McClatchy wonders: How does the Obama White House stack up on equal pay?

posted at 9:21 am on January 30, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

In his rambling and wan State of the Union speech, Barack Obama tried using a cultural reference to score a little rhetorical flourish on an old canard. Leveraging his income inequality agenda, Obama claimed women make only 77 cents for every dollar a man does in the workplace, calling it a vestige of “Mad Men” society:

Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work. She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job. A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship — and you know what, a father does, too. It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode. This year, let’s all come together — Congress, the White House, and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street — to give every woman the opportunity she deserves. Because I firmly believe when women succeed, America succeeds.

This statistic has been repeatedly busted as false. Just before the 2012 election, economist Dean Kalahar knocked down the methodology behind “averaging” wages in a free market (via Power Line):

First of all, the wage gap is based on inappropriate use of data and statistical analysis. In the U.S. the 77% number is calculated by looking at the median yearly earnings of women to men. The median is defined as the middle value of all the wages in a given sample. Using the median is useful if we are comparing winter temperatures between New York and Tampa, where one dimensional data has validity, but applying it to humans that have free will and biological differences proves nothing except that demagoguery works.

Is the median wage lower for women? Absolutely it is, but the statistic is not an apples to apples, job for job comparison and thus has nothing to do with “paying women less than a man for doing the same job.” Using the median without taking into consideration specifics of individuals in the workplace is intentionally misleading or ignorant.

So what causes the variation in pay? Personal and workplace choices account for much of the gap. Labor Department research shows that men choose more dangerous and high stress jobs. Men choose higher paying career fields. And men hold more full time jobs, work longer hours, weekends, and nights than women. All these factors lead to higher wages regardless of gender.

Even feminist Hanna Rosin dismissed this metric last August, also concluding that the actual difference is (a) much smaller, and (b) due to “rational choices” made by women:

The official Bureau of Labor Department statistics show that the median earnings of full-time female workers is 77 percent of the median earnings of full-time male workers. But that is very different than “77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men.” The latter gives the impression that a man and a woman standing next to each other doing the same job for the same number of hours get paid different salaries. That’s not at all the case. “Full time” officially means 35 hours, but men work more hours than women. That’s the first problem: We could be comparing men working 40 hours to women working 35. …

Economists Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn did that in a recent paper, “The Gender Pay Gap.”.”They first accounted for education and experience. That didn’t shift the gap very much, because women generally have at least as much and usually more education than men, and since the 1980s they have been gaining the experience. The fact that men are more likely to be in unions and have their salaries protected accounts for about 4 percent of the gap. The big differences are in occupation and industry. Women congregate in different professions than men do, and the largely male professions tend to be higher-paying. If you account for those differences, and then compare a woman and a man doing the same job, the pay gap narrows to 91 percent. So, you could accurately say in that Obama ad that, “women get paid 91 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men.”

The point here is not that there is no wage inequality. But by focusing our outrage into a tidy, misleading statistic we’ve missed the actual challenges. It would in fact be much simpler if the problem were rank sexism and all you had to do was enlighten the nation’s bosses or throw the Equal Pay Act at them. But the 91 percent statistic suggests a much more complicated set of problems. Is it that women are choosing lower-paying professions or that our country values women’s professions less? And why do women work fewer hours? Is this all discrimination or, as economist Claudia Goldin likes to say, also a result of “rational choices” women make about how they want to conduct their lives.

Still, since Obama wants to make it an issue with this median application on wages, how does his own organization stack up? As those of us who have followed the demagoguery on this point know, the White House has its own pay gap, as McClatchy discovered:

But a McClatchy review of White House salaries shows that when the same calculations that produced the 77 cents is applied to the White House, the average female pay at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is less than the average male pay. When counted the same way that produced the 77-cent figure, the analysis found, women overall at the White House make 91 cents for every dollar men make. That’s an average salary of $84,082 for men and $76,516 for women.

Asked about its own payroll, the White House said Wednesday that it should be measured by how it pays men and women in the same jobs, but not the kind of broad brush that compares overall male and female pay.

In other words, the White House doesn’t want to be measured by the same yardstick they use for everyone else. The 77-cent canard is based on averaging on the widest possible “big brush” scale. Their answer — that men and women doing the same work and responsibility get paid equally — holds true in the marketplace as well. In fact, that’s what the 91% gap shows, in both the White House and the Blau-Kahn study; the difference is in the rational choices made by women in the marketplace, not some kind of malicious conspiracy against the female gender.

However, that doesn’t allow a failing lame-duck President to demagogue on national television, in order to avoid his own massive failures at reordering one-sixth of the economy. Perhaps if a few other media outlets started holding the White House to the same yardstick it wants to apply broadly and ignorantly to everyone else, then we might get a little less of that. In the meantime, kudos to McClatchy and reporter Lesley Clark for performing some actual journalism.


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In other words, the White House doesn’t want to be measured by the same yardstick they use for everyone else.”

To work next to “The One” is worth being paid less…

Hell..

There are some that would do it for free…

Electrongod on January 30, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Hell..

There are some that would do it for free…

Electrongod on January 30, 2014 at 9:24 AM

There are some that would pay for the privilege. Christ didn’t have problems finding staff either.

Happy Nomad on January 30, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Obozo hates women.

Flange on January 30, 2014 at 9:31 AM

A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship

More brilliance from the Indonesian Imbecile. If he’s talking about “a mother” then why does he immediately refer to her “parent” … as if being a mother has anything to do with having a “sick parent” (who was left in the street by BarkyCare and needs someone to get out of work to help them). I would say this is funny, but it isn’t. It would be funny if this were your janitor talking, since his being an idiot doesn’t affect anything … but when it’s the tyrant in the White House who wants to control every single thing … that’s just not much of a joke.

it was also nice how Barky The Retard lamented the BS 77 cents pay line but then went on to explain the situations women have that would require them to get less pay for all those days they “need off”. At least, he threw fathers in for lots of extra, feral government forced paid vacation days, too – but only mothers and fathers. If you don’t have a kid then get back to work and tell your sick parent to 1-800-F1UCKYO!!!

I dream of an orange jumpsuit … or, even better, an orange straitjacket for this seriously malevolent retard.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on January 30, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Not his fault. O cares too much. And Hillary is our next President anyway, which will solve everything.

MT on January 30, 2014 at 9:36 AM

“Hold on a minute, sweetie…”

Bishop on January 30, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Mad Men in the White House.

22044 on January 30, 2014 at 9:39 AM

In other words, the White House doesn’t want to be measured by the same yardstick they use for everyone else.

If you demand otherwise, it’s racist. Because, shut up.

rbj on January 30, 2014 at 9:40 AM

So he lied? Say it ain’t so. Not Preznit Above Reproach.

tru2tx on January 30, 2014 at 9:41 AM

“Hold on a minute, sweetie…”

Bishop on January 30, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Now that’s a better cultural reference than Mad Men! Not that the feminazis have ever objected to the way the rat-eared one shows disdain for women. If it were not for their reproductive organs, he probably wouldn’t even acknowledge them at all.

After all, do you ever see him playing golf or shooting hoops with a woman? It is even a debatable point if he is married to a woman!

Happy Nomad on January 30, 2014 at 9:47 AM

OT: U.S. Says Russia Tested Missile, Despite Treaty

The United States informed its NATO allies this month that Russia had tested a new ground-launched cruise missile, raising concerns about Moscow’s compliance with a landmark arms control accord.

American officials believe Russia began conducting flight tests of the missile as early as 2008. Such tests are prohibited by the treaty banning medium-range missiles that was signed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the Soviet leader at the time, and that has long been viewed as one of the bedrock accords that brought an end to the Cold War.

Other officials, who asked not to be identified because they were discussing internal deliberations, said there was no question the missile tests ran counter to the treaty and the administration had already shown considerable patience with the Russians. And some members of Congress, who have been briefed on the tests on a classified basis for well over a year, have been pressing the White House for a firmer response.

kcewa on January 30, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Liberals don’t have to follow their own rules. Their rules are for other people who aren’t as good as them.

gwelf on January 30, 2014 at 9:50 AM

So he lied? Say it ain’t so. Not Preznit Above Reproach.

tru2tx on January 30, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Are you saying this is below PAR?

Flange on January 30, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Liberals don’t have to follow their own rules. Their rules are for other people who aren’t as good as them.

gwelf on January 30, 2014 at 9:50 AM

I’m pretty sure none of us are as “good” as Dick Durban, the smartest man ever to inhabit D.C.

Bishop on January 30, 2014 at 9:51 AM

It is even a debatable point if he is married to a woman!

Happy Nomad on January 30, 2014 at 9:47 AM

*whoooosh as the Virtual Predator Drone zips overhead*

I’ll live to fight another day and not say anything more.

Bishop on January 30, 2014 at 9:55 AM

Liberals don’t have to follow their own rules. Their rules are for other people who aren’t as good as them.

gwelf on January 30, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Bill Clinton, a serial rapist, was given a pass by feminists because of all the good he was doing for women. Nevermind that screwing an intern was against everything they had been screeching about sexism in the workplace for a generation…… Clinton got a “get out of jail free” card from the gals.

Barak Obama has much the same relationship. Because he’s made issues like free contraception such a big part of his divisive agenda, the gals are more than happy to shut up about pay inequities within the administration. Mitt Romney wouldn’t be forcing 70-year-old nuns to pay for abortifcants!

Happy Nomad on January 30, 2014 at 9:57 AM

So he lied? Say it ain’t so. Not Preznit Above Reproach.

tru2tx on January 30, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Are you saying this is below PAR?

Flange on January 30, 2014 at 9:50 AM

;^)

tru2tx on January 30, 2014 at 10:02 AM

David Burge ‏@iowahawkblog Jan 28

If women get paid less than men for the same work, why would a capitalist ever hire a man?

davidk on January 30, 2014 at 10:04 AM

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/01/29/Poll-Sarah-Palin-Has-Highest-Favorability-Rating-Among-GOP-Primary-Voters

“Hold on a minute, sweetie…”

Bishop on January 30, 2014 at 9:37 AM

davidk on January 30, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Even feminist Hanna Rosin dismissed this metric last August, also concluding that the actual difference is (a) much smaller, and (b) due to “rational choices” made by women:

Very few American women identify as feminist, nor know what the word means.

libfreeordie on January 28, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Del Dolemonte on January 30, 2014 at 10:10 AM

What happened to the Lilly Ledbetter law that our dear leader signed amidst much fanfare? I thought that he had taken care of this inequality in ’12.

Kissmygrits on January 30, 2014 at 10:11 AM

“Hold on a minute, sweetie…”
 
Bishop on January 30, 2014 at 9:37 AM

 
From Obama’s “sweetie” apology:
 

“I broke my word, I apologize for that, and I will make up for it,” Obama said. Then the meat: “Second apology is for using the word ‘sweetie.’ That’s a bad habit of mine. I do it sometimes with all kinds of people. I mean no disrespect and so I am duly chastened on that front. Feel free to call me back. I expect that my press team will be happy to try to make it up to you whenever we are in Detroit next.”
 
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2008/05/obama-to-report/

 
A bad habit, similar to how easily that joke about special-needs children slipped out on that talk show.
 

I do it sometimes with all kinds of people.

 
Except men.

rogerb on January 30, 2014 at 10:24 AM

I do it sometimes with all kinds of people.

Except men.

rogerb on January 30, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Usually it’s the men calling him “Sweetie”.

Flange on January 30, 2014 at 10:31 AM

“It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode. And while I’m taking care of this, how about you go fix me a sandwich, sweetie”

forest on January 30, 2014 at 10:33 AM

Asked about its own payroll, the White House said Wednesday that it should be measured by how it pays men and women in the same jobs, but not the kind of broad brush that compares overall male and female pay.

Now that is just rich.

Jeff Weimer on January 30, 2014 at 10:52 AM

It’s OK because obama means well…you racist rubes.

HumpBot Salvation on January 30, 2014 at 11:09 AM

the 77% number is calculated by looking at the median yearly earnings of women to men

When counted the same way that produced the 77-cent figure, the analysis found, women overall at the White House make 91 cents for every dollar men make. That’s an average salary of $84,082 for men and $76,516 for women.

Those two quotes are at odds with each other. The 91 cent figure is what you get if you use averages (means) not medians. Either its a huge coincidence that the mean & median are the same, or something’s wrong.

taznar on January 30, 2014 at 11:14 AM

taznar on January 30, 2014 at 11:14 AM

People think mean and median both mean average, and use them interchangeably. (They are wrong.)

cptacek on January 30, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Those two quotes are at odds with each other. The 91 cent figure is what you get if you use averages (means) not medians. Either its a huge coincidence that the mean & median are the same, or something’s wrong.

taznar on January 30, 2014 at 11:14 AM

So,
wholepop(median)=77
wholepop(corrected)=91
whitehouse(median)=91
is what we got. The fact that 91 occurs twice is likely a coincidence – it’s also likely that the figures weren’t the same but just round to the same number.

I guess it shows that the whitehouse does better on equal pay when compared against the rest of the population. Of course the real point is that using the median is a silly way of calculating this, and using that method only when it gives the desired results (and writing it off when it doesn’t) shows a certain contempt, I think.

Ramadahl on January 30, 2014 at 11:52 AM

What happened to the Lilly Ledbetter law that our dear leader signed amidst much fanfare? I thought that he had taken care of this inequality in ’12.

Kissmygrits on January 30, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Good point, I forgot about that. Actually it was passed in 2009, so long ago dear leader can’t be expected to remember back that far especially since it was purely symbolic and wasn’t meant to actually fix any inequalities…at least not in his own house.

Buttercup on January 30, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Ah, the REAL ‘War on Women’ is revealed. Study;s show women are paid significantly less than men in his admiistration. “The reason they APPEAR to be paid less is because of a VIDEO released on the internet…”

easyt65 on January 30, 2014 at 12:30 PM

She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job.

And I deserve a Mercedes-Benz and a million dollar mansion without sacrificing anything. Sacrificing for anything worthwhile is so….so….so Conservative.

NOMOBO on January 30, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Bonus question for the libtards:
If I start in a particular job at the same time and same pay as a woman, but over the next 10 years she takes 2 or 3 years off to have kids, while I stay and pick up some of her work load and gain experience and time in grade, when she finally comes back to work does she really deserve to get paid the same as me?

dentarthurdent on January 30, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Bonus question for the libtards:
If I start in a particular job at the same time and same pay as a woman, but over the next 10 years she takes 2 or 3 years off to have kids, while I stay and pick up some of her work load and gain experience and time in grade, when she finally comes back to work does she really deserve to get paid the same as me?

dentarthurdent on January 30, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Well since you didn’t get any takers..I’ll play the part.

If you are a white male…yes. She should also get promoted ahead of you because of patriarchal and white privilege or something.

HumpBot Salvation on January 30, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Well since you didn’t get any takers..I’ll play the part.

If you are a white male…yes. She should also get promoted ahead of you because of patriarchal and white privilege or something.

HumpBot Salvation on January 30, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Bravo. You did a very nice job on playing the part.
Too bad none of the real “income equality” snake oil salespeople would give it a shot.

dentarthurdent on January 30, 2014 at 4:45 PM