Paycheck Fairness Act misguided effort
Published: Sunday, June 10, 2012
Updated: Sunday, June 10, 2012 14:06
“It’s pretty evident that the GOP agenda is focused on rolling back the clock on women,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, after the Senate vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which lacked a single Republican vote and failed to advance.
Was she serious?
Forget the political ramifications of the vote on this bill — the substance of it and the real-world ramifications are what matter and are the reasons that this bill did not make it.
The bill would have been an expansion on anti-pay discrimination laws already in place, including measures such as “salary negotiation training” for women and girls, increased powers for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to regulate businesses and more legroom for women to file suits against employers they feel have discriminated against them.
Passing this law would have added up to larger burdens for businesses, including increased costs and time spent on paperwork, more government regulation and control of the employer-employee relationship, a slew of frivolous lawsuits and an early Christmas for trial lawyers.
After the defeat, Democrats repeatedly mentioned the high unemployment rate as a reason to pass this bill, stating that it would bring much-needed security to households where women contribute a significant part, if not all, of the family’s income. However, the bill is just more hoops and red tape for businesses to have to deal with. Time and money that could be spent working and growing a business would instead be spent battling frivolous lawsuits and attempting to comply with new demands from the EEOC. Businesses could actually become more reluctant to hire women for fear of one of these lawsuits, which they would be likely to lose.
According to The Washington Post, the pay discrepancy between men and women has declined over the years. Today, there is no need for another law to deter businesses from discriminating against women; market laws work better for that anyway. In a free market, employers choose to pay competitive rates in order to draw the best employees to their company. Decades ago, the argument for legislation supporting pay equality could have been made. In fact, it was, and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 still provide broad means for women to seek reparations when discrimination does occur.
Despite what the far left loves to portray, a statistical difference between two groups does not just automatically add up to malevolent discrimination. While it may be factually correct to say that on average, women make 77 cents on every dollar a man makes for the same position, upon further consideration of the factors that lead to the statistic, one can conclude that it is not discrimination so much as cultural and lifestyle differences between men and women that lead to this gap.
On average, women spend more time on maternity leave and at home with their children than men do and therefore have large gaps in their employment. According to a study commissioned by the U.S. Labor Department in 2009, “The gender gap shrinks to between 8 percent and 0 percent when the study incorporates such measures as work experience, career breaks and part-time work.” Since women do not, on average, log as many hours as men do, their average salary is less.
Ultimately, no need for this legislation exists, and its passage wouldn’t have resulted in its intended outcome anyway. These additional regulations would have worked more against women than for them, and it is things like this bill that really “roll back the clock on women.”