Barackonomics 101: The “Equal” Pay Law

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Our illustrious current Puppet-in-Chief’s journey into the bizarro world of Barackonomics continues. He just signed into law a bill that outlaws “discrimination” for “unequal” pay for “equal” work.

Let’s say you go into a store and want to buy five cans of peas. There are seven cans on the shelf. Five are of one brand marked $1.25. The other two are of a second brand marked $1.50. Assuming that in your subjective mind, both brands offer the same quality and quantity of peas that you are looking for (i.e., are equal), why would you possibly buy three of the $1.25 cans and two of the $1.50 cans when you can buy the five cans that you need for $1.25?

If, as our illustrious Puppet-in-Chief assumes, that these “equally”-qualified women are being paid less than “equally”-qualified men, then why would the “greedy capitalist pig” employers hire any men at all? Wouldn’t the employers go out of their way to hire as many cheaper women as possible? Wouldn’t there be a large amount of higher-priced unemployed males out looking for work? [Thank you Walter Block for pointing this out to me and others.]

[By the way, as has been pointed out many times by others, how come women never complain to the government that they are being discriminated for when night clubs offer “Ladies’ Night” discount drinks for them and/or even no cover charge for them to enter the clubs? I know—it’s a way of making up for the lower wages they are being paid than their male counterparts!]

UPDATE: Greg Privette wrote to me pointing out that my hypothesis about a large amount of higher-priced employees being priced out of the market has actually already taken place in the market, albeit between a different set of workers.

Greg wrote:

“Remember we have just spent the last several years listening to a great outcry about how workers from Mexico were “crowding out” American workers because they were willing to do equal work for less pay and greedy corporations were taking advantage of that fact.”

Having brought this to my attention, I would like to add to Greg’s observation: How about all of the high-tech computer jobs that are being outsourced to lower-paid employees in India? I should know—the job I did for almost 20 years (Desktop Publishing) is now a thing of the past in the United States, for the most part, due to the lower cost of hiring someone in India to do the exact same work. And do you know what I say to that? More power to them!

2:42 pm on February 1, 2009