For years, President Obama and Democrats have been trotting out the “77 cent” figure to claim that women earn less than men, even in the 21st century. And any conservatives who pointed out that the figure was highly misleading were called anti-women or liars.
But it turns out that much of the media didn't buy into the Left's claims. Because, as you might expect, the “77 cent” figure is, in fact, misleading. The Washington Post's Fact Checker gave Obama two Pinocchios for the claim. For years, the Post had given Obama one Pinocchio for the statistic, but since Obama refuses to stop using the number, a second Pinocchio was awarded. The Post considered giving three Pinocchios.
The bigger problem for Obama and Democrats, as the Post's Nia-Malika Henderson pointed out, is that the White House couldn't escape reports that women were paid less in the West Wing.
Using the same average, across-the-board accounting used to arrive at the 77 cent figure, women in Obama's White House make 88 cents to the dollar that men make. And while White House press secretary thinks that's fine because it's higher than the national average. But it's less than the D.C. average.
The White House further shot itself in the foot by releasing an infographic about the wage gap that featured two cartoon women dressed straight out of “Mad Men.”
“It pictures two women, one in a pink dress carrying a handbag, the other in an orange dress, and both are wearing oh-so-practical stilettos. This is exactly what working women wear to work every day, right?” Henderson said. “All those women who are lawyers, and doctors, and cashiers, and investment bankers, and biochemists, and nursing assistants and architects and engineers and cashiers at the Piggly Wiggly?”
Henderson also noted that Republicans are offering their own plans to address gender discrimination, which takes away the Democrat’s argument that the GOP is doing nothing on the issue. It doesn’t mean Democrats won’t continue to say the GOP is doing nothing, but they’ll be lying when they do.
Finally, Democratic senators suffered a defeat Wednesday when the Paycheck Fairness Act failed for a third time. The bill would have made it illegal for companies to retaliate against employees who discuss their pay and make it easier for women to sue employers for supposed wage discrimination.
Of course, just because it’s easier to sue, doesn’t mean it’s easier to win. Proving gender-based pay discrimination is next to impossible, so the bill would have been more of a boon to trial lawyers filing frivolous lawsuits than to any woman who was actually discriminated against.
The Post's Wesley Lowery wrote that the bill wouldn't have helped shrink the supposed wage gap because of the same reasons the 77 cent figure is meaningless to begin with - the wage gap is due almost entirely to women's choices about when and where they work. If there's even a wage gap at all, there's no evidence that it is due to gender bias - as noted by American Association of University Women Vice President for Public Relations Lisa Maatz.
Democrats, of course, show no signs of letting up on the 77 cent wage gap myth - and they'll use that leading up to the 2014 elections. Because they need to win unmarried women, who voted for Obama over Mitt Romney in 2012 by 36 points. But Romney won married women by 14 points.
So expect the war on women to continue – but don’t assume the Democrats have all but won.