People and organizations continue to speak out against the idea
of a wage gap between male and female workers in the wake of an
audience member questioning both presidential candidates about the
issue in the most recent debate.
Among the skeptics is Charlotte Hays,
director of cultural programs at the Independent Women's Forum.
"The wage gap is a big talking point of feminists and Democrats
in the Obama campaign," she says. "We have a great
piece on the Independent Women's Forum website by Carrie Lukas.
Carrie quotes Diana Furchtgott-Roth, who is a terrific scholar. She
says that if you factor in the choices that women make, the wage
gap vanishes. For example, women often work fewer hours in the
week. Women also tend to get out of the job market for a while and
raise kids. That is going to affect what you earn."
Hays adds that younger, college-educated women in urban centers
are actually out-earning their male counterparts.
Other groups that dismiss the wage gap include The Heritage
Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Cato
Institute. Consad, a consulting company responsible for a 2009
report for the Labor Department, found that these factors account
for most of the pay gap.
Meanwhile, a related article on Bloomberg this
year states that, when correction is made for those factors, men
make only 5-7 percent more than women for the same work.
"It's a way to enlarge government," Hays says about why the
issue continues to come up. "If you pretend that there is this
problem out there, then you can pass some laws.
"Think about the Lilly Ledbetter Act. The president presented it
[during the most recent debate] as a way to help women earn more
money. It's really not. It's a way to give women more time to sue
their former employers. In fact, it lengthens the amount of time
that you can sue so long that people who knew about the case may be
Hays adds that in her opinion, a better name for the Lilly
Ledbetter Act would be the Tort Lawyers Full Employment Act.
An expert in transportation studies says it was inevitable that
the federal government would launch a new research effort regarding
automated cars, but he won't go so far as to say that it's