Part 2—Geniuses, experts, confusion: Do women get paid 77 cents on the dollar, as compared to men, for the exact same work?
As far as we know, no expert of the right or the left actually makes that claim. Despite this fact, the claim is often bruited around by our fiery new leaders on the pseudo-left.
Alas! Just as the analysts had foreseen, Katie McDonough advanced this claim in the wake of Patricia Arquette’s recent Oscar acceptance address.
That didn’t make the claim any more accurate. For background, see yesterday’s report.
Women get paid 77 cents on the dollar for the exact same work! This is just one of the bogus claims we liberals frequently push these days as we emulate decades of clowning by those on the pseudo-right.
We liberals! We love to hear this inaccurate claim about the gender wage gap. At the present time, we’re also pushing some shaky statistics about the prevalence of rape on college campuses—statistics no one else really believes at this point.
Shakiness of our statistics be danged; we love our embellished facts! Within the past year, we even seem to be working on a thoroughly ludicrous claim—the claim that a majority of public school students are living below the poverty line.
That last assertion is crazily wrong. But it seems to be building up steam.
We seem to be building a tribal stockpile of phony statistics and facts! And as we push our bogus claims, we disappear many real statistics which have real implications for important progressive interests—the rise in test scores of American kids being a prime example.
We liberals! As it turns out, we aren’t especially smart and we aren’t especially honest. Almost surely, this helps explain why nobody likes us.
Beyond that, it helps explain why right-wing narratives continue to drive the national discourse in a wide range of policy areas. We tag along behind the McDonoughs, even when they’re peddling piddle which everyone secretly knows to be false. This brings us back to the various things Patricia Arquette said.
As far as we know, Patricia Arquette is a good, decent person. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, she helped found GiveLove.org, a public interest organization. To visit its web site, click here.
That said, Arquette has been a movie and TV star since 1987. She’s been breathing highly rarified air for a very long time.
Being a star isn’t always good for children and other living things. We may have detected a hint of this syndrome in the televised speech in which Arquette accepted her Oscar as the year’s best supporting actress.
To read her full statement, click here.
Let’s just put it this way—Arquette betrayed few hints of false modesty in her acceptance statement. She said her children are “the deepest people” she knows. The painter with whom she’s living is “a genius,” she said.
Her various friends “all work so hard to make this world a better place.” In our favorite formulation, she praised the volunteers and experts “who have helped me bring ecological sanitation to the developing world.”
Maybe she didn’t mean it that way! And one might say that these are the things a person says at such moments. At any rate, this brings us to the policy statement which concluded Arquette’s speech, a statement for which she was roundly criticized in the days which followed:
“To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”According to Arquette, “we women” have “fought for everybody else’s equal rights.” On that basis, she said “it’s our time” to have “wage equality once and for all.”
As people around the world could see, these declarations brought Meryl Streep right up out of her chair! Still and all, Arquette’s statements on this topic were strikingly murky.
What exactly did Arquette mean when she advocated “wage equality?” There was no real way to know from her statement. Later, her remarks at a backstage press conference made things no more clear.
What exactly did Arquette mean when she called for “wage equality?” At Salon, McDonough dragged out the 77 cents on the dollar claim. It’s a very familiar claim, which is also bogus.
Alas! As we pseudo-liberals have begun building our brave new discourse, we've increasingly trafficked in such claims, in much the way Rush and Sean have always done. Even Arquette, with access to experts and geniuses, didn’t seem especially skilled at explaining what she meant.
Did she mean that she supports equal pay for the exact same work? Very few people oppose that principle—and our liberal leaders spend lots of time creating factual confusion around the topic.
Was Arquette perhaps referring to a different situation—to the large income gap which obtains between men and women? In a society with many households headed by single women, this constitutes a genuine point of concern.
Is that what Arquette was referring to? We have no real idea, and no one is going to ask.
Was Arquette perhaps referring to a third situation? Was she referring to the income gap which obtains between male and female movie stars?
A bungled discussion of this topic briefly occurred in the wake of the Sony email thefts. Forgive us if we briefly wondered if that was the type of “wage equality” which brought Streep out of her chair!
Based on Arquette's backstage remarks, that doesn’t seem to be the type of inequality she had in mind. What was she talking about? Backstage, she offered these comments:
ARQUETTE (2/22/15): It is time for women. Equal means equal. The truth is, the older women get, the less money they make. The more children—the highest percentage of children living in poverty are in female-headed households.Patricia Arquette is an actress. No one should expect her to be an expert on this subject, or on any policy matter.
It’s inexcusable that we go around the world and we talk about equal rights for women in other countries and we don’t—one of those superior court justices said, two years ago, in a law speech at a university, we don’t have equal rights for women in America, and we don’t because when they wrote the Constitution, they didn’t intend it for women.
So the truth is, even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface there are huge issues that are at play that really do affect women. And it’s time for all the women in America, and all the men that love women, and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for, to fight for us now.
That said, Arquette continued to speak, in murky ways, about the topic she had chosen to discuss. We were left with these questions:
Outside Hollywood, is it true that women earn less money as they get older, in some way which distinguishes them from men? We have no idea, and in our experience, this point is rarely discussed.
Is it true that “the highest percentage of children living in poverty are in female-headed households?” We would assume that this is true (although it too is rarely discussed). This speaks to the income gap between women and men which we already mentioned.
What does Arquette think we should do about that income gap? We pseudo-liberals rarely discuss this topic. Instead, we waste everyone’s time, and burn everyone’s brains, with pleasing claims in which women are paid 23 percent less for doing the same work as men.
Once we’ve made this bogus claim, our work for the day is done.
Alas! Thanks to our own unimpressive work, public discussion of this issue rarely advances beyond that bogus claim. Conservatives know our claim is wrong. In this way, wedges widen.
Patricia Arquette didn’t seem prepared to lead this discussion this night. Gack! The “superior court justice” to whom she referred seemed to be Antonin Scalia, who actually sits on the Supreme Court.
(The distinction is without a real difference. Unless you’ve noticed that our public discussions are often driven by people who seem to have little idea what they are talking about.)
For many years, our public discussions were driven by Rush and Sean. They promulgated bogus claims. Everyone else tagged along.
Increasingly, our own “liberal” public discourse is conducted the same darn way. We thrill the troops with bogus claims, as McDonough did the morning after. As we push these claims, we brush past important facts and important topics which affect the material well-being of those on the left and the right.
We thrill ourselves with our own bogus claims. As we do, wedges harden.
Just a guess! The plutocrats are thrilled to the bone when they see our leaders perform in these ways. Tomorrow, we’ll look at what progressive professors and journalists said about Arquette’s remarks.
In our view, Arquette wasn’t massively sharp this night. But oh, what kind of discussion is this, which goes from bad to worse?
Tomorrow: Instant division within the tribe, with complaints which were sometimes quite accurate!