WaPo: Obama gets two Pinocchios for honesty gap on wages

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:



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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