Ad: McCain 'Doesn't Get' Fair Pay

TalkLeft discusses the Fair Pay Restoration Act here and here and here. Barack Obama supports it. John McCain doesn't. Maybe fair pay doesn't make a difference to voters, but it should.

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    By a funny coincidence (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by Steve M on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 12:11:56 AM EST
    Someone on MyDD just asked me whether it was really fair for us to claim that McCain opposes equal pay, when he swears he supports it in concept.  Not that I am the final authority on matters of fairness, but I will repeat my response.

    I think it is extremely fair.  Saying that you support equality in concept, while opposing attempts to actually provide legal remedies for inequality, is exactly the dodge used by many opponents of the Civil Rights Act back in the day.  Anyone can say "oh, gosh, it sure would be nice if people didn't discriminate," but when you're a legislator, the issue is whether you're willing to provide an actual avenue for redress.

    The result reached by the Supreme Court and supported by the Republicans - where the statute of limitations can run out on you before you even realize you're being discriminated against - is just ludicrous.  It's not a good-faith attempt to provide a remedy, and I have no problem with saying that anyone who hides behind it simply doesn't care about equal pay.

    Good answer (none / 0) (#3)
    by andgarden on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 12:16:37 AM EST
    That's a very compelling ad (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by LatinoVoter on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 12:12:46 AM EST
    not a great ad but good enough to make people think, especially during these tough economic times. Though, doesn't this line of attack warrant a response with the unfortunate facts that Barack's female staffers don't get paid the same as the men?

    Is McCain's Senate Office a More Lucrative Workplace for Women Than Obama's?

    I posted about this previously... (5.00 / 6) (#7)
    by GeekLove08 on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 01:24:40 AM EST
    "Obama's female staffers shortchanged"
    per Boston Herald 9/13/08:


    on average, Obama's female staffers earn just 83 cents for every dollar his male staffers make. (the ad states 77 cents for every dollar, I suppose it is better than the ad, but not as good as McCain)


    On average, according to these data, women in McCain's office make $1.04 for every dollar a man makes.


    In short, these statistics suggest that McCain is more than fair with his female employees, while Obama - at the expense of the women who work for him - quietly perpetuates the very same pay-equity divide that he loudly denounces.

        Of all people, the Democratic standard bearer should understand that equal pay begins at home.

    This story has been out.  There is a National Review Article from 9/12.  If Obama or his surrogates are going to bring up equal pay, they need to be prepared to answer why this disparity.


    Answers (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by TChris on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 01:38:18 AM EST
    Here's one answer.  Here's another from a blog commenter:

    RawleyCoop1:50AMSep 14th 2008

    Let me say that I am a professional statistician (everyone has to do something for a living). And in my experience, when you have data with this many variables and variation, you could make almost any point you want and make it sound reasonable. Depending on how you cherry pick methods to add things up, you can make it seem like Senator Obama pays women staffers more, less, or the same as male staffers. But it is all smoke and mirrors.

    First rule of statistics, don't guess at what might be happening, go back to the source data. So that is what I did. I pulled up the numbers you quoted from
    http://www.legistorm.com .

    Let me caveat this with I wasn't always sure which staffers were male and which were female (based only on their first name). I'm not sure how the person you are quoting did it. Whenever possible, I'll give the person's first name and let you decide.

    Obama has 58 staffers, with 34 different job titles and a very wide range of salaries. His two highest paid positions are his "Administrative Manager" (Carolyn at $100K) and his "Legislative Director" (Christopher at $120K). But he also has "Staff Assistant"s earning under $15K (about equally divided between men and women). But the question is equal pay for EQUAL WORK, so comparing completely different jobs tells us nothing.

    Of the 5 staff titles where he has more than 2 people with the same title (and therefore probably "equal work"), women seem to get as many high (and low) salaries as men do. For example: The highest paid "Constituent Services Agent" was Scott. The highest paid "Legislative Correspondent" was Crystal. The highest paid "Special Assistant" was Joan. The highest paid "Staff Assistant" was Jeffery. And the four highest paid (same salary) "Legislative Assistant"s were Dora, Henry, Adam, and Daniel.

    I also performed all the usual statistical tests and confirmed the same results: There is no statistical evidence that Senator Obama pays men more than women for the same job titles (take my word for it, or perform the tests yourself).

    Let me say that I also looked at the staff salaries of Senator McCain's staff. He has less staff positions (43) than Senator Obama but a lot more interns. His staff is about equally divided between men and women. His two highest paid positions are his "Legislative Director" (Ann at $130K) and his "Administrative Assistant" (Mark at $160K). He has only 19 job titles, with 4 being shared by 2+ staffers. This is because 18 of his staff have the simple title of "Staff Assistant" with salaries ranging from $18K to $60K, so I think it is safe to say that not all his "Staff Assistant"s are the same job or have "equal work".

    But the bottom line is that Senator McCain's staff seems pretty equal between men and women at every level, and it seems that in his office men and women get equal pay for equal work (just like in Senator Obama's office).

    This lame accusation has been around for a long time.  It hasn't gone mainstream because it isn't true.


    from the same article (none / 0) (#9)
    by DefenderOfPants on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 01:49:20 AM EST
    One explanation could be that women compose a majority of McCain's highest-paid aides. Among his top-five best-compensated staffers, three are women. Of his 20-highest-salaried employees, 13 are women. The Republican presidential nominee relies on women - much more than men - for advice at the highest, and thus, best-paid levels.

    Yep! Most folks know 'talk is cheap' (none / 0) (#24)
    by hairspray on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 12:57:36 PM EST
    Strictly speaking, the ad is a lie (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by zaladonis on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 05:01:43 AM EST
    John McCain did not "oppose a law that would guarantee women equal pay for equal work."

    McCain opposed a law that extended the statutory charging period during which a woman can bring a lawsuit claiming discrimination.  That law would not guarantee women equal pay for equal work.

    Obama supporters have been calling McCain a liar for his ads -- this one is no better.

    You are drawing an equivalence (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by JoeA on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 05:23:18 AM EST
    between the blatant lies being spewed out by the McCain campaign on virtually a daily basis vs. this ad?  

    McCain supports equal pay in theory, but opposes Women having a real mechanism for challenging discrimination.  It is a distinction without meaning imho.

    It's like me saying,  "Well I oppose murder in principle,  but I don't think you should be able to arrest anyone or impose a penalty on someone for it."


    How about in real (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Wile ECoyote on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 08:15:30 AM EST
    life, not retoric:

    Obama's female staffers shortchanged


    Again, on average, Obama's female staffers earn just 83 cents for every dollar his male staffers make. This figure certainly exceeds the 77-cent threshold that Obama's campaign Web site condemns. However, 83 cents do not equal $1. In spite of this 17-cent gap between Obama's rhetoric and reality, he chose to chide GOP presidential contender John McCain on this issue.

    On average, according to these data, women in McCain's office make $1.04 for every dollar a man makes. In fact, all other things being equal, a typical female staffer could earn 21 cents more per dollar paid to her male counterpart - while adding $10,726 to her annual income - by leaving Obama's office and going to work for McCain.

    I realize it is action, not words so progressive's needn't pay attention.

    Spin away.


    Hey, fantastic. (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 08:49:55 AM EST
    We're now linking opinion pieces from the Hoover Institute and suggesting they should be the basis of. . . what, exactly?  Policy decisions?  Or bird cage liner.

    I'm sure Rush Limbaugh has a few pithy words to share with us on this subject.  Perhaps we'll all be quoting him next!


    Apparently (none / 0) (#19)
    by TChris on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 08:53:59 AM EST
    you're not paying much attention, because this was raised on debunked on this thread.

    The issue here is legislation, not staff salaries.  Let's focus on the topic.


    Like I (none / 0) (#25)
    by Wile ECoyote on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 01:28:56 PM EST
    said, words, not action is what counts.

    Strictly speaking. . . (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 08:59:05 AM EST
    the ad is correct.

    The act in question provides a legal remedy for pay discrimination, some of which is already illegal.  But without legal remedy, there's no guarantee that a discriminated-against female employee will ever be able to recover her missing pay.

    Without the right of legal redress, any paper right to equal pay is meaningless.  This act guarantees that right and therefore guarantees equal pay.


    In the context of this discussion. . . (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 08:55:35 AM EST
    it's important to note that the "article" that purports to demonstrate that Obama doesn't "really believe" in equal pay for equal work, being circulated by a number of false-flag McCain operatives on this site is, in fact, clearly labeled an opinion piece and comes from the Hoover Institution.

    Using it to prove anything is about the same as using a diary posted at dKos to prove something.  Maybe one step better than that, but not much.

    The willingess of people to fall all over themselves to oppose the principle of legal remedy for pay discrimination simply because their candidate (and mine) -- a candidate who is unstinting in her support for this issue -- didn't win the primary amazes me.

    This is the first time I can remember (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 12:17:00 AM EST
    Obama using a woman announcer.

    I'm pretty sure I've heard him use (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Faust on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 12:43:07 AM EST
    a female voice before, but you're right, mostly it's that guy.

    And I find that guy (none / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 12:52:03 AM EST
    almost as intolerable as McCain's woman VO talent. She makes my skin crawl.

    Go figure.


    Okay ad ... (none / 0) (#10)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 03:20:47 AM EST
    but a little ham-handed.

    It's interesting that this is one of their first uses of the phrase "our families" in a recent ad.

    I suggested such an addition to an Obama ad several days ago.

    I just wish its use wasn't in an ad so obviously directed at women.  Had he inserted this theme into the ad several days ago, then this ad wouldn't look so obvious.

    And, again, I'd like a solutions tag.  Implicit solutions aren't enough.

    without getting into (none / 0) (#16)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 07:25:15 AM EST
    the gender of two employees performing the same job function, the question for me becomes where does job performance and experience come into the equation for "equal pay"? Are we talking about an "equal" base pay for a job? Or, are we talking about two employees with the same job getting the same pay even if one employee has been doing that job for several years and the other just started? Does support for equal pay mean you cannot support "merit pay" for teachers? Do two high school math teachers (without regard to gender) who are both in the same school system deserve the same pay if one has been teaching for 15 years and the other has been teaching for two years? What if the newer teacher has students who are performing better and, learning more? Can the less experienced teacher earn MORE than the more experienced teacher and still adhere to the concept of equal pay for equal work?

    I think (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by CST on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 09:31:59 AM EST
    That this bill doesn't determine any of those things and still leaves the details of what is considered discrimination up to the courts.  The bill in question just lengthens the time that you have to sue, once you've started working.  Right now, you only have 180 days after your first "discriminatory check" to sue.  It took Lily Ledbetter 20 years to find out she was under-paid.

    Determining what constitutes "equal pay" will still be up to the courts and will be decided on a case by case basis.


    The real irony is McCain's assertion that (none / 0) (#22)
    by esmense on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 09:21:24 AM EST
    "women need more education and training." In terms of how the world really works (as opposed to how seems to imagine it works) that statement would be absolutely true if he added "than men." The fact is, the wage disparity exists despite the fact that women are more likely to attend college than men and earn the majority of advanced degrees.

    Talk vs. walk (none / 0) (#26)
    by elrapido on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 02:09:16 PM EST
    Unless you mean (none / 0) (#27)
    by CST on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 02:29:16 PM EST
    Walk in the sense of a vote that effects everyone who doesn't work for the campaigns.  What Obama's staffers get paid has nothing to do with me, and frankly, could be equal pay depending on the work they do, I don't know, there isn't enough info on this.

    However, if I am underpaid because I am a woman, Obama has walked the walk to try and make it easier for ME (and potentially the women who work for him) to sue if I am discriminated against.  McCain hiring women for upper-level positions on his campaign does absolutely nothing for the rest of us.

    So yea, Obama has walked the walk with respect to actual VOTES that could effect our lives.


    Mc Cain Flip Flopping (none / 0) (#28)
    by BlogMe on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 06:01:43 PM EST
    .............McCain Flip Flops more than any politician I have seen....this is the big thing that disgusts me about him