WaPo: Obama gets two Pinocchios for honesty gap on wages

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

Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats would have gotten more Pinocchios, Glenn Kessler explains, except that he used official government statistics to make his argument that women only earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. The two Pinocchios are apparently for manipulating those statistics into a flat-out lie for political gain, and Kessler notes just how evergreen this deceptive interpretation will turn out to be:

In 2012, during another election season, The Fact Checker took a deep dive in the statistics behind this factoid and found it wanting. We awarded the president only a Pinoochio, largely because he is citing Census Bureau data, but have wondered since then if we were too generous.

We also called out the president when he used this fact in the 2013 State of the Union address. And in the 2014 State of the Union address. And yet he keeps using it. So now it’s time for a reassessment.

The Truth Teller video above also goes through the details.

There are lies, damned lies, and statistics. This claim falls into all three categories. Yes, if one takes the annual wage data for all men and all women and calculates it, then we get a 23% differential. However, one can create the same kind of statistic over regional, educational, and compensation type differences with or without gender. Why? People work in different jobs, for different reasons, and get unique compensation for those choices. In some categories, Kessler notes, women actually outperform men, especially in part-time compensation — a rather big deal in the economy created by Obama’s policies, especially ObamaCare.

One key in this mix is marriage. Unmarried women earn almost the same amount as men (96%), which suggests that women who are married tend to take on the primary role for child rearing — not exactly a novel concept. They work at jobs that allow more flexibility, which means reduced compensation but also more time for their priorities. When calculating for similar jobs and job situations, the wage gap all but evaporates.

We noted a couple of times yesterday the hypocritical double standard used by the White House to defend its own “wage gap” by the definition they apply to everyone else, but Kessler points out that even their own standard leaves them short:

Carney noted that the White House wage gap was narrower than the national average, but the White House actually lags the District average calculated by the BLS: 95 cents.

But, Kessler warns, Democrats probably won’t drop the lie even if they keep tripping on it:

From a political perspective, the Census 77-cent figure is golden. Unless women stop getting married and having children, and start abandoning careers in childhood education for naval architecture, this huge gap in wages will almost certainly persist. Democrats thus can keep bringing it up every two years.

That’s not the only faceplant served up by the White House yesterday, either. In an e-mail that went out extolling the Obama executive orders (which only apply to federal contractors), they featured a graphic of two women whispering in high heels and tea dresses, which raised Nia-Malika Henderson’s eyebrow at the Post, too:

wage-gap-lg

 

She The People is constantly on the look out for how women are represented, so we couldn’t help but notice the White House’s depiction of two working women in an e-mail message they sent out Tuesday, announcing President Obama’s new executive actions on equal pay. Aren’t those super high heels exactly what working women wear to work?  Or maybe these women are at some sort of cocktail party, because that’s exactly where women head after the working day is done.

Good luck with this campaign, folks.


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His ears seem to grow more than his nose. I propose that he should get Dumbos instead of Pinocchios.

Flange on April 9, 2014 at 9:26 AM

o/t, but will any of you let me know when nobrain arrives demanding that we not only ban, but confiscate, every knife in the country in the wake of this morning’s mass stabbing in PA?

Thanks.

Resist We Much on April 9, 2014 at 9:31 AM

It’s 100% hogwash. Many women make different job choices for different reasons, period.

Lying to women and lamely trying to trick them into believing that they are being victimized reveals profound disrespect.

forest on April 9, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Unless women stop getting married and having children…

Well, that IS the goal of the left. They’ve been pushing it for decades. From pregnancy being a disease that requires free “preventative care” to abortion on demand to redefining marriage to claiming that all “PIV sex” is rape, you can reach no other conclusion but that the leftists will not be satisfied until women stop getting married and leave all of the rearing of children to the government. They’ve nearly accomplished their goal in the African American community, and now they’re gunning for everyone else.

Shump on April 9, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Good luck with this campaign, folks.

It’s clear there are an awful lot of stupid rabid women out there who believe this crap, even if a dishonest weasel like Glenn Kessler decides to award a couple of Pinnochios.

Happy Nomad on April 9, 2014 at 9:48 AM

His ears seem to grow more than his nose. I propose that he should get Dumbos instead of Pinocchios.

Flange on April 9, 2014 at 9:26 AM

It was pointed out on The Five last night that the number of stupid people standing behind the rat-eared wonder is in direct proportion to the size of the lie. The bigger the lie, the more stupid people in the background clapping like trained seals and gushing over the lie.

Happy Nomad on April 9, 2014 at 9:50 AM

From a political perspective, the Census 77-cent figure is golden

77% I’ve been hearing that statistic since the 1970s. Yawn. There hasn’t been any advancement in the past 40 years? Utter BS.

rbj on April 9, 2014 at 9:52 AM

I don’t know of anyone who discuses their wages, male or female.

John Deaux on April 9, 2014 at 9:54 AM

From a political perspective, the Census 77-cent figure is golden

Is 77-cent a black rapper?

Electrongod on April 9, 2014 at 9:56 AM

BTW- The rat-eared wonder keeps trotting out this lie (which garnered that second Pinnochio) because there are so many stupid women out there who believe every word of it and do not question the math behind the myth.

It works with these stupid women who see themselves as victims of discrimination. It is not working as well with the pundits after three cycles. You’d think that the White House would have had a better response yesterday than- hey we may pay the gals less but we’re better than all those other male pigs!

Happy Nomad on April 9, 2014 at 9:58 AM

o/t, but will any of you let me know when nobrain arrives demanding that we not only ban, but confiscate, every knife in the country in the wake of this morning’s mass stabbing in PA?

Thanks.

Resist We Much on April 9, 2014 at 9:31 AM

And banning chewing poptarts into the shape of a knife too.

gwelf on April 9, 2014 at 9:59 AM

I have rarely described myself as disgusted with an Obama speech. But yesterday I was disgusted with his quasi-Luddite approach to this conversation. “Every time we get into a discussion about equal pay somebody is always bringing up things like who took time off work…”

Don’t tell me the details, damn it!! We want aggregate numbers to match!!

This has been a swindle since the first time I read a James Kilpatrick column on how they were comparing the relative schooling of female elementary school teachers in a glutted field with a master boiler-room mechanic, in a 12-year apprenticed trade, high in demand (when a building needs it) and low in supply.

Axeman on April 9, 2014 at 10:01 AM

77% I’ve been hearing that statistic since the 1970s. Yawn. There hasn’t been any advancement in the past 40 years? Utter BS.

rbj on April 9, 2014 at 9:52 AM

Considering that racists will claim that we are still stuck in the 1950s as far as racial equality goes, why wouldn’t we be stuck in the 1970s as far as the gals are concerned? It’s not like the stupid people who believe this crap have the intelligence, intitiative, or ideology to question these “facts” as presented by the left. Blacks will always be marching to Selma and the gals will always be burning bras and seeking ratification of the ERA.

Happy Nomad on April 9, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Hmm, war on women?

Yes. Actually it is a winner, facts be dammed. They narrowed it down to the one number: 77%. That’s all you need. A certain segment of the population wants to believe this, and therefore they will.

In a crappy job? Not making as much as you feel you’re worth? This falls right into your lap. It’s not my fault! It’s “the man.” Literally.

WitchDoctor on April 9, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Remember those photos of Obama’s re-election campaign staff? They were whiter than my Utah suburban neighborhood.

That didn’t stop the campaign and administration railing on “inequality” and equal opportunity.

gwelf on April 9, 2014 at 10:08 AM

In a crappy job? Not making as much as you feel you’re worth? This falls right into your lap. It’s not my fault! It’s “the man.” Literally.

WitchDoctor on April 9, 2014 at 10:03 AM

I thought Job Lock and Liberation was the in thing these days..

If you think you are not making what you are worth…
Sign up for ObamaCare and write poetry..

Electrongod on April 9, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Happy Nomad on April 9, 2014 at 9:50 AM

But in order to reach those stupid people a “lie meter” needs cute Disney figures to convey the message.

Flange on April 9, 2014 at 10:10 AM

WitchDoctor on April 9, 2014 at 10:03 AM

And with the master con man running it, it never fails.

This garbage is just as damaging to our country as the big policy errors. It’s just utterly malignant for a president to pit groups of people against one another and do it based on a lie to boot. It’s a sick and perverted way to operate an administration.

forest on April 9, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Hey, all you out there in the real world…aren’t compensation and bonus information for salaried folks in your businesses strictly confidential? I know it is in my company. However, hourly wages are transparent and we have defined progression policies that outline requirements to achieve each hourly pay level. Ergo, women who meet the same progression requirements are paid the same as the men that do the same. All my female professionals are compensated on experience and performance and many make significantly more than their male counterparts. If you are a strong performer and produce results, you will be richly compensated. If you don’t well, you’ll get the minimum package until your performance forces us to let you go…male or female. Honestly, many of my female leaders eventually decide themselves to back off the compensation rewards for “flexible work hours” and less stressful assignments (less responsibility = lower pay) when they start to raise a family. I would too if I were them and we certainly never force them to it. Isn’t this normal? I know it isn’t “progressive”, but it seems pretty normal to me.

Wyznowski on April 9, 2014 at 10:13 AM

This 77% argument now has international traction and it does a disservice to women everywhere. I recently heard a professional woman from Liberia quote the same thing.

When (well IF) we ever get back to basics in education and also teach apples to apples vs. apples to kiwis, maybe students will start to learn to question what numbers really mean; understand how they’re being manipulated; and the damage a raise in the minimum wage will cause – fewer jobs, fewer new businesses.

This kind of false “info” frosts me no end – and the msm sycophants buy it most of the time. The fact that the WAPO called Democrats O and company on this lie is good to see – now if they only would with his other fantasies.

The goal was “equal pay for equal work” – when this Democrat administration starts practicing that behavior, they may have a chance at regaining credibility

But, these Democrats can’t and they won’t behave. Subtle but consistent discrimination is their mantra. It’s too bad they have so many uneducated people believing them and THAT is the result of a dumbed down education system.

MN J on April 9, 2014 at 10:14 AM

But in order to reach those stupid people a “lie meter” needs cute Disney figures to convey the message.

Flange on April 9, 2014 at 10:10 AM

I’m old enough to remember when all reporters were expected to be “fact checkers” instead of relying on a despicable lying weasel who propagandizes for the incumbent band of criminals.

Happy Nomad on April 9, 2014 at 10:15 AM

55% of women report that they are discouraged or forbidden from discussing their wages.

A lie of omission, because it doesn’t say how many men report that they are “discouraged or forbidden” from discussing wages.

Discussing wages or salaries is at least discouraged in general. And discussing it with your peers considered rude (“discouraged”?) and even, in some organizations, disciplinable behavior.

The theory is that managers are paying you 1) what they can from their budget, and 2) the value you bring. Just one of those is a subjective judgment, but just try winning the argument with your boss that they’ve seriously undervalued your contribution. They are much more likely to hear that from loudmouths simply wanting to be paid more than credible cases.

Just the fact that you’re calling into question your superiors honesty and judgment is going to get it on the unwelcome list, however permissible it is within the organization. (Again, “discouraged”?)

Axeman on April 9, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Same old divide and conquer strategy. Make the people enemies of each other, each fighting for “their” piece of an ever-shrinking pie, and they lose track of the government slowly but surely consuming it all.

SLMeyer on April 9, 2014 at 10:24 AM

I’m old enough to remember when all reporters were expected to be “fact checkers” instead of relying on a despicable lying weasel who propagandizes for the incumbent band of criminals.

Happy Nomad on April 9, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Did such a time ever really exist or were they just better at lying back then? It seems to me they don’t even try any more.

Flange on April 9, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Honestly, many of my female leaders eventually decide themselves to back off the compensation rewards for “flexible work hours” and less stressful assignments (less responsibility = lower pay) when they start to raise a family.

Wyznowski on April 9, 2014 at 10:13 AM

I don’t have a single female left in my department right now. The ones that used to be here were all “project leads” and not engineers, because engineers have to travel more. However, all of them left the company because of the moderate travel demands of a “project lead”. Now some guys have left our company because of travel requirements, no doubt, but it still leaves me in an all-male department.

I know that it could sound like we chased them off. But I’ve never seen any sign of sexism in my workplace, not even from the most senior guys, and some people have remained in touch with the ladies in their new jobs. Trust me, travel is the reason most people site for quitting this job, male or female.

Axeman on April 9, 2014 at 10:33 AM

rbj on April 9, 2014 at 9:52 AM

Considering that racists will claim that we are still stuck in the 1950s as far as racial equality goes, why wouldn’t we be stuck in the 1970s as far as the gals are concerned? It’s not like the stupid people who believe this crap have the intelligence, intitiative, or ideology to question these “facts” as presented by the left. Blacks will always be marching to Selma and the gals will always be burning bras and seeking ratification of the ERA.

Happy Nomad on April 9, 2014 at 10:03 AM

That’s the trouble with socialists. They haven’t changed their narrative since the days when they said workers were being imposed on. They’re still using the birthrate scale from the baby boom years. They still believe there are too many babies being born. I don’t think they are capable of moving on.

crankyoldlady on April 9, 2014 at 10:37 AM

That so-called ‘fact checker’ hasn’t touched WaPo’s recent lying story about the Kochs, the one thoroughly debunked by John Hinderaker of Powerline.

Hinderaker is still trying to get answers here.

To paraphrase the Romans, who fact-checks the fact-checkers?

Drained Brain on April 9, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Boom! There goes that whole “war against women” meme that the Dems were hoping would be the latest SQUIRREL! moment to detract from the Obamacaresnot debacle. This was done to bring this bogus equal pay bill to congress so the majority Repubs can vote it down so the Dems can say “see they do hate you women”. It’s a transparent as one of Obama’s brain cells.

Time for the next attack. It is an election year after all and the Dems need to keep flinging poo at the wall to see what sticks.

Note to the GOP, don’t fall into the traps. That is what the Dems want.

neyney on April 9, 2014 at 11:04 AM

BTW- The rat-eared wonder keeps trotting out this lie (which garnered that second Pinnochio) because there are so many stupid women out there who believe every word of it and do not question the math behind the myth.

It works with these stupid women who see themselves as victims of discrimination. It is not working as well with the pundits after three cycles. You’d think that the White House would have had a better response yesterday than- hey we may pay the gals less but we’re better than all those other male pigs!

Happy Nomad on April 9, 2014 at 9:58 AM

It’s not just women and when it’s repeated in local TV, radio, and paper news every time someone mentions it, it works. Most people don’t go past the headline or the first few words of a news story.

Journalism is hurting this country more than politics.

AScott on April 9, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Two Pinocchios — Is that like being a little bit pregnant?

asdf on April 9, 2014 at 11:26 AM

So every two years wew’ll re-pass the 1963 Equal Pay Act… and hope someday it’ll fix irrelvant statistics that we pretend are “equal pay for equal work”.

How many times do you usually have to pass a law before it has any impact?

gekkobear on April 9, 2014 at 12:35 PM

That’s the trouble with socialists. They haven’t changed their narrative since the days when they said workers were being imposed on. They’re still using the birthrate scale from the baby boom years. They still believe there are too many babies being born. I don’t think they are capable of moving on.

crankyoldlady on April 9, 2014 at 10:37 AM

In the real world, when a job is finished, you move on to another job.
In the political world, a job is never finished, because you might not get another job.

Bureaucrats and career politicians of both parties live in the political world. Under their standards, Washington would have been fighting the British for the rest of his life, because winning the war would have put him out of a job.

They can’t conceive of “moving on” to different, better jobs or challenges.

AesopFan on April 9, 2014 at 12:52 PM

How many times do you usually have to pass a law before it has any impact?

gekkobear on April 9, 2014 at 12:35 PM

A considerable number of laws on the books are redundant, duplicate, or different in minor details.
The problem is not the legislation but the enforcement.

Plus, the Congress-persons just flat forget (or won’t look at) what already exists, or are scoring personal “points” for “fixing a problem” with a new law that does the same thing as an old law.

AesopFan on April 9, 2014 at 12:55 PM

51% of women report that they are either discouraged or forbidden from discussing their wages?

Everywhere I’ve ever worked, I’ve always been told that your salary is private information not to be discussed with anyone. Usually, there are safeguards to prevent you from finding out what anyone else is being paid.

No great mystery why. Supervisors don’t want to be confronted with questions about why one person makes more than another.

There Goes the Neighborhood on April 9, 2014 at 12:57 PM

But see, verifying “facts” and statistics is hard, and takes time. Most people would rather just take the word of their dear leader.

It’s amazing how many educated people I know continue to throw out such nonsense as facts. Thank God my “annoying ass” is there to correct them!

nextgen_repub on April 9, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Should get 5, alas.

Schadenfreude on April 9, 2014 at 2:58 PM