Barack Obama's pandering to the feminists makes him look like the suitor who is unwilling to face up to his beloved's announcing she will marry another man. In desperation, he showers her with expensive gifts, hoping to win back her favor.
A majority of women were captivated by Obama's charms in 2008. Now, according to the pro-Obama New York Times, Obama is reduced to pleading with them "not to abandon the Democratic Party in its hour of need."
Like Julius Caesar, Obama must be thinking that ingratitude is "the most unkindest cut of all." To reclaim the feminists' affections, he is campaigning in a "fevered push to cement a Democratic firewall" that can re-elect Sens. Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray.
Obama's principal plan to nail down the loyalty of the feminists is to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA). It has already passed the House, and Majority Leader Harry Reid plans a Senate vote in a mischievous lame duck session.
This bill would amend the Equal Pay Act (EPA) to shift decision-making about wages and salaries from employers to judges and juries, a longtime goal of the feminists who want wages to be based on subjective motions of "worth" rather than on market rates. The Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) would also reward another Obama constituency by opening a lucrative channel for trial lawyers to file class-action lawsuits against employers and collect punitive damages in unlimited amounts.
The PFA would make it difficult for employers to know if they are in compliance with the law -- in fact, they won't know the answer to that question until they are in the middle of an expensive lawsuit. With every management decision, the employer will be asking his lawyer, "Am I going to be sued?"
The PFA would give the courts the power to micromanage all personnel decisions. That's a goal the feminists have sought for nearly 30 years under the slogans "pay equity" and "comparable worth."
The PFA expands grounds for litigation even for unintentional violations. In assessing discrimination, the courts would decide if work experience is a "bona fide factor other than sex."
Employers already must justify their pay practices with a factor other than sex and defend it in court. Under PFA, employers with as few as two employees will be able to defend themselves only by adopting and funding an "alternative employment practice" that does not result in a pay disparity.
For example, a woman earning less than a more experienced man could argue that work experience is not a "bona fide" factor because the employer could have eliminated the disparity by the "alternative employment practice" of training the woman for the job.
The PFA would reinstate the Equal Opportunity Survey to identify employers for further investigation. The Department of Labor had discontinued use of this survey because of its gross inaccuracies.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights sent a letter to senators voicing clear-cut opposition to the Paycheck Fairness Act. The commission's letter stated that the PFA "will succeed only in placing heavy and unnecessary burdens on employers. Those burdens will be felt by all Americans, both men and women."
The commission effectively refuted what it called "the foundation on which the argument for this bill is built," namely, that "women are paid only 77 cents for every dollar men are paid." The commission's letter lists factors other than discrimination that explain pay differences: different specialties in college degrees, leaving the workforce for childbirth and rearing and elder care, men taking jobs that involve physical risks, women taking jobs with availability of time off for child emergencies.
No feminist-supported legislation would be complete without including grants of taxpayers' money to feminist organizations. The PFA authorizes grants to "eligible entities" (aka feminist groups) to teach feminists "negotiation skills" to demand higher salaries.
The National Economic Council (NEC), a policy front for the White House, issued a 26-page report boasting how the Obama administration has promoted economic benefits especially for women. The report cited the expansion of the EITC (earned income tax credit), which gives tax-free financial handouts disproportionately to single moms.
Other goodies cited in the NEC report, which The New York Times admitted was "timed to the Nov. 2 election," include new handouts for community college students, 56 percent of whom are female, and very large sums of aid to states to be spent on jobs for teachers and nurses, most of whom are women.
The NEC report pegs its argument to the feminists' false whine that women are paid only "77 cents for every dollar paid to men." And, the White House brought out Valerie Jarrett to threaten that bad Republicans in Congress would take away benefits for women.
(See www.eagleforum.org for supporting links.)
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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