The President likes to preach against the wage gap. He renewed his call in Tuesday’s State of the Union for Congress to pass an equal pay bill that “makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work.” He stressed “Really. It’s 2015. It’s time.” Ironically, his fervor apparently doesn’t extend to the White House which has its own wage gap.
Now, President Obama’s closest adviser, Valerie Jarrett, is firing back to defend the White House gap in wages.
This week, Jarrett went head-to-head with Republican businesswoman and possible 2016 presidential candidate Carly Fiorna, who exposed President Obama’s hypocrisy on the issue. Fiorina made it clear that she doesn’t mind pay discrepancies based on merit. This is how the workplace should operate.
Jarrett hurriedly fired back that women in the White House do earn “equal pay for equal work” but dodged the numbers and launched into why an Equal Pay Law is needed.
According to analysis by the Washington Post, the average female employee in the White House earns about $78,400, while the average male employee earns about $88,600. What accounts for their 13-percent gap? Factors include the differing level of positions that men versus women have in the Obama White House.
The Hill reports:
Fiorina, appearing with Jarrett on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” argued President Obama “hasn’t really led” on the issue in his own administration.
“He's not paying women equally by his own measures in his own White House. … Why wouldn't the White House take on the seniority system and say, ‘Let's pay women by merit and by their results?’ ” Florina said.
Jarrett responded by stressing that in the White House, “women do earn equal pay for equal work.”
Critics of the administration say it’s a fair metric to use, because the president routinely cites the figure that the salaries of women working full time are, on average, just 77 percent of what men make.
Jarrett said the bill being touted by the White House would make it easier for women to share information about their salaries with other employees to make sure they weren’t being discriminated against.
As we’ve explained in Straight Talk, the wage gap is almost a made-up talking point meant to rally women behind progressive legislation and candidates. The wage gap can be explained by how the numbers are compiled. Women take more time out of the workforce and pursue careers that are lower-paying. Taking those factors into account any difference in pay disappears in the aggregate. Furthermore, young women in urban areas actually out-earn their male counterparts.
This is the same phenomenon at play in the White House. Men in the White House apparently are in higher wage jobs, whereas women tend to be in the lower-wage positions. That is a matter of choice and there could be an opportunity for promotion, but not a need for law. But it is odd that the White House operates on the same basis as other offices, only it wants to make laws to keep those other employers to do exactly what it does.
Each year in April, liberal activists and the Obama White House play up the wage gap on the hooky “Equal Pay Day” holiday. Last year, some critics of the Obama White House called out the Administration's hypocrisy on the wage gap issue. They found that in order for women in the Obama White House to earn a salary equal to men's earnings in 2013, they would have to work all of 2013 and through today in 2014 to catch up.
We don’t say that discrimination has vanished from the earth, and when women or people of a different race or religion are treated unfairly, we know that this is a wrong that must be righted. However, some of the hoopla around earnings of men and women is simply using numbers to fan smoke for a fire that simply is not there.