The shameless political pandering of President Obama and Congressional Democrats seemingly has no bounds. In the continued aftermath of the failed so-called “Affordable” Care Act, and a still-stagnant American economy, Democrats have done everything they know to do to change the subject since last December. This campaign of distortion and distraction was put on full display during the President’s January State of the Union Address; it was a pep rally for every left-wing cause from climate change to income inequality that he ran on in 2008 and again in 2012. It was a political speech, not a series of serious policy proposals. The good news is that this sort of perpetual campaign without any substance is starting to become obvious to the American people.
For this very reason, the President’s job approval ratings have fallen most precipitously among constituencies that strongly supported his reelection in 2012, particularly women and younger voters. Perhaps that’s because women and young people aren’t stupid, and they’re quickly learning that the President isn’t all that interested in their well-being. Instead, he’s interested in ginning-up their support through empty promises long enough to get through an election cycle. The President’s past support among young people in general, and young women in particular, was largely due to his promises to help them access affordable, quality healthcare, and get good paying jobs to provide for themselves and their families. Now that both of those pledges are proving to be nothing more than broken promises in the eyes of voters, the President and his party are getting increasingly anxious and desperate. This desperation was on display today at the White House, as President Obama pressed for yet more executive orders and congressional action to protect women from wage discrimination in the workplace (something he claimed to have fixed in 2009 with the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act).
The President’s favorite talking point on women’s pay is that “women make 77 cents on the dollar” to a man’s pay in America. While this sounds like blatant gender discrimination in its basest form, a closer look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) numbers, which the President likes to cite, tell a different story. While it is true that men in America, on the national average, make more money per year than women, there are clear explanations that don’t involve business owners and Republicans hating and abusing women (as the President constantly insinuates). According to BLS numbers, men in America are twice as likely to work more than 40 hours per week as women, while women are approximately twice as likely to work less than 40 hours per week as men.
This workplace trend is largely due to the higher likelihood that women will reduce their hours in the workplace to accommodate marriage and children than men. In spite of the liberal fantasy wherein women walk away from being wives and mothers, millions of American women choose to marry and have children. A high percentage of these women who marry and have children will, statistically, choose to reduce their work hours and / or take extended time out of the workforce to care for families. This is an honorable and admirable choice that millions of women voluntarily make. The trend of women being more likely than men to stay at home with children and / or reduce their work hours while raising families will inherently mean that men make more than women on average in America. This certainly doesn’t mean that women are less productive than men; it simply means that women’s lifestyle choices and priorities often differ from those of men, and that diversity of choice is a good thing for society.
The question the President should be asking is, if all circumstances are equal, are women still paid a lower wage than men in the workplace? What I mean by “if all circumstances are equal” is that if there was no difference in the number of hours worked, family status, or education and experience attained between men and women do they still have vastly different pay scales? Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, all variables being equal, the President’s so-called ‘pay gap’ virtually vanishes. In fact, according to the American Enterprise Institute, “once education, marital status and occupations are considered, the ‘gender gap’ all but disappears.” This disappearing gap wasn’t the result of the President’s 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Act; it is the result of a largely fair and open labor environment in America that exists in the private sector.
If the President really wants to do something to help women and men in the workplace, he should stop ratcheting up the regulations and executive orders that are killing jobs for everyone. And, with great urgency, he should agree to repeal the so-called “Affordable” Care Act so that women, men and children regain access to quality cost-effective healthcare and so the job market can finally recover.
Mr. President, stop politicizing women for the midterm elections; they’re smart enough to see through you, and they’re not buying the broken promises again.