by Ken Gorrell, Weirs Times Contributing Writer
April showers might bring May flowers, but the lies of April lumber into May like zombies, mindless and moldy. Advocates of those special April days called “Equal Pay Day” and “Earth Day” seem unaware that they celebrate the undead. Every year they reanimate their false narratives and set them loose upon us.
It’s high time for a corrective. I propose that we designate a Sunday in May as Reality Day, a day of contemplation, a time look at the facts and expose the myths. Perhaps it should be the last Sunday in May; we defenders of reality are going to need all the time we can get to mount an effective offense.
Supporters of the “equal pay” myth would have us believe that women in the workforce make about 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. They never explain why businesses don’t take full advantage of this obvious cost-cutting opportunity and hire more women. Instead we’re told that women have to work until April – the 14th this year – in order to earn as much as men.
The Obama campaign ran an ad in 2012 stating that “President Obama knows that women being paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men isn’t just unfair, it hurts families.” President Obama certainly knows the narrative, but he either doesn’t know the facts or simply doesn’t care about using a false claim to win an election.
The reality is that the so-called gender wage gap disappears when one controls for important factors like hours worked, marriage, and age. Even the Bureau of Labor Statistics acknowledges that never-married and single women with no children under the age of 18 earn 95-96% of what men in similar life situations earn. 80% of the wage “gap” can be explained by looking at just two variables, marital status and children.
The indispensable Carpe Diem blog of Professor Mark Perry at the American Enterprise Institute provide a wealth of analysis every year on this topic. Two key points:
1. Saying that women working full-time earned some percentage less than men working full-time, as the “gap” advocates claim, is not the same as saying that women earned less than men for doing exactly the same work while working the exact same number of hours in the same occupation, with exactly the same educational background and exactly the same years of continuous, uninterrupted work experience.
2. Pay differentials can be explained by everything except discrimination – hours worked, age, marital status, children, years of continuous experience, workplace conditions, etc. In other words, once you impose the important ceteris paribus condition of “all other things being equal or held constant,” the gender pay gap that we hear so much about doesn’t really exist at all.
Then there’s Earth Day, as if the planet needed its own day. For this annual escape from reality, Prof. Perry points us to “Earth Day, Then and Now,” in the May 2000 issue of Reason Magazine. The historical perspective is hilarious or embarrassing, depending upon how tightly you cling to the prevailing narrative.
For that 30th anniversary of Earth Day, science correspondent Ronald Bailey listed experts’ predictions from 1970. They include estimates that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” Another “expert” prophesied that “By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”
After famine, pollution was a popular Grim Reaper for these learned prognosticators. Two of my favorites: “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution” and “By the year 2000…there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”
For today’s global warming crowd there’s this gem: “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”
False narratives, then and now. It’s time to hold these peddlers of doom and gloom to account. Let’s remind ourselves and teach our children that on so many levels we have never had it so good. Reality Day, May 31st, 2015?