Magazine article Insight on the News

Gore Proposes to Decide How Men, Women Should Be Paid on the Job

Magazine article Insight on the News

Gore Proposes to Decide How Men, Women Should Be Paid on the Job

Article excerpt

Vice President Al Gore was desperate. Before polls began flowing his way, the usual oracles decreed that he needed to solidify his liberal base. So he went for one of the kookiest proposals of the loony left: "comparable worth" This is the doctrine that the government can determine which jobs are of comparable worth to all others and can decide how to pay everyone equally for equal work.

These poor liberals just cannot help themselves. The early polls showed Gore did not have enough support from women. Women believe they are not paid enough (as if men do). But statistics show women make only 76 percent of what men earn, and the AFLCIO found women rated equal pay more important than health care. Naturally, Gore concluded the solution was a government program to set everyone's salary and that campaigning for "equal pay" for women would be good politics.

Of course, Gore & Co. do not utter the words "comparable worth." Indeed, they quietly whisper to friendly reporters who ask what business thinks that they oppose Sen. Tom Harkin's "Fair Pay Act" that would directly impose comparable worth. Gore "only" supports Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle's bill using "voluntary guidelines." But the bill directs the labor secretary to develop "guidelines" for job categories to be used "voluntarily" by all employers to compare wages for different jobs as a means to eliminate "unfair wage disparities" The hook is that businesses sued for being unfair would be subject to massive punitive damages. In fact, when courts try to enforce laws, they look to whatever is there. If there are guidelines, they will be enforced. Quotas and job preferences were imposed in this exact way, with courts imposing "guidelines" -- in this case, the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures -- as law.

None of this is new. Equal pay for women for equal work has been the law since 1963. It is true that since Congress toughened the penalties, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has forced more settlements upon business. But that is only because they calculate settlement is cheaper than bureaucratic harassment or punitive damages.

No data show widespread wage discrimination. Liberals tried to impose comparable worth in the 1980s, first for everyone and then only for the federal government as an easier target. This is how yours truly became an expert on this madness when director of the U. …

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