Monday, September 29, 2008

Equal Pay

After watching the Ballgames yesterday I change channels to TMC in time to catch the ending of the African Queen, ate supper and took a late afternoon nap. When my daughter awakened me, I put the boob tube back on to see if there were any good movies on the commercial free cable channels.

There was nothing worth watching that I hadn’t seen at least 20 times. There are some movies that you can watch 100 times, none of them were on last night. I noticed that there were 5 episodes of House, MD on the USA Network. I’ve seen most of the episodes at least once, but even with all of the commercials they are worth watching a second or third time.

In the first set of commercials, there were two for other USA programs and one PPA (see yesterdays Blog below). The PPA was for Barack Obama. It showed several clips from his speeches and was obviously directed towards women voters. In the AD he repeats twice “Equal pay for equal work”. I am sure that he was targeting Senator McCain’s opposition to Senator Edward Kennedy’s Bill proposal in the Senate last spring.

McCain said “I am all in favor of pay equality for women, but this kind of legislation, as is typical of what’s being proposed by my friends on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems, this is government playing a much, much greater role in the business of a private enterprise system.” Spoken like a true Republican!

Politically I am what is called a Conservative Liberal. But I do not agree with Kennedy’s proposal. On the other hand, I also do not agree with Senator McCain’s retort.

I do agree with equal pay for equal work. But what does this phrase actually mean?

For example, if I am making widgets and a fellow employee is also making widgets and we are both getting the same amount of pay per hour that is equal pay for equal work. However, if I am making an average of 2 more widgets per day than my fellow employee, shouldn’t I be making more money per hour?

Let’s take this one step further. Let’s say that my fellow employee is a minority or a woman. And that my employer is an Equal Opportunity Employer. A widget making supervisory position becomes available. Although I am more qualified for the position because I can teach the other employees how to make more widgets per hour, the other employee gets the job because of their minority status. The other employee, now my supervisor, is now earning about 50% more then I am earning. Plus has a much easier job than I have.

A year later I still making widgets, but my piece count has improved by 1 more widget per day. A managerial position opens in the front office and my supervisor, who once was my widget making co-employee, gets the job (because upper management needed a minority in the front office) with a hefty increase in pay. This leaves the supervisory position open, but I get passed over again because the company needs a minority supervisor.

Now let’s go into the real world!

I have a friend that was a High School teacher in Maryland. Although he was more qualified, he was passed over twice for an administrative position within the school system. Why? Because they needed a minority person as an administrator. He went on to get his second Masters Degree, this time in Library Science and is now making more money as a College Liberian than he would have as a High School administrator. He sez “there is a way to beat the system if you try.”

Equal pay for equal work is a good idea, but as George Orwell wrote in Animal Farm, “All animals are created equal” but some of them are more equal than others.

The Beach Bum

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