plans.
The simple fact is that equal pay for equal work is already law of the land, and women who face workplace discrimination can and do pursue legal remedy. This doesn’t mean that women don’t face very real challenges. They do. Discrimination certainly lingers in some workplaces, which is a problem that no government program or new law is going to solve.
Yet the bigger problem facing women isn’t discrimination on the job, it’s a lack of jobs. Too many Americans, men and women alike, are out of work and struggling to make ends meet. The best way to address these problems isn’t to expand government’s bureaucracy and create new administrative and legal burdens on employers: We need a growing economy. We need job creation. And sadly, recent reports suggest that our economy is getting worse rather than better.
Democrats are trying to distract Americans from that troubling trend by claiming that there is a War on Women. Myers’ real concern is that voters just aren’t buying it.