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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Conservatives Are Concerned About Equal Pay

posted by on July 1 at 9:19 AM

If it means they can try to create another wedge between Barack Obama and female voters. WARNING: This story comes from a conservative news web site that may or may not be engaging in fuzzy math, and at the very least has a political incentive to push something like this:

While Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has vowed to make pay equity for women a top priority if elected president, an analysis of his Senate staff shows that women are outnumbered and out-paid by men.

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Oh no he might be hiring qualified people.

Get me some hard numbers or add this to that rumor page Obama made.

P.S. Obama eats dead babies.

Posted by Chris | July 1, 2008 9:30 AM

Funny that the same people who are so knowledgeable about micro- versus macro-evolution (they invented the terms, after all) aren't aware of micro- versus macro-economics.

Small sample sizes mean nothing. Otherwise we get to discuss how 0% of McCain's heads of campaign are black, while 100% of Obama's are, and come up with some cheesy racial issue there.

Posted by also | July 1, 2008 9:57 AM

Please take a statistics class, Eli. Do it for America.

Posted by elenchos | July 1, 2008 10:02 AM

Their "analysis" of staff salaries is almost meaningless. For starters, the mean of anything that is often highly skew (like salary) is a misleading measure of central tendency. I suspect this reporter is either incompetent or deliberately trying to mislead. Yeah, I know. Duh.

Posted by umvue | July 1, 2008 10:05 AM

The gender pay gap is a myth. Enough already.

Posted by Jason Josephes | July 1, 2008 10:11 AM

What also @2 said.  Sample size should have been red flag enough to ignore this story.

Posted by lostboy | July 1, 2008 10:24 AM

And will these rocket scientists be performing a similar analysis of McCain's staff?

Waiting... waiting...

Posted by COMTE | July 1, 2008 10:34 AM

Sample size is (probably) not an issue. Thirty or so women on staff is enough for lots of large sample theoretical statistical properties to hold. The issue is more that of skew. Salaries are bound on the left by zero and on the right by... infinity. We need to see the entire distribution of salaries to determine what is going on. Again, for a distribution that is likely to be highly right skew the mean is not helpful and is likely misleading.

Posted by umvue | July 1, 2008 10:35 AM

@7 (and those too lazy to click through to the article) - Next paragraph:

That is in contrast to Republican presidential candidate John McCain's Senate office, where women, for the most part, out-rank and are paid more than men.


The average pay for the 33 men on Obama's staff (who earned more than $23,000, the lowest annual salary paid for non-intern employees) was $59,207. The average pay for the 31 women on Obama's staff who earned more than $23,000 per year was $48,729.91. (The average pay for all 36 male employees on Obama's staff was $55,962; and the average pay for all 31 female employees was $48,729. The report indicated that Obama had only one paid intern during the period, who was a male.)

McCain, an Arizona senator, employed a total of 69 people during the reporting period ending in the fall of 2007, but 23 of them were interns. Of his non-intern employees, 30 were women and 16 were men. After excluding interns, the average pay for the 30 women on McCain's staff was $59,104.51. The 16 non-intern males in McCain's office, by comparison, were paid an average of $56,628.83.

Posted by DavidG | July 1, 2008 10:42 AM

You know what? I think this is valid criticism. One thing that you can credit the Bush administration for is a diverse cabinet--much more so than Bill Clinton's. Yeah, the women and black people in his cabinet are just as crazy as the white guys, but that's not the point. Diversity is valuable in and of itself, and is not at odds with (or a guarantee of) competence.

Democrats should be ashamed that George W. Fucking Bush of all people has a better record of hiring for diversity than they do. Obama needs to hire more women and pay them better, and McCain deserves credit on this point.

Posted by Cascadian | July 1, 2008 10:54 AM

As long as any candidate is hiring based on merit and qualifications, they're doing the right thing as far as I'm concerned. If that results in some idealized notion of "diversity", then great, but if not, I'm not going to get all up in arms about it.

Posted by Hernandez | July 1, 2008 11:57 AM

Wow. Conservatives are worried about equal pay? And just yesterday I read something by Dinesh D'Souza, boo hoo hooing about the death and misery in Iraq during the 1990's because of our embargo.

(A club to beat over the head of Madeline Albright, he used it for.)

Oh, how they care. They care, care, care.

Posted by CP | July 2, 2008 12:00 AM

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