June 24 2015
Carrie L. Lukas
Women aren’t really paid 23 percent less than men for the same work, but Democrats keep repeating the debunked statistic anyway.
“In Ohio, women earn 82.7 cents to the dollar compared to men,” Sen. Sherrod Brown wrote in a June 18 campaign email. “And on average, that number is 77 cents to every dollar.”
According to Brown and other Democrats — including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee — a federal law is necessary to fix the gender wage gap.
But the “77 cents” figure used by Democrats and feminists is misleading, Carrie Lukas, managing director of the free-market Independent Women’s Forum, said in an email to Watchdog.org.
A 2009 U.S. Department of Labor study controlling for profession and education found a gender wage gap of less than 10 percent and concluded “the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action.”
To the extent a wage gap even exists, Lukas said it’s a reflection of “different choices men and women make when it comes to work.” Men are more likely to work longer hours, and in more dangerous, physically demanding conditions.
“If there was a policy solution to the wage gap, why wouldn’t it have been implemented already? Democrats were in full control of Congress when Obama took office,” Lukas said.
IWF has worked to refute the “77 cents to every dollar” myth for several years. Lukas penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed on the topic in 2011, and IWF released a video summarizing its economists’ findings in 2013.
Experts come to varying conclusions about the gender wage gap, but even prominent left-of-center news outlets recognize the “77 cents” figure has been discredited.
In 2012, PolitiFact.com rated as “Mostly False” a claim from the president that women are “paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men.”
“The president must begin to acknowledge that ’77 cents’ does not begin to capture what is actually happening in the work force and society,” Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler wrote in April 2014.
So why do Brown and so many others keep pushing for federal action using a debunked talking point?
“Democrats clearly are very vested in convincing women that American workplaces are riddled with sexism,” Lukas told Watchdog.org.
Based on Brown’s campaign email, Democrats are intent on resurrecting the “War on Women” narrative that served Obama so well in the 2012 election; the email directed supporters to a petition accusing Republicans of “holding women back.”
Brown and Wasserman Schultz both failed to respond to requests for comment on the pay statistics included in the Friends of Sherrod Brown email last week.
Democrats, Lukas said, “keep promoting and passing bills under the guise of ‘equal pay’ that do nothing to advance equal pay or close the wage gap — they just create more red tape for businesses and enrich lawyers.”