A Hillary Clinton Political Action Committee recently released an ad — undoubtedly the first of many — aimed at persuading American women they have no choice but to support her in November. This commercial strings together a selection of Trump’s most off-putting statements, calling women fat and flat-chested, and otherwise treating women as sex objects, which hardly seems like behavior fitting a President.
Even before Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, political analysts assumed that women would be the foundation of Mrs. Clinton’s path to the White House. As Hillary endlessly reminds her audiences, she’s a woman, making her potentially the first female president. Women are also the centerpiece of her policy agenda. She promises to create a new government-mandated paid leave benefit, additional childcare subsidies, and more laws and regulations that she claims will close the so-called wage gap.
Yet Clinton has obstacles to overcome too. Savvy women are sure to notice that this is another example of a politician saying one thing and doing something entirely different. When it comes to the wage gap, Clinton talks a good game, but within the ranks of her own staff — surprise, surprise — she has a yawning wage gap of her own.
Last month, the Daily Caller reported that male executives at the Clinton Foundation made 38 percent more than female executives at the Clinton Foundation. In fact, the gap between the top male and female executives was a jaw-dropping $109,000. This isn’t the first time Hillary Clinton has been exposed as having a wage gap problem. In August, the Washington Free Beacon revealed that women on Clinton’s campaign staff make less than the men. Years ago, there were also disparities between the wages of men and women on Clinton’s Senate staff.
Clinton probably has good explanations for these pay disparities: The men working at the Foundation and on Clinton’s campaign staff likely have had different roles, longer hours and more job experience than some of the women, which is why they earn more than their female colleagues. Yet that’s exactly the same reason there exists an average wage gap throughout the entire economy, a truth that Hillary herself has dutifully ignored.
Feminist groups and liberal politicians like Clinton regularly promote the “77-cents-on-the-dollar” statistic, implying that this average difference in pay is evidence of sex discrimination. In reality, this statistic ignores the many factors that we know drive earnings: industry, specialty, years of experience, even number of hours worked. When those factors are controlled for, the wage gap shrinks to a few percentage points.
Mrs. Clinton doesn’t want to talk about those factors. She wants women to consider themselves victims of an irredeemably sexist society, where the only solution is to elect good liberals like her and give government more power to micromanage worker compensation.
Voters may not buy it. After all, this primary season has told us nothing if not that Americans are sick of the status quo and a Washington elite that believes the rules don’t apply to them. Women, who tend to place a high value on honesty, might notice that Clinton has a habit of decrying a system that she personally benefits from.
During Bill Clinton’s presidency, for example, the Clintons staunchly opposed programs to help more parents escape the failing D.C. public school system, but naturally didn’t hesitate to enroll their own daughter in the city’s most expensive private school. They promoted laws that promised to crack down on sexual harassment in workplaces, but Mrs. Clinton looked the other way as her husband transformed the White House into its own hostile work environment — she even helped smear the women being used by her husband.
Today, Mrs. Clinton claims that she wants to crack down on Wall Street fat cats and rails against supersized CEO pay; meanwhile, voters are expected to ignore how her family is among the fattest of cats, and for years has been focused on maximizing their take from this corrupt system, accepting enormous payments — sometimes more money than the average worker makes in a year — for performing next to no work.
Voters may find this hypocrisy as cringe-inducing as Trump’s boorish statements about women. Certainly, Clinton shouldn’t assume that women will overlook these issues as they consider their choice — and they will indeed have a choice to make — in November.