Leave the power with the market

To the editor:

The Copper Country Sound Off on the front page of the Tuesday, April 8 (Equal Pay Day) issue of the Daily Mining Gazette asked the question “Do you think there is a disparity between pay for men and women doing the same job?” All four responses were yes answers.

Then on April 11 a Gazette article “Stabenow takes on fair pay” reported that Kerri Sleeman “got a rude surprise” when she found out male coworkers she supervised made more than her and has joined Debbie Stabenow in the fight for the Paycheck Fairness Act.

The only way to study the pay gap is on a paycheck-by-paycheck basis for a man and woman doing the same job after controlling variables like personal choice, education, experience, hours, other benefits, etc.

Once this is done the 23 cent gap of a woman making 77 cents on the dollar of her male coworkers shrinks into the single-digit range.

The smaller pay gap persists for two reasons. The first is discrimination and obviously an employer’s prejudices can affect the second reason, wage negotiations, but this is true for anyone seeking employment from someone else.

The cutline under the photo with the April 11 article said that Sleeman found out the men working underneath her were making more because they were their families’ “sole breadwinners,” but “sole breadwinners” doesn’t equal men.

It goes back to wage negotiations. Either the applicant or the employer may hold opinions most disagree with and that may influence negotiations, but both parties still focus on trying to minimize costs (for the employers it’s expenses and for the employee it’s time and energy) and maximize income.

Being a man or a breadwinner is equally irrelevant. The fact is that people underneath Sleeman whose merit plus time and energy outputs were, I assume, less than hers made more money simply based on the whims of her employer, but does this require a law?

One that just further undermines property rights?

No. Surely the best part of Sleeman’s story is the discriminating engineering firm filing for bankruptcy.

The government is responding to a problem the market solved a decade ago.

But the government can’t acknowledge that fact because leaving power in the market and in the hands of consenting individuals doesn’t justify or expand the powers of the state. However, making victims does.

Nick Lincoln

L’ANSE