Obama’s new equal pay executive action distorts the definition of equality

posted at 2:41 pm on February 3, 2016 by Jazz Shaw

On the anniversary of the enactment of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (which apparently didn’t fix anything to hear progressives complain about it today) the President took up his pen and his phone again, signing another executive order. This one will mandate that companies above a certain size will need to report what they are paying everyone, broken down into the usual demographic pigeonholes. (Government Executive)

On Friday, the Obama administration announced executive action that would require companies with 100 employees or more to report to the federal government how much they pay their employees broken down by race, gender, and ethnicity. The proposed regulation is being jointly published by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor. It is hoped that this transparency will help to root out discrimination and reduce the gender pay gap—which, according to the White House, leaves women in full-time jobs earning 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. Further, a report from theCouncil of Economic Advisers found that the gender wage gap in the U.S. is 2.5 percentage points larger than the average among industrialized countries…

In a press release regarding the proposed changes, the EEOC argues that “this new data will assist the agency in identifying possible pay discrimination and assist employers in promoting equal pay in their workplaces.” According to the EEOC, this data would point to which industry and occupations have the worst pay disparities. The compensation data would be an addition to employment information companies are already required to submit annually on race and gender—the EEOC says that the aggregate data would be published to help employers “facilitate voluntary compliance.” These requirements would begin in 2017.

You’ll note that this move doesn’t mandate that private companies immediately change their pay rates. (Not yet, anyway.) This order forces medium to large companies to begin reporting what they are paying to the government. That information will then be compiled and published to allow employers to “facilitate voluntary compliance” in providing equal pay. Of course, if business owners don’t manage the voluntary compliance part you can only imagine where things go next.

What’s never discussed in any of these debates is the definition of equal. If you hand some manager two resumes, one of which has the bare minimum educational experience and nothing else, while the other is Dean’s List material with summers spent interning for a company in the same industry and gaining real world experience, which one should they pay more? Or is the answer that both should get the same pay? And if the two applicants are of different races, gender or religion, is that supposed to be factored into the decision? We’re also not informed as to whether or not everyone should get the same raise every year no matter how they performed.

Of course, none of this takes into account the disparate factors we’ve previously discussed here, such as career choices. If you choose to find training which prepares you for a career in data entry and your friend studies heating and air conditioning, you’ll probably wind up making less money when you both find a job. Cost of living in different areas is also not taken into account. With all that in mind, what is this data collection and distribution supposed to accomplish? And aren’t we all personally responsible for negotiating the best deal we can manage when applying for a new job or asking for a raise? This looks like more political bread and circuses for the liberal masses than any type of serious reform effort.

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Comment pages: 1 2

Quote fail.

Looks like the White House is taking the first next step to replace the union boss.

wifarmboy on February 3, 2016 at 5:15 PM

Dems have been going down this road for a long time.
AesopFan on February 3, 2016 at 7:27 PM

AesopFan on February 3, 2016 at 7:28 PM

More information is always a good first step.

everdiso on February 3, 2016 at 3:17 PM

Do you work for the NSA?

s1im on February 3, 2016 at 7:29 PM

Another Presidential EO with no consultation with Congress or the voters.
What could go wrong?

Of course we can rest assured that the EEOC would never share that information with competitors who happen to donate to the right people.

antipc on February 3, 2016 at 3:28 PM

This equal pay thing sure will demotivate lots of people. Why show you’re a stellar and productive employee if you’ll get the same pay?

Everyone will then work as hard as the lowest producing worker.

Equality is wonderful comrade!

darwin on February 3, 2016 at 3:03 PM

In other words, the private sector will become just as unproductive as the public sector.

ConstantineXI on February 3, 2016 at 3:04 PM

I can’t wait for the first women to be told they’re getting a pay cut to make their salary equal to their male peers.

darwin on February 3, 2016 at 2:57 PM

I can’t wait until the first woman is denied something over refusing to register for the draft.

ConstantineXI on February 3, 2016 at 3:00 PM

I wonder what will happen when the data doesn’t show what the communists are hoping for?

Just “adjust” it like they do climate data?

darwin on February 3, 2016 at 2:59 PM

Here’s a novel idea:

You already get a W-2 from all those employers. On that W-2 is a Social Security number. From that, you know the age, race and sex of the employee. Figure it out for yourself.

Occams Stubble on February 3, 2016 at 3:15 PM

IIRC, technically, it is illegal for anyone to actually use the SSN for anything other than Social Security. Excuse me until I quit laughing.

AesopFan on February 3, 2016 at 7:31 PM

“facilitate voluntary compliance.”

I’ve heard that somewhere before . . .

greencalliope on February 3, 2016 at 8:05 PM

What if I’d rather negotiate for other things that are more valuable to me than money? Like flextime or working from home early in the morning, dropping my kids at school, face time in the office and then leave early to pick up the kids and do reports after the kids are in bed at night.

And I did that for most of my employees – we were a micro company so we negotiated for what perks the employees needed/wanted that fit into our needs…. and everyone was happy.

2nd Ammendment Mother on February 3, 2016 at 8:11 PM

what is this data collection and distribution supposed to accomplish?

more government jobs to get this done of course.

greencalliope on February 3, 2016 at 8:11 PM

This is shocking for several reasons.
1. Pay is private information. For example at SAIC it was a firing offense to discuss it with other employees, it is a contract between the individual and the employer and not the federal government’s concern.
2. Anyone can use statistics to prove things are patently false. For example Eric Holder stating that blacks received higher sentences by 2 1/2 years for the same crimes as whites while leaving out that more blacks are multiple offenders.
3. These files will give the lawyers a field day to sue companies on the basis of stats and create a hostile business climate in the United States.
4. If you think about it, all the metrics are getting worse for men and better for women so by the time this is in full force, the greater percentage of women in college will be working and actually making MORE than men, will the federal government then have companies threatened for paying women too much and men not enough?

timoric on February 3, 2016 at 8:44 PM

On Friday, the Obama administration announced executive action that would require companies with 100 employees or more to report to the federal government how much they pay their employees broken down by race, gender, and ethnicity.

Unconstitutional. Ignore.

ConstantineXI on February 3, 2016 at 2:45 PM

That’s kinda my feeling here. I’m curious what the case law is on private entities and their legal obligation to follow “executive orders”. It’s one thing for dear leader to impose rules on the government, it’s entirely another thing to impose rules on private companies. I personally don’t see any way in which this action has any legal force behind it.

deadrody on February 4, 2016 at 6:30 AM

CivilDiscourse on February 3, 2016 at 6:52 PM

CivilDiscourse on February 3, 2016 at 7:04 PM

Good luck getting folks like everdiso to understand any of that.

…. and everyone was happy.

2nd Ammendment Mother on February 3, 2016 at 8:11 PM

And that’s the part the left has a problem with. If nobody is angry and/or miserable, you can’t con them into giving you money and power to “stand up for their rights.”

GrumpyOldFart on February 4, 2016 at 8:25 AM

More information is always a good first step.

everdiso on February 3, 2016 at 3:17 PM

No, it isn’t. It’s a good first step if you’re getting all the information you can, to cover all the factors you can imagine and hopefully make you aware of some you failed to imagine.

If all you’re doing is getting just barely enough information to support the outcome you’re convinced is the correct one before you even start, that is, barely enough to support your prejudice, and then stopping at that, then no, it’s not a good anything.

…to report to the federal government how much they pay their employees broken down by race, gender, and ethnicity.

Which factors they are interested in is not nearly as informative of motives here as which they are uninterested in. You know, education, experience, productivity, things like that.

It says that what they’re interested in is not equality, but rather in solving “the problem of whiteness.”

GrumpyOldFart on February 4, 2016 at 1:47 PM

Further, a report from theCouncil of Economic Advisers found that the gender wage gap in the U.S. is 2.5 percentage points larger than the average among industrialized countries…

Since much of the “gender wage gap” is caused by women who choose to give up some income so they can focus on their children for a few years, I would expect to see a bigger “gender wage gap” in nations prosperous enough that this is an option. I would also expect to see a smaller “gender wage gap” in nations that were more socialistic, where your wage was determined partly by the government rather than purely by your employer.

So I don’t really see how this study proves anything.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 4, 2016 at 6:43 PM

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