WH: Hey, our gender pay gap is less than average!

posted at 8:01 am on April 8, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

This week, the Obama administration wants to attempt a pivot to jobs and the economy with a couple of executive orders that will supposedly address the gender-pay gap in America. Critics immediately demanded to know what the White House planned to do about its own gender-pay gap, as women in the administration only earn 91 cents for every dollar earned by men. Jay Carney helpfully explained that no action was needed, because the White House is at least doing better than the national average.

No, really (via Instapundit):

The White House on Monday looked to deflect criticism over its own pay policies ahead of an event Tuesday on lessening wage discrimination.

White House press secretary Jay Carney was peppered by questions from reporters about an American Enterprise Institute study that found the salary for the median female White House staffer was 12 percent lower than for a male staffer.

Carney said that men and women in the same jobs at the White House earn the same salaries.

“We have two deputy chiefs of staff, one man and one woman, and they make the same salary,” Carney said. “We have 16 department heads. Over half of them are women, all of whom make the same salary as their male counterparts.”

“What I can tell you is that we have, as an institution here, have aggressively addressed this challenge, and obviously, though, at the 88 cents that you cite, that is not a hundred, but it is better than the national average,” Carney said. “And when it comes to the bottom line that women who do the same work as men have to be paid the same, there is no question that that is happening here at the White House at every level.”

Actually, McClatchy found that the ratio was 91:100, but either way, Carney is using a dishonest comparison. The Obama administration uses an old and discredited formula that broadly averages wages for men and women to get the worst possible gender gap for their argument, but balk at applying the same standard to themselves. That old and discredited formula does not compare similar jobs or work, but just averages all the wages for men and women — negating the impact of choice of lifestyles, for instance, or interests. Carney and the White House want themselves judged on equal pay across identical job descriptions rather than the calculation they use for everyone else.

The Daily Beast ripped the White House for this calculation in February:

President Obama repeated the spurious gender wage gap statistic in his State of the Union address. “Today,” he said, “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.”

What is wrong and embarrassing is the President of the United States reciting a massively discredited factoid. The 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure, or hours worked per week. When all these relevant factors are taken into consideration, the wage gap narrows to about five cents. And no one knows if the five cents is a result of discrimination or some other subtle, hard-to-measure difference between male and female workers. In its fact-checking column on the State of the Union, the Washington Post included the president’s mention of the wage gap in its list of dubious claims. “There is clearly a wage gap, but differences in the life choices of men and women… make it difficult to make simple comparisons.”

If the actual wage gap is just five cents, then the White House may be worse than the national average. And even if the twelve-cent gap turns out to be smaller due to the same circumstances, Barack Obama’s executive order efforts should start with his own staff, no? If he wanted to set an example for equal pay regardless of job assignment, then Obama should start by looking at his own budget rather than poke his nose into everyone else’s. Hey, we don’t discriminate as bad as you all isn’t exactly a winning political message, after all.

This administration issues a lot of clumsy and ill-advised defenses for its policies, but this has to rank somewhere in the top 25. They’ve had months to come up with a response to their hypocrisy and dishonest calculations on the gender gap, and this is the best they could manage?


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Less doesn’t mean what Gibbs and his ilk thinks it means.

Steve Eggleston on April 8, 2014 at 8:04 AM

In the White House staff’s defense, its sometimes hard to tell male from female in the Obama administration.

Oil Can on April 8, 2014 at 8:05 AM

Today’s WSJ said it quite well:

These gender-disparity claims are also economically illogical. If women were paid 77 cents on the dollar, a profit-oriented firm could dramatically cut labor costs by replacing male employees with females. Progressives assume that businesses nickel-and-dime suppliers, customers, consultants, anyone with whom they come into contact—yet ignore a great opportunity to reduce wages costs by 23%. They don’t ignore the opportunity because it doesn’t exist. Women are not in fact paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men.

A disparity, if it existed, is an opportunity for businesses and would not last long. A corollary is that increased burdens imposed to the hiring of women will disincent businesses from employing women. The laws of supply and demand do not make exceptions for gender.

MJBrutus on April 8, 2014 at 8:08 AM

typical obama white house,
they find a law or rule or something they are bREAKING and figure out some way to blame it on someone else with all their false moral outrage.

oh women are paid less WE DO IT but must now its da evil other guys who are at fault

and the liberal media runs with it.

sniffles1999 on April 8, 2014 at 8:08 AM

This administration issues a lot of clumsy and ill-advised defenses for its policies, but this has to rank somewhere in the top 25.

DITTO.

I’ll give the Obama Administration AND the Left-all one thing, and one thing only: they have found some Fountain of Inexhaustible Excuses from which to draw buckets and buckets and buckets of handy memes.

Lourdes on April 8, 2014 at 8:09 AM

C’mon, it’s not pay discrimination, it’s just because they have more men in higher paying leadership positions.

Hey, wait a minute, why does the Regime have more men and fewer women in leadership positions?

forest on April 8, 2014 at 8:10 AM

I’ll volunteer to put together some binders of qualified female candidates to help Obama address his discriminatory hiring practices.

forest on April 8, 2014 at 8:12 AM

This week, the Obama administration wants to attempt a pivot to jobs and the economy

…how often are they going to play this song over…and over…and over…and over again?

KOOLAID2 on April 8, 2014 at 8:13 AM

I can’t wait for someone to ask them when they’ll be through addressing problems we don’t have and move on to the ones we have had, for about six years now.

Recon5 on April 8, 2014 at 8:14 AM

This administration issues a lot of clumsy and ill-advised defenses for its policies, but this has to rank somewhere in the top 25. They’ve had months to come up with a response to their hypocrisy and dishonest calculations on the gender gap, and this is the best they could manage?

You would think that they’d have a better answer since this is a tired old issue that the rat-eared wonder trots out when he’s desperate to distract attention from the fact that so many Americans of both genders, all races, all sexual orientations, etc. are WITHOUT A PAYCHECK thanks to the failed Obama economy.

Happy Nomad on April 8, 2014 at 8:15 AM

I’ll volunteer to put together some binders of qualified female candidates to help Obama address his discriminatory hiring practices.

forest on April 8, 2014 at 8:12 AM

Oh please! This is a hip technologically brilliant administration. They don’t need binders- just give them the link so they can download to their tablet. ;0

Happy Nomad on April 8, 2014 at 8:17 AM

…how often are they going to play this song over…and over…and over…and over again?

KOOLAID2 on April 8, 2014 at 8:13 AM

It is beginning to seem like a game of musical chairs. Pivot to the economy, pivot to the Middle East, pivot to the gays (or other special victim group)….. round and round we go without anything actually being done by the rat-eared wonder.

Happy Nomad on April 8, 2014 at 8:19 AM

The main disparity is not between the sexes *(male vs. female), but in the jobs/careers that the different sexes choose.

*in today’s world you must define gender for context…..sheesh!

HonestLib on April 8, 2014 at 8:21 AM

Must. Get. Votes. From. The. Wimminzes.

/Even if we gotta lie, yo.

Key West Reader on April 8, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Where are the women groups and women journalists not complaining about this WH daily?
Because if a Democrat is in power any thing is okay as long as Democrats stay in power.

albill on April 8, 2014 at 8:33 AM

Do any of the dolts in this administration have anything important and constructive to do?

rplat on April 8, 2014 at 8:34 AM

In the White House staff’s defense, its sometimes hard to tell male from female in the Obama administration.

Oil Can on April 8, 2014 at 8:05 AM

Not hard at all…the women have more balls than the metrosexual dances that claim to be men.

Hello, they’re not even mannish

BlaxPac on April 8, 2014 at 8:40 AM

Hello, they’re not even mannish

BlaxPac on April 8, 2014 at 8:40 AM

If he was still alive, Muddy Waters would shed a tear.

HonestLib on April 8, 2014 at 8:49 AM

When you have 99% of the media that fluffs for you , you can say stupid stuff like this and get away with it. If Bush had said something like this he be nailed to the wall.

watertown on April 8, 2014 at 8:54 AM

How do they know who is male and who is female…it may be the opposite, the “females” may be paid more than the “males”, if you use current progressive standards and definitions.

right2bright on April 8, 2014 at 8:55 AM

Do any of the dolts in this administration have anything important and constructive to do?

rplat on April 8, 2014 at 8:34 AM

Hey if women are so damned stupid to believe this crap maybe we should be blaming them and not the administration’s lies. They keep riling up the gals because it works. At some point we have to question the intelligence of females for continually believing this crap instead of cracking a book or firing up the internet and looking at the real facts.

Happy Nomad on April 8, 2014 at 9:06 AM

That’s the great thing about being a liberal and spouting liberal pieties: It only matters that you give the pose of caring, not the actual results or actions you take.

gwelf on April 8, 2014 at 9:07 AM

If he was still alive, Muddy Waters would shed a tear.

HonestLib on April 8, 2014 at 8:49 AM

Iron Eyes Cody cried over litter. Just imagine how much he’d be weeping to see what the filthy lazy stupid rat-eared bastard and the Democrats have done to this nation.

Happy Nomad on April 8, 2014 at 9:09 AM

This is just more “Divide and Conquer” from an administration that can’t effectively deal with REAL problems in America. Therefore, they CREATE them, and hopefully they’ll get enough DUMB women to vote for them.

Armyspouse on April 8, 2014 at 9:16 AM

The 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure, or hours worked per week.

Carney Barker is the most dishonest press secretary ever, when you compare him to all other press secretaries. But that honesty gap doesn’t take into account who he works for.

NOMOBO on April 8, 2014 at 9:56 AM

This same wage gap existed in the Obama campaign staff as well (2008 & 2012), and both McCain and Romney campaigns had a more equitable gender pay parity than Obama.
There are legitimate excuses why he as President does not pay people equally, but there is no excuse for the campaign side, as he could dictate whatever he wants on that side. This jut shows that this is just 100% political rhetoric from Barky.

Glenn Jericho on April 8, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Carney = Sycophantic Tool.

vnvet on April 8, 2014 at 10:31 AM

“Our apples are better than your oranges” – White House Spokesman.

gekkobear on April 8, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Carney has now become nothing but a joke.

And yet, he will land a big-buck job once he leaves his office.

As momma said, life isn’t fair.

This life anyway.

Carnac on April 8, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Not naming source

Two Americas
The Democrats are right, there are two Americas.
The America that works, and the America that doesn’t.
The America that contributes, and the America that doesn’t.
It’s not the haves and the have nots, it’s the dos and the don’ts.
Some people do their duty as Americans, obey the law, support themselves, contribute to society, and others don’t. That’s the divide in America.
It’s not about income inequality, it’s about civic irresponsibility.
It’s about a political party that preaches hatred, greed and victimization in order to win elective office.
It’s about a political party that loves power more than it loves its country. That’s not invective, that’s truth, and it’s about time someone said it.
The politics of envy was on proud display a couple weeks ago when president Obama pledged the rest of his term to fighting “income inequality.”
He noted that some people make more than other people, that some people have higher incomes than others, and he says that’s not just.
That is the rationale of thievery. The other guy has it, you want it, Obama will take it for you. Vote Democrat.
That is the philosophy that produced Detroit. It is the electoral philosophy that is destroying America.
It conceals a fundamental deviation from American values and common sense because it ends up not benefiting the people who support it, but a betrayal.
The Democrats have not empowered their followers, they have enslaved them in a culture of dependence and entitlement, of victim-hood and anger instead of ability and hope.
The president’s premise – that you reduce income inequality by debasing the successful – seeks to deny the successful the consequences of their choices and spare the unsuccessful the consequences of their choices. Because, by and large, income variation in society is a result of different choices leading to different consequences. Those who choose wisely and responsibly have a far greater likelihood of success, while those who choose foolishly and irresponsibly have a far greater likelihood of failure.
Success and failure usually manifest themselves in personal and family income. You choose to drop out of high school or to skip college – and you are apt to have a different outcome (and income) than someone who gets a diploma and pushes on with purposeful education.
You have your children out of wedlock and life is apt to take one course; you have them within a marriage and life is apt to take another course.
Most often in life our destination is determined by the course we take.
My doctor, for example, makes far more than I do. There is significant income inequality between us. Our lives have had an inequality of outcome, but, our lives also have had an in inequality of effort. While my doctor went to college and then devoted his entire young adulthood to medical school and residency, I got a job in a restaurant. He made a choice, I made a choice, and our choices led us to different outcomes. His outcome pays a lot better than mine. Does that mean he cheated and Barack Obama needs to take away his wealth? No, it means we are both free men in a free society where free choices lead to different outcomes.
It is not inequality Barack Obama intends to take away, it is freedom. The freedom to succeed, and the freedom to fail.
There is no true option for success if there is no true option for failure.
The pursuit of happiness means a whole lot less when you face the punitive hand of government if your pursuit brings you more happiness than the other guy. Even if the other guy sat on his arse and did nothing. Even if the other guy made a lifetime’s worth of asinine and shortsighted decisions.
Barack Obama and the Democrats preach equality of outcome as a right, while completely ignoring inequality of effort.
The simple Law of the Harvest – as ye sow, so shall ye reap – is sometimes applied as, “The harder you work, the more you get.” Obama would turn that upside down. Those who achieve are to be punished as enemies of society and those who fail are to be rewarded as wards of society.
Entitlement will replace effort as the key to upward mobility in American society if Barack Obama gets his way. He seeks a lowest common denominator society in which the government besieges the successful and productive to foster equality through mediocrity.
He and his party speak of two Americas, and their grip on power is based on using the votes of one to sap the productivity of the other. America is not divided by the differences in our outcomes, it is divided by the differences in our efforts. It is a false philosophy to say one man’s success comes about unavoidably as the result of another man’s victimization.
What Obama offered was not a solution, but a separatism. He fomented division and strife, pitted one set of Americans against another for his own political benefit. That’s what socialists offer. Marxist class warfare wrapped up with a bow.
Two Americas, coming closer each day to proving the truth to Lincoln’s maxim that a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Schadenfreude on April 8, 2014 at 4:04 PM