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The baloney merchant

Obama revives the ‘war on women’ to distract from scandal

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So many scandals, so little time. Who can blame President Obama for trying to flee from reality? He ducked out of a Monday photo-op before reporters could ask a question. He used the 50th anniversary of the federal Equal Pay Act to call for a new Paycheck Fairness Act, the latter meant to close supposed "loopholes" in the old one.

With his support among women down 2 percentage points in the latest Gallup presidential job-approval poll, Mr. Obama is trying to resurrect a corpse, the tired claim that women are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. "As long as this gap persists, we've got more work to do," Mr. Obama said.

The Independent Women's Forum debunked that argument in 1999, demonstrating that the wage gap between the sexes vanishes when relevant factors, such as educational attainment, choice of occupation, length of time on the job, part-time vs. full-time work, and time taken off to give birth and raise children are taken into account. A January 2009 report prepared for the Labor Department by public policy consulting firm Consad Research Corp. confirmed the findings, concluding, "The raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective actions."

Mr. Obama frequently runs to this issue when he needs a fix. Just nine days after taking office, he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which greatly extended the statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit for pay discrimination. This didn't help women very much, but it delighted trial lawyers everywhere.

There's no shortage of laws designed to "level the playing field" between the sexes, but we're asked to believe that we need still another law to ensure that working women are treated fairly. Citing a study released last week that found that women are now the sole or primary breadwinner in 40 percent of American households, Mr. Obama argued that "if they're bringing home more of the income, and that income is less than a fair share, that means that families have less to get by on, for child care or health care or gas or groceries."

What Democrats really want is to let politics decide what's "a fair share." If they really cared about reducing the price of food, gas and health care, they could repeal ethanol mandates, open offshore-drilling rights, build the Keystone XL pipeline and repeal Obamacare to liberate the economy. And lay off raising taxes. That would ensure that women (and men) have more money to raise their families.

The president prefers talk to action. "When more women are bringing home the bacon," said Mr. Obama, "they shouldn't be getting just a little bit of the bacon." What women and men alike are getting from this president is a lot of baloney, and the pollsters are finding there's a shrinking market for it.

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