It is often said that working women earn 77 cents on the dollar in the United States compared to men.
President Obama said on April 8, ”Today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns…in 2014, that’s an embarrassment. It is wrong.”
Troubling stuff. Obama announced with great fanfare an “executive order” banning federal contractors from “retaliating” against employees who discuss their wages.
The latest presidential action is like a “three-foot bridge over a thousand-foot chasm”, though. Nor would the “Paycheck Fairness Act” that is currently stalled in Congress “solve the problem,” given that “pay discrimination” on the basis of sex is already illegal.
When you look at the statistics, you will realize that far “broader legislation” is needed to close the “innumerable pay gaps” in American life.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics survey for 2012, the real figure for median usual weekly income of women compared to men is 81 cents on the dollar. But is that any less bothersome?
After all the progress women have made, shouldn’t they now be making exactly the same amount as men? Perhaps women should be paid even more, to make up for “past” discrimination or merely to punish men for exerting their “masculine” privilege for far too long.
Yet addressing the “male-female” pay gap GPS -2.27% simply raises the question of what to do about all the “other pay” gaps.
Consider that (see p. 10 of the survey) the “median weekly income” for a US adult worker is $768. Among black men that figure is $665. Black men, therefore, make only 87 cents on the dollar compared to all workers.
Among black women that figure is even more dire: 78 cents on the dollar. The president should back a bill – “call it the African-American Wage Equality Act” — to address the “wage gap” between black Americans and Americans overall.
But why stop with black Americans? Latino Americans are doing even worse. The median usual weekly wage among Latino men who hold full time jobs is only $592 — that’s 77 cents on the dollar compared to all Americans.
Latino women, shockingly, earn only 68 cents on the dollar compared to all Americans. The president needs to put before Congress a “Latino Pay Equality Act” to ensure that Latinos are no longer “ripped off” by our economic system.
Many other worrying pay gaps remain, though. Asian women ‘s median usual weekly wage is almost exactly the same as that of Americans as a whole, so that’s satisfactory, but among Asian men the situation becomes truly frightening.
Asian men earn an astounding 137 cents on the dollar compared to Americans overall. An emergency “Asian Men’s Pay Reduction Act” must quickly be proposed and enacted by Congress to address this imbalance.
And yet, the more laws we pass to remedy these various disparities, the more obvious it becomes that we haven’t gotten to the cruelest and most sordid pay anomalies.
Food-service managers are royalty– paid $744 a week — compared to the drudges who actually work the till. “Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food” are paid a measly median wage of $382, according to the same 2012 BLS survey that provided the above statistics.
So front line, entry-level fast-food workers are paid only 51 cents on the dollar compared to their managers. Are these two jobs really that different?
Perhaps before any of the laws above are enacted, we should rush to rectify this injustice with the “Burger Kings Not Burger Serfs Act,” which would mandate that everyone who works in a given fast-food establishment be paid exactly the same wage, “regardless of skills, experience, or education.”
Senate and House Democrats argue for the passage of the paycheck fairness act
Now we’re making some headway at last. Outlawing “pay discrimination” based on those factors opens the doors to “criminalizing” pay discrimination based on “career choices, hours worked, market demand, working conditions, flexibility of schedule and all the other factors that go into wages.”
Did you know that the median wage for aerospace engineers is $1,645 a week? For lawyers $1909 dollars a week? For architectural and engineering managers $2,122 a week?
Compared to these workers, food preparation and serving workers are getting paid only 23 cents on the dollar, 20 cents on the dollar and an unseemly and brutally unfair 18 cents on the dollar. Are any of these Americans “more or less” deserving than any others?
Isn’t it “unfair” that some are “rewarded” for having jobs that demand more “intelligence, dedication or training?” Or longer working hours, less congenial working conditions or a greater tolerance for danger?
It’s a fact that American women, for all of these reasons and others, are paid less than men. But other groups suffer as much pay discrimination as women, if not more.
President Obama, you’re thinking “far too” small. Forget all of the “above” legislation. Don’t bother with “meaningless” executive orders that solve the “nonexistent” problem of workers being “forbidden to discuss their pay with one another.”
The “Equal Pay for Everyone Act” would mandate that employers stop “discriminating” on the basis of economic value, and pay all “working” Americans exactly the “same wage every week, forever.”
We for sure are living in the glorious world of “Next Tuesday!”