Progressive Groups Demand Legislation to Ensure Equal Pay – Even if it Doesn’t Work

In a recent article by the left-leaning site Daily Kos, a complaint was lodged against the Minnesota Republicans for introducing legislation that would repeal the 1984 Local Government Pay Equity Act (LGPEA). This act “…directs local governments to ensure that women are paid the same as men.” But with local governments stating that the reporting requirements are too costly, it seems to make economic sense to cut back on superfluous aspects of government. One of which is trying to control people’s behavior. But that is beside the point.

According to Daily Kos and a number of similar sites, this issue is not outdated and still must be addressed through legislation. Their article states:

Several recent studies have pointed to continued discrepancies in pay for women in Minnesota.

In June, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota found that, overall, women still earn less than men in the state. White women earned 76 cents for every dollar that men earn, and the numbers were much worse for women of color: Native American women earned 69 cents to the dollar, African American women 61 cents and Hispanic women earned 51 cents to the dollar.

Those numbers were for all workers in the state, not just the public sector.

After reading this article I had several questions come to mind:

1. When they say “…women still earn less than men in the state”, do they mean for doing the same job? Or just in general? Because if they mean “in general” I don’t understand their concern. It is well known that men are more likely to take jobs that require longer hours, more dangerous conditions and little amounts of flexibility. Women, on the other hand tend to prefer jobs that keep them out of the elements – and off the back of garbage trucks – as well as allow them to be there for their family when necessary (i.e. flexible hours and/or job). This would mean that men overall make more than women. That will only change when we see more women doing the exact same jobs as men. As for me, I prefer the cushy job with flexible hours.

2. If I am mistaken in point #1 and they are concluding that women get paid less to perform the same job as men, then I have another question for them. Why on earth would any smart business owner in Minnesota hire a male? If women do the exact same job for less pay, then why would a business owner choose to hire a male when he had to pay them more to do the same job? Where are all the factories and stores that only hire women and minorities? Those business owners would be raking it in! Where are they all? If you truly believe that women get paid less to do the same job across the board (not saying it doesn’t happen in some instances), then you believe that business owners are more sexist than they are interested in profit. You believe that someone would give up earning between 24-49% more in revenue just to hire a male rather than a woman. Now is that really believable?

3. My last point sums up just how ridiculous these pleas for government intervention truly are. In this article, the author mentions a) this act was passed in 1984 b) in 2011 we still have major discrepancies in pay between men and women and c) we must preserve this act at all costs. Hmmm. Something in that line of reasoning just doesn’t seem like reasoning at all. So we’ve had this act for about 26 years and it hasn’t done its job (according to their statistics), so we should continue to spend money on it. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Maybe the reason it hasn’t worked is because of point #1. Men and women do different jobs, hence different pay. If you really care about this situation, open a non-profit and ask people to voluntarily donate to your cause. It makes a lot more sense than forcing people against their will to pay for something that doesn’t work and never will.