Tuesday, April 19, 2005
On this day:

Economics According to Hillary

National Review: Money Isn’t Everything -- Hillary Clinton pushes an old feminist lie. By Carrie Lukas
Senator Clinton can count on a widespread public belief that women receive 75 cents for every man’s dollar. Yet the public doesn’t know the full story. That 75 cents-on-the-dollar mantra is derived from Department of Labor data that compares the median income of a full-time working (outside-the-home) woman to that of a full-time working man. And yes: that woman earns about three quarters of the man’s salary. Unfortunately, this ignores more than it reveals. Important factors including occupation, number of years and hours worked, and education aren’t taken into account. Moreover, on average, women tend to make lifestyle choices that lead to lower earnings than men. Consider that women typically take about a decade out of the workforce caring for family. It’s reasonable that a 35-year-old woman reentering the workforce after ten years earns less than a man or woman who worked continuously during that time. Such choices greatly skew wage statistics. In Why Men Earn More, Warren Farrell — a former board member of the National Organization for Women’s New York chapter — identifies 25 decisions that individuals make when choosing jobs and reveals how, on average, men are more likely than women to make decisions that increase pay. Not only do women take more time out of the labor force and work fewer hours than do men, women also avoid jobs that require a great deal of travel or relocation. Men assume more high-risk jobs — 92 percent of occupational deaths occur among men — and endeavors that require braving the elements outdoors. By fixating on the red herring of discrimination, many women fail to make adjustments that would fatten their paychecks. Dr. Farrell outlines how women can increase earnings, but notes that higher pay often comes at a price — be it greater physical risk, more time on the road, or more hours in the office. Even if most women aren’t willing to sacrifice flexibility or comfort for money, knowing that the deck isn’t stacked against them is important. The phony wage-gap debate perpetuates the lie that lower pay is nearly always evidence of sexism. In reality, pay differences may simply reflect different priorities — ones in which women can be proud. Money isn’t everything. A prison guard may earn more than an elementary-school teacher, but most teachers aren’t looking to trade places.