Who is Hillary Clinton pandering to this week? Ah yes… we’re back to the women and the gender wage gap. In her ongoing effort to put some daylight between herself and Bernie Sanders, Clinton is working to shore up her support with female voters and what better way than to promise that everyone will get a raise? (Washington Post)
If she is elected, employers would be required to review employee pay to ensure that women are being paid fairly, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Tuesday.
“I’m going to require that everybody take a look,” Clinton said to applause at a community college event in Brooklyn.
She cited the example of an executive friend, Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com, who was surprised to find pay disparities between men and women at his cloud computing company and pledged to “fix it.”
Benioff would never have known of the disparities if he had not reviewed pay records, and other business leaders are similarly in the dark, Clinton said. She said structural biases and discrimination are partly to blame.
Even while recognizing that absolutely nobody is qualified to read minds or delve into the dark secrets of the human heart, I’m going to call Horse Hockey on Marc Benioff here. If there is a corporate executive out there who isn’t keenly aware of their labor costs, as well as the social unrest surrounding compensation equity questions, they wouldn’t be in charge of a business for very long. That was a transparent PR stunt which was designed to simultaneously improve the brand image of Salesforce and bolster the cause of liberals and Democrats. This whole, “Oh my gosh by golly I had no idea” routine is simply sad.
As for Clinton herself, I await with baited breath the details of precisely how she plans to require employers to review employee pay to ensure that women are being paid fairly. How exactly would that work? Would all private sector employers be required to submit a form with their taxes each year affirming that they reviewed all of the workers’ salaries? (Here’s a hint: they do that already.) Having looked over said salary information, the federal government would next have to establish some sort of rate structure to ensure that the pay was “fair” based on gender. I simply can’t wait to see what that looks like. Will it include seniority at the company as well as years of experience prior to being hired? Pay scales vary wildly from industry to industry, so how will the government structure this new mandatory pay scale? Further, how does Secretary Clinton propose to include factors such as productivity and performance?
The answer to all of those questions is that it simply can’t be done in a competitive labor market, a fact which I’m guessing she already knows. The only option on the horizon is to take away all control of labor costs from private sector employers and develop some sort of Big Brother Department of Salary Assignments, listing every possible occupation in the nation and mandating what everyone should be paid. That’s not too far off from the federal worker system, and we all know how fabulously that works out. But even for government employees, some get larger raises than others based on performance reviews. Perpetually underperforming workers will wind up earning less than top producers, so what happens if they are of different genders? And for the record, if anyone can show us an actual wage gender gap which takes into account the worker’s field of study, chosen career, average salaries for that occupation and performance, please do let us know because it appears to be vaporware.
This is a solution in search of a problem and Clinton doesn’t have any way of quantifying either. It’s more smoke and mirrors to stoke up one demographic subset of voters and try to buy her way into the Oval Office.