- - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Democrats are down in the polls, way down, so they’re fishing for something — anything — to set off flutters in the hearts of their faithful on the way to November. We can expect a sequel to the “War on Women” campaign. President Obama staged a “National Equal Pay Day” for photographers on Tuesday when he signed two executive orders on equal-pay issues.

He decried the state of pay for women in America, and prohibited federal contractors from retaliating against employees who talk about how much they’re paid. The White House calls that “a critical tool to encourage pay transparency.” The rest of us would call it an invitation to boasting and grousing. Most people don’t boast or complain to their co-workers about how much money they make.

The other order requires federal contractors to report salary summary data, including statistics broken down by sex and race. The only purpose of the busy work is to give government regulators another excuse to meddle. All the man-hours (person-hours?) and paperwork spent on compliance will mean higher costs for taxpayers.

On hand for Mr. Obama’s “photo op” was Lilly Ledbetter, namesake of the first bill he signed into law back in 2009. Apparently, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 didn’t get the job done, so Democrats are back with something called the Paycheck Fairness Act. The measure sets up additional spools of red tape to prevent wage discrimination, to spend money on useless studies and to round up clients for trial lawyers.

It’s tentatively set to make it to the Senate floor on Wednesday, though it will be dead on arrival in the House. That’s actually good news for Mr. Obama, because otherwise he would be in big trouble. His own salary reports show that he’s paying women 88 cents on the dollar; on average that’s $9,000 a year less than he pays men. These are the same bogus numbers the president uses against private employers. When his nostrums are applied to the White House, excuses fly.

“I think that those studies look at the aggregate of everyone on staff,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney, “and that includes from the most junior levels to the most senior. What I can tell you is that we have — as an institution here — have aggressively addressed this challenge. And obviously, though, at the 88 cents that you cite, that is not 100, but it is better than the national average.”

These are the excuses offered everywhere else. The Obama administration can talk the loud talk, but it isn’t interested in walking the walk. It’s just posturing, which is a lot more fun than taking your own medicine.

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