I listened to a little bit of the state of the union address, catching Obama’s gender-baiting comments before turning off the TV. He hit just a couple feminist talking points and didn’t dwell on them for too long, but got rousing applause from the audience. His nod to feminism got louder applause than anything else I heard come out of his mouth.
Here’s the text of that part:
Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work. She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job. A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship – and you know what, a father does, too. It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode. This year, let’s all come together – Congress, the White House, and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street – to give every woman the opportunity she deserves. Because I firmly believe when women succeed, America succeeds.
I think the enthusiastic response was as much a result of the composition of the audience as anything, but the difficulties working women face are real, and I understand the appeal of family-friendly policies. However, this “pay gap” lie is really damaging, and not only for men, but for everyone in a family. Taking everything into account, including hours worked, seniority and profession, women are not paid less for the same work. To force equal pay for women who don’t work as much as their male counterparts would be a tax on men that primarily benefits single, childless women — not mothers, who obtain much of their support from their children’s fathers.
So what you’d have is a situation in which careerist high-T type females would be living large while families would be relatively poorer. It’s a terrible idea that would benefit the few at the expense of the many. A better way to immediately improve the lot of poor mothers would be to give men who pay child support tax breaks for their payments. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it’s better than a law that won’t do a damn thing for the kinds of women and children who really do need the extra money.