Obama continues his own War on Reality while hyping the Republican War on Women. Here he is on equal pay for equal work, speaking down in Florida:
So this is a family agenda. But it starts with making sure that every woman is getting a fair shot. It’s time for a woman’s economic agenda that grows our economy for everybody. Now, that begins with making sure women receive equal pay for equal work. This is a really simple principle. This should not be confusing. (Laughter and applause.) It’s not that complicated.
Today, more women are their family’s main breadwinner than ever before. But on average, women are still earning just 77 cents on every dollar that a man does. Women with college degrees may earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less over the course of her career than a man at the same educational level. And that’s wrong. This isn’t 1958, it’s 2014. That’s why the first bill I signed into law was called the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act -- (applause) -- and it made sure that it was easier for women to sue if they weren’t being paid the same as men.
ORLANDO, Fla. — President Obama has vowed to make 2014 a “year of action,” using his executive authority to bypass a Congress where his agenda is so stalled that even the confirmation of his surgeon general nominee is held up. But at a Thursday speech at a community college here in Central Florida, the limitations of that so-called pen and phone strategy were clear.
While Mr. Obama talked up his efforts to improve women’s economic opportunities through his executive authority, he was still leaning on the most enduring tool in the presidential kit — the pulpit — in order to get Congress to take action.
Pointing out that women earn 77 cents for every dollar men earn, the president called on reluctant lawmakers to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen earlier bans on disparities in pay.
No context or criticism of that "77 cents" claim is presented. And we must award bonus points to the Times for their context-free assertion that Obama's "agenda is so stalled that even the confirmation of his surgeon general nominee is held up". That confirmation is stalled in the Dem-controlled, filibuster-free Senate because nervous Red-State Democrats think the nominee is one more lib too far.
SINCE YOU ASK: Equal pay for equal work has been the law of the land since 1963. My cursory research indicates that the Paycheck Fairness Act restricts one of the safe harbors included in that act:
Under the Equal Pay Act, the law that makes it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially equal work, an individual subject to wage discrimination must establish that “(1) the employer pays different wages to employees of the opposite sex; (2) the employees perform equal work on jobs requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility; and (3) the jobs are performed under similar working conditions.” Even if the individual makes each of these showings, the defendant employer may avoid liability by proving that the wage disparity is justified by one of four affirmative defenses—that is, that the employer has set the challenged wages pursuant to “(1) a seniority system; (2) a merit system; (3) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (4) a differential based on any other factor other than sex.”
Congress intended the Equal Pay Act to serve a sweeping remedial purpose. As the Supreme Court has recognized, the Act was designed to remedy what was perceived to be a serious and endemic problem of employment discrimination in private industry—the fact that the wage structure of “many segments of American industry has been based on an ancient but outmoded belief that a man, because of his role in society, should be paid more than a woman even though his duties are the same.”
Despite the Equal Pay Act’s broad language and purpose, courts have narrowed and constrained the law in ways that undermine its fundamental goals. In particular, some courts have interpreted the “factor other than sex” defense to permit employers to pay discriminatory wages for a limitless number of reasons. The Paycheck Fairness Act would close this loophole by ensuring that employers relying on the “factor other than sex” defense may not pay men and women doing substantially equal work different wages unless the wage differential is justified by a job-related reason, such as education, training or experience, and consistent with business needs.
Democrats need to believe in this persistent, wide-spread discrimination against women just as they need to believe in widespread racism as a matter of self- and base-motivation. Reality is butting up against religion here.