Posts Tagged ‘paychecks’
The Wall Street Journal
NOVEMBER 18, 2010.
The plaintiffs bar loses in the Senate.
Democrats in Congress seem to have misconstrued the lame-duck session as one last chance to do tangible economic harm, so we should thank Senate Republicans for their public service yesterday in killing the White House priority of the “paycheck fairness” bill.
President Obama reacted with a statement blasting the “partisan minority of Senators” who blocked the bill: every Republican as well as Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson, who faces re-election in 2012. Mr. Obama vowed to “continue to fight for a woman’s right to equal pay for equal work,” as if the bill’s rationale—supposedly pervasive sex discrimination in the workplace—was as self-evident as universal suffrage.
The reality is that the bill would have rewritten labor law to equalize putative wage disparities between men and women, imposing big new costs on hiring as employers would have to comply with a raft of new regulations about their compensation decisions. What “equal pay” advocates call the male-female wage gap, to the extent it continues to exist, is mostly an artifact of occupational choices and the composition of the workforce.
Montana Sen. Jon Tester, a supporter of the paycheck fairness bill.
The bill was also a bouquet to the trial bar. Businesses would have to prove their pay practices weren’t the result of workplace bias. It also automatically drafted women as plaintiffs in class actions when lawyers sue employers.
Democrats hoped to get the equal pay bill through the Senate with the help of Republicans Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, who two years ago supported the Lilly Ledbetter bill, which allows people to file pay discrimination lawsuits for life without a statute of limitations. But yesterday’s real surprise wasn’t the wisdom of those Republican women, but was the Democrats running in 2012 who felt free to vote for this latest plaintiffs bar perk. Folks like Jon Tester of Montana, Jim Webb of Virginia and other red state Democrats put trial bar cash above job creation.
With unemployment at 9.6%, voters don’t want Congress to decide what counts as “paycheck fairness.” They’ll settle for paychecks.