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The Democrats' 'Fairness' Canard

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Only one group of Americans can make this nation a fairer place: trial lawyers.

After all, crushing injustice has enveloped the nation. New Yorkers make more money than Iowans. Female lawyers earn more than male fishermen. People who are 6 feet tall -- and I saw this in a semi-scientific study -- earn, on average, about $5,000 more annually than people who are 5 feet 6 inches tall. Beautiful women populate cable TV news shows, while doughy, middle-aged, pale-skinned columnists are relegated to the Internet and newspapers.

Unfair, but not ridiculous. For that, we turn to the deeply stupid Paycheck Fairness Act, which failed to overcome GOP opposition in the Senate (where Democrats pay female staffers 18 percent less than they do men) this week.

Let's, for a moment, pretend that laws against discrimination do not already exist. And let's, for the sake of argument, treat the Paycheck Fairness Act as earnest policy meant to alleviate a terrible societal mess rather than a political stunt that allows the White House (where women make about 10K less annually than their male co-workers) to accuse half the country of supporting a patriarchal dictatorship.

If we do, we can learn a lot about the left's view of human nature, capitalism and choices.

Apparently, we live in a country dominated by misogynists rather than in one resembling a meritocracy. If there's anything business owners love more than money, it's hating women. Alas, without government, you can never reach your potential. After all, the argument presupposed that the gender pay gap is the result of widespread "discrimination" and "unfairness" -- a matter so serious that a half-dozen senators were driven to news conferences this week to explain how terrible the problem is. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said, "There will be Democrats in favor of ending this discrimination, and virtually all Republicans -- and I hope that I'm wrong on this -- are going to vote against it."

So now, if you don't support a bill that allows lawyers to bore into the souls of employers and discern their motivations, you, my friend, favor discrimination. You know, just like Susan Collins of Maine and the woman haters on the editorial boards of The Boston Globe and The Washington Post.

Women earn only 77 cents for every dollar men do. Period. When there is moral preening to be done, even people who think of themselves as the most thoughtful, sophisticated, non-ideological people on earth -- Democrats in Washington -- won't surrender to the complexity of an issue.

It is irrelevant that the pay gap may be the result of innocent hiring practices. It doesn't matter if women more often -- and more wisely -- take on fewer unpleasant or physically demanding jobs or that they may often choose careers that weigh the importance of salary differently than the ones men choose or that women -- and blame God or nature or both -- give birth, take career breaks and are more inclined to take part-time jobs to be able to mother those pesky kids.

As Christina Hoff Sommers of the American Enterprise Institute points out, "an analysis of more than 50 peer-reviewed papers, commissioned by the Labor Department, found that the so-called wage gap is mostly, and perhaps entirely, an artifact of the different choices men and women make -- different fields of study, different professions, different balances between home and work."

Do Democrats really believe there is a war on women in the workplace -- in their own offices, no less -- or do they simply want to lord over every aspect of the employer-employee relationship? What's most vitally "fair," it seems, is that Washington try to make the private sector run like a public-sector union shop.

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