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Carrie Lukas on the Obama equal pay pander

Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women's Forum had this to say on Obama's "equal pay" pander, to which I alluded Monday:

For a "new" kind of politics, Barack Obama's rhetoric sounds awfully familiar. The senator from Illinois may decry his critics as practicing "old politics," yet he freely employs one of the most shopworn political tactics when pandering to women.

At an event this week in New Mexico, Obama repeated the misleading claim that "women still earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men," and dismissed the notion that factors other than discrimination explain the wage gap as "just totally wrong."

Yet even the organizations that champion the most aggressive government action in the name of equal pay acknowledge that most of the wage gap is a result of men and women's different choices related to work, not employment discrimination. A 2007 report from The American Association of University Women, for instance, found that most of the wage gap could be explained by factors such as employment, education and personal choices.

Unlike the former editor of the Harvard Law Review, Lukas also gets the legal question right:

Obama tars those opposed to legislation called the "Fair Pay Restoration Act" as opponents of equal pay for women. That's a gross mischaracterization. Equal pay is already required by law; it has been since 1963. The Fair Pay Restoration Act would extend the time period during which an employee can bring suit against an employer for discrimination. Instead of having to take action within 180 days of a decision about compensation, employees could sue within 180 days after receiving a check related to such a decision. As a result, lawsuits could be filed decades after a compensation package was negotiated.

This longer period wouldn't discourage discriminatory behavior today - but would open the door for lawyers to unearth old grievances in pursuit of new legal fees.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.