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Missouri's Todd Akin, already elected to the House of Representatives and trying to move up to the Senate, was asked why he voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act at a town hall on Thursday. Akin's response suggested that he doesn't understand what federal law was prior to the Ledbetter Act, doesn't understand what's in the Ledbetter Act, and, oh yeah, thinks it should be legal for employers to discriminate against women.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: You voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Why do you think it is okay for a woman to be paid less for doing the same work as a man?

AKIN: Well, first of all, the premise of your question is that I'm making that particular distinction. I believe in free enterprise. I don't think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don't pay. I think it's about freedom. If somebody wants to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that's fine, however it wants to work. So, the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble.

It's been illegal to discriminate against women by paying them less since 1963. The Ledbetter Act didn't make that any more illegal; it just made it easier for women to sue if they find out they're being discriminated against. Because, see, where Akin says that "If somebody wants to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that's fine, however it wants to work," the reality is that employers don't generally say to women, "Hey, I'm going to pay you less than I'm paying men doing the same job as you. Goal ThermometerIs that okay by you?" They just pay less, keeping it a secret. Because they're breaking the law. Which means it would be bad for them if the women they were discriminating against found out about it.

So the only "freedom" Akin is talking about here is the freedom of businesses to break the law. Which he thinks is fine, because he doesn't think that equal pay should be the law, even in largely unenforceable theory. Just like he doesn't think there should be a minimum wage. Hey, then businesses could pay women, like, 50 cents an hour. That's freedom for you!

Please give $3 to each of our Daily Kos-endorsed women candidates for the House and Senate so they can go to Congress and strengthen equal pay laws, not make discrimination legal.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 01:52 PM PDT.

Also republished by Income Inequality Kos and Daily Kos.

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