Gender wage gap still a problem for women, families
Your Wednesday editorial praising Gov. Perry’s veto of HB 950 was accurate up to a point. It is true that the bill won’t close the pay gap between men and women, but would have brought Texas law in line with federal law on the issue of pay discrimination.
However, your statement that “there are already plenty of laws in place that mandate equal pay for men and women” is off the mark. The Equal Pay Act that celebrated its 50th anniversary Monday says it is illegal to pay men and women differently for the same work. But, as some have noted, most things that are 50 years old may need repair.
Today, one year out of college, women graduates are already paid less than men with whom they graduated. Some of this difference is explained by factors known to affect earnings, such as occupation, college major, and hours worked. But even accounting for all these factors, a recent report from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), “Graduating to Pay Gap: The Earnings of Women and Men One Year After College,” found that women one year out of college are still paid 6.6 percent less than their male counterparts.
And, if you think 6.6 percent isn’t worth bothering with, consider that the average annual $2,800 difference would buy a year’s worth of groceries. If she’s a single mother, head of her household, or her husband is out of a job, that 6.6 percent does make a difference.
Your editorial touts Perry’s veto as a way to help keep Texas a “business-friendly environment.” Business-friendly shouldn’t only apply to CEO’s but to the women (and men) whose work keeps businesses open. Your statement that “No one has to take a job; no one has to stay in a job” is inaccurate and insensitive to the plight of women (and men) who will take any job they can find so they can keep their house, pay the electric bill, buy groceries, and continue to hope for something better.
No matter what amount of blame one assigns to the president for the undue targeting of conservative groups by the IRS or the overbroad seizure of reporters’ phone records by the DOJ or the domestic digital surveillance program conducted by the NSA, one cumulative effect of these errors remains undeniable: Americans have lost confidence and trust in their government.
This shaken resolve puts our national security at risk. To be sure, the new threat of global terrorism that America has faced in the wake of 9/11 and the innovative methods that terrorists can use to attack us have required a reassessment of our balance between liberty and security. Indeed, the NSA program recently scrutinized is probably necessary to keep us safe.
But the warrant to conduct such programs requires that Americans trust their government to not run roughshod over their constitutional rights. Unfortunately, this president and his executive agencies continue to undermine that trust by the week. As a recent college graduate just now entering the “real world,” I cannot help but wonder whether the precedents currently being set by the Obama administration will force my generation to deal with subsequent presidents who might make the abuse of power a hallmark of the office.
In his draft of the Kentucky Resolution in 1798 that famously attempted to nullify federal legislation, Thomas Jefferson noted, “It is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power.
Our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go.”
President Obama would do well to observe those Constitutional limits and whip his Executive branch into shape until it does the same in order to restore whatever amount of Americans’ trust there is left to be salvaged.