Imagine it’s the 1980s; you’ve got your green spandex on, listening to Duran Duran, and saying “like, totally” every three words. In retrospect, this won’t be the proudest moment of your life — but it’s good times right now. The world and the movie theaters are full of liberal new ideas, like women working just for the pride of working. Flat-soled tennis shoes become a social statement, and you’re like, totally on-board. Besides, you just saw Working Girl, and it was AWESOME! So, you put on your casual business burgundy, and stride purposefully into the nearest office building with resume in hand.
Now, imagine that same era seen from the 110th floor of Reagan’s Corporate America. Now, you’re a man in a suit, looking down at the street; you spot a young woman in a burgundy suit, striding purposefully into the building carrying a single manila envelope. You spot her tennis shoes, and a shark-like grin spreads.
“Excellent,” you say, much as Mr. Burns would later. “Those guys in the mail-room are making $10 an hour. Bet I can replace them with one of these for minimum wage. She’s probably never had a job in her life…and she might have kids to feed. She’ll take whatever we offer, and thank us for it. Excellent.”
Corporate America has been exploiting women for a long time now in just this way, and it’s no surprise that the GOP is like, totally on-board with the idea.
For the fifth time since 2011, Democrats brought the Paycheck Fairness Act to the Senate floor, and for the fifth time since 2011 Republicans have shot it dead. The Act would
- Ban employers from retaliating against people who talk about their salaries
- Impose harsher penalties for employers caught discriminating on the basis of pay
- Require proof, in cases of suspected discrimination, that the pay gap was due to factors other than gender.
The Act needed 60 votes to overcome the standard Republican filibuster, but fell short by a vote of 52 to 40. And the Republicans’ excuse?
Employers won’t hire women for fear of being sued.
Mitch McConnell said this:
“At a time when the Obama economy is already hurting women so much, this legislation would double down on job loss, all while lining the pockets of trial lawyers. In other words, it’s just another Democratic idea that threatens to hurt the very people that it claims to help.”
And there might be something to part of that. Law groups as a rule tend to donate more money to Democrats than Republicans, by a split of about 70-30 in favor of Dems. So, maybe this IS a case of “our donors versus yours.” That being said…
Who are the Republicans’ top donor industries, comparatively speaking?
- Oil and Gas, 88-12 split
- Misc. Manufacturing and Distribution, 72-28 split
- Commercial Banks, 70-30 split
- Wall Street Banks and Brokers, 63-37 split
Now, let’s check the biggest female-employing industries:
- Education and health services
- Wholesale/Retail Trade
- Professional/Business Services (secretaries)
- Financial Activities (banks)
OK, now let’s check the female pay split in those industries, current as of 2009:
- Manufacturing, 74 percent of male’s
- Wholesale/Retail Trade, 76 percent of male’s
- Financial Activities (banks), 71 percent of male’s
- Professional/Business Services (Secretaries), 77 percent of males
So, maybe Mitch is right.
Maybe this is a cynical donor-on-donor battle.
But it’s pretty clear whose donors make the most money on exploiting women, and who stands to lose the most most money if something like the Paycheck Fairness Act were to pass.
Simply put, it would be terribly expensive to have to give a 30 percent raise to all those assembly-line workers, secretaries, bank tellers and cashiers. And we can’t risk having those sweet donor dollars flowing from the Female Exploitation industry to the Democrats’ lawyers, can we?
It’s about time for somebody to call management…we might have a problem with the secretaries.
h/t: Huffington Post