Free Markets, Free People
If you were a group pushing legislation called the “Paycheck Fairness Act” that demanded gender equity in pay and benefits for working women (i.e. women being paid the same as men) and were beating up the other side and accusing them of making “war on women”, do you suppose before you did either you’d ensure your skirts were clean (no pun intended)?
Would you ensure you were paying women in your employ equally before trotting out your bombastic accusations?
Well most smart folks would, but we’re talking about Democratic Senators here. Five female Democratic Senators held a press conference yesterday in which they did exactly that – demanded equal pay for women and beat up Republicans. But:
Of the five senators who participated in Wednesday’s press conference—Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.), Patty Murray (D., Wash.), Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.)—three pay their female staff members significantly less than male staffers.
Murray, who has repeatedly accused Republicans of waging a “war a women,” is one of the worst offenders. Female members of Murray’s staff made about $21,000 less per year than male staffers in 2011, a difference of 35.2 percent.
That is well above the 23 percent gap that Democrats claim exists between male and female workers nationwide.
Its not just the Democratic women in the Senate though:
The pay differential is quite striking in some cases, especially among leading Democrats. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), who runs the Senate Democratic messaging operation, paid men $19,454 more on average, a 36 percent difference.
Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) paid men $13,063 more, a difference of 23 percent.
Other notable Senators whose “gender pay gap” was larger than 23 percent:
- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.)—47.6 percent
- Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D., N.M.)—40 percent
- Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.)—34.2 percent
- Sen. Ben Cardin (D., Md.)—31.5 percent
- Sen. Tom Carper (D., Del.)—30.4 percent
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.)–29.7 percent
- Sen. Kent Conrad (D., N.D.)–29.2 percent
- Sen. Bill Nelson (D., Fla.)—26.5 percent
- Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore)—26.4 percent
- Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa)—23.2 percent
By the way, you do recall that one of the first pieces of legislation passed in the Obama administration was something called the “Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act” which supposedly “solved” the gender pay disparity issue? Hey, it’s in all of Obama’s campaign literature.
“We passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act—the first bill I signed—so that equal pay for equal work is a reality all across this country,” he said in June 2009.
And you can see how well it “solved” the disparities that exist among Democratic Senatorial staffs, can’t you?
Not so hot. Europe:
Activity at European businesses hit a near three-year low in May, according to a survey by Markit.
Its index, based on a survey of purchasing managers in the manufacturing and service sector, fell to 45.9 in May, a 35-month low.
In response, the euro fell to $1.2515 against the dollar, a 22-month low.
"The flash PMI figures for May look horrible and provide a clear warning that eurozone GDP will almost certainly show a contraction in the second quarter after stagnating in the first quarter," said Martin Van Vliet, from the bank ING.
"It’s not good," said Peter Dixon from Commerzbank.
"The German ones were particularly disappointing, as we had been expecting some more buoyancy.
"It clearly indicates that the evaporating sentiment that we have seen in recent weeks, as the Greece crisis has intensified, is having a big impact on the economy."
A separate report from Germany’s Ifo showed that business confidence fell sharply in Germany in May.
China’s manufacturing activity contracted at a faster pace in May as conditions for exporters worsened during the month, the preliminary findings of a survey by HSBC showed Thursday. The "flash" reading of the manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index dropped to 48.7 in May from a final print of 49.3 in April, HSBC said. A measure below 50 in the survey indicates deterioration, whereas one above that figure shows an improvement. The flash reading is typically based on 85% to 90% of the total responses in the monthly survey.
The big red kangaroo is almost to the car.
Meanwhile, in the US, we’re focused on … politics. Silly politics.