Democrats Keep Pushing Gender Wage Gap Myth

magnify-dollarObama reinforced it in the State of the Union. It’s a plank of Hillary’s platform. Today Bernie Facebooked it to mixed reviews:

Women are making 79 cents on the dollar compared to men. For women of color it’s even worse. African American women earn just 63 cents for every dollar a white male earns, while the figure for Hispanic women is just 54 cents. That’s nothing but sexism and discrimination.

But there’s a convincing argument that the gender pay gap is a myth. Attempting to address a phantom problem with new regulations would have negative side effects, not all of which can be predicted. The attention would be better spent on the latter half of Bernie’s message, the plight of minority workers, but even then he’s a little off the mark.

Race is just one marker in a person’s economic equation. It’s easier to identify and track ethnicity than follow individual family trees. We know more about black Americans than we do the descendants of indentured Irish farmers fleeing famine or Polish Jews or other now-generically-“white” groups. When we do drill down to the family level, we see similar effects from inter-generational poverty and racist policy. If your great-grandparents were poor, you’re likely poor.

To beat this, America needs a small business revival, with stimulus and guidance given to the neighborhoods with the most to gain regardless of racial mix. Trusting big companies to maintain stable jobs has proven disastrous to many. Direct government employment can only help while projects are funded.

Putting folks’ futures back into their own hands is a better guarantee of long term success. There is still plenty of opportunity for innovation, and plenty of willing workers; we just need to figure out how to connect the two without spending ourselves into a debt spiral.

By addressing jobs, we address poverty, which in turn affects violent crime, drug use, property crime, domestic violence, education levels, birth rates… issues that cross artificial racial and gender lines.

We need to work together on this. Systemic racism and individual bigots need to be fought, but the bigger influence today is economic. Pointing fingers amongst ourselves based on skin color, gender, income or birthplace is a toxic waste of time.

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Jay is Editor In Chief of The Agonist, veteran and technologist.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • America needs a small business revival

    True, but how?

    1. Increase demand by increasing wages
    2. Anti-trust to break up monopolies (Home Depot & Lowes for example)
    3. Tariffs to create manufacture in the US
    4. Preferential treatment for companies who build in the US.
    5. Very high death duties (estate taxes)
    6. Elimination of regressive taxes (Sales tax, Property tax), etc

    If one just describe an issue without proposing fixes, one is just arm waving. The objective is to focus on solutions, and discuss relative effectiveness of solutions.

  • No, my piece isn’t a 12-point plan for the revival of small American business, it’s just a flashlight on what I think is a more productive route than identity politics.

    #1 on your list is in the works. #2 thru #6 are going to get even bigger pushback.

    I suppose my vision is more of a bottom-up, we-can-do-it ownership of the situation. I bootstrapped a few endeavors; in a service based economy you can bring a new startup online with only your own labor capital. If you can convince a few people to join you in the risk, a small group can bring a product or service to market in a matter of weeks with minimal cash.

    The first step is believing one can, then support from community and those with experience.

    Because small businesses will meet local or niche needs, there’s no one-size-fits-all template for getting these going, but once you have an idea with merit (demonstrated customers demand) there are examples to draw from.

    One good angle to examine is what’s being shipped in that could be handled locally. Evergreen in Ohio is an incubator that figured out laundry service, lettuce and solar installation were the right projects in their area. A different community might benefit from a bakery, an online trade school and tax preparation.

    You can wait for the government to get an aid program together, or wait for a big corporation to open a plant in your county. Hustling up your own opportunities is very rewarding. We need to do what we can to support the attitude and the action.

    Policy wise, credit unions could be empowered, a new small business loan system could be developed, education materials could be developed, PSA’s could be run…

    One advantage of a large collection of small businesses is that few big top-down (and potentially contentious) policy changes might be necessary, and a loose system like that might be more resistant to shock or flaws in government reasoning.

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