The assertion that women are the victims of discrimination in the workplace was one of the featured themes of President Obama’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday. To support the assertion he hauled out the old canard that women earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. Here is how he put it:
The bottom line is, Michelle and I want every child to have the same chance this country gave us. But we know our opportunity agenda won’t be complete, and too many young people entering the workforce today will see the American Dream as an empty promise, unless we also do more to make sure our economy honors the dignity of work, and hard work pays off for every single American.
You know, today, women make up about half our workforce, but they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment.
Women deserve equal pay for equal work. (Cheers, applause.)
Thomas Sowell has made a cottage industry of debunking this bogus statistic. Dean Kalahar drew on Sowell’s research for the 2012 column “The female wage gap is a major economic myth.” Most recently, this past August, feminist Hanna Rosin joined the party in the Slate column “The gender wage gap lie.”
Sowell revisited the subject in his book Economic Facts and Fallacies and Peter Robinson quizzed him about it in the excerpt of his interview with Sowell about the book (video below).
Now here’s the deal. Equal pay for equal work as of course been the law of the land for a long time. The gist of Obama’s assertion is a bald lie in the service of the Democrats’ fictional creation denominated the war on women. “Seventy-seven cents” is a bogus statistic because once you correct for relevant variables, as Sowell explains above, the disparity disappears (Sowell says it become “trivial”).
In truth, the 77 cents canard represents the Democrats’ contempt for the low information voters who make up such an important part of the Democrats’ coalition. The canard seeks to exploit their ignorance. It should be an embarrassment, to borrow Obama’s judgment on the alleged disparity. Indeed, it’s something worse than embarrassing. It’s wrong to exploit the ignorance of the ignorant for petty political purposes.
Incidentally, it turns out that Obama’s White House is a major offender in the indictment Obama handed up on Tuesday night. Steve Hayward posted the graphic below from Mark Perry’s Carpe Diem blog: