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Horrors! Roberts criticized "comparable worth"

But he was a whole lot gentler about it than the late Clarence Pendleton Jr., chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, who called the scheme of centralized wage-setting "the looniest idea since Looney Tunes came on the screen". The premise of "comparable worth" is that government agencies, union negotiators or courts should be invited to compare firefighters' jobs with librarians', landscapers' with cooks', paralegals' with assistant engineers', and guess which pairings have outputs of "comparable" value, independent of actual supply and demand conditions for those particular jobs in the labor market (see OL here and here). A wacky enough idea that it's been losing steam for two decades now, it still apparently passes for conventional wisdom in the newsrooms at Newsday and USA Today. Steve Bainbridge and Mark in Mexico comment, and Josh Gerstein of the New York Sun quotes a spokesman for the office of Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Ct.) who, like some headline writers, appears to confuse it with the quite different legal concept of equal pay for equal work.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.