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    Fair Pay for America's Hurting Trial Lawyers

    01/08/2009

    The House is hitting the ground running with two important bills - H.R. 11 and 12 - The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.  You might think that as America sinks deeper in recession that Congress might try to avoid bills that are so blatantly harmful to business.

    But you would be pretty much completely wrong.

    Nancy Pelosi's House is less concerned with helping businesses thrive, than they are about giving some love to the trial lawyers.

    While everyone has been focusing on the growing "Economic Stimulus Package" H.R. 11 and H.R. 12 have been snuck in right under our noses.  Luckily, someone has been paying attention and the great Allison Kasic has an excellent article over at Townhall.com.

    The Fair Pay Act would so dramatically expand the statute of limitations that companies could face suits over pay decisions made forty years ago, with relevant employees long since moved on. A company shouldn’t have to face lawsuits about those decisions – there is simply too much room for abuse.Politicians invariably point to the existence of the “wage gap” in pushing for these, and other gender equity bills. Women earn just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, they say. In their view, this proves discrimination and justifies government intervention. However, a closer look at the wage gap reveals a much different picture.

    That much-cited statistic simply compares the wages of the median full-time working man and the median full-time working woman. It tells us nothing about the existence or non-existence of wage discrimination. The wage gap ignores a myriad of other relevant factors including education level, years in the workforce, and type of occupation. Once these other factors are taken into account, the wage gap shrinks. So should we really be basing policy decisions on a simple statistic that doesn’t take into account relevant information? To do so hardly seems prudent.

    Both the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act are touted as key to advancing women’s rights, but in reality do little to help women. Instead they would raise the cost of employment and discourage workplace flexibility – precisely what women don’t want. Let’s hope our representatives will look beyond the political rhetoric of gender equity and reject these egregious proposals.

    FreedomWorks opposes both bills and has sent out Key Vote Notices to members of the House, letting them know that their votes on this will affect their rank on our Economic Freedom Scorecard.