Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Do as O Says, Not as O Does?

The Obama for President campaign is running a TV ad in Virginia that highlights the policy differences between Barack Obama and his principal opponent, Republican nominee John McCain, on the issue of equal pay for equal work.

Politico, the newspaper for political geeks, has posted a video of this ad to YouTube:

New York-based journalist Deroy Murdock has looked beneath the surface of these claims and has discovered that when it comes to equal pay for male and female employees, Senator Barack Obama is better at talking the talk than walking the walk.

His running mate, Delaware Senator Joseph Biden, also talks a good game but fails to deliver in his own practice as an employer.

But -- surprise -- Arizona Senator John McCain is better at delivering the goods than he is at talking about equal pay issues.

Here's what Murdock found in his research for an article on National Review Online, first with regard to Senator Obama:
Based on calculations using Senate pay records posted by, a political transparency organization, between October 1, 2007 and March 31, 2008, Obama’s 28 male staffers divided among themselves total payroll expenditures of $1,523,120. Thus, Obama’s average male employee earned $54,397 on an annualized basis.

Obama’s 30 female employees split $1,354,580 among themselves, or $45,152, on average.

Among Obama’s top five highest-paid — and likely most senior — employees, one was female. Among his top 20, seven were women.

All told, for every dollar that Obama paid his average male staffer, his female counterpart made just 83 cents.
Here are Murdock's findings about Senator Biden's office practices:
As for Biden, his 14 male staffers split a total payroll outlay of $1,077,128.40. So, Biden’s average male employee earned $76,937.74 per annum.

Biden’s 27 female employees divided $1,517,874.47, or $56,217.57, on average.

Among Biden’s top five highest-paid aides, one was a woman. Among the top 20, 11 were women.

All told, for every dollar that Biden paid his average male staffer, his female equivalent made only 73 cents.
Why are these numbers important? Murdock explains:
This number is significant. Not only does Biden discount women by more than a quarter per dollar paid to men, on average. Biden collides into the standard by which his own campaign berates major companies for alleged pay discrimination.

Beneath the website banner “Fighting for Pay Equity,” Obama-Biden’s women’s issues page complains that, “Despite decades of progress, women still make only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. A recent study estimates it will take another 47 years for women to close the wage gap with men at Fortune 500 corporate offices.”

Biden actually pays his average female employees four cents less than the level that triggers outrage on his own campaign’s website!
So what did Murdock find out, based on publicly available data, about John McCain's senate office employees? Here's the shocking evidence about McCain:
McCain’s 17 male staffers split $916,914, thus averaging $53,936. His 25 female employees divided $1,396,958 and averaged $55,878.

On average, these figures show, women in John McCain’s Senate office make $1.04 for every dollar a man makes — a full 31 cents higher than Biden pays. (For detailed figures see this chart. I outline my methodology in my previous piece.)
What do they say about people who live in glass houses?

1 comment:

J. Tyler Ballance said...

The statement below has been repeated over and over in the Press and it remains a damned lie!

"Despite decades of progress, women still make only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. A recent study estimates it will take another 47 years for women to close the wage gap with men at Fortune 500 corporate offices."

The reason this statement above is a damned lie is because the comparison is not between job for job, seniority to seniority. Someone who started this crap just took a pile of figures and tried to measure all women versus all men, while ignoring the key issues like maternity, the higher job mobility by women, and the cultural preferences exhibited by men and women for certain types of jobs.

The only accurate comparison is to compare a man to a woman who hold the same job with the same seniority. When this is done, many professions show that women are paid more than the Men in those same jobs. This is especially true today as corporate organizations are in a mad rush to show how "progressive" that they are, and as a consequence, they are pushing every minority and woman that they can find into high visibility positions. See the U.S. Department of Labor statistics and compare same job to same job with the same seniority.

See the Fiorina example at H-P for a classic case of shoving a woman out front without any qualification of consideration of the consequence to the shareholders.