Debate notes: The 72 percent fallacy

At the Hofstra University presidential debate this past Tuesday (I’m working from the WaPo transcript here), Candy Crowley called on Katherine Fenton to ask this groaner of a question: “In what new ways to you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?”

This is such an old canard I thought that Governor Romney might challenge the premise of the question. Equal pay for equal work is the law of the land, Katherine. The proposition that the statistical disparity in pay you mention results from employment discrimination has been examined and disproved many times over. The great Thomas Sowell addressed it in chapter 3 of Economic Facts and Fallacies (summarized in the video below). Katherine, the premise of your question falls into the category of “fallacy.”

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