"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The No Information Voter and "Fair Pay"

This week's White House-driven onslaught of propaganda about "fair pay" for women is a transparent attempt to distract voters from Obama's dismal record in advance of the 2014 midterms.  

Let's face it, Dems can't run on the Administration's foreign policy successes -- there are none.   With Russian resurgence in the Crimea, the Syria-Egypt-Libya debacles, retreats from victory in Iraq and Afghanistan, a soon-to-be nuclear Iran, alienated relations with our key allies, a new superpower rival in a surging China, etc., etc., etc., no Democrat is going to want to talk about or be associated with Obama's foreign policy.  

And they can't run on the economy, which has been bumbling along in a basically jobless recovery for four years (or at least they used to call these patterns "jobless recoveries" when Republicans were in the Oval Office).  

And, of course, the big one... no Democratic Senatorial candidate wants to (or can) defend Obamacare.   They've postponed and postponed the reckoning, but those tactics won't work forever.... essentially they've just slowed down the Titanic, but the ship of state remains on course toward the field of icebergs, as Michael Ramirez here brilliantly depicts:

So what can Democrats do?   They can appeal to what I'd like to call the "no information" voter.  

You've heard the term "low-information" voter, the voter who doesn't really have enough interest in politics to take the time to study issues with any kind of depth.  

But I think what the Democrats are really appealing to are "no information" voters -- people who literally can't open their eyes to look around them at the world and compare political rhetoric to the reality around them.

Hence the mindless nodding of consumers of the claptrap spewed by the White House this week about how women are paid 77 cents on the dollar compared to men.    

But this statistic is a bald-faced lie, and has been disproven time and again.    It originates from an utterly useless and trivial calculation -- the average income of women throughout the U.S. divided by the average income of men.    The purveyors of the statistic then make the entirely fallacious assumption that, on average, men and women have the same education, same experience, same work history, same skills, and are doing the same jobs as men.    Then they announce with utter cynicism that women make 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men and loudly proclaim a desire for "equal pay for equal work!"   

But anyone who doesn't close their eyes to reality knows (a) that women in fact often don't have the same work experience as men, because they often take many years off to raise children; and (b) that women in fact often aren't employed in the same types of jobs as men, tending to skew away from dangerous (and highly paid) jobs and jobs that require a lot of travel, instead opting for less dangerous, often clerical or bureaucratic jobs that provide lots of time off and regular hours, again to permit more time for child care.  There are obviously individual women who don't fit these criteria -- there are, for instance, probably some women who work on oil rigs and some men who are secretaries, just as there are men who stay home with children while their wives work.   But the White House isn't talking about specific individuals, they're talking about a wildly general statistic, so they ought in fairness recognize the general and prevailing patterns that affect the meaningfulness of that statistic.

Of course, they're not interested in fairness.   They're interested in pushing votes.   And they are cynical... they know there are people out there who are perfectly capable of closing their eyes to the reality around them -- their own mothers, their own friends staying home with children, their own sisters making decisions trading off career opportunities for child-raising -- and instead are capable of believing a myth that employers actively discriminate in pay against women doing the same work as men, even though any such tactic is already, and has long been, illegal under federal law.     

These "no information" voters living in a fog of liberal propaganda are the real target of the White House's "equal pay for women" mantra.


A postscript.   It is a known and commented-upon fact in 2014 that for the past few years more women are graduating college than men.   If employers could really hire women for 77 cents on the dollar with the same education as men, presumably if they paid the same amount they could get a better educated, more productive female work force.   Either way -- paying 77 cents on the dollar for equivalent production from women or 100 cents on the dollar for more productivity from women -- would make economic sense.   Why then aren't we seeing companies with predominantly or exclusively female employees?  

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