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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Coalition of the Disappointed -- Obama fires up racial and gender resentments to get out the vote -- Review & Outlook, The Wall Street Journal

You can tell it's an election year because so many noncrises are suddenly urgent priorities. Real median household income is still lower than it was in 2007, the smallest share of Americans is working since 1978, and the Russians are marching west, but Democrats are training fire on race, gender and the grievances of identity politics.

"We have this congenital disease, which is in midterm elections we don't vote at the same rates," President Obama said at a Houston fundraiser the other day. He means that the Obama Democrats are now what they call the "coalition of the ascendent," made up of minorities, young people, single women and affluent, college-educated cultural liberals. The problem is that this year they may be a coalition of the disappointed, so Democrats are trying to scare them to the polls with pseudo-controversies.

Take last week's East Room reception for feminist celebrity Lilly Ledbetter, when Mr. Obama declared that "today the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns; for African American women, Latinas, it's even less. And in 2014, that's an embarrassment. It is wrong." He's right that it'd be wrong, except he knows this isn't close to true.

The "pay gap" is the ratio between median earnings for men and women, according to Census Bureau data. But adjust for hours worked, occupation, decisions about marriage and children, education and risk, and equal work means equal pay. The war on women is really a war on meaningful statistics.

To wit, applying the same broad median-earnings standard to the White House shows that female staffers make only 88 cents on the dollar of their male counterparts. The White House should indict itself for disparate-impact bias. Spokesman Jay Carney defended the hornet's nest of sexism where he works by insisting, "That the problem exists in a lot of places only reinforces the need to fix it." 

So how's that working out? Readers may remember the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that was the first bill Mr. Obama signed in January 2009. The measure was little more than a trial lawyer payoff, but Mr. Obama called it "a simple fix to ensure fundamental fairness" and end the injustice of "women across this country still earning just 78 cents for every dollar men earn." Five years later, they've lost a penny by his own reckoning.
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