Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Obama on Comparable Worth
Mike Rappaport

One of the stupidest public policy proposals is that of comparable worth -- establishing a system to pay workers what some bureaucrats believe are their comparable worth.  It is price fixing based on a politically motivated baseline.   Apart from ignoring the market, it was often unfair.  In the 1980s, people would suggest that secretaries should be paid the same as construction workers, ignoring among other things that secretaries got to sit inside in nice offices, while construction workers had to do heavy labor at greater risk.

Apparently, Barack Obama has endorsed this proposal.  This may not hurt him with the left, but it should suggests that he would pursue very bad policy ideas.  One doesn't endorse this type of proposal if one has sound ideas about other matters. 

Hat tip: Glenn.

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Mike Rappaport


The Canadians have been working on this one for some time, and with some "success".
Funny thing, we do not hear it proposed that construction workers should therefore be paid less in the interest of fairness to secretaries. Fairness was never even in the little minds of these beholders.
It is the objective and responsibility of any employer to pay his hire as little as possibe to obtain the most productivity. He owes this to the productivity of his business, his stockhloders, and the markets. The objective of the employee is in ways quite the opposite. It is in that core of the realities of the markets, freedom, that socialist are unnerved.
Milton Friedman- At the bottom of many criticisms of the maket economy is really a lack of belief in freedom itself.
When we impose a lack of freedom on the markets people will have the option in refusing to change. Yet nothing is permanant except change.
When we argue for our limitations, we get to keep them. "Equalize" pay for secretaties, and you will get more of them. Is this what the left actually wants?
Socialism is a character defect.

Posted by: james wilson | Apr 25, 2007 9:16:04 AM

There are a number of construction workers and secretaries in my family. I haven't yet been to the funeral of a secretary killed in an office accident, but have been to some construction accident funerals. I think at least of part of the pay differential might lie there.

Posted by: km | Apr 25, 2007 1:10:17 PM

Hadn't heard of the idea before - comparable worth sounds like a Soviet-era recipe for inefficiency, corruption and a standstill of ambition. Obama should drop it immediately.

Equal pay for men and women is reasonable - otherwise, it would be discrimination. But demanding equal pay between different jobs is crazy, unworkable and dangerous to boot. We are talking skills here, which differ from one person to another, and have nothing to do with sex, race, or any other discriminatory evil. As far as skills go, they are the only "positive discrimination" there is!

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