The radical feminist movement has been agitating for this PFA-type legislation for nearly three decades. Sometimes they call it "pay equity," and sometimes they call it "comparable worth," but those terms are euphemisms for government wage control.
The feminists want federal law to replace "equal pay for equal work" with "equal pay for equal worth." And they want "worth" to be decided by feminist bureaucrats and judges.
"Equal work" can be judged by objective factors such as experience, time in the labor force, hours worked per week, working conditions and the work actually done. "Worth" is a very subjective concept. Most people probably think they are worth more than they are being paid and deserve a raise.
The Obama feminists recite the tiresome mantra that women are paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to men. That's completely false because it doesn't take into account that men take many high-risk and unpleasant jobs, suffering 90 percent of occupational fatalities, so they should earn more.
Each of us is paid a compromise between what we think we're worth and what someone is willing to pay. Those millions of decisions add up to what we call the private enterprise system and the free market economy.
Why are football and baseball players paid more than the president? Lawyers more than ministers? Rock stars more than musicians in major symphony orchestras? Should government decide what people are worth and bias the pay scales based on gender?
If it were really true that businesses pay women less than men for the same work, then cost-conscious bosses would hire only or mostly women. Since that doesn't happen, there must be other factors.
The proper role of government is to provide equal opportunity, not preferential treatment based on warped social theory, especially when the feminist arguments are so demonstrably false, and their demands will increase unemployment.
People who work longer hours earn more, and they should, yet government statistics are based on a 35-hour work week even though many, especially men on average, work longer hours. Equal pay for everyone is a Marxist notion -- we believe in equal pay for equal work.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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