Debunking The Myth of Equal Pay Day (Again)

I didn’t think there were many who still believe that there is a sinister Gender Wage Gap in this country. Everyone has heard it. Most people are aware that it has been thoroughly debunked, and frankly, I find it hard to believe that there are actually some people still pitching this , but April 10 was Equal Pay Day and every April 10, we must once again debunk this myth – “For every dollar a man earns a woman earns only $0.77”.

Women have outnumbered men in college since the late 70s and the gap is still widening. However, women and men differ greatly in the choice of professions.

Even the extremely liberal Association of American University Women and the U.S. Dept of Labor (which reviewed a compilation of 50 studies) have stated that the wage can be explained by a very cursory analysis. As most are aware by now that this statistic was arrived at by taking the median earnings of all women working full-time by the median earnings of all men working full-time. If you do that the result will come out to be about 0.77. However, this stat does not take into account the position, education or hours worked per week, and doesn’t reveal any type of discrimination, preference, or bias against women of any race. Here’s why.

The gender wage gap is a lot like the continent of Atlantis. Most people know that it is a myth but there are a few die-hards that will insist otherwise. Such die-hards are usually running for public office and spreading the myth is an effective way of garners some votes from voters who are simply “not paying attention”. Oh yeah, the others who perpetuate this myth are those who make their livelihood from preaching such nonsense (the CWEALF comes to mind). To wit, there has been legislation proposed which supposedly would correct this gap. One of the most common is forcing employers to make public their wage gap. This has already been done in the U.K., and although it was not effective in closing that gap, it did have some unintended consequences that may create a bonanza for some women. I’ll come back to that later.

Most college degrees are conferred on women and this has been the case since the late 70s and has grown to over 57% and this trend is expected to continue. Women receive almost 3 million more college degrees than men. One might infer that this fact contradicts the nationwide discriminatory attitude that feminists firmly believe exists throughout the USA. So, for that reason it has been largely ignored except to incorrectly point out that if there are more college-educated women this further proves that the wage gap is a result of the prevalent cis-white-hetero-male- chauvinistic pigs who oppress women, minorities and, anyone who is not them. If there are so many more college educated women than men, then we should see the wage gap occurring in the other direction, right?

Georgetown University shed some light on this. 4 of the 5 most highly paid college degrees – Petroleum Engineer, Chemical Engineer, Aerospace Engineer, Computer Sciences are 87.5% male and 4 of the 5 lowest paying college degrees – Counseling and Psychology, Early Childhood Education, Human Services and Community Organization and Social Work – are 77.3% female. This difference makes a huge difference and explains most of the difference. The remainder of the difference is explained mostly by choices in life. In short. Women are a lot smarter in their life choices.

According to the extremely liberal Association of American University Women’s study cited above career paths and a more home/child oriented life choices explain all but 6.6% of the 22% gender wage gap. So let’s try to stick a fork and “Bust” this myth by cleaning up this last 6.6% as Jamies and Adam would do (the guys from Discovery Channel show Mythbusters).

In a Danish study. Denmark – Bernie Sander’s socialist egalitarian utopia, in a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found, the wage gap to be “poor proxy for either sexism or women’s well-being”

Even more revealing, in the Denmark study, it was found, between 1980 and 2013, that women and men were nearly parallel in their wage history up until the birth of the woman’s first child, after which, “women’s labor-force participation, work hours, and wages plummeted while men’s continued the same trajectory.” The difference – about 20%.

Kay Hymowicz the William E. Simon Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and the author of “Marriage and Caste in America: Separate and Unequal Families in a Post-Marital Age”, in a recent article cites a study from data supplied by Uber, the popular ride sharing service. She stated that Uber was an ideal source for such an analysis because “it Uber) uses an automatic pay formula based on the time and distance of a trip, with drivers assigned blindly to customers by an algorithm dependent entirely on their proximity. Among drivers—the corporate offices may be another matter—there is no old-boy network, no salary negotiation, and no possibility that sexual harassment affects trip assignments”, and no implicit white-hetero-cis-male-superiority-bias, or whatever class deserving of the outrage du jour.

Uber’s highly flexible scheduling attracts a high number of female workers. The study found that there was no evidence that riders preferred males drivers to females and both men and women got the same number of tip, cancellations, and ratings.

However, men still made 7% more than women, very close to the 6.6% unexplained difference by the AAUW. Well, some of those who still try desperately to tell us that there is a wage gap and that we need to hire, elect, support or employ those who will rectify this wrong would probably try to argue that men dominate technology, they write the code, design the algorithms and they have programmed an institutional- cyber-bias or if that sounds too silly then perhaps computers are inherently sexist. Notwithstanding such nonsense this is also explained by simply examining the data and perhaps this can explain the remaining 6.6%

As found in most of the studies that debunked the 77% myth, the Uber data showed that men log in more hours, and they accept more lucrative-paying assignments. The Uber algo pays a premium to drivers willing to drive in unpopular areas or at unattractive times (i.e. South Chicago on Christmas morning at 3:00 am), and men are more willing to take on these assignments. Also, men, for whatever reason, tended to drive a little (about 2%) faster. (Yup, they actually track that stuff). The seemingly small difference was sufficient to accumulate more rides and rack up more experience. In toto this explains the 7% difference.

I think we have, at this point explained all the 77% difference plus an additional 0.4%. So, I think we can say that this myth has been busted (again, I see this becoming an annual event).

What we have shown is that the Gender Wage Gap is a myth. The wage gap can be explained by difference in position, hours worked, and life and career choices. (Tuck that away for later)

I would like to conclude with a rather ironic story to place the final nail in this myth’s coffin. – In 2016 the Conservative newspaper, the Washington Free Beacon (“Beacon”) reported that “An analysis determined that Senator Elizabeth Warren pays her female staffers less than their male counterparts.” But unlike the mythical pay gap that I am arguing against here which is 77%, the Beacon said that Warren paid her female staffers even less, only 71% of what she paid her male workers. Yikes. The Beacon’s analysis was based on median salaries exactly like the mythical 77%

Warren, who has used the 77% wage gap figure to argue the oppression of the fairer sex for years, and quite loudly and passionately, angrily rebuffed the Beacon’s numbers and quoted the far-left fact-checking website, Snopes, saying that the Beacon’s 71% percent wage gap that could be easily explained away if you take into consideration, “variables such as experience and education levels, as well as staff turnover and the reality that people with different job titles earn different salaries.” And pointed out that “The methodology used in the (Beacon) analysis is flawed; they combined positions and people at different levels in the office.” (Remember the fact that I suggested you tuck away?)

Thank you, Senator Warren, for explaining and debunking the Wage Gap Myth for us. (Happy Equal Pay Day! Which is April 10, but may be better to move to April 1, to share and coincide with a more appropriate holiday).

And if I may conclude with an appeal to Senator Warren, the AAUW, the CWEALF and all those who still attempt to perpetuate this nonsense. If you are sincere about helping women overcome sexism (and yes, it does exist), address the issue with the facts not BS, and this Conservative will be there with you. However, if you simply want good sound bite to help you get elected, or get hired, then we are going to be going through this every year. Proposing ineffective legislation like H.B. 5387 or S.B. 15 will accomplish nothing, and the problem remains. (See addendum)

Addendum

I promised to come back to a possible hidden bonanza for a select few as a result of legislation proposed to combat the Wage Gap craze. In a small UK airline, only 4% of its pilots are women, which is the highest paid job classification except for the exec staff. The UK law which forces companies to publish their “wage gap” currently does not mandate anything else, for now, its objective is to embarrass companies to narrow the mythical gap.

So this airline has a few options, they can greatly increase the salaries of their cabin crew and ground personnel, or they can reduce the salaries of their pilots. Since pilots are in shorter supply, the latter probably is not an option since to totally eliminate the wage gap, the pilots salaries would have to reduced to a level well under the median salary of the cabin crew and counter personnel. The former may also be impractical to implement. Since there are an average of 15 cabin crew, desk, and customer service personnel for each pilot the cost to eliminate  the wage gap would be prohibitively expensive.

In fact, since the population of the non-pilot employees are 38% male the salary increases would have to be increased 272% placing the bag handler’s new salary (about €123,000) within a couple thousand euros below the pilot’s salary (about €125,000). It would also result in a 210% increase in total salary expenses, which would certainly throw any airline, and most businesses, into bankruptcy.

The optimal, albeit equally unattractive, solution would be to increase the annual salaries of the 4 female pilots from €125,000 to €1,458,333, which demonstrates the  bonanza I referred to above. Like so many well-intentioned, but poorly thought-out, initiatives meant to help women or minorities, they usually wind up helping only an extremely small number of the subject group, and these benefits almost always go to those who need it least.