So during the state of the union address, there are these applause lines. Some lines get pretty much unanimous support, e.g. “Let’s bring our troops home!” Saying America is the awesomest will get a standing ovation every time. But then there are lines which only half the chamber applauds. Lines which have a clear partisan appeal. That brings me to the Paycheck Fairness Act.
The Huffington Post did an article about how the PFA bill might revolutionize the retail industry. But for those who don’t know:
[The bill] would have required employers to demonstrate that any salary differences between men and women doing the same work are not gender-related. The bill also would have prohibited employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with their co-workers, and would have required the Labor Department to increase its outreach to employers to help eliminate pay disparities.
Think of it as a companion to the Lily Ledbetter bill. Only this bill puts the onus on employers to make sure that they aren’t being discriminatory in terms of salaries.
Back to the speeches. So one of the cool games you can play while watching events like the State of the Union address is to look at who the camera focuses on during these applause lines. You can see John McCain smirking uncomfortably while the President talks about legislation that the Senator used to champion regarding global warming. But my favorite of the night was the Republican women refusing to applaud for the Paycheck Fairness Act. Among the guilty: Congresswoman Virginia Foxx of North Carolina.
It’s apparently fine with these Congressional members that women get paid an average of 75 cents on the dollar for the same job as men. It’s bad enough that they aren’t interested in working to fix the problem. But a passive lack of interest is not retrograde enough for these folks. These women are actively working to stymie progress by voting against the bill.
We can attribute a simple, transparent, id-driven sort of bad faith to the Republican congressmen on the wrong side of this issue. Let’s be honest — among the slimy realities of power and paradigm shifts is the fact that not all members of the party at risk of ceding their previous unearned advantages will be super excited to do so. But to have women actively working against the interests of their group as a whole is a different kind of issue. It only starts to make a kind of twisted sense when you realize that these individual women are not personally affected by the problem they are being asked to solve — senators make a standard salary — and as long as they’re in their current positions, as members of a party very much entrenched against the interests of women in general on a whole range of issues, these individual women will be doing just fine.
So, great, Virginia Foxx & co. You’ve already got your nice six figure salary, which is exactly the same as males members of Congress. So who cares about the rest of the populace, right? Wrong. I believe that the fact that we have women voting against this bill is the most ridiculous of situations, but I also have a solution. If you are a woman and member of Congress who votes against the Paycheck Fairness Act, you are standing by the principle that pay equity is not a big deal to you. So in order to put your money where your mouth is, as they say, you must also kindly give up an appropriate portion of your salary. The pay disparity is different depending on the state you live in. So for Virginia Foxx, Republican of North Carolina, that would only be 25% of her salary, since North Carolina is one of the “better” states for gender income disparity. But that also means that Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, must refund 32% of her salary. And Kelly Ayotte Republican of New Hampshire, must refund 35% of hers.
The garnished wages can then be used to build schools for girls in third-world countries. That way, everybody wins: these Republican women would no longer be quite such transparently self-serving hypocrites, and those dollars that otherwise would be lining their pockets might actually do some real good for women in the world.
I think it could work. Seems worth trying to me. Then again, you should know your role ladies.
Categories: Politics Fix