Do the Feds Have to Intervene?

Raymond Mancini  |  4 min read

 

Since the Industrial Revolution, wage gap among gender lines has always been a problem; in 2014, it still persists. Women are paid 77 cents for every dollar men are paid. This is a problem that must be fixed. That this problem has been around for about 250 years shows the long problem women have faced, but it is not the federal government’s job to intervene on behalf of businesses; instead the process should be confronted by the workers.

On April 8, President Obama issued two executive orders, one banning employers from punishing their workers for discussing their pay with other workers, the other requiring employees to submit data that divide pay scales among gender and race. These orders only apply to federal contractors, but I will not be surprised if the government tries to extend its power and have it apply to privately owned business.

The day after Obama issued the executive orders, Republicans shot down the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have forced businesses to make their employees publicly report their earnings to show the unfairness in the wage gap along gender and race lines. Unlike the Executive Branch’s orders, this bill would have applied to nearly all businesses (Barrasso). A bill like this should never be passed by the federal government. It is not the federal government’s job to intrude on privately owned businesses and declare that they must publicly report their earnings. This bill would taint businesses’ environments, making them very inflexible, for the workers would be able to see how much their colleagues are making.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 already prohibits sexual discrimination in the workplace. Therefore, there is no need to force businesses to show the wage gap between gender lines. If a woman or man is so skilled at his or her job that the company relies heavily on that individual, then the woman or the man can easily demand a wage increase. The company will most likely grant it because they rely on them so much.

Title VII of the Civil Liberties Act of 1964 has also protected employees from discriminatory business environments. Making it mandatory for employers to publicly report their earnings would just make the work environment a hassle among colleagues. Again, if any person, whether African American, Hispanic, Caucasian, or Chinese, is very good at their job, I believe that the company they work for will have no problem increasing their wage.

The unequal pay also varies between states and industries. The 77 cents that women make on every dollar men make may be an average. Here is a chart based on the 2009 statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

 
 

The numbers of each industry are the percentages of men’s paychecks women earn. For the “Agriculture and related industries,” women make 84.6% of a man’s paycheck. On average, women earn 78.39 cents for every dollar earned by men.

It is clear that the payment between men and women is unequal, but that does not mean that the federal government must impose its beliefs on businesses. Businesses have a right to pay employees the way they choose, and if employees, in this case, women or minorities, disagree with the businesses, they can protest to equalize the workplace. America is supposed to be a capitalistic environment, one where businesses are not held back by regulations. Businesses and their employers can work out this problem without the need of government intervention. It is a major mistake to support the Federal Government’s passing of a bill that would regulate businesses.

Personally, I believe that this problem will be fixed. If there is a massive strike, businesses will open their ears and accept women and minorities’ viewpoint. I agree: there is a problem in terms of inequality among the workplace; however, it is important that the people understand the consequences that will result if they let the federal government overpower them in an attempt to equalize businesses’ work environments.


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