Custom Search

Monday, June 30, 2008

Equal Pay For Women: Barack Obama Says One Thing and Does Another....Again

I was going to write a piece about a group of Barack Obama supporters that are gathering together online to hold his feet to the fire on FISA and their determination to pressure him into changing his mind about his publicly stated support for the new FISA compromise bill that was approved by the US House and is waiting for a vote in the Senate.

So, I decided to first see if their was any hypocritical statements or policy stances that Obama has changed for today, since they seem to coming at a mile a minute (FISA, public financing, second Amendment, death penalty for child rapists....etc...) and what I found was a report showing that despite Obama claiming that he was a proponent on equal pay for women, his actions tell a far different story.

Last week in Albuquerque, N.M., Barack Obama spoke about his commitment and support for a Senate bill which would make it easier to sue an employer for pay discrimination.

In that speech he took a swipe at John McCain by saying, "Mr. McCain is an honorable man, we respect his service. But when you look at our records and our plans on issues that matter to working women, the choice could not be clearer. It starts with equal pay. Sixty-two percent of working women in America earn half or more than of their family's income. But women still earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2008. You'd think that Washington would be united it its determination to fight for equal pay."

Plans are one thing, but actions are quite another and CNS News decided to take a look at the actual numbers that are public record over at the Report of the Secretary of the Senate, which covered a six-month period ending Sept. 30, 2007, showing how much Barack Obama paid his campaign staffers compared to how much John McCain paid his.

The results are chuckle worthy, especially after reading his previous statement in New Mexico.

The average pay for the 33 men on Obama's staff (who earned more than $23,000, the lowest annual salary paid for non-intern employees) was $59,207. The average pay for the 31 women on Obama's staff who earned more than $23,000 per year was $48,729.91. (The average pay for all 36 male employees on Obama's staff was $55,962; and the average pay for all 31 female employees was $48,729. The report indicated that Obama had only one paid intern during the period, who was a male.)

McCain, an Arizona senator, employed a total of 69 people during the reporting period ending in the fall of 2007, but 23 of them were interns. Of his non-intern employees, 30 were women and 16 were men. After excluding interns, the average pay for the 30 women on McCain's staff was $59,104.51. The 16 non-intern males in McCain's office, by comparison, were paid an average of $56,628.83.

The women working for Barack Obama in his Senate office make, on average, $6,000 less than the men that work for his Senate office.

Female Pay as Percentage of Male Pay Average Employee Making at Least $23,000 (Annualized Salary), the graph at this link shows that Hillary Clinton pays her female staff members almost 100 percent as much as her male staff members, John McCain pays them over 100 percent as much and Obama just over 80 percent of the annual pay that he pays his male staffers. This graph shows the amounts that male staffers made compared to female staffers in Clinton, McCain and Obama's Senate offices.

CNS News' method of calculations can be found here.

Plans, initiatives and supporting bills that would help women take action over pay discrimination, does not equal living by what you say.

It is quite possible that the women on Obama's campaign staff are not as qualified as the men he has on staff and that could very well be the explanation for the difference in pay, yet in that same speech that Obama gave in New Mexico, he addressed a bill he was supporting, called the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act which would extend the time women have available to file a complaint.

Ledbetter sued her employer for pay discrimination, but because she had waited too long to bring the complaint, the Supreme Court threw her case out.

McCain agreed with the Supreme Court's decision and opposed the Fair Pay Restoration Act, saying it would open the door for too much litigation.

Obama criticized that McCain decision, saying, "Senator McCain thinks the Supreme Court got it right. He opposed the Fair Pay Restoration Act. He suggested that the reason women don't have equal pay isn't discrimination on the job - it's because they need more education and training. That's just totally wrong."

This leads us to the question of whether the female staffers on Obama's campaign are less qualified or less trained than the male staffers, to which confirms McCain's initial assertion, or if Barack Obama is discriminating against his female staffers?

Barack Obama once said, "Don't tell me words don't matter" and after seeing his changing positions on a variety of issues these past few weeks, I would counter that with "Words don't matter if your actions do not match them".