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By Rachel Goldfarb, originally published on Next New Deal

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Why the GOP is Wrong About the Pay Gap (MSNBC)

With President Obama signing executive orders to fight the pay gap on Equal Pay Day, Irin Carmon lays out the shortcomings in the current system for fighting pay discrimination.

Cities Advance Their Fight Against Rising Inequality (NYT)

Cities are working to fight inequality locally because they aren't willing to wait on the federal government, writes Annie Lowrey. Seattle, which is debating a $15-an-hour minimum wage, is a prime example.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute President and CEO Felicia Wong gave the closing remarks at Seattle's Income Inequality Symposium on March 27.

Maryland Set to Increase Its Minimum Wage to $10.10 by 2018 (WaPo)

Jenna Johnson reports on the final agreement on the minimum wage in the Maryland legislature. Maryland is the second state to take President Obama's advice and lead the charge for a $10.10 minimum wage.

Congress May Extend Corporate Tax Breaks But Not Unemployment Benefits (National Priorities Project)

Mattea Kramer points out a case of classic Washington illogic: Congress is preparing to extend corporate tax breaks worth $700 billion, but won't extend unemployment insurance because it would add $10 billion to the deficit.

GOP Grapples With The Unsettling Fear That Obamacare May Succeed (TPM)

Sahil Kapur says the 7 million Americans and potential voters who registered for insurance on the exchanges during open enrollment create a challenge for Republican candidates, whose base still supports repeal.

Yes, Rubio's Antipoverty Plan Would Cut Benefits to Working Parents (TNR)

Danny Vinik writes that it's mathematically impossible for Senator Rubio's plan to increase benefits for childless working adults and remain deficit-neutral, as his office has claimed it will, without reducing benefits to parents.

Workers on the Edge (TAP)

David Bensman looks at the difficulties faced by workers whose employers misclassify them as independent contractors. Employers do this to avoid paying workers' compensation, overtime, and even some taxes.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Economics on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 04:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  And Democratic candidates should be making ads (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk, Cassandra77

    about this....

    Congress May Extend Corporate Tax Breaks But Not Unemployment Benefits (National Priorities Project)
    The ad practically writes itself. Continue to stress to the American people that the GOP only cares about the 1 pct and corporations.  Continue to illustrate about how Republicans do not care about the middle class and working families and children.

    Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at

    by wishingwell on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 08:22:09 PM PDT

  •  Minimum Wage Debate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Economist Andrew Card: Raising the minimum wage would have a minor impact on employment.

    Here's an interview where he says it, re posted here at Economist's View in 2006:

    "I've subsequently stayed away from the minimum wage literature for a
    number of reasons. First, it cost me a lot of friends. People that I had
    known for many years, for instance, some of the ones I met at my first
    job at the University of Chicago, became very angry or disappointed.
    They thought that in publishing our work we were being traitors to the
    cause of economics as a whole.

    You Don't Happen To Make It. You Make It Happen !

    by jeffrey789 on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 10:25:48 PM PDT

  •  AEI's tag-team of Intellectual Disingenuous (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    This piece of drivel from Mark Perry and Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is an intellectually disingenuous piece of fluff that aims to discredit the reality of pay disparity.

    Instead of trying to work with actual facts, they toss out scenarios that broad-brush - and in some cases blatantly ignore - realities on the ground to make it appear that any claims of "pay disparity" are simply due to not comparing apples to apples.

    In its annual report, "Highlights of Women's Earnings in 2012," the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that "In 2012, women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings of $691. On average in 2012, women made about 81% of the median earnings of male full-time wage and salary workers ($854)." Give or take a few percentage points, the BLS appears to support the president's claim.

    But every "full-time" worker, as the BLS notes, is not the same: Men were almost twice as likely as women to work more than 40 hours a week, and women almost twice as likely to work only 35 to 39 hours per week. Once that is taken into consideration, the pay gap begins to shrink. Women who worked a 40-hour week earned 88% of male earnings.

    Note the above (emphasis mine) - from the wording, it appears that BLS consideration of "wage AND salary" (which combines both pay types) was compared to "wage only" in the paragraph following, which allows the authors to make a claim that appears to be accurate but which is only considering a subset of the original grouping.
    Education also matters. Even within groups with the same educational attainment, women often choose fields of study, such as sociology, liberal arts or psychology, that pay less in the labor market.  Men are more likely to major in finance, accounting or engineering.
    Color me simplistic, but don't many pay disparity claims look within chosen fields of study, like engineering - and find issues? If I recall, in several surveys, women were paid less than men for the same engineering roles - which require engineering background, training and education and not a psych degree. So regardless of what topics a majority of women choose vs. a majority of men, that doesn't mean (but certainly implies) that women who don't have engineering degrees would of course get paid less than men who had engineering degrees in an engineering's a false argument. A strawman.

    Because engineering jobs require engineering degrees, regardless of gender.

    Risk is another factor. Nearly all the most dangerous occupations, such as loggers or iron workers, are majority male and 92% of work-related deaths in 2012 were to men. Dangerous jobs tend to pay higher salaries to attract workers. Also: Males are more likely to pursue occupations where compensation is risky from year to year, such as law and finance. Research shows that average pay in such jobs is higher to compensate for that risk.
    And again, women work in each of these industries, tho in lower numbers than men.

    So compare their wages to the wages earned by men, and you'll still find disparities...but the authors don't go that far. It would weaken, and likely destroy, their argument.

    They also attempt to blame women who leave the workforce to be full-time mothers, and then return, as a reason for the disparity - the lost experience in the job force resulting in a lesser skillset of the returning worker than the skillset of the (male) worker who hadn't left the job to be a mom.

    They then try to sum up that portion of their report by referencing another AEI report that claimed "a more comprehensive study that controlled for most of these relevant variables simultaneously" virtually eliminated the pay disparity gap: "labor market discrimination is unlikely to account for more than 5% but may not be present at all."

    That, of course, wasn't enough.

    They then tried to fall back on the "everyone knows" fallacy, presenting the faux argument that if the claim of women being paid 77 cents of the dollar was real, then more women would likely be employed than men:

    These gender-disparity claims are also economically illogical. If women were paid 77 cents on the dollar, a profit-oriented firm could dramatically cut labor costs by replacing male employees with females. Progressives assume that businesses nickel-and-dime suppliers, customers, consultants, anyone with whom they come into contact—yet ignore a great opportunity to reduce wages costs by 23%. They don't ignore the opportunity because it doesn't exist. Women are not in fact paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men.
    See that bit of "ipso-facto" bullshit?

    Their final shots blame women, not discriminatory practices, for any perceived disparities because of choice of college majors, staying home with children, and actively choosing to let "their husbands maximize their own earnings."

    It's another willful and not-quite malicious, wholly disingenuous piece of pseudo-intellectual babble that has less founding in actual facts and statistics than it does in standard conservative snake-oil.

    •  Just posted the above as a diary: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

        Pay Disparity - AEI claims "It's women's fault.

      The talking points are pretty easy to spot, as is some of the verbal fling-foo.

    •  about half (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreyHawk, Phoebe Loosinhouse

      So this is the standard rebuttal of people who think women are paid the same for the same work, that the women are simply working jobs that are worth less.  Of course, this in some ways is a circular argument because to some by definition a job that can be done by a women is a less worthy job.

      In any case, if we believe the current administration and the conservatives that are attacking it for hypocrisy the effect of women working at lower level jobs is about 7%.  Across the board the pay gap appears to be as much as 25%.  Conservatives would have us believe that at least half of that, or at least 12% is due to women choosing lower paying jobs.  But 12% is quite a bit bigger, 70% bigger, than 7%.

      Allowing employees to talk about pay is big first step.  In a world where money is speech, preventing people from talking about money in the workplace is an arbitrary violation of the freedom of speech.  But discrimination will still exists.  Overtime, bonuses, extra fringe benefits, will still be given to those who are favored.  And pay will still be greatly less for women as long as they are denied access to C-level executive positions.

  •  Transparency is the major first step (0+ / 0-)

    But I personally am unsure how exact parity can be legislated given the variances that occur naturally due to raw talent, expertise, skills, experience, etc. in the labor pool. Plus, over time, one person may simply do a better job than another - how is that factored in in a particular company? Not every job involves easily interpreted data like sales volume per month. Isn't the "merit" component inherently subjective? How can it be made not to be?

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 06:19:32 AM PDT

  •  I'm confused......... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Just a couple of weeks ago Obama was speaking out for 10.10 min wage, and now no one seems to be talking about the minimum wage, but equal pay instead. That's OK- I'm for both, but why drop one conversation for the other?  They are equally important, IMO.

    This "Trickle Down" thing has turned out to be somebody pissing on my leg and tellin' me it's rainin'.

    by swtexas on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 06:54:43 AM PDT

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