Do Employers Discriminate Against Women?

Obama is signing more executive orders without going through Congress.  This time it relates to ensuring equal pay between different races and different genders.

One executive order will require that federal government contractors publish wage data by gender and race to supposedly ensure that they are complying with equal-pay laws.

There is no word yet if Obama will issue a similar executive order to prevent unequal pay between various religious groups, political parties, and age groups.  And what about making sure that wages are equal between tall people and short people?  And let’s not forget about comparing wages between overweight people and skinny people.

Of course, I am being sarcastic with identifying all of these other groups.  Not only is the government involvement here morally wrong, it is ridiculous to think that the government could solve a problem of unequal pay if such a problem even existed.

It is actually the free market that brings us closer to paying people what they are worth in terms of production.  It is not to say that the free market is perfect and that everything is always in equilibrium.  It is just that the free market is the best mechanism for getting closer to equilibrium.  In this case, that equilibrium is measured in earnings for what people produce.

Most employers are not going to arbitrarily discriminate strictly based on gender or race because they would just be hurting their own bottom line.  Most employers care about their profitability more than any personal biases.  They are going to pay the most to the workers who they perceive as the most productive and for those they want to keep.

In a free market, if an employer is paying a male worker more than a female worker and they are truly equal in their production, reliability, etc., then this just presents an opportunity for other employers to pay the female worker more and hire her away from her present employer.  She may or may not make exactly the same as the male worker, but the free market will generally work towards this effect.

The problem here is that nobody is equal.  There are differences between men and women.  The obvious thing is that women have babies and are more likely to take a leave of absence from work, or even quit work.  This is a major cost to an employer and the employer may consider this when hiring and determining a wage.

But there are many other differences between men and women.  This is all generally speaking of course, as all individuals are unique.  Men are more likely to take jobs that require travel and that require longer hours.  Men are more likely to do jobs that are more dangerous.  Men are more likely to take on sales jobs.

There is also a genetic difference that determines what the genders choose.  Men are more likely to get into higher paying professions such as engineering or law.  Men are more likely to be doctors, while women are more likely to be nurses.  Again, this is very generalized, but it is just a fact of human nature.

Does anyone really think using the force of government is going to correct any unfairness?  Maybe some of it is unfair, particularly to a woman who doesn’t plan to have any kids.  But we have to acknowledge that the free market is more likely going to correct this situation over the government.

This will probably be like most other government laws and programs.  It will end up resulting in the exact opposite of the stated intentions of the law (or executive order).

Just as age discrimination laws end up making it harder for older people to find a job, this Obama dictate will end up making it harder for women to find a job, or perhaps making them truly underpaid.

I can envision employers trying to avoid being accused of gender discrimination, so they may hire a woman and classify her job differently than a man, even though they are doing similar work.  So if the woman’s salary is lower, he won’t get in trouble because her job classification is different.

We can’t be certain of all of the negative consequences, but you can be sure there will be some.

It is ironic that gay women earn more than heterosexual women.  Is Obama going to do something to “correct” this situation?  This statistic actually makes perfect sense in that many gay women are more likely to be career oriented and less likely to be tied down by children.  And the semi-free market has accounted for this difference as reflected in the statistics.

This whole topic of equal pay is just more politically correct garbage coming from Obama and other political hacks.  They are trying to stir up emotion and set up conflict between men and women, employees and employers, and left and right.

Meanwhile, pay no attention to the federal government spending almost $4 trillion per year.  If you want to talk about a wage gap, let’s look at the politicians and lobbyists in Washington DC in comparison to the average citizen whose money they suck away.