The Real Wage Gap Problem

April 18, 2014

Democrats may be focused on the alleged gap between male and female wages, but the real pay crisis is within men's wages, says economist Stephen Moore.

Men, who are the chief breadwinners in most families, have hardly seen their wages move in recent years. Since 1980, men's wages have risen only by 6 percent, while women's wages have risen by 60 percent.

  • President Obama insists that women earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man.
  • But that is a comparison of all women with all men.
  • When one controls for work experience and education, there is only a 5 percent gap between male and female wages, according to the Department of Labor.
  • And after accounting for the fact that men perform riskier and often more unpleasant jobs than women, the wage gap basically disappears.
  • Looking at college graduates, there is virtually no pay discrepancy between men and women.

Men are the ones really suffering a wage crisis. Fifty-three percent of college enrollees and close to 60 percent of students pursuing advanced degrees are women -- and pay rises with educational attainment. If these trends continue, women could actually begin to have higher earnings than men.

The gender pay gap argument is a distraction. Almost all groups are seeing declines in pay. Between 2009 and 2012, every racial group and both genders have done worse. The real gap that matters is the gap between the wages that the middle class should be earning and the wages that they are earning.

Source: Stephen Moore, "The Real Pay Gap," National Review, April 10, 2014.

 

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