09 January 2009

Death to the Free Market?

This does not bode well.

The Democratic majority is also resurrecting the concept of "comparable worth" with the Paycheck Fairness Act. This idea holds that only discrimination can explain why female-dominated professions (teachers, secretaries) tend to command lower wages than male-dominated professions (plumbers, truck drivers). Yet most of these pay disparities are explained by relative experience, schooling or job characteristics. Teachers do tend to earn less than truck drivers, despite more education. Then again, truck drivers work long, hard, often unpredictable hours. The market -- not some secret patriarchy -- places different values on different jobs. And in the case of teachers, the main salary setter is the government.


The paycheck fairness legislation would nonetheless require labor officials to use comparable worth in creating "voluntary" wage guidelines for industries. Voluntary or not, these guidelines would become the basis for more litigation against companies that didn't follow them.

And not just because it empowers attorneys.


But this is the government we (collectively) voted for.

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