Tuesday, August 16, 2005

John Roberts and no equal pay for equal work.

Joan Biskupic and Toni Locy of the USA Today lede with John Roberts “scoff[ing] at the notion” of equal pay for men and women in 1984. That phrasing could not be more appropriate.

Roberts did more than scoff.

In a February 3, 1984, memo, on women’s rights to earn equal pay for equal work, Roberts wrote the following: “It is difficult to exaggerate the perniciousness of the ‘comparable worth’ theory. It mandates nothing less than central planning of the economy by judges.”

Lest you believe that this allusion to communism was nothing more than a flight of persuasive writing, seventeen days, February 20, later the then-Reagan aide used a maxim from Marxism to describe the effort to pay equality for women

Such a movement ignored “the factors that explain that apparent disparity, such as seniority, the fact that many women frequently leave the work force for extended periods of time. ... I honestly find it troubling that three Republican representatives are so quick to embrace such a radical redistributive concept. Their slogan may as well be, 'From each according to his ability, to each according to her gender,'” Roberts wrote.

Pay equality as a form of communism, which was rightly vilified in the Reagan White House, appears again in these memos.

But, perhaps even more telling is the pejorative language of this young aide at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The move for pay equality is nothing less than pernicious, in his wording, bringing about great harm – or perhaps death, as the word can mean?

Further, “comparable worth” is a theory, not something understood to be part of our national identity -- a national identity that has struggled toward that notion of all people being treated equally, with unalienable rights from the Creator.

Such comparable worth is redistributive, according to this young aide, once again evoking communist ideology. That effort toward comparable worth, this aide would argue, corrects only an apparent disparity; after all, he’d tell you, men have achieved greater seniority with higher, deserved, compensation.

Further, he’d kindly explain, women do tend to need, oh, maybe six or nine unemployed months from time to time in order to raise their children. Make no mistake, when this young aide wrote “women frequently leave the work force for extended periods of time” he was referring to the blessings of childbearing and childbirth.

What stings most is the vicious switch in gender in that Marxist maxim this young aide so cleverly employed. “From each according to his ability,” the aspect of that slogan that calls upon sacrifice and hard work compared with “to each according to her gender.”

Why the shift in gender-adjectives? It tells you that these foolish Republicans seeking equal pay for equal work, an unalienable right, seek nothing more than to redistribute the earnings of the diligent, industrious men to the more needy women.


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