Considering that Vox.com was supposed to be the place to have policy details explained in a way to which all journalists should aspire, and considering that one of the first people brought on was none other than the hapless Matt Yglesias, and considering that even liberals are backing away from the silly, partisan, “pay gap” identity politics demagoguery, and considering that circular logic is the bastion of the religious zealot, here it is.
The pay gap seems to shrink from about 77 percent to around 84 percent when you consider the difference in hours worked. Of course you can’t blame employers for paying more to people who work longer hours. But it’s equally silly to act like this is just some crazy coincidence. Women work shorter hours because as a society we hold women to a higher standard of housekeeping, and because they tend to be assigned the bulk of childcare responsibilities.
A good old-fashioned fisking is in order here.
The pay gap seems to shrink from about 77 percent to around 84 percent when you consider the difference in hours worked.
Actually, Matt, there’s no “seems to” involved. However, the alleged “gap” is 23%, which is said to shrink to 16% when hours worked is taken into account. The 77% and 84% figures are what women are alleged to make compared to men. The “gap” is the supposed difference between those percentages and what men make. I’m not making a huge point here, just noting that Yglesias is innumerate.
Of course you can’t blame employers for paying more to people who work longer hours.
What? No, really. What?
Yglesias has probably never worked for an hourly wage, and has clearly never employed people for hourly pay. Beyond simply misstating reality to suit his agenda, that is the inescapable conclusion one comes to after reading that sentence.
People start out making less, and as they show themselves to be more profitable (we usually say “better”) employees, are given both raises and more hours. Employers don’t pay people to work longer hours. They pay people to make them money. If someone is working longer hours without providing more return, we call that “padding the time clock.”
It is true that people who work more get better at their jobs, but that’s not his argument.
But it’s equally silly to act like this is just some crazy coincidence.
Parsing that sentence requires more time and energy than I have on a Sunday morning. Particularly, I’m not sure to what “this” refers. Let’s assume it means the tendency of those who make more per hour to work more hours. As explained above, both factors have a common cause, rather than the hourly rate leading to longer hours or vice versa.
Women work shorter hours because as a society we hold women to a higher standard of housekeeping,
I just don’t even.
Who is it that holds women to this higher standard? In my experience, it’s women themselves, with an internal desire to live in a neat home. In fact, every woman I’ve ever known has seen the quality of her home’s living space as a reflection on her personally. It’s not society imposing it. Perhaps Yglesias has a different experience, but I don’t appreciate his projection of his insistence that his women pick up his socks onto me.
and because they tend to be assigned the bulk of childcare responsibilities.
“Assigned?” Considering that 35% of children live in single parent households, and that most single parents are women, yeah, they do have the bulk of childcare responsibilities.
But in no case are these duties “assigned”. People make the choice to have kids and care for them. Women, if you’ve ever been around them with their kids, just take to it. Maybe I’m not the mind reader Yglesias is, but I don’t recall ever hearing a woman say, “I take care of my kids out of my need to fulfill societal expectations placed on me by childless men.” Rather, it’s mother love.
Yglesias is apparently trying to argue that societal norms of child rearing and proper attention to dusting force women to work less than they otherwise would, and working less, are paid less. His point, if we can make it for him, is that women would get paid more if they would just toss off all of these gender roles and act like men.
The point he refuses to acknowledge is this: women aren’t men. They will continue to find ways to make their lives fulfilling that men don’t find fulfilling. There are innate differences between the two sexes, and these difference will continue to express themselves as long as there are people.
The job of policy makers should be not to put artificial constructs in place to keep people from living their lives the way they want to do it. Any attempt to force employers to make up for the choices people make by guessing their profit-producing value if they had only made different choices will cause more harm than it alleviates.