Charlotte Hays

The White House probably didn’t enjoy Equal Pay Day—the bogus feminist holiday cynically used to rally women voters—half as much as usual this year. Think of Equal Pay Day 2014 as a bad hair day for the phony 77 cents gender wage gap.

An administration official, Betsey Stevenson, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, no less, got caught red-handed peddling the 77 cents wage gap (to portray women as suffering workplace discrimination that can only be alleviated by more government), even though she knew that the figure is simply wrong.

A newspaper story said that the White House was forced to publicly “walk back” the oft-repeated number. Knowing the Obama administration’s vaunted flexibility with numbers, I fully expect the White House to walk it forward again as soon as the coast is clear. Still, Stevenson was called on the phony statistic publicly in a press briefing, and this is progress. The White House could also not have been pleased with liberal Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus’ Thursday column, wherein Marcus said that, in the “unlikely event” that she was elected to Congress, she’d vote for the “Paycheck Fairness Act” but chastised the Democrats for their “revolting equal-pay demagoguery.” Even if Marcus had been in Congress, however, her vote would not have saved the “Paycheck Fairness Act” yesterday, which was voted down in another uncomfortable day for the White House.

Elsewhere in Equal Pay Day news, the White House was asked why in its own shop women are paid only 88 cents on the dollar to what male White House employees make. White House press secretary Jay Carney defensively claimed that the White House is doing better than other employers.

Carney went on to explain that women’s pay is affected by the number of hours worked a week, the types of jobs they seek and several other factors—in short, what the Independent Women’s Forum (my employer) and others have been saying for years.

As Brit Hume of Fox News put it, Carney “actually did a pretty good job of explaining why this whole idea that women make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men is snake oil because women make different choices about what kind of jobs they seek. They make different choices in reaction to marriage and child birth.” Next time IWF does a panel on the gender wage gap, I’m inviting Jay Carney to be a panelist…on our side.


Charlotte Hays

Director of Cultural Programs at the Independent Women's Forum.