PBO Signs First Bill

This morning President Barack Obama (PBO or PresBO), signed his first bill into law this morning. The bill is *allegedly* about fair pay, but in actuality, it is a more lawsuits bill.

The high court had (said) a person must file a claim of discrimination within 180 days of a company’s initial decision to pay a worker less than it pays another worker doing the same job. Under the new bill, given final passage in Congress this week, every new discriminatory paycheck would extend the statute of limitations for another 180 days.

The biggest problem with a law like this is the unintended consequences. Generally speaking, when laws like this are passed, they serve to bring down the pay of more profitable employees to the level of the less profitable. For fear of being sued the companies have to equalize pay, but if the lesser paid employee is justifiably lesser paid, due to not being as productive as a male counter part, then the company has to decide, “Do we raise the pay of the less productive employee, or lower the pay of the more productive employees?” Since companies operate based on the bottom line, they will cut the pay of the more productive employees, sometimes leading to layoffs.

I think that people should be paid based on the merit of their work, if a male employee that does the same job, does said job faster, they should get paid more, and vice versa. During the signing, “Obama cited Census Bureau figures that women still receive only about 78 cents for every dollar that men get for doing equivalent jobs.” What these Census numbers often fail to account for is that Women are more likely than men to miss work for issues relating to their children. If a child needs to come home sick from school, the mother is more likely to be the one to leave work to watch them. Also, many companies base pay raises on length of employment and productivity. When a woman takes time off for maternity leave, she sets back her productivity during that year, which therefore decreases her potential for raise that year. Men don’t usually take paternity leave, or if they do, its for a shorter period of time. As this progresses, and women potentially have multiple children, plus time missed taking care of sick children and so on, a woman that may have started out at the same pay as a man in the same position at the same time, will ten years later be making less money.

All this is not to say that women aren’t occasionally discriminated against, or that they don’t have to work harder than men in some cases. I just think this new law is more beneficial to lawyers than women, and more harmful than helpful to business in general. I also think that some of the statistics that “support” discrimination claims don’t take all factors into account.


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