T Nation

Barack '08

I don’t know Barack, but I do know that 45 years is plenty old enough not to remain a naive young pup.

Barack is magic…

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If anyone here is a Barack supporter, please post a link to (in your opinion) his best public appearance.

I’d like to judge for myself. I don’t see anything special about him aside from the fact that he’s black and percieved as being an “outsider” to the political game.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
Obama has joined on to the Fair Pay Act, the only presidential candidate to do so.

A long piece on Fortune, so I will just add the link:

http://money.cnn.com/2007/06/04/magazines/fortune/muphy_payact.fortune/index.htm?cnn=yes

The Act basically assumes any pay differential between “similar” jobs is a phenomenon of gender discrimination and that a federal agency should unilaterally correct the differential. The government would essentially decide the worth of a job and direct an employer to pay it.

Bold move by Obama - and ultimately, a bad one.[/quote]

This is really all you need to know that the man does not understand economics.

Such a person could not POSSIBLY make a good president.

Before I got excited about the fair pay act, I’d want to know how close the characterization given is to the reality of the situation…

It sounds like a bit of right wing scare mongering has been added.

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[quote]vroom wrote:
Before I got excited about the fair pay act, I’d want to know how close the characterization given is to the reality of the situation…

It sounds like a bit of right wing scare mongering has been added.[/quote]

How is a plain economic analysis of the problem - which the article is - “scaremongering”?

If you want to contest the rationale of the arguments against the Fair Pay Act, go for it - sitting back and presuming a criticism of it is automatically “scaremongering” is, well, exactly the kind of partisan approach you claim to be above.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
How is a plain economic analysis of the problem - which the article is - “scaremongering”?

If you want to contest the rationale of the arguments against the Fair Pay Act, go for it - sitting back and presuming a criticism of it is automatically “scaremongering” is, well, exactly the kind of partisan approach you claim to be above.[/quote]

FFS, get off your pedantic high horse already.

Look, what is the act actually saying? Are they saying that if two people do the same work, but a woman earns less money than a man, that she can file a grievance?

This is NOT the same as the government stepping into arbitrary situations and deciding on the pay scale.

Also, does the act deal with only certain types of work, such that sales people and high level executives are excluded from such issues?

If the issue is one that requires an employee to complain, then it is not some type of huge program that is funded to inspect businesses and set salaries.

Then, it is a legal non-discrimination issue, which would involve a judgment, but only upon filing a grievance.

So, you tell me, what is actually going on in the act? Are you characterizing it appropriately, or did you characterize it according to right vs left political talking points?

can you say john mccain in 08? Barack is the antichrist.

[quote]vroom wrote:

FFS, get off your pedantic high horse already.[/quote]

You use the word nearly every time you want to insult someone - are you sure you even know what “pedantic” means anymore?

pedant: 2 a : one who makes a show of knowledge b : one who is unimaginative or who unduly emphasizes minutiae in the presentation or use of knowledge c : a formalist or precisionist in teaching

Now what is “pedantic” about asking you why a critical analysis of the Fair Pay Act - based on economics, as it turns out - is an exercise in “scaremongering”?

Couldn’t it just be that someone thinks the Fair Pay Act is bad economics and bad policy and said so?

[quote]Look, what is the act actually saying? Are they saying that if two people do the same work, but a woman earns less money than a man, that she can file a grievance?

This is NOT the same as the government stepping into arbitrary situations and deciding on the pay scale.[/quote]

Did you bother reading the article, which actually tells you how the Act would work?

Hint: the model you are talking about is the one we have now, genius.

Here is the format, taken from the article you didn’t read:

The Fair Pay Act takes a sledgehammer to deal with this gnat-sized differential. Under its provisions, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) would create criteria determining whether a given job is dominated by one sex; employers would have to send the EEOC every year a listing of each job classification, the race and sex of those holding such jobs; how much they are paid; and how such pay was determined. The goal of all this is to ensure that people in “equivalent” jobs are paid similar wages. "The term, ‘equivalent jobs’, according to the legislation, “means jobs that may be dissimilar, but whose requirements are equivalent, when viewed as a composite of skills, effort, responsibility and working conditions.” And who would decide what is equivalent? The federal government, of course. Forget the price signal: Congress is on the job!

Read the article. You say you want to learn more about the Fair Pay Act in order to make an informed judgment about it, but you haven’t even learned its basic mechanics through the article presented.

Instead, you labeled it “scaremongering”. You should educate yourself, and then type the post - it would work much better.

And that is not at all how the Act works. This extended discussion about “complaints” and “judgments” is irrelevant because that isn’t how it operates.

The system you speak of is the system we have now.

I know you specialize in extended, irrelevant discussions, but for purposes here - if you want to make a big deal out of evaluating the “real issue”, as you usually do, then perhaps you should hold yourself to the Vroomian standard and actually read the material presented.

I have an idea - read the article first, then come up with questions.

The Act is market-based, not complaint based. You see, your complaint-based model is the system currently in place - and the Fair Pay Act is designed to replace it.

Until you do the basic homework, why should anyone bother? But you don’t do basic homework - you ignore the information and start with “scaremongering” jibberish.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
You use the word nearly every time you want to insult someone - are you sure you even know what “pedantic” means anymore?[/quote]

No, I use it to insult you. Here is the definition of pedant in my dictionary:

A person who lays unnecessary stress on minor or trivial points of learning, displaying a scholarship lacking in judgment or sense of proportion. A narrow-minded teacher who insists on an exact adherence to a set of arbitrary rules.

It describes you perfectly.

I asked you about it, the FPA, to which you didn’t initially bother to respond.

I’m also still not sure that the article you are quoting isn’t using a bit of license in it’s characterizations… you do realize that such is very common in political circles?

Here is a different “take” on the act than the source you have picked:

[i]More than 40 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act, women’s wages still lag behind their male counterparts’ wages - women make only 77 cents for every dollar that a man makes. The average woman loses an estimated $700,000 over her lifetime due to unequal pay practices.

The average African-American woman earns 67 cents for every dollar that a white male earns and Latino women receive only 56 cents per dollar earned by white men.

The Fair Pay Act of 2007 would:

Amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to prohibit discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, race or national origin.

Require employers to provide equal pay for jobs that are comparable in skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions.

Apply to each company individually and prohibit companies from reducing other employees’ wages to achieve pay equity.

Require public disclosure of employer job categories and their pay scales, without requiring specific information on individual employees.

Allow payment of different wages under a seniority system, merit system, or system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production.

Allow employees who allege discrimination in wage-setting based on sex, race or national origin to either file a complaint with the EEOC or go to court.
[/i]
From… http://harkin.senate.gov/news.cfm?id=272186

I’ve highlighted a few points that seem pretty fucking similar to that which I had said in my pondering. Isn’t that just fucking an amazing coincidence?

Now, you can certainly argue for the facts that your article presents, but it still sounds like fearmongering as compared to what the act is purported to be about in the material I’ve quoted.

Wow, differing characterizations, based on political viewpoint, go figure, I’d never have expected that might happen!

[quote]Mick28 wrote:
All pretty boy comments and mormon jokes aside these are the two most electable candidates on each side.[/quote]

Edwards has something flakey about him, I don’t see him winning. People were saying he was the Golden Boy back in 04, but guess what, he lost out to Kerry. I agree about Romney, though. I’ve already made my predictions in the other thread.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
Hint: the model you are talking about is the one we have now, genius.
[/quote]

Yeah, and based on the material I’ve quoted above, it looks like it will be the same model after the potential adoption of the act.

Definitely sounds like right wing scaremongering to me. You can’t detect the hyperbole in there?

[quote]Read the article. You say you want to learn more about the Fair Pay Act in order to make an informed judgment about it, but you haven’t even learned its basic mechanics through the article presented.

Instead, you labeled it “scaremongering”. You should educate yourself, and then type the post - it would work much better.
[/quote]

LOL, you might want to take your own advice and find a source that gives you information instead of opinion.

[quote]Then, it is a legal non-discrimination issue, which would involve a judgment, but only upon filing a grievance.

And that is not at all how the Act works. This extended discussion about “complaints” and “judgments” is irrelevant because that isn’t how it operates.[/quote]

Funny, the material I’ve quoted specifically states that this is how it will operate, except that the complaint can now be directed to the EOCC in a process less involved than filing suit.

[quote]The system you speak of is the system we have now.

I know you specialize in extended, irrelevant discussions, but for purposes here - if you want to make a big deal out of evaluating the “real issue”, as you usually do, then perhaps you should hold yourself to the Vroomian standard and actually read the material presented.[/quote]

Perhaps I’d prefer to read something that wasn’t such a blatant right wing hack job?

Really? According to whom?

Like I try to tell you sometimes, your words are apparently more applicable to yourself in this case than to me.

Trusting the first politically spun article you read to accurately inform you about the act in question is not a very good move if you really want to know what is going on…

Nice job Thunderdolt.

[quote]vroom wrote:

Yeah, and based on the material I’ve quoted above, it looks like it will be the same model after the potential adoption of the act.[/quote]

Actually, it won’t be. The current model requires proof of discrimination in an individual case. The new model presumes wage differentials are the result of dicrimination regardless of individual circumstances - whether the boss is a sexist or not - and the individual can sue with only proof that the employer didn’t pay the government-adjusted wage.

Of course it would, and thanks for actually reading it.

But, again, of course it would - any conservative criticism of it would qualify as “right-wing scaremongering”, despite the fact that the article went in depth to show that the basis of the wage differentials had other rational explanations.

Use reason, Vroom, not emotionalism.

The piece gives both information and opinion. You can read, right?

As I said earlier, if you think the factual/rational basis of the claims are wrong, no problem - present an argument.

You merely attack it as “opinion”, despite the presence of an argument. That shows your limits, not the author’s.

Er, no - now each individual claim goes before the appropriate body and much satisfy a threshold of discrimination. The new system takes market information and a government body determines the right wages without any need for claim of individual discrimination - the Act is based on the idea that the wage differential in the market is caused by discrimination - you don’t have to prove it.

This is designed to reduce the number of lawsuits - businesses should, under the Act, adjust their wages knowing that they can be sued if they don’t, so that involves fewer lawsuits and the ones that do go to court won’t have the heavy burden of showing individual bias - they would only need to show the business didn’t pay the government mandated wage.

Are the statistics quoted “right wing statistics”? The author quotes Obama as being a serious candidate, as well - so it wasn’t a character attack.

This is all you have?

You can’t make argument one against the points presented, so you whine about the article being a “right wing hack job”?

So transparent.

If you aren’t up for the discussion on the economics of the thing, why not just not respond? Instead, you have made a fool of yourself. For all your pining about “the importance of differing viewpoints and the value of listening”, I post an opinion article that makes direct, rational arguments against the Act and you start squealing about it being “scaremongering”.

Nice going. Does Vroom ever grow up?

According to Tom Harkin, smart guy - it takes the wage data in the market and evaluates them, compared to a tribunal taking individual claims of discrimination.

That is the whole point in why Harkin thinks we need this new act - to get away from the “individual lawsuit” approach. Do you even read the material you post?

[quote]Like I try to tell you sometimes, your words are apparently more applicable to yourself in this case than to me.

Trusting the first politically spun article you read to accurately inform you about the act in question is not a very good move if you really want to know what is going on…[/quote]

This is a great tuck and run move, Vroom, one of your favorites - but the article is sound. You don’t have to agree with it, that is fine - that is the importance of presenting it. But you haven’t addressed one single argument made by the article.

You continue to moan “about” the article - are the points made in it false? Are the stats wrong? Is it bad policy to let the government decide what the market does now? Is it a bad idea for Obama to join on to it, or a good idea?

These are the types of arguments the article should give cause for debate - and its opponents are welcome to offer a counterpoint. That is why the article was posted.

Instead of all that, you ignore the parts of debate by getting into all this nonsense about the article being “scaremongering” - never once joining in a debate on the merits listed above.

You are a hack, Vroom - constantly lecturing on people “operating with an open mind” and “using reason” like a pompous ass - but it is a ruse. Poor, intellectually limited Vroom won’t engage on the merits, so he opts to label material before he reads it and then dissolves the thread into a personal discussion.

Well done - how many threads can you claim to have ruined with your content-free, vacuous garbage and inability to engage on the merits?

The Fair Pay Act is a interesting current topic, no matter whether someone is for or against it - and probably deserves a thread all on its own. Maybe posters, right or left, of some substance might weigh in.

That isn’t you. You have made that clear.

[quote]vroom wrote:

Like I try to tell you sometimes, your words are apparently more applicable to yourself in this case than to me.[/quote]

Oh, and this needed special attention - Vroom’s robust resort to the “I know you are but what am I” defense.

Just keep sucking your thumb and telling us how smart you are, Vroom - while we continue to point and laugh.

And through all of Vroom’s worthless content-free noise, for those interested, this is a main part of the article and a large point of contention:

[the Act will] Require employers to provide equal pay for jobs that are comparable in skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions.

The thrust of this is that the government will have the duty of not only creating a system of wages that tries to make “equal pay for equal work” among men and women in the same job, but also “equal pay for comparable worth” between differnt kinds of jobs - that is, equalizing market wages across types of work.

In practice under the Act, this would mean adjusting wages between different jobs based on their perceived “worth” - jobs typically done by women (say, social worker) are presumed to be paid less than jobs typically done by men (say, tradesman) as a result of inherent discrimination, so the government would have the ability to unilaterally close the perceived discrimination gap among different job classes.

Therefore, the government would decide the “worth” of a job, instead of the market. The theory is lesser paid jobs are lesser paid because of discrimination, not market pricing signals.

It is supposed to be a step further than current equal pay law, as the current law only addresses discrepancies between a man and a woman in the same job (via individual lawsuits).

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
And through all of Vroom’s worthless content-free noise, for those interested, this is a main part of the article and a large point of contention:
[/quote]

Thunderdolt, the issue is what the act says, not some right wing interpretation of what it might imply. You really don’t get the issue do you? If someone starts making grand sweeping conclusions, mixed with scary government rhetoric, then it is scaremongering, as I’ve been saying.

[quote][the Act will] Require employers to provide equal pay for jobs that are comparable in skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions.

The thrust of this is that the government will have the duty of not only creating a system of wages that tries to make “equal pay for equal work” among men and women in the same job, but also “equal pay for comparable worth” between differnt kinds of jobs - that is, equalizing market wages across types of work.
[/quote]

This “thrust” is purely an attempt at characterizing the act as some grand scheme. The government will not be making up any wage information. It will be sent this information.

If a company has two people doing the same work, then those two people should be making the same wage if they have the same seniority in the company and so forth.

Now the above is just wild. Please, if you have it, point out where in the act that such nonsense will occur. It is patently absurd.

If men and women were both social workers, and doing the same job, in the same company, then you’d imagine that perhaps they should be paid the same. That is what the act is about.

Nobody would propose legislation of such a moronic nature – except in the wet dreams of right wing retards like the author of such garbage and yourself.

[quote]
Therefore, the government would decide the “worth” of a job, instead of the market. The theory is lesser paid jobs are lesser paid because of discrimination, not market pricing signals.[/quote]

Again, pure bullshit. The worth of the job, the same job, will be defined by the company paying… and if both men and women are doing the same job, then they both should make the same amount.

However, it’s not just about women, it’s also about race and country of origin. It’s simply about same work, same pay.

[quote]
It is supposed to be a step further than current equal pay law, as the current law only addresses discrepancies between a man and a woman in the same job (via individual lawsuits).[/quote]

It’s a step further in that it also addresses race and country of origin. The collection of information is supposed to make it easier for the EOCC to make a determination and make it easier for a person suffering discrimination to have the situation addressed.

Really, you are being led down the garden path with this tripe. This article, which you cherish so much, is a huge attack piece.

It is purely one persons conjecture about how it might be interpreted by the evil liberals, when the person putting forth the act has clearly demonstrated that it is not going to operate in the manner you and your article suggest.

Open your fucking eyes.

What the act will do is make sure that companies are not able to create two different “jobs” that are the same in all capacities, and pay women a lower wage for doing the same work because they are in a different “job”.

That is the step further that this act will take. It will spot such chicanery and disallow it.

If the actual act, as it progresses around, gets changed to have any of the bullshit your right wing scaremongering author suggests, then I’d certainly be against those things. Just about any rational person would.

You however, you swallow it up like milk, because it fits your preconceived notions about big bad liberal government expansion.

Unbelievable.

[quote]vroom wrote:

If a company has two people doing the same work, then those two people should be making the same wage if they have the same seniority in the company and so forth.[/quote]

And that is what the current law is designed to aid with.

[quote]Now the above is just wild. Please, if you have it, point out where in the act that such nonsense will occur. It is patently absurd.

If men and women were both social workers, and doing the same job, in the same company, then you’d imagine that perhaps they should be paid the same. That is what the act is about.[/quote]

This is where the fun begins. First, the Act is not about two workers who work for the same company getting the same wage for “equal work”. That is what the current law is about: equal pay for equal work.

The new act is for “equal pay for equivalent work”, and everyone seems to realize this except you. From an advocacy group that supports the bill (they are very excited):

Senator Tom Harkin (Iowa) and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) are the sponsors of the Fair Pay Act, to clarify that the federal Equal Pay Act (1963) calls for equal pay for comparable work as well as “equal work” (the same work). This is also referred to as “comparable worth” or “pay equity” and deals with the fact that jobs traditionally done by women (“women’s work” or predominately female occupations) are poorly compensated compared with jobs traditionally done by men (“men’s work”).

http://www.equalpay.info/legislation.html

“Comparable worth”, by the way:

Under comparable worth, employers would be required to set wages to reflect differences in the “worth” of jobs, with worth largely determined by job evaluation studies, not by market forces. Advocates expect comparable worth to increase pay in jobs dominated by women and to sharply narrow the overall gender gap in wages.

http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/ComparableWorth.html

If the Fair Pay Act isn’t about “comparable worth”, do inform the advocacy groups that support Harkin’s bill and break the sad, sad news to them, aye? The seem to think that is exactly what the bill is about.

Further, if this law were nothing more than the current law - equal pay for equal work and Title VII stuff - there would be no need for the Fair Pay Act, nor would there be a reason to distinguish it from a separate competing bill:

Senator Hilary Clinton (New York) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (Connecticut) are sponsors of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which includes increasing the penalties for violations of the Equal Pay Act and other federal laws against discrimination in compensation. A major problem in closing the women’s wage gap is the lack of motivation for employers to follow the laws, because the penalties are not sufficient and enforcement is not effective.

(same cite as above)

Now, let’s get down to business. The Act:

[i]SEC. 3. EQUAL PAY FOR EQUIVALENT JOBS.

(a) Amendment- Section 6 (29 U.S.C. 206) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(h)(1)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), no employer having employees subject to any provision of this section shall discriminate, within any establishment in which such employees are employed, between employees on the basis of sex, race, or national origin by paying wages to employees in such establishment in a job that is dominated by employees of a particular sex, race, or national origin at a rate less than the rate at which the employer pays wages to employees in such establishment in another job that is dominated by employees of the opposite sex or of a different race or national origin, respectively, for work on equivalent jobs.[/i]

Yay! Only problem is, we all know what “equal pay for equal work” means - you can’t pay a person in your office a different wage for the same job based on gender.

Well, the definitions section helps explain why we aren’t talking about the same job:

B) The term `equivalent jobs’ means jobs that may be dissimilar, but whose requirements are equivalent, when viewed as a composite of skills, effort, responsibility, and working conditions.’

So who decides the new criterion of “equivalent jobs” and whether or not the discrepancies are gender or race based? Glad you asked.

i The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shall issue guidelines specifying criteria for determining whether a job is dominated by employees of a particular sex, race, or national origin for purposes of subparagraph (B)(iv). Such guidelines shall not include a list of such jobs.[/i]

I could link, but I don’t know that it comes through - so go to Thomas.gov and search for “Fair Pay Act”.

The EEOC gets to set enforceable guidelines as to what is equivalent work. So what happens if an employer refuses to pay within the parameters of the guidelines? Enjoy the remedies section.

Is that a fact? Or should I say - you want to change your uninformed horseshit story?

Oh, and it gets better - Vroom says the Fair Pay Act is about including race and national origin…

Seems an odd claim, since the preamble to bill actually makes the point to say we need to add to the current rule of “same work, same pay”:

i Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in compensation because of race, color, religion, national origin, and sex. The Supreme Court, in its decision in County of Washington v. Gunther, 452 U.S. 161 (1981), held that title VII’s prohibition against discrimination in compensation also [u]applies to jobs that do not constitute `equal work’[/u] as defined in section 6(d) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 206(d)). Decisions of lower courts, however, have demonstrated that further clarification of existing legislation is necessary in order effectively to carry out the intent of Congress to implement the Supreme Court’s holding in its Gunther decision.[/i]

Wait - if this Act is about “equal pay for equal” work as Inspector Clouseau has said, why would its preamble say it is about, and I quote, “discrimination that applies to jobs [u]outside of 'equal work[/u]”?

Pathetic. Ego ahead of just trying to discuss an issue - every time for Vroom.

Hahahah! Title VII, asshat, already covered race and national orgin for “equal work, equal pay” problems. Again, from the preamble of the act we are discussing:

i Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in compensation because of race, color, religion, national origin, and sex. [/i]

Wow, I have never seen anyone try and pretend they know about a subject and then go on to prove just how ignorant they really are. It may be a record for T-Nation.

“This Act is about extending coverage to race?” - when the Act’s sponsors themselves refute your claim?

This is a pretty decent topic to discuss, IMO. But Vroom has to come into the debate and get defensive, letting his massive ego get in the way of a good discussion of the merits.

That said, then Vroom comes in and makes all kinds of ignorant claims in hopes of shredding yet another thread by labeling that he disagrees with as “scaremongering” and personal attacks.

Great, Vroom - I posted the Act so you can read for yourself how your horseshit doesn’t stack up. You failed, Vroom. Enjoy failure. I suppose you are used to it by now.

And well done for ruining a good opportunity to discuss the Fair Pay Act, all because you can’t be seen as anything but combating with me. Such pride.

Bye, Vroom.

Senator Harkin expands on the “comparable worth” theme:

[i]I am proud to be a part of this important hearing on the wage gap between men and women. It is unbelievable to me that, more than 40 years after passing the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act, women are still making only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. We are supposed to be comforted by the fact that the wage gap is shrinking. But, according to the Economic Policy Institute, this is not because women are making more, it is because men are making less.

"The Iowa Workforce Development agency has been looking at data for all the jobs in my state. It has found that, across all industries, women are only making 61.8 percent of what men make. In only two industries are they making more than men - in Forestry and Logging and in Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation.

"There are various spurious reasons given that women make less than men, such as women self-selecting lower paid jobs or having less education. However, I believe that women are making less because we are not properly enforcing current law, and [u]because we do not value jobs we traditionally view as “women’s jobs” as we value those we think of as “men’s jobs.” Why is a housekeeper worth less than a janitor, a parking meter reader worth less than an electrical meter reader, or a social worker worth less than a probation officer?[/u]

"Without question, we need to do a better job of enforcing the law that requires equal pay for equal work - and we need to stiffen the penalties for violations. That’s why I support Senator Clinton’s Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help give women the tools they need to identify and confront discrimination head-on.

"But we also need to be doing more to make sure women are not steered into lower-paying job categories. That’s why, yesterday, I reintroduced the Fair Pay Act. My bill amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to prohibit discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, race or national origin. Most importantly, it requires each individual employer to provide equal pay for jobs that are comparable in skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions.

"This is strictly about equality and parity. Today, millions of female-dominated jobs - for example, social workers, teachers, child care workers, and nurses - are “equivalent” in skills, effort, responsibility and working conditions to similar jobs dominated by men. But the female-dominated jobs pay significantly less. According to the American Association of University Women, a typical college educated woman earns $46,000 per year while her male classmates end up making an average of $62,000. That’s a difference of $16,000 per year - think for just a moment about what you would do with an extra $16,000 next year.

"If you want to read about women living with this kind of discrimination, Evelyn Murphy has a collection of personal stories on her WAGE project website. One such story really outlines the long-term problem of gender discrimination. A 53 year old woman wrote:

‘I started working as a clerk at Bell Telephone Company in 1970 right out of high school. I was making $79 a week. At the time it wasn’t bad money, but the guys outside were making $150 a week, and getting time and a half for working overtime.’

"Even though her most recent wage has improved, she will be retiring with much less money than her male counterparts because she didn’t have as much to invest in savings over the years. And since women tend to live longer after retirement, that exacerbates these inequalities.

"My bill would also prohibit companies from reducing other employees’ wages to achieve pay equity. It also requires public disclosure of employer job categories and their pay scales, without requiring specific information on individual employees. Moreover, it would allow payment of differential wages under a seniority system, a merit system, or a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production.

"Some say we don’t need any more laws; market forces will take care of the wage gap. But, experience shows that there are some injustices that market forces cannot rectify. That is why we passed the Equal Pay Act, the Civil Rights Acts, the Family Medical Leave Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"Mr. Chairman, I’d like to share with you the story of a woman from my state named Angie. She was employed as a field office manager at a temp firm. The employees, there, were not allowed to talk about pay with their coworkers. Only inadvertently did she discover that a male office manager at a similar branch, who had less education and experience, was earning more than she was. In this case, the story ended happily. She cited this information in negotiations with her employer, and she was able to get a raise. But the experience left her feeling bewildered and betrayed. And this ultimately led her to quit her job.

“I think there is a two-fold lesson in this story. The first lesson is that, if we give women information about what their male colleagues are getting, they can negotiate a better deal for themselves in the workplace. The second lesson is that pay discrimination is a harsh reality in the workplace, and it is not only unfair, it is also demoralizing. Individual women should not have to do battle in order to win equal pay. We need more inclusive national laws to make equal pay for equal work a basic standard - and a legal right - in the American workplace.” [/i]

http://harkin.senate.gov/press/print-release.cfm?id=272330

Now, Harkin references “comparable worth” in his speech as part of his Fair Pay Act - “Why is a housekeeper worth less than a janitor, a parking meter reader worth less than an electrical meter reader, or a social worker worth less than a probation officer?”

Why indeed are there wage discrepancies across different jobs?

Democratic Senator Harkin must be one of them “right wing scaremongers” I read about, talking about the Fair Pay Act and “comparable worth” together like that.