White House gender pay gap persists

The Washington Post has picked up on an AEI report from a few months ago that found a gender pay gap is still confounding the White House, despite the fact that so many women have been promoted to be department heads.

Women White House staffers still earn 15.8 percent less on average than their male counterparts, according to an analysis from the conservative American Enterprise Institute of the latest disclosure reports. But the 25 highest-earning aides are evenly split — with 13 men and 12 women each earning between $165,300 and $173,922 a year.

The real discrepancy is at the bottom, where the 100 staffers on the bottom rung — those earning between $41,000 and $47,631 — are 57 percent female to 43 percent male.

One would hope that reports like this one would put a stop to the facile tossing around of numbers purporting to demonstrate discrimination against women, but don’t bet on it. Public figures including the president and the Pope have used pay gap statistics to suggest intentional or structural unfairness in the job market when the truth appears to have a lot more to do with personal choices. That’s not stopping progressives like Hillary Clinton from calling for new laws addressing the problem, despite Clinton’s, er, problematic history on the issue.

The truth is that for almost six decades gender-based employment and wage discrimination have been prohibited by law. There comes a moment when one has to conclude that further legislation in the area is a solution in search of a problem, and we are long past that moment. The Census Bureau’s most recent statistics on the pay gap suggest that the gap is narrowing, but for the wrong reason: women aren’t earning more. Instead, men are earning less. Surely, that’s not the point of progressive hand-wringing over this issue, right?