MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Sunday's Meet the Press tried to advance the bogus liberal position that women in America still only make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men.
Fortunately for viewers actually interested in the truth, Republican strategist Alex Castellanos was on the panel to correct her after marvelously teasing, "I love how passionate you are. I wish you were as right about what you're saying as you are passionate about it. I really do" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
RACHEL MADDOW: Women in this country still make 77 cents on the dollar for what men make. So if--
ALEX CASTELLANOS: Not exactly.
RACHEL MADDOW: Women don't make less than men?
ALEX CASTELLANOS: Actually, if you start looking at the numbers, Rachel, there are lots of reasons for that.
RACHEL MADDOW: Wait, wait. No.
ALEX CASTELLANOS: Well, first of all, we--
RACHEL MADDOW: Don't tell me what the reasons are. Do women make less than men for the (UNINTEL PHRASE)?
ALEX CASTELLANOS: Actually--
REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS (R-WASHINGTON): Not the same work.
ALEX CASTELLANOS: -because.
RACHEL MADDOW: No? (LAUGH) Okay. No.
ALEX CASTELLANOS: Well, for example--
ALEX CASTELLANOS: --men work an average of 44 hours a week. Women work 41 hours a week. Men go into professions like engineering, science and math that earn more. Women want more flexibility--
RACHEL MADDOW: Listen, this is not a math is hard type of conversation.
Actually, although liberals don't want this to be a simple mathematical question, it very much is. Castellanos agreed:
ALEX CASTELLANOS: No, no. Yes, it is, actually.
RACHEL MADDOW: No, it isn't.
ALEX CASTELLANOS: We're having to look--
RACHEL MADDOW: No, listen--
DAVID GREGORY: All right, let Rachel--
DAVID GREGORY: --by the way (UNINTEL).
RACHEL MADDOW: Right now women are making 77 cents--
ALEX CASTELLANOS: And litigated--
RACHEL MADDOW: --on the dollar for what men are making, so--
ALEX CASTELLANOS: Well, that's not true.
RACHEL MADDOW: --so--
ALEX CASTELLANOS: If so every--
DAVID GREGORY: All right, let Rachel make her point.
ALEX CASTELLANOS: --greedy businessman in America would hire only women, save 25% and be hugely profitable.
This was a marvelous point that liberals espousing this nonsense seem to completely ignore: if business owners and managers could pay a woman 23 percent less than a man and get exactly the same production out of her, why would any men be employed in such positions?
Every intelligent business owner and manager would exclusively hire women for these roles and save a huge amount on payroll expenses. But such logic always eludes supposedly more intelligent liberals:
RACHEL MADDOW: I feel like this is actually--
ALEX CASTELLANOS: That's it.
RACHEL MADDOW: --and it's weird that you're interrupting me and not letting me make my point, because we get along so well. So let me make my point.
ALEX CASTELLANOS: I will.
RACHEL MADDOW: But it is important, I think, the interruption is important, I think, because now we know, at least from both of your perspectives, that women are not faring worse than men in the economy. That women aren't getting paid less for equal work. I think that's a serious difference in factual understanding of the world.
But given that some of us believe that women are getting paid less than men for doing the same work, there is something called the Fair Pay Act. There was a court ruling that said the statute of limitations, if you're getting paid less than a men, if you're subject to discrimination, starts before you know that discrimination is happening, effectively cutting off your recourse to the courts. You didn't know you were being discriminated against. You can't go.
The first law passed by this administration is the Fair Pay Act. To remedy that court ruling. The Mitt Romney campaign put you out as a surrogate to shore up people's feelings about this issue after they could not say whether or not Mitt Romney would have signed that bill. You're supposed to make us feel better about it. You voted against the Fair Pay Act. It's not about--
RACHEL MADDOW: --whether or not you have a female surrogate. It's about policy and whether or not you want to fix some of the structural discrimination that women really do face that Republicans don't believe is happening.
DAVID GREGORY: It's policy is the argument.
Finally, the truth will be heard:
ALEX CASTELLANOS: It's policy. And I love how passionate you are. I wish you were as right about what you're saying as you are passionate about it. I really do.
RACHEL MADDOW: That's really condescending.
ALEX CASTELLANOS: For example-- no.
RACHEL MADDOW: I mean this is a stylistic issue.
ALEX CASTELLANOS: I'll tell you what--
RACHEL MADDOW: My passion on this issue--
ALEX CASTELLANOS: Here's a fact--
RACHEL MADDOW: --is actually me making a factual argument--
ALEX CASTELLANOS: Can I share one--
RACHEL MADDOW: --on it, Alex.
ALEX CASTELLANOS: May I share one fact with us?
RACHEL MADDOW: Please share.
ALEX CASTELLANOS: When you look at, for example, single women working in America today between the ages of, I think, 40 and 64, who makes more? Men or women, on average? Men make $40,000 a year. Women make $47,000. When you take out the marriage factor, look at some economics. My point here is that we're manufacturing a political crisis to get away from what this election really wants to be about.
Well, it just so happens that on Thursday, the Manhattan Institute's Kay Hymowitz wrote a fabulous piece for the Wall Street Journal on this very subject:
Most people have heard that full-time working American women earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. Yet these numbers don't take into account the actual number of hours worked. And it turns out that women work fewer hours than men.
The Labor Department defines full-time as 35 hours a week or more, and the "or more" is far more likely to refer to male workers than to female ones. According to the department, almost 55% of workers logging more than 35 hours a week are men. In 2007, 25% of men working full-time jobs had workweeks of 41 or more hours, compared with 14% of female full-time workers. In other words, the famous gender-wage gap is to a considerable degree a gender-hours gap.
The main reason that women spend less time at work than men—and that women are unlikely to be the richer sex—is obvious: children. Today, childless 20-something women do earn more than their male peers. But most are likely to cut back their hours after they have kids, giving men the hours, and income, advantage.
One study by the American Association for University Women looked at women who graduated from college in 1992-93 and found that 23% of those who had become mothers were out of the workforce in 2003; another 17% were working part-time. Fewer than 2% of fathers fell into those categories. Another study, of M.B.A. graduates from Chicago's Booth School, discovered that only half of women with children were working full-time 10 years after graduation, compared with 95% of men.
Women, in fact, make up two-thirds of America's part-time workforce. A just-released report from the New York Federal Reserve has even found that "opting-out" by midcareer college-educated wives, especially those with wealthy husbands, has been increasing over the past 20 years.
As you can see, contrary to what Maddow said, this really is a simple mathematical equation: for the most part, men that make more than women do so because they work more hours.
At the numerous companies I've managed at the past three decades that was certainly the case.
But don't expect liberals like Maddow to ever agree with that regardless of its arithmetic simplicity.