Marcus: Say, this equal-pay demagoguery from Democrats is quite revolting, huh?

posted at 10:01 am on April 10, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Day 1 of the White House equal-pay push produced a walkback on their central claim and Jay Carney’s embarrassing admission that the White House itself hasn’t addressed the problem it claims to want to solve for everyone else. Day 2 consisted of broadsides from fact checkers and the revelation that Senate Democrats climbing about the equal-pay bandwagon are actually worse on the issue than the White House. Day 3 isn’t turning out much better. Ruth Marcus calls the effort “revolting equal-pay demagoguery” in the Washington Post, equal to “waving the bloody shirt”:

Here’s a radical notion: It is simultaneously possible to believe that women are entitled to equal pay and to not support the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Not that you’d know it from the rhetoric President Obama and fellow Democrat are happily flinging at Republicans who dare to oppose the measure.

Marcus says she’d probably vote for the Paycheck Fairness Act, which died in the Senate yesterday, but that there are plenty of good reasons to be wary of it that have nothing to do with hostility toward women:

The Paycheck Fairness Act presents more complicated questions about proof and damages. In brief, the bill would make it harder for employers to rebut claims of gender-based pay discrimination. Currently, employers facing an equal pay claim can defend the differential by showing that it is “based on any other factor other than sex.” The Paycheck Fairness Act would tighten that gaping exception to require that it relate to “bona fide factors, such as education, training or experience.”

Likewise, the measure would make it easier for plaintiffs to collect not only back pay but compensatory and punitive damages, including in class action lawsuits. A third change would protect employees who discuss their compensation from being punished by their employer — a no-brainer in the aftermath of Ledbetter’s experience.

As I said, I’d vote “yes” on the bill. But I can understand the concerns of those who worry about floods of litigation and business decisions second-guessed by federal judges. There is a difference between opposing the Paycheck Fairness Act and opposing paycheck fairness. Politicians who choose to confuse the two may score a cheap political point, but it’s not a fair one.

Besides, the hypocrisy coming from Democrats who don’t operate any differently than the marketplace — and in some instances, worse than the general marketplace — makes it difficult to credit them with fairness in any sense. Why does the White House have a worse pay differential under their own formula for pushing this bill than Washington DC at large does (88:100 vs 95:100)? Why do Senators like Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Mark Begich (D-AK) pay similarly, if they want to highlight pay-equity gaps? Why not fix the problem in their own organizations before demanding that Congress sic trial lawyers on everyone else?

Landrieu and Begich may want to rethink this push anyway. Bloomberg’s Francis Barry notes that their states not only tend toward income equality anyway, but also that the independents they need to retain their seats in the midterms aren’t likely to respond well to this hypocritical demagoguery:

This November, control of the U.S. House will not be determined by voters in safely Democratic major cities, but by voters in suburban and rural districts, where inequality tends to be lower. And control of the Senate will be decided largely in states with low levels of inequality relative to the national average.

Take Alaska, where Democratic Senator Mark Begich is in a tossup race. It has the second-lowest level of income inequality in the nation (though still high by international standards). Iowa, Montana and New Hampshire — all with Senate seats up for grabs — aren’t far behind, ranking eighth, ninth and 10th. Minnesota, Oregon and Colorado, all battleground states, also have income inequality rates that put them in the lower half of states.

There are only two states that have both above-average levels of inequality and competitive Senate races this year: Georgia and Louisiana. In both, Democrats will need to do more than mobilize their base to win; they will need to persuade independents.

Polls show that independents support more action to reduce income inequality, but they respond more favorably to messages centered on fighting poverty and creating opportunity, as do voters generally. A recent poll by the Center for American Progress found that 63 percent of voters consider it a priority to “make sure everyone in the country has a real opportunity to succeed,” while only 37 percent think of “reducing the gap between the richest 1 percent and the rest of the country” as a priority.

By putting income inequality front and center, Democrats are playing to a vital part of their base: liberals and the urban poor. But they are preaching to the faithful instead of trying to convert the undecided.

Until Senators like Landrieu and Begich literally put their money where their mouths are, they’re not likely to convert anyone. Instead, they will more likely remind voters of just how Washington likes to pass laws that don’t apply to themselves but make it more difficult for everyone else to run their own businesses.


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Huh. They lost Ruth Marcus?!

Although she has no principles, she goes where the prevailing wind goes.

22044 on April 10, 2014 at 10:02 AM

I’m wondering if this isn’t battleground preparation for 2016.

The Democrats are shrewd about getting votes, if nothing else (and it, of course, does not rule out illegitimate votes.) Is it possible they’ve (mostly) written off the midterms and are working on the narrative for 2016, believing it will be Hillary?

They can see the numbers as well. Even if the Republicans take the Senate, the Democrats will have a fairly easy time re-taking it in 2016 given that it is (1) an election year which turns out more of their base and (2) Republicans are defending far more seats.

These acts (though poorly executed, but that’s the Democrats for you) seem to dovetail better with a female leading the party than a male.

makattak on April 10, 2014 at 10:08 AM

*presidential election year.

Really wish we had an edit button.

makattak on April 10, 2014 at 10:09 AM

When does Hillary’s Benghazi book come out…?

d1carter on April 10, 2014 at 10:10 AM

This issue won’t determine one race…ObamaCare/economy will be the only subject to sway the vote.

Dems are desperate, they will try to grab anything to make them look “independent”, look like they are moving to the right.

The the fact is, they will support Pelosi and Reid, 100% so whatever they say means nothing since they will vote and support the existing liberal “progressive” power base.

They will pick up guns, complain about taxation, yada yada…but it won’t matter, the dems will lose both houses.

And no, they won’t get either back in 2016, the question will be who is in the White House?

right2bright on April 10, 2014 at 10:13 AM

In the financial industry, which this administration and Congress for that matter constantly deride with fallacious criticism, mendacious fables, ethereal strawmen and ad hominems, we have not only led on race issues, but also gender issues.

Pay is based on grade, experience and performance. Period. Anything less is an anomaly.

But you know, we are all evil rich people or something.

Marcus Traianus on April 10, 2014 at 10:13 AM

When does Hillary’s Benghazi book come out…?

d1carter on April 10, 2014 at 10:10 AM

I thought it was going to be a “video”…

right2bright on April 10, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Oh my! When you’ve lost Ruth Marcus…..

Happy Nomad on April 10, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Cut and pasted from headlines … (Excusez-moi)

Victimology, by the majority group which outnumbers men, that goes to college more, graduates more, controls our now more feminized culture more and more, and is displacing men left and right in the work force and every prominent place in public life, except maybe for sports.

There will always be people who see themselves as victims, and others self-appointed to speak for them.

LashRambo on April 10, 2014 at 9:46 AM

P.S. The pay differential is BS

LashRambo on April 10, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Huh. They lost Ruth Marcus?!

22044 on April 10, 2014 at 10:02 AM

I know, right? Next thing you know, the Peoples’ Republic of Arlington will elect a Republican to sit on the County Board.

(Yeah. I know. He’s not a real Republican, but still….)

bigmacdaddy on April 10, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Were I President, I’d take executive action and say something like, “It has come to my attention that women are struggling in the workplace. As of today, I’ve signed an executive order demanding businesses only pay women 80 cents for every dollar they would pay a man, if they hired a man. This means more hiring for women. This means more businesses will fire the evil men who work for them and hire women to work for them, because as we know, businesses are about the bottom line, making money. And if you can hire someone for 80 cents on the dollar, well, you’re going to hire that person. I do hope that no one opposes this executive action, because I’d hate to see such hatred towards women.”

Baggi on April 10, 2014 at 10:25 AM

bona fide factors, such as education, training or experience.”

So, for example, a fireman being big enough to pick up an unconscious body isn’t a bona fide factor? And even if you add that and things like that, government micromanagement never works. Socialist! (no four letter required, ‘socialist’ is one)

Fenris on April 10, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Oh my! When you’ve lost Ruth Marcus…..

Happy Nomad on April 10, 2014 at 10:14 AM

On one small issue…insignificant that can be corrected with a few pay increases…

And she will praise Obama for being so sensitive and will gush about how he has helped destroy this horrible stigma that has plagued the country like no other.

“No other president has ever taken such bold steps to defend women’s rights for equal pay”…will be her next headline.

right2bright on April 10, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Fenris on April 10, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Equal play and pay on NBA teams…

right2bright on April 10, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Equal play and pay on NBA teams…

right2bright on April 10, 2014 at 10:28 AM

When do I get my interview to become a Victoria’s Secret model?

VegasRick on April 10, 2014 at 10:31 AM

God, she’s one ugly broad.

rogerb on April 10, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Equal play and pay on NBA teams…

right2bright on April 10, 2014 at 10:28 AM

They’ll carve out exceptions for the Bread & Circus. Can’t have the peons getting antsy.

Fenris on April 10, 2014 at 10:35 AM

this law is a red herring, equal pay is covered by a law passed years ago, the problem is there is a time limit to sue, the law they want passed removes that limit

RonK on April 10, 2014 at 10:43 AM

You know what really bugs me about this? We conservatives are focusing our debate on whether or not women actually are paid less than men. While it’s true the Democrats are lying on that point, that should not be the point of this debate.

The point of this debate should be that the federal government has no business getting involved in the wages of anyone, male or female. There are no Constitutional authority for the federal government to have anything to do with this. Even if women were being roundly discriminated against and paid half of their male counterparts, the federal government has no enumerated power that allows it to try to solve that problem.

It’s time for us to stop debating from the perspective of how the government can or cannot solve these problems and start debating whether or not the government should even be involved according to the Constitution.

Shump on April 10, 2014 at 10:44 AM

One of the unintended consequences that will come is a rigid ordering of pay within a company. You think you’re worth a pay raise? Tough. If your “reason” isn’t totally quanitifable (got a degree/certification, won a MUCH larger account than anyone else, moved up in an employment category, etc.) then the answer will be no, because otherwise they could get sued for a pay discrepancy. A *lot* of employees will be hearing “I know you’re a great worker, and you deserve a raise, but if I give you one, then I have to give one to everybody” in their annual performance reviews.

Baggi on April 10, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Heh.

GWB on April 10, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Shump on April 10, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Concur wholeheartedly.

GWB on April 10, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Honestly, I’m having a hard time understanding her teeth in the main page photo.

Any orthodontists out there care to weigh in?

Herod on April 10, 2014 at 10:49 AM

The Paycheck Fairness Act presents more complicated questions about proof and damages. In brief, the bill would make it harder for employers to rebut claims of gender-based pay discrimination. Currently, employers facing an equal pay claim can defend the differential by showing that it is “based on any other factor other than sex.” The Paycheck Fairness Act would tighten that gaping exception to require that it relate to “bona fide factors, such as education, training or experience.”

Interesting boobytrap there. If the employer decides to avoid the problem by stating that, say, only someone with at least an MA in the relevant area will be considered, they will immediately be attacked by the EEOC for discriminating against, you guessed it, minorities with lesser “educational opportunities”.

In short, it would create a system in which no matter what the employer does, they can be charged with violating a Federal law.

I suspect those who wrote it were less interested in “equal pay” than in their dreams of abolishing Evil Capitalism (TM).

But that would be crazy.

Oh, right. We’re talking about progressives here. Whose definition of reality is somewhere around PeeWee Herman’s. Or maybe Alfred E. Neuman’s.

Except for the ones who dream of being RedJac. (“DIEKILLYOUALLMAKEYOUSUFFERDIEDIEDIEDIEDIE“, etc., etc.)

clear ether

eon

eon on April 10, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Day 1 of the White House equal-pay push produced a walkback on their central claim and Jay Carney’s embarrassing admission that the White House itself hasn’t addressed the problem it claims to want to solve for everyone else

…the White House had this issue before…when they paraded the equal-pay push squirrel recently………and like with everything else…forgot about it…and went onto the next squirrel.

KOOLAID2 on April 10, 2014 at 10:53 AM

I know, right? Next thing you know, the Peoples’ Republic of Arlington will elect a Republican to sit on the County Board.

(Yeah. I know. He’s not a real Republican, but still….)

bigmacdaddy on April 10, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Hey the Democrat didn’t win for the first time since 1999. And that alone is driving the nattering nabobs crazy. Looks like they might just have lost the streetcar project that absolutely nobody can explain.

Happy Nomad on April 10, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Wow, Marcus is having an honest moment?

Schadenfreude on April 10, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Watching these idiots in Washington ‘debate’ an issue like this leaves me with three thoughts.

1) I glad I no longer own a business with employees.

2) I would never start a business where I had to hire employees.

3) I’ll never hire employees for the business I do have.

The opportunity cost to having these idiots govern is undoubtedly enormous.

trigon on April 10, 2014 at 11:11 AM

I = I’m.

Where’s that edit feature?

trigon on April 10, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Is it possible their old tricks aren’t working anymore. Or do some of them think it will keep them from being elected if they say stupid things that get push back.

crankyoldlady on April 10, 2014 at 11:15 AM

As I said, I’d vote “yes” on the bill. But I can understand the concerns of those who worry about floods of litigation and business decisions second-guessed by federal judges. There is a difference between opposing the Paycheck Fairness Act and opposing paycheck fairness. Politicians who choose to confuse the two may score a cheap political point, but it’s not a fair one.

Yesterday George Will accurately identified this as more a gift to the Democratics’ lawyer lobby than anything that will truly benefit working women.

slickwillie2001 on April 10, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Why don’t they call these “acts” what they really are – The greedy, sue-happy, lawyer act.
These acts are essentially meant to ease the efforts of excessively aggressive and money grubbing civil rights attorneys extortion tactics.

StubbornGreenBurros on April 10, 2014 at 11:39 AM

I wonder what Obama will do about this Inequity?
“92% of work-related deaths in 2012 were to men. Dangerous jobs tend to pay higher salaries to attract workers.”

How long will it be before we see an initiative to increase the number of Women Killed on the job – for the sake of fairness.

jaydee_007 on April 10, 2014 at 11:45 AM

I think they were trying to use this equal pay mumbo-jumbo to set the stage for universal daycare (pre-K or whatevs).

First, point out the pay inequity, then the fact that fewer women are working now than in recent years so that they can stay home with children/other family member(s). Gee, that is so unfair and hurts women so we need universal school for all children from birth up and universal adult daycare for aged parents. That frees up women to be able to work all the time . . . Oh yay – NOT!

Feminazis dream since I was a child is that all women want to work full-time and resent their children/family life. Some of us never have resented that and find our lives taking care of husbands or children or dogs and/or volunteering with churches and organizations much more fulfilling than drawing a paycheck or working 60 hours a week with an iphone and ipad tied to our shoulders.

I honestly hope that many of the women who have started staying home of late will find that it is *more* satisfying and revolt against the enforced outside work is the only good work meme. Our kids would be a lot better off for it.

Greyledge Gal on April 10, 2014 at 11:46 AM

We already have Federal equal pay legislation. This is just another Democratic gift to their big donors, the trial lawyers, and an effort to gin up their depressed base.

Resist We Much on April 10, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Democrats are simply preparing for the eventual nomination of Hillary and mobilizing SINGLE women to turn out in hoards. They think the equal pay discussion will peel off some MARRIED women to vote Hillary.

One has to wonder what they will do to mobilize blacks to turn out to vote like they did for Obama. I am guessing a VP pick like Cory Booker will do the trick.

The fact that Dem voters haven’t figured out that identity politics is a tool used by Democrats to win elections so that they can push socialism further down our throats is a testament to just how clueless the average voter is. Dems don’t care about women or blacks, but they can pretend they do every 4 years, and meanwhile nothing changes for these folks. Wonder if they will ever figure out they’re being defrauded.

goflyers on April 10, 2014 at 12:05 PM

But, but, JOB LOCK!

LastRonin on April 10, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Every person should make the same amount of money, period!

Oh, wait… that sounds familiar.

IndieDogg on April 10, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Get the gov’t out of business. Period.

Schadenfreude on April 10, 2014 at 1:42 PM

It’s time for us to stop debating from the perspective of how the government can or cannot solve these problems and start debating whether or not the government should even be involved according to the Constitution.

Shump on April 10, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Totally agree with you, but the Supreme Court doesn’t, and hasn’t for a century or more.

AesopFan on April 10, 2014 at 3:02 PM